The Global Network for Public Theology
The Global Network for Public Theology (GNPT) is an academic research partnership that promotes theological contributions on public issues, especially those issues affecting the poor, the marginalized and the environment in a glocal (global-local) context.
The GNPT brings together designated research centers and research programmes in nearly thirty Higher Education Institutions around the world. All pursue interdisciplinary research on theology and public issues. It was founded in 2007 by a group of research institutions that had already established links. The network aims to foster collaboration among these academic partners and to publicize their research work.
The GNPT does not seek to be a representative membership organization for all research institutions, scholars and practitioners in the wider field of public theology. Rather, it seeks to serve that field by promoting bilateral and other collaborative research projects, by holding a triennial consultation, sponsoring the International Journal of Public Theology and encouraging other research initiatives and networks in theology and public issues.
Mission and history
The Global Network was formally founded in Princeton in 2007, following a preparatory meeting in Edinburgh in 2005. We express our thanks to those whose earlier vision and leadership enabled the Network to come to birth: William Storrar, Director of the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, USA, who initiated the GNPT, Nico Koopman, its first Chairperson between 2007-2008 and James Haire, Chairperson from 2008-11.
The Global Network finds expression in the main through the activities of its constituent member centres, and seeks to foster collaborative work across and between institutions. It welcomes enquiries from suitably-qualified research centres in higher education institutions that are interested in pursuing an application for membership. Such applications are considered by the Executive and ratified at each Consultation.
The Global Network for Public Theology seeks to:
- foster bi-lateral and multi-lateral collaboration among its participating institutions, including exchange programs for scholars and doctoral students;
- publicize the work of participating institutions in public theology;
- undertake collaborative global research projects;
- support and develop the International Journal of Public Theology;
- encourage other initiatives and networks in public theology.
The GNPT is not an organization in its own right but a mechanism for facilitating bi-lateral and multi-lateral collaboration and joint global research projects among its partner academic institutions.
The GNPT is administered by one of the research centres in the Network, acting as its ‘Global Host’ for a three year period.
The partner institutions in the GNPT meet every three years to share their work, consider future collaboration and conduct the Network’s business meeting. The triennial meeting is hosted by the current global host at the following venues:
Global Host and Triennial Meeting:
2007 – 2008
Center