“Do I really belong here?”
As a professor of Reformed theology, I recall hearing that question, in various forms, as brothers and sisters in Christ of color came to know and love the theology of the historic Reformed tradition, but they also noticed that many of the articles and books they were reading were by white theologians and pastors. The voices of Black theologians, Hispanic scholars, and Asian Reformed pastor-theologians were missing—and others like them, who don’t fit in these simplified categories. So the question came: “Where do I fit in?”
I’ve since curated the following list of some pastors and scholars of color whom I enjoy reading on Reformed theology and often commend to others. Some write primarily to lay audiences; some focus on scholarly audiences. All of them write with insight and verve, helping me understand the Reformed tradition more clearly. Each one not only writes about Reformed theology but also confesses the Reformed faith themselves.
If the scope of this list were broader than Reformed theology, the following list could be much longer! Many Reformed scholars of color write in areas that are relevant to Reformed Christianity, on topics from history to sociology and many more. And there are numerous pastors and theologians who are not Reformed who I would commend to read as well!
Moreover, this list is restrictive because it only lists works in English. Many works in Reformed theology are written today in Portuguese, Korean, Chinese, and other languages! But when some friends from the Reformed Church in America asked for a list of pastors and scholars of color who write on Reformed theology, I developed this as a short list to serve as a starting point for exploration.
Finally, while the list below focuses upon particular authors, I would like to commend one multi-authored book, which provides much food for thought for how Reformed theology interfaces with social and cultural challenges in various contexts: Reformed Public Theology: A Global Vision for Life in the World (Baker Academic, 2021) edited by Matthew Kaemingk. This book on public theology in the Reformed tradition brings together a diverse, international group of Reformed authors. Especially to be commended is the chapter entitled “A Migrant at the Lord’s Table: A Reformed Theology of Home” by Alberto La Rosa Rojas. It brings together the richness of a Reformed eucharistic theology with discussions of migration and immigration.
Black theologians and Reformed scholars of African descent
Esther Acolatse is an insightful Reformed theologian in the area of pastoral theology, serving as professor of Pastoral Theology and Intercultural Studies at Knox College at the University of Toronto. She has published widely on a variety of topics, including pastoral care, the powers and principalities, and recovering a holistic theology for the global church. She is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.).
- Rev. Dr. Acolatse’s faculty page
- OnScript Podcast: Esther Acolatse on Powers, Principalities, and the Spirit
- Powers, Principalities, and the Spirit: Biblical Realism in Africa and the West (Eerdmans, 2018).
Vincent Bacote is a professor of theology and the director of Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois). He is also the author of multiple books and articles, quite a few on Reformed theology, especially in relation to ethics, theology, and culture.
- Dr. Bacote’s personal website
- The Political Disciple: A Theology of Public Life (Zondervan, 2015)
- “A Time for Reckoning: Facing Truth on the Path to Unity” (Theopolis Institute article)
Vince Bantu is a theologian and missiologist in the Reformed tradition who seeks to retrieve insights from the long history of the Christian faith on the African continent and African diaspora. He is professor of church history and Black church studies at Fuller Seminary (Pasadena, California).
- Dr. Bantu’s faculty bio
- A Multitude of All Peoples: Engaging Ancient Christianity’s Global Identity (IVP, 2020)
- Gospel Haymanot: A Constructive Theology and Critical Reflection on African and Diasporic Christianity, ed. Bantu (UMI, 2020)
Anthony Bradley is deeply engaged with and committed to Reformed theology and is especially insightful in identifying some of the distinctive gifts of the Reformed tradition to be retrieved in the context of American Christianity today. He challenges the church to thoughtfully engage topics such as mass incarceration, race, and others from a theological standpoint. He is a prolific author and editor of multiple books and articles and is also professor of religious studies at the King’s College (New York City, New York).
Anthony J. Carter is lead pastor of East Point Church in East Point, Georgia. He is the author and editor of a number of books, several of which focus on the Reformed tradition in relation to African American experience. Rev. Carter brings together a rich cast of voices, both in his own work and in Glory Road, a collection of true journeys that he edited.
Note: when Carter speaks of “Reformed,” he is usually speaking about the historic “doctrines of grace” (also known as the five points of Calvinism, commonly referred to as TULIP: total depravity, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and preservation of the saints), not the broader sweep of Reformed doctrine that one finds in the Reformed confessions.
- Glory Road: The Journeys of Ten African Americans into Reformed Christianity (Crossway, 2012), ed. Carter
- Black and Reformed: Seeing God’s Sovereignty in the African-American Christian Experience (P&R, 2016)
- Being Black and Reformed: An Interview with Anthony Carter
- Gospel Coalition articles
Mika Edmondson is pastor of Koinonia at Christ Presbyterian Church in Nashville, Tennessee. He has a PhD in theology from Calvin Theological Seminary and is the author of numerous articles and one book. He is deeply engaged in theological discussions about Reformed theology in relation to issues of culture, injustice, suffering, and race.
- The Power of Unearned Suffering: The Roots and Implications of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s Theodicy (Lexington, 2017)
- Gospel Coalition articles
Related: The Black Church Still Speaks podcast hosts conversations that acknowledge the historical legacy of the Black church, reaffirm her biblical identity, and rediscover her missional vitality. Episodes are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your podcasting app of choice.
