Fuller Seminary is very pleased to announce that Matthew Kaemingk has been appointed to serve as the first Richard John Mouw Chair of Faith and Public Life.
This newly endowed chair was established in honor of the rich academic legacy of Fuller’s longtime professor and fourth president Richard J. Mouw. The purpose of the chair reflects Dr. Mouw’s lifelong commitment to Reformed public theology worked out at the intersection of the church, the academy, and the public square.
“Matthew Kaemingk’s appointment to serve in the new Mouw Chair of Faith and Public Life is a double honor for Fuller,” said its president, Mark Labberton. “The Chair itself underscores the truly exceptional scholarly contributions of Richard Mouw whose legacy and continuing work are exemplary. Kaemingk’s appointment means the extension of Mouw’s imprint, but also the calling of a young scholar whose first publications show a substance, finesse, and maturity all his own. We couldn’t be more pleased.”
Prior to this appointment Dr. Kaemingk served as assistant professor of Christian ethics and associate dean of Fuller Texas. He is the author of several books in public theology including Christian Hospitality and Muslim Immigration in an Age of Fear (2018), Work and Worship: Reconnecting Our Labor and Liturgy (with Cory Willson, 2020), and Reformed Public Theology (2021). He has also served as a scholar in residence at the Center for Public Justice and Fuller’s De Pree Center for Christian Leadership.
With an academic career spanning more than fifty years, Richard Mouw is now widely recognized as one of the world’s leading evangelical voices in the field of public theology, focusing on such issues as politics, race, science, globalization, interfaith dialogue, and marketplace ethics.
Reflecting on Mouw’s legacy, Kaemingk notes a distinctive call to the church to engage deeply in public life. “For Mouw, public theology can never be an abstract intellectual exercise. Instead, it must carefully deal with the deep complexity, beauty, and brokenness that is life in this world. Thus Mouw’s work should be understood as a constant search for a ‘holy worldliness,’ as he calls it, a righteous way of being in the world.”
Taking on the chair, Matthew Kaemingk will also serve as the first director of the newly established Richard John Mouw Institute for Faith and Public Life. The institute’s stated mission is to “advance public theological research and convene strategic conversations at the intersection between the church, academy, and culture.”
Amos Yong, Dean of the School of Mission and Theology thus says, “Dr. Kaemingk’s current and ongoing groundbreaking work in Reformed public theology not only makes him a fitting appointment to the Mouw Chair but also extends the Mouw legacy through the institute in ways that further Fuller Seminary’s commitments to forging important conversations about Christian life and discipleship that makes a difference in public spaces.”
At its founding, the institute will also welcome Sebastian Chang Hwan Kim, Fuller Seminary’s Robert Wiley Professor of Renewal in Public Life as its primary academic advisor. Dr. Kim brings to the new institute a long and distinguished career of international leadership in the field of public theology. Along with his books on both Asian and global Christianity, he has also published several works in public theology including A Companion to Public Theology (2017) and Cosmopolitanism, Religion, and the Public Sphere (2014). He currently serves as an executive committee member of the Global Network for Public Theology and was formerly editor of the International Journal of Public Theology.
Together Matthew Kaemingk and Sebastian Kim hope to convene strategic conversations and support new research in public theology for years to come at Fuller Seminary. One of their leading strategic priorities will be to focus on the cultivation of doctoral students working at the intersection of theology and public life. To this end they will manage the newly endowed Richard John Mouw Faith and Public Life Scholarships.