Research Profile: John Flett


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Research Interests

John Flett is associate professor of missiology and intercultural theology at Pilgrim Theological College, Melbourne, Australia, Privatdozent at the Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal/Bethal, and Stellvertretender Institutsleiter am Institut für Interkulturelle Theologie und Interreligiöse Studien, Wuppertal, Germany.

John specialises in constructive theologies of mission set in conversation with intercultural and ecumenical theologies. His publications have explored such ranging topics as the doctrine of the Trinity, apostolicity, Karl Barth, ecclesiology, ecumenical theologies of mission, intercultural hermeneutics, Lesslie Newbigin, migrant Christianity, and missional church. He has lived and taught in the USA, the United Kingdom, New Zealand, South Korea, Germany, the DRC, Romania, and Australia. His PhD from Princeton Theological Seminary examined the history and theology of missio Dei and was published as The Witness of God (Eerdmans, 2010).

His Habilitationschrift, undertaken at the Kirchliche Hochschule Wuppertal/Bethel, developed a critical account the church’s apostolicity and its continuity across cultures. This was published as Apostolicity: The Ecumenical Question in World Christian Perspective (IVP Academic, 2016).
His current book length project deals with how the German church understood the relationship between the Christian gospel and culture during the twentieth century.

He is a minister of the Word in the Uniting Church in Australia, is married to Priscilla and has two daughters, Trinity and Mila.

Research Supervision

John welcomes research proposals dealing with all aspects of mission, intercultural, and ecumenical theology, including contemporary themes such as intercultural hermeneutics, mission and the arts, the cross-cultural transmission and appropriation of the Christian gospel, missional church/Fresh Expressions, and historical themes dealing with the problem of colonialisation and cultural replication, and the development of mission theology within Germany and within the ecumenical movement (International Missionary Council, the World Council of Churches, and Lausanne).

Recent Publications

Apostolicity: The Ecumenical Question in World Christian Perspective. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2016.

“Contextualisation and Human Rights Law: A Future Area of Contest?,” in Living in the Family of Jesus: Critical Contextualization in the Melanesia and Beyond, edited by William Kenny Longgar, and Tim Meadowcroft, 371–94. Auckland: Archer Press, 2016.

“Versammlung, Auferbauung und Sendung der christlichen Gemeinde: Die Ekklesiologie in Karl Barths Versöhnungslehre,” in Karl Barth als Lehrer der Versöhnung (1950–1968): Vertiefung – Öffnung – Hoffnung, edited by Michael Trowitzsch, Michael Beintker, and Georg Plasger, 117–37. Zürich: TVZ, 2016.

“What Does It Mean for a Congregation to Be a Hermeneutic?,” in The Gospel and Pluralism Today: Reassessing Lesslie Newbigin in the 21st Century, edited by Scott W. Sunquist, and Amos Yong, 195–214. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2015.

“Justification contra Mission: The Isolation of Justification in the History of Reconciliation.” Zeitschrift für Dialektische Theologie Supplement Series 6 (2014): 58–80.

“A Theology of Missio Dei.” Theology in Scotland 21, no. 1 (2014): 69–78.

“Bishof J. E. Lesslie Newbigin (1909-1998) und die missionarische Herausforderung konfessioneller ‘Identität’,” in Reformierte Theologie weltweit: Zwölf Profile aus dem 20. Jahrhundert, edited by Matthias Hofheinz Zeindler, Marco, 150–69. Zürich: TVZ, 2013.

“Failure in Intercultural Hermeneutics: A Case Study,” in Theologie in Freiheit und Verbindlichkeit: Profile der Kirchlichen Hochschule Wuppertal / Bethel, edited by Henning Wrogemann, 225–42. Neukirchen-Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 2012.

“‘Who is Jesus Christ?’: The Necessary Missionary Form of the Confession of the Trinity,” in Theology in Missionary Perspective: Lesslie Newbigin’s Legacy, edited by Mark T. B. Laing, and Paul Weston, Oregon, WA: Pickwick Publications, 2012.

“‘Jesus Christ is…the Gentiles are Fellow Heirs of the Promise’ (Eph. 3:1-6): Toward a Christological Rationale for a Living History of Cross-Cultural Community,” in Glauben leben – vielfältig, international, interkulturell Migrationsgemeinden und deutsche Gemeinden auf dem Weg, 11–22. Hannover: Herausgeber: Haus kirchlicher Dienste der Evangelisch-lutherischen Landeskirche Hannovers, 2012.

“The Resurrection from the Dead as the Declaration of God’s Eternal Being and the Christian Community’s Eschatological Reality.” Princeton Seminary Bulletin 31 (2011): 7–26.

The Witness of God: The Trinity, Missio Dei, Karl Barth and the Nature of Christian Community. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010.

For a current CV and complete list of publications download the .pdf here.