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Meet the Faculty

Gary M. Simpson

Gary M. Simpson

Professor of Systematic Theology and Northwestern Lutheran Theological Seminary Chair of Theology

  • Ordained (ELCA)
  • M.Div., Th.D. (Christ Seminary-Seminex)

Biography

Gary Simpson was named associate professor of systematic theology at Luther Seminary in 1990 and professor of systematic theology in 1998. Earlier, he served as a Lutheran pastor for 14 years. Simpson was pastor of Immanuel Lutheran Church, Alameda, Calif., (1976-1983) and Protestant chaplain of Highland-Alameda County Hospital in Oakland, Calif., (1976 to 1978). Subsequently, he was minister of education and youth at St. Charles (Mo.) Christian Church (1981-83) and pastor of Resurrection Lutheran Church in Portland, Ore. (1983-90).

During his years in Portland, he was adjunct teacher for Warner Pacific College as well as Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, Calif., and the Lutheran Institute for Theological Education in Tacoma, Wash.

Simpson also served Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon as a member of its board and chaired its witness and life commission. He chaired the Jewish-Christian Association of Oregon, was vice president of the Oregon Holocaust Resource Center, and was on the board of directors of the Oregon chapter of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. Simpson also served as the moderator of the board of Snowcap Church-Community Action Program (Portland, Ore.) and chaired the Oregon Governor's Task Force on Hunger.  

He is a member of the American Academy of Religion and on the Society of Christian Ethics. He serves on the editorial board of dialog: A Journal of Theology. 

He received the B.A. degree from Concordia Senior College, Fort Wayne, Ind., in 1972. He earned both the M.Div. and the Th.D. degrees at Christ Seminary-Seminex, St. Louis, Mo. (1976 and 1983).

Simpson's essays on theology and public life have appeared in both English and German language collections. His most recent research and writing have been in the areas of Lutheran confessional theology, congregational mission, the doctrine of the trinity and the theology of the cross. His essay, "Towards a Lutheran 'Delight in the Law of the Lord': Church and State in the Context of Civil Society" will appear in a forthcoming book from Fortress Press. He authored Critical Social Theory: Prophetic Reasoning, and Christian Imagination (Fortress Press, 1998). He is presently working on a book with New Testament scholar David Fredrickson, Confessing Christ: Christology, Trinity, and Ecclesial Leadership.

Courses

CL 0535 01GODS MISSION-BIBLICAL AND THEOL EXPSummer Term 2018-2019

This course examines biblical, theological and theoretical frameworks for congregational mission and leadership. Students explore the Bible's rich witness to God's mission from Genesis to Revelation. They critically engage major paradigms in Christian mission over history and across traditions with an eye toward developing their own capacity to lead Christian communities in mission.

HT 0801 01 50LUTHERAN CONFESSIONAL WRITINGS Spring Semester 2018-2019

A study of the confessions of the Lutheran Church as set forth in the Book of Concord. The documents of the reforming movement, viewed in the historical settings, are explicated in the light of their witness to the centrality of the gospel of justification by faith. Consideration is given to the contemporary importance of this witness for the life and mission of the Lutheran Church in a post-secular age. A central question of the course focuses on what it means to confess today in ecumenical engagement, in culturally diverse situations and interfaith contexts, and how that confession is shaped by those contexts.

ST 2484 01JUSTICE AND RECONCILATION Spring Semester 2018-2019

This course focuses on the Triune God's creating, sustaining, and reforming work of justice and reconciliation in the world today. Students will explore a range of biblical, theological, and ecumenical perspectives in dialogue with philiosophical and sociological approaches to theories of justice, to the interconnections of different situations and systems of injustice, and to various theories and practices of reconciliation. PREREQUISITE: SG0401 THINKING THEOLOGICALLY

HT 0801 01LUTHERAN CONFESSIONAL WRITINGS Fall Semester 2018-2019

A study of the confessions of the Lutheran Church as set forth in the Book of Concord. The documents of the reforming movement, viewed in the historical settings, are explicated in the light of their witness to the centrality of the gospel of justification by faith. Consideration is given to the contemporary importance of this witness for the life and mission of the Lutheran Church in a post-secular age. A central question of the course focuses on what it means to confess today in ecumenical engagement, in culturally diverse situations and interfaith contexts, and how that confession is shaped by those contexts.