Alicia Jackson is a historian and a Reformed Christian who specializes in African American history, and she gives insightful portrayals of key leaders and moments in the history of the Black church. She is associate professor of history at Covenant College (Lookout Mountain, Georgia).
- Dr. Jackson’s faculty page and bio
- Jude 3 Podcast: Lost Black History?
- The Recovered Life of Isaac Anderson (University Press of Mississippi, 2021)
Hans Madueme is a Reformed theologian who writes and researches at the intersection of theology and science, especially as it relates to human origins. He is professor of theological studies at Covenant College (Lookout Mountain, Georgia).
- Dr. Madueme’s faculty bio
- Adam, the Fall, and Original Sin: Theological, Biblical, and Scientific Perspectives (Baker, 2014), edited with Michael Reeves
Eric M. Washington is a professor of history (Calvin University, Grand Rapids, Michigan) and author of some very helpful work on the history of African Americans in the Reformed theological tradition in North America.
- Dr. Washington’s faculty bio
- Q&A on African Americans in the Reformed Tradition
- “Chattel and Prophets: African Americans in Presbyterian Church History,” In All Things
Reformed theologians and scholars of Asian descent
Justin Bailey is an author who engages Reformed theology, theology and culture, and apologetics. He is also a professor of theology at Dordt University in Sioux Center, Iowa.
- Dr. Bailey’s personal webpage
- Dr. Bailey’s faculty bio
- Reimagining Apologetics: The Beauty of Faith in A Secular Age (InterVarsity Press, 2020)
Sung Wook Chung is a professor of Christian theology (Denver Theological Seminary in Littleton, Colorado) and a prolific author and editor of numerous books, all related to Reformed theology. Most of his books are aimed toward a scholarly audience, but for scholarly books, they tend to be quite accessible as well.
Han-luen Kantzer Komline is professor of church history and theology at Western Theological Seminary (Holland, Michigan). She is the author of one scholarly book as well as numerous scholarly and popular-level articles. Her work reflects a deep engagement with Augustine and early Christian authors, and she writes on a number of theological topics with a commitment to the Reformed tradition.
- Dr. Kantzer Komline’s faculty bio
- Augustine on the Will: A Theological Account (Oxford University Press, 2020)
- “The Church Mothers Teach Us to Delight in Scripture” in Christianity Today
Gregory Lee is a professor of theology and urban studies at Wheaton College (Wheaton, Illinois). He is also the author of scholarly books and articles on topics in early Christianity and the Reformation, including Augustine and Calvin. Working within the Reformed theological tradition, he deftly addresses questions that connect theology to discussions about justice, race, class, and the church.
- Dr. Lee’s faculty bio
- Today When You Hear His Voice: Scripture, the Covenants, and the People of God (Eerdmans, 2016)
- Christian Political Witness, co-edited with George Kalantzis (InterVarsity Press, 2014)
- “Mercy and Mass Incarceration: Augustinian Reflections on ‘The New Jim Crow,’” The Journal of Religion 98 (2018): 192-223
Elizabeth Yao-Hwa Sung is a scholar and author of a number of articles, mainly for scholarly audiences, on the doctrine of humanity and race from a Reformed theological perspective. She is a faculty member at Regent College (Vancouver, British Columbia).
N. Gray Sutanto is professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary (Washington, D.C.) and the author of one scholarly book and several articles on the Dutch Reformed theologian Herman Bavinck.
- Dr. Sutanto’s faculty bio
- God and Knowledge: Herman Bavinck’s Theological Epistemology (Bloomsbury, 2020)
Yudha Thianto is a professor (Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois), theologian, and historian of both the Reformation and of Reformed tradition in Indonesia.
- Dr. Thianto’s faculty bio
- The Way to Heaven: Catechisms and Sermons in the Establishment of the Dutch Reformed Church in the East Indies (Wipf & Stock, 2014)
Hispanic scholars, theologians, and authors
Joshua Ryan Butler is pastor of Teaching and Direction at Redemption Church in Tempe, Arizona, and is the author of several excellent, accessible theological books from a Reformed perspective and some articles.
Jules A. Martinez-Olivieri is a professor (North Park Theological Seminary) and scholar who brings a Reformed and deeply Trinitarian lens to important issues and questions raised in Latin American theology.
- Dr. Martinez-Olivieri’s faculty announcement article
- A Visible Witness: Christology, Liberation, and Participation (Fortress Press, 2016)
Derek Rishmawy is a pastor with RUF at UC Irvine and a Ph.D. student in theology. He is Arab and Hispanic and is the author of many, many articles on Reformed theology. Rev. Rishmawy is a deeply grounded and yet dynamic Reformed theological thinker and a regular member of the Mere Fidelity podcast.
Adriel Sanchez is a pastor and the author of numerous theological articles, primarily for Core Christianity, a Reformed theology ministry started by Michael Horton. Sanchez also serves as podcast and program host for Core Christianity.
Dr. J. Todd Billings
J. Todd Billings is the Gordon H. Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, Michigan. He is an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America and the author of six books and numerous articles. His website is https://jtoddbillings.com.