Religious Studies and Missiology

Religious Studies and Missiology

Department chair: Prof. Dr. Jelle Creemers

Research in Religious Studies and Missiology

The department of Religious Studies and Missiology builds on, serves and challenges the other departments at ETF Leuven with its consistently external focus. Central to its task, both in teaching and in research, is to draw attention to the multiplicity of perspectives and voices which are ‘out there’. Appreciating the complexity of developments in contemporary societies, the department’s research aims to understand, to criticize as well as to constructively assist religiously motivated engagements within different societal layers and cultural segments. Combining the two research fields of religious studies and missiology, the department focuses both on an investigation of the place of (Evangelical) Christianity in Western society today (and beyond) and the promotion of fruitful exchange between its actors and those embodying a variety of other cultural and religious realities.

Hence, the research involves, on the one hand, uncovering patterns of correlation, accommodation, withdrawal, and/or symbiosis, which may characterize the engagements of religious communities with society and the investigation of underlying values and principles. On the other hand, it involves critical engagement with the task of the church to pass on its message and to invite others peacefully to consider its claims.

The geographic center of the research lies in Europe, but additional research in African, Asian or Latin American context allows broader perspectives on Christian presence in multi-religious societies. Within the European context, particular attention is paid to Church planting projects, the comparison of religious values in Christianity and Islam, new forms of Christian witness and development of missiological theories such as ‘Missional Theology’. The deconstruction and reconstruction of identity of various Western European migrant Churches is analyzed and compared with traditional Protestant Evangelical Churches.

Both research sections also deal with topics of global significance, such as freedom of religion and religious persecution. These research foci are brought together in the Institute for the Study of Freedom of Religion or Belief (ISFORB).

Independent Academic Personnel

Prof. Dr. Jelle Creemers Evangelicalism, Relationship of Church and Government, Flanders/Belgium
Prof. Dr. Christine Schirrmacher Islam in Europe and the Middle East, Islam and Human Rights, Sharia Law

Special Academic Personnel

Dr. Bosco Bangura Pentecostal Missions, African Migration, Intercultural Theology
Prof. Dr. Pieter Boersema Religion and Cultural Value Systems, Christian Migrants
Dr. Georgia Du Plessis Religion / Church and state relationships, religious freedom rights, Law and Religion
Dr. Tatiana Kopaleishvili Church/state relations, (Post-)Soviet, history, Georgia
Dr. Jeremy Lim
Dr. Peirong Lin Identity Formation of Christian Organizations, Mission Drift, Theology of Work
Prof. Dr. Christof Sauer Freedom of Religion and Religious Persecution
Prof. Dr. Evert W. van de Poll Missiology, Missionary History, Christianity and Mission in Europe today, Messianic Jews

External Instructors

Dr. John Choi
Dr. Deborah de Koning Asian Religions
Prof. Dr. Bernhard Reitsma

Junior Researchers (with or without AAP/SAP status)

Josfin Raj Stephen Balaraj Charism in the Life and Mission of the Church: A Historiclal and Theological Appraisal of the Sixth Phase of the International Roman Catholic-Classical Pentecostal Dialogue (Joint PhD project with Universität Bonn)
James Bultema The History of the Turkish Protestant Church in Context
Robert Coleman Christology and Economic Development
Joel Hartmann Models of Ecclesiological Structures for Convert Communities
Tabitha Moyo The Role of Women in Shaping and Transforming Masculinities in Chewa (Zambia) Christian Community
Kwame Oppong-Konadu Beyond Neo-Colonial Dominance in Christian Mission: A Study of the Methodist Church of Ghana’s “Reverse Mission” Engagements in Europe
Kristina Patring Integral Mission and FBO-State Donor Cooperation

Research Institutes and Groups

Institute for the Study of Freedom of Religion or Belief (ISFORB)

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