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THEME: The Significance of the Reformation for Today
Associate Professor of Religion
Department Chair- Wabash College
Derek Nelson is a theologian and historian of Christianity. He teaches courses in both of those fields, as well as religion and culture (such as literature and film), social ethics, and whatever else students are interested in studying with him. In recent semesters independent studies with students have included “Faith, Food, and Sustainability Ethics,” “Christianity and Natural Science,” and “The Christology of Karl Barth.” He and Professor Hartnett of the Classics department recently taught a course on Christianity in Ancient Rome, which included an immersion trip to Rome. Over the last three years, six students have interned with Nelson in the Religion department, and he invites more in the future.
Nelson is the author or editor of ten books, including The Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Martin Luther, on which he is working with a team of international experts. This resource sets a new standard in Luther research, and will be published to coincide with the 500thanniversary of the Protestant Reformation in 2017. His intellectual biography of Martin Luther, co-written with his deceased mentor Timothy F. Lull, is Resilient Reformer: The Life and Thought of Martin Luther. He has written about 50 articles, essays in books and reviews. He served on the task force that produced a social statement for the ELCA (in which he is an ordained pastor) called The Church and Criminal Justice: Hearing the Cries.
After graduating summa cum laude from Wabash College in 1999, Nelson earned the M.Div. at Yale Divinity School and the Ph.D. in systematic and philosophical theology at the Graduate Theological Union and the University of California in Berkeley. He taught at Thiel College in Greenville, Pennsylvania for six happy years. He was a visiting scholar at Oxford University in 2013.
An avid traveler, Nelson has led groups of students and clergy to Italy, Germany, Mexico, and South Africa, among other international destinations. His study-abroad experience in Karlstad, Sweden was so formative that he has become a strong advocate for students to gain cross-cultural experience. Nelson also directs the Wabash Pastoral Leadership Program, which serves an ecumenical group of Indiana pastors who are developing as civic leaders. This is funded by the Lilly Endowment and hosted by Wabash College.
Attentive to his surroundings, he lives in the Sugar Creek watershed, Agricultural zone 5b for plant hardiness and sunlight, and the Indiana-Kentucky synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He brews beer and makes furnitur. He golfs poorly and fishes well.
Derek was raised on a beef cattle farm in Vasa, Minnesota. He lives in the woods near Crawfordsville and is married to the Rev. Kelly Nelson. They are the proud parents of toddler Madeleine.
Recent Published Works
Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Martin Luther, co-edited with Paul R. Hinlicky, (New York: Oxford University Press, forthcoming in 2016), 2 vols.; ca. 1750 pp.
Luther Refracted: The Reformer’s Ecumenical Legacy, co-edited with Piotr Malysz (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2015). 288 pp.
One Hope: Re-Membering the Body of Christ, co-authored with Martha Stortz, Jessica Wrobleski, et al. (Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 2015), 102 pp.
Resilient Reformer: The Life and Thought of Martin Luther, co-authored with Timothy F. Lull (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2015). 421 pp.
Readings in the History of Christian Theology, Vol.2: From the Reformation to the Postmodern World, 2nd edition, by William C. Placher and Derek R. Nelson (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2015). Ca. 225 pp, forthcoming.
Readings in the History of Christian Theology, Vol.1: From Its Beginnings to the Eve of the Reformation, 2nd edition, ed. William C. Placher and Derek R. Nelson (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2015). 201 pp.
A History of Christian Theology, 2nd Edition, by William C. Placher and Derek R. Nelson (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2013). 352 pp.
Theologians in Their Own Words, eds. Derek R. Nelson, Ted Peters and Joshua M. Moritz (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2013). 298 pp.
Reviews: Kristin Johnston Largen, Dialog 52 no. 2 (2013): 91-2; Matt Reynolds, Christianity Today 57 no. 3 (2013): 73; Don McKim, Religious Studies Review 39 no. 3 (2013) 157-8; Jacqueline Bussie, Journal of Lutheran Ethics 13 no. 6 (2013); Robert Brusic, Word and World 35:1 (2015), 97-100; William B. Shea, Horizons 41:2 (2014), 409-11.
Sin: A Guide for the Perplexed (New York and London: Continuum, 2011). 176 pp.
Reviews: Joshua Farris, Scottish Journal of Theology 67 no. 2 (2014): 234-6; Mark Mattes, Lutheran Quarterly 26 no. 3 (2012): 357-8.
What’s Wrong with Sin: Sin in Individual and Social Perspective from Schleiermacher to Theologies of Liberation (New York and London: T&T Clark, 2009). 210 pp.
Reviews: Brent Hege, Interpretation 66 no. 3 (2012): 337-8; Margaret Pfeil,Theological Studies 71 no. 4 (2010): 969-70; Tim Perry, Theoforum 43 no. 1 (2012): 187-8; Marit Trelstad, Dialog 52 no. 1 (2013): 70-3; Mark Medley,Reviews in Religion and Theology 18 no. 4 (2011): 548-50; Ryan Cumming,Journal of Lutheran Ethics 11 no. 9 (2011).
2006 Ph.D., Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, CA, Systematic and Philosophical Theology
Readers: Ted Peters, David Kelsey, Rosemary Ruether and Richard Schenk, OP.
2002 M.Div., Yale University, New Haven, CT. Major Areas: Philosophy of Religion, History of Christianity and Systematic Theology.
1999 A.B., Wabash College, Crawfordsville, IN. Religion, summa cum laude.
First Lutheran Church, Warren PA
BULLETIN OF REPORTS
Open Board Positions
Crawford/ Mercer Cluster Synod Council Rep
3 Year Laity
Ronald Tomko- Elected
West Erie Cluster Synod Council Rep
3 Year Clergy
Rev. Allie Leitzel- Elected
Venango/Clarion Cluster Synod Council Rep
3 Year Clergy
Rev. Mike Parsh- Elected
Rev. Bill Cox
Bethesda Children's Home
Rev, Mark Fischer
Lutheran Home at Kane
Rev. Tom Periotti