Paul Martinson joined the Luther Seminary faculty as professor of Christian missions and world religions in 1972. In 1998, he was named as the first holder of the Fredrik A. Schiotz Chair in Christian missions and religions.
He was born in China of missionary parents. Ordained in 1962, Martinson went to Hong Kong as a missionary the next year, where he was assistant pastor of Truth Lutheran Church until 1967. He also was an instructor in Greek at the Lutheran Seminary from 1965 to 1967, and supervised the Lutheran Middle Schools in Kowloon, Yuen-long in 1966-67.
Martinson is a Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude graduate of St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minn. (1957). He earned the B.D. degree from Luther Seminary in 1961, and the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Chicago Divinity School (1969 and 1973).
He also attended the Yale Institute of Far Eastern Languages, Taiwan National University, the Research Institute of New Asia College in Hong Kong and the University of Minnesota.
Martinson is a member of the Association for Asian Studies, the American Academy of Religion, the American Society of Missiology, the International Association for Mission Studies, the Association of Professors of Missions, and the International Association of Buddhist Studies. He is a founding member of the Society for Study of Chinese Religions, and twice has chaired the board for the Midwest China Study Resource Center. In recent years, he has also served in the Other Faiths Study Group of the Lutheran World Federation (LWF).
He has written two books: Families of Faith: An Introduction to World Religions for Christians (1999); and A Theology of World Religions: Interpreting God, Self, and the World Semitic, Indian, and Chinese Thought (1987). He has also edited two books: Mission at the Dawn of the 21st Century: A Vision for the Church, and Islam: An Introduction for Christians (1995).