SG 0405 01LEADING CHRISTIAN COMM IN MISSION Fall Semester 2018-2019

This course introduces students to the complex realities of forming and leading Christian communities in a pluralist era. Students engage biblical and theological traditions for understanding the triune God's mission in the world and how this shapes the church's missional identity and leadership. Insights from sociology help students interpret persons and communities similar to and different from them for the sake of witness and service. Through attending carefully to specific Christian communities and their contexts, students develop imagination, practices, habits, and skills for faithful and innovative public leadership. (WHEN OFFERED IN J-TERM / SPRING - MUST REGISTER FOR BOTH 0.5 COURSES TO EQUAL 1.0 FULL COURSE.)

CL 0535 01GODS MISSION-BIBLICAL AND THEOL EXPSpring Semester 2016-2017

This course examines biblical, theological and theoretical frameworks for congregational mission and leadership. Students explore the Bible's rich witness to God's mission from Genesis to Revelation. They critically engage major paradigms in Christian mission over history and across traditions with an eye toward developing their own capacity to lead Christian communities in mission. FULFILLS MISSIONS (CM2410) CURRICULUM EQUIVALENCIES

SG 0405 50LEADING CHRISTIAN COMM IN MISSION Spring Semester 2016-2017

This course introduces students to the complex realities of forming and leading Christian communities in a pluralist era. Students engage biblical and theological traditions for understanding the triune God's mission in the world and how this shapes the church's missional identity and leadership. Insights from sociology help students interpret persons and communities similar to and different from them for the sake of witness and service. Through attending carefully to specific Christian communities and their contexts, students develop imagination, practices, habits, and skills for faithful and innovative public leadership. IN J-TERM / SPRING - MUST REGISTER FOR BOTH 0.5 COURSES TO EQUAL 1.0 FULL COURSE.

ST 1482 50D BONHOEFFER-E ROOSEVELT AND MLK JRSpring Semester 2016-2017

This course focuses on Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King, Jr. in dialogue with public theology today. Students will explore these persons' critical reflective insights within the contexts of their bold prophetic lives. Students will also have opportunity to make connections with current situations that call for theological-ethical insight and prophetic community life. FULFILLS ETHICS CURRIC EQUIVALENCIES

SG 0405 01LEADING CHRISTIAN COMM IN MISSION January Term 2016-2017

This course introduces students to the complex realities of forming and leading Christian communities in a pluralist era. Students engage biblical and theological traditions for understanding the triune God's mission in the world and how this shapes the church's missional identity and leadership. Insights from sociology help students interpret persons and communities similar to and different from them for the sake of witness and service. Through attending carefully to specific Christian communities and their contexts, students develop imagination, practices, habits, and skills for faithful and innovative public leadership. IN J-TERM / SPRING - MUST REGISTER FOR BOTH 0.5 COURSES TO EQUAL 1.0 FULL COURSE. J-TERM 2016-2017 PRE-WORK BEGINS JAN. 2, 2017.

ST 2484 01JUSTICE AND RECONCILATION Fall Semester 2016-2017

This course focuses on the Triune God's creating, sustaining, and reforming work of justice and reconciliation in the world today. Students will explore a range of biblical, theological, and ecumenical perspectives in dialogue with philiosophical and sociological approaches to theories of justice, to the interconnections of different situations and systems of injustice, and to various theories and practices of reconciliation.

ST 2484 50JUSTICE AND RECONCILATION-ONLINE Fall Semester 2016-2017

This course focuses on the Triune God's creating, sustaining, and reforming work of justice and reconciliation in the world today. Students will explore a range of biblical, theological, and ecumenical perspectives in dialogue with philiosophical and sociological approaches to theories of justice, to the interconnections of different situations and systems of injustice, and to various theories and practices of reconciliation.

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Faculty Publications