About

Dr. J. Todd Billings is the Gordon H. Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology at Western Theological Seminary in Holland, MI. An ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America, he received his M.Div. from Fuller Seminary and his Th.D. from Harvard.

His first book, Calvin, Participation, and the Gift: The Activity of Believers in Union With Christ (Oxford, 2007) won a 2009 Templeton Award for Theological Promise, awarded internationally for the best first books of scholars in theology and religious studies.

He is also author of The Word of God for the People of God: An Entryway to the Theological Interpretation of Scripture (Eerdmans, 2010), winner of the 2011 Book Prize from the Center for Catholic-Evangelical Dialogue. His third book, Union with Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church (Baker Academic, 2011) won a Christianity Today Book Award in 2012.

He is also co-editor of Calvin’s Theology and Its Reception: Disputes, Developments, and New Possibilities (Westminster John Knox, 2012). His most recent book gives a theological reflection on providence and lament in light of his 2012 cancer diagnosis: Rejoicing in Lament: Wrestling with Incurable Cancer and Life in Christ (Brazos Press, 2015).

Dr. Billings has published articles in a variety of journals, including Modern Theology, Harvard Theological Review, Missiology, and International Journal of Systematic Theology, as well as periodicals such as Christianity Today, Leadership Journal and The Christian Century. He has lectured at seminaries and universities around the world, and has been awarded grants from the Association of Theological Schools and the Wabash Center for his research.

This website includes links to his online publications, as well as his c.v., bio, course descriptions and contact information. Most of the articles in popular periodicals are available online; some of the scholarly articles are available online as well, dependent upon copyright regulations.

Education

B.A. Wheaton College
M.Div. Fuller Theological Seminary
Th.D. Harvard University Divinity School

Curriculum Vitae

Bio

After growing up as a Baptist in McPherson, KS, I attended Wheaton College in Illinois for my B.A., entering as a Christian Education major and ending with majors in Philosophy and English. During my senior year, my love for Christian ministry was ignited during a six month immersion trip doing community development work in Uganda. This was further confirmed after teaching at a theological school in Ethiopia for a year after graduation. So I scrapped my plans for a Ph.D. in philosophy and went to seminary instead.

I attended Fuller Theological Seminary for my Master of Divinity degree. While I was appreciative of many of the professors at Fuller, two that had a particular impact were: Miroslav Volf and John L. Thompson. Volf was my first theological mentor and guide, and I worked as a Teaching Assistant for him at Fuller. Studying with John Thompson instilled in me a love for historical theology, the history of biblical exegesis, and Reformed theology.

After Fuller, I decided to continue on for a doctorate in theology. I attended Harvard Divinity School, working with a variety of professors there. My advisor for this time was Sarah Coakley, who was an excellent teacher and guide in historical as well as systematic theology. At Harvard, I grew in my appreciation of the depth and breadth of the historic Christian tradition, as well as in my engagement with contemporary theological movements, such as the theological interpretation of scripture. In Harvard’s diverse context, ecumenical aspects of my identity where accented, but I also found myself growing deeper into the Reformed tradition. While a doctoral student, I continued serving in various forms of ministry, including on staff for five years at First Church Homeless Shelter in Cambridge, MA.

Since 2005, I have been on the faculty at Western Theological Seminary, in Holland, MI. I am delighted to serve at Western, which is a sacramentally-minded school in the Reformed tradition. It draws its identity from the synergy of being evangelical, ecumenical, and Reformed.

Since coming to Western, I have served the Reformed Church in America in various capacities. In 2007, I became an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America. In 2009, my wife and I served as missionaries to Ethiopia with the Reformed church.

lr-06ToddspeakingIn 2012, my life changed when I was diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer, Multiple Myeloma. I received a stem cell transplant in 2013. After recovering from the transplant, I have returned to the job that I love at the seminary. While I continue to receive cancer treatment, I teach, research, and write as I hold an endowed chair position: the Gordon H. Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology.

I am married to Rachel M. Billings, who holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament from Harvard University. We are blessed with two lively children, and a

After growing up as a Baptist in McPherson, KS, I attended Wheaton College in Illinois for my B.A., entering as a Christian Education major and ending with majors in Philosophy and English. During my senior year, my love for Christian ministry was ignited during a six month immersion trip doing community development work in Uganda. This was further confirmed after teaching at a theological school in Ethiopia for a year after graduation. So I scrapped my plans for a Ph.D. in philosophy and went to seminary instead.

I attended Fuller Theological Seminary for my Master of Divinity degree, and Harvard Divinity School for my Th.D. In Harvard’s diverse context, ecumenical aspects of my identity where accented, but I also found myself growing deeper into the Reformed tradition. While a doctoral student, I continued serving in various forms of ministry, including on staff for five years at First Church Homeless Shelter in Cambridge, MA.

Since 2005, I have been on the faculty at Western Theological Seminary, in Holland, MI.

In 2007, I became an ordained minister in the Reformed Church in America. In 2009, my wife and I served as missionaries to Ethiopia with the Reformed church.

In 2012, my life changed when I was diagnosed with an incurable blood cancer, Multiple Myeloma. I received a stem cell transplant in 2013. After recovering from the transplant, I have returned to the job that I love at the seminary. While I continue to receive cancer treatment, I teach, research, and write as I hold an endowed chair position: the Gordon H. Girod Research Professor of Reformed Theology.

I am married to Rachel M. Billings, who holds a Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible/Old Testament from Harvard University. We are blessed with two lively children, and an excitable black lab.

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My Latest Book

 Teaching

TH114 Systematic Theology II
TH124 Credo
TH514 Theology of the Word
TH524 Theologies of Prayer: Petition, Contemplation, & the Triune God
TH568 Calvin: Theology & Reception
MN121 Church Governance and Denominational Standards