Stained glass windows reflecting light on some church pews in the Tyndale Chapel

The Alister E. McGrath Chair of Christian Thought and Spirituality

The Vision

You are invited to be part of a vision to establish an endowed Chair at Tyndale Seminary in honour of internationally acclaimed theologian, scholar and Christian apologist, Alister E. McGrath. McGrath currently is the Andreas Idreos Professor of Science and Religion and Director of Ian Ramsey Centre for Science and Religion at the University of Oxford. McGrath is renowned for his prolific, scholarly work in diverse areas including: the relationship between science and religion (atheism, and his public debates with Richard Dawkins), Christian apologetics (the first director of Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics; C.S. Lewis scholar), reformation theology (including Luther and Calvin), contemporary theologians (e.g. Brunner, Barth, Moltmann) and Christian spirituality (Roots that Refresh; Christian Spirituality). He also is author of one of the most acclaimed theology textbooks in use, Christian Theology: An Introduction (Wiley Blackwell, 2017). No title or descriptor can do justice to the height and breadth of McGrath’s scholarship and his international and ecumenical influence.

The Purpose

The title, “Alister E. McGrath Chair of Christian Thought and Spirituality,” is used to capture the twin foci of the Chair, the interface of Christian thought and spirituality. This interface is a key theme in McGrath’s scholarship and is foundational to the educational ethos at Tyndale Seminary. The term Christian Thought includes among other things the reformation theologies that are an important stream within the transdenominational Christian heritage of Tyndale. The joint emphasis in the title on Spirituality underscores the inseparability of theology with the life and practice of faithful living.

The Candidate Profile

As one of the most pivotal professorships at Tyndale Seminary, the occupant of the Alister E. McGrath Chair of Christian Thought and Spirituality will possess the following profile:

  • A senior scholar with an earned PhD in Theological Studies and with demonstrated competence in teaching systematic and historical theology at the graduate level.
  • A record of scholarship and publications, preferably in Reformation Theology and Spirituality as well as cognate theological disciplines.
  • Demonstrated engagement in an active, ongoing research agenda.
  • Proven capacity and commitment to mentoring and supervising younger scholars.
  • Active engagement in the life of the church and commitment to scholarship in the service of the church.
  • Aligned with Tyndale’s ethos as a broadly evangelical, multidenominational, multicultural community of faith and learning with a global vision of the church.

The Inaugural Holder of the Chair

Tyndale is pleased to announce that once the Chair is established, the inaugural holder of the Alister E. McGrath Chair of Christian Thought and Spirituality will be Dr. Dennis Ngien. Ngien is the senior theologian at Tyndale Seminary, an internationally recognized scholar, an acclaimed author, and the founder of Centre for Mentorship & Theological Reflection. Ngien counts Alister McGrath among his influential mentors, and in turn, McGrath selected Ngien to write an endorsement to the recent edition of McGrath’s acclaimed theology textbook.

Ngien’s areas of expertise include Systematic and Reformation Theologies, Jurgen Moltmann, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Christology, Salvation, Trinity, and issues in impassibility/passibility of God. He has authored numerous articles as well as 10 books, most recently a major monograph on Luther’s Christology in John’s Gospel with Fortress Press, to which McGrath writes a preface. Formerly a Research Scholar at Blackfriars Hall, Oxford University, Ngien holds concurrent appointments as Research Professor at Wycliffe College, and Fellow at the Centre for Reformation and Renaissance Studies, University of Toronto.

Ngien shares with McGrath a commitment to the interface of theology and spirituality. Alongside of his scholarly achievements and engagement with churches, Ngien mentors scholars, theological students, pastors and church leaders around the globe.

The Responsibilities of Chair

The Alister E. McGrath Chair of Christian Thought and Spirituality will carry three-fold responsibilities:

  • Teaching: Developing and teaching core and upper-level courses in theology at the master’s and doctoral level and supervising graduate theses and research projects.
  • Research and Writing: Active, ongoing engagement in research, writing and publishing in one’s area of expertise.
  • Service: Serving the internal and external community through activities that bridge the academy and the church, invite exploration of the interface of theology and spirituality, and bring networks of people together in an annual conference/symposia on critical issues in the field.

The Seminary Context

Tyndale Seminary, the largest seminary in Canada, is an accredited graduate theological school in the evangelical, Protestant tradition. Founded in 1894, the school has a long and distinguished history of educating men and women for faithful and effective ministry and service in Canada and around the world. Located in Toronto, one of the most multicultural cities in the world, students and faculty come from more than 60 different ethnic backgrounds, more than 40 denominations, and from across Canada and the world including Asia, Southeast Asia, Australia, Europe, Africa and the Caribbean. This vibrant diversity gives Tyndale Seminary a unique opportunity to cultivate a missional, multicultural and global understanding of the church. The school recently moved to a stunning location in a former convent on one of the city’s main arteries, raising its visibility and profile as a Christian presence in the heart of the city committed to shalom.

The Opportunity

Tyndale extends a warm invitation to partner in the establishment of the Alister E. McGrath Chair of Christian Thought and Spirituality. An investment in the Chair is an investment in educating and equipping theologically astute leaders and scholars for the dramatically changing social context in which we are called to be the church. As an endowment, a total investment of $2,000,000 (CAD) will ensure interest income sufficient to fund the Alister E. McGrath Chair of Christian Thought and Spirituality for years to come. The challenge is great, but the potential for impact cannot be measured.