Douglas, Mark 1966-

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Douglas, Mark 1966-

PERSONAL:

Born November 20, 1966. Education: Colorado College, B.A., 1989; Princeton Theological Seminary, M.Div., 1993, Th.M., 1994; University of Virginia, Ph.D., 2000.

ADDRESSES:

Office—Columbia Theological Seminary, P.O. Box 520, Decatur, GA 30031. E-mail—[email protected]

CAREER:

Writer, educator, pastor, and theologian. Columbia Theological Seminary, Decatur, GA, assistant professor, 1999-2005, associate professor of Christian ethics, 2005—. Virginia Commonwealth University, adjunct professor, 1997. Tabor Presbyterian Church, Crozet, VA, associate pastor, 1997-99.

MEMBER:

Society of Christian Ethics, Society of Biblical Literature, American Academy of Religion.

AWARDS, HONORS:

Society for Values in Higher Education Fellowship, 2000; Columbia Theological Seminary Faculty Enhancement Grant, 2002; Honors Columbia Theological Seminary Faculty Enhancement Grant, 2005; In Character Award for Excellence in Editorial and Opinion Writing; University of Virginia Academic Enhancement Fellowship; Princeton Theological Seminary Th.M. Fellowship; Lilly Fellowship, Princeton Theological Seminary.

WRITINGS:

Confessing Christ in the Twenty-first Century, Rowman & Littlefield Publishers (Lanham, MD), 2005.

Contributor to books, including The Leviathan's Choice: Capital Punishment in the Twenty-first Century, edited by William D. Richardson, J. Michael Martinez, and D. Brandon Hornsby, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2002; and Resistance and Theological Ethics, edited by Ron Stone and Robert Stivers, Rowman & Littlefield (Lanham, MD), 2004. Contributor to periodicals and journals, including the Journal of Business Ethics, Journal for Preachers, American Journal of Theology and Philosophy, Theological Education, Presbyterians Today, Religious Studies, and Theology Today. At This Point: Theological Investigations into Church and Culture, online journal of Columbia Theological Seminary, founding editor; author of weekly editorials for the Sunday Paper, Atlanta, GA, 2006-08.

SIDELIGHTS:

Writer, historian, and theologian Mark Douglas is an associate professor of Christian ethics at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. Douglas's professional and scholarly interests cover a wide range of topics in theology and ethics, including neo-orthodox theologies, medical and business ethics, the American philosophical tradition of pragmatism, and the role of religion in political philosophy, noted a biographer on the Columbia Theological Seminary Web site. He teaches classes in areas such as Protestant ethics, Roman Catholic moral thought, medical ethics, business ethics, philosophical ethics, science and religion, American religious history, political philosophy, and neo-orthodox theologies. He is a frequent presenter and speaker at conferences, symposia, and other academic meetings, and is also a prolific contributor to scholarly journals and related publications.

Douglas earned both an M.Div. and a Th.M. at Princeton Theological Seminary before going on to obtain a Ph.D. at the University of Virginia. He has served as pastor of Tabor Presbyterian Church, in Crozet, Virginia. Douglas is active on numerous committees for the larger Presbyterian Church in America, serving on the Task Force on End of Life Issues for the office of Theology and Worship and as a member of the Company of New Pastors, Office of Theology and Worship.

In Confessing Christ in the Twenty-first Century, Douglas "asks what it means for twenty-first century Christians living in a liberal democracy and a culture marked by ever-increasing religious diversity to confess Jesus as Lord," commented Stuart G. Baskin in Interpretation. Douglas considers the ramifications of such a confession for practicing Christians, and assesses the many ways it will "influence the way in which we think about theological themes and their application to our daily lives," noted Kenneth B.E. Roxburgh, writing in the Journal of Church and State. Douglas seeks to answer two questions, noted Presbyterian Outlook reviewer John Brearley. First, "What does it mean to confess Jesus as Lord in our time and place?," and second, "What are the political and ethical implications that follow from this confession?," Brearley reported. Douglas analyzes the theological meaning inherent in confessing that Jesus is Lord, and also assesses the Christian behaviors and characteristics that stem from acknowledging this religious conviction. "Douglas doesn't argue that Jesus is Lord. Rather, he simply assumes, or affirms, that this creed is central to the Christian church," Brearley observed.

Throughout the book, Douglas explores the meaning of Christian faith as it exists in the modern world, "neither gratuitously hostile toward, nor fawningly apologetic on behalf of, liberal democracy," Baskin reported. He provides guidance for those seeking inspiration and wisdom from the words of the Bible, and gives advice on the interpretation of Scripture. He directs his arguments and examples toward what he calls the "thinking church" and those "theologically mature" laypersons who are interested in what in means in their life and their religious practice if they confess Jesus as Lord. His work is accessible to a wide range of readers, from pastors and ministers preparing sermons, to Sunday school teachers and students looking for important points in their lessons, to spiritual seekers pondering their individual approach to Christianity. Douglas pays careful attention to the reality of living in a liberal democracy in America; he neither endorses nor downplays the concepts of liberal democracy, nor does he try to avoid the fact that Christians must spend their day-to-day lives within that type of political system. In the end, he finds liberal democracy to be a just system in which believers must learn how best to approach, conceptualize, and practice their religion.

"Years from now, people who take their Christian faith seriously will still be reading and reflecting upon this exceptional work," commented Brearley. "Mark Douglas has written a book that will surely stand the test of time," Brearley stated.

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Interpretation, October, 2006, Stuart G. Baskin, review of Confessing Christ in the Twenty-first Century, p. 483.

Journal of Church and State, summer, 2007, Kenneth B.E. Roxburgh, review of Confessing Christ in the Twenty-first Century, p. 584.

Presbyterian Outlook, June 26, 2006, John Brearley, review of Confessing Christ in the Twenty-first Century.

ONLINE

Columbia Theological Seminary Web site,http://www.ctsnet.edu/ (May 22, 2008), author biography.

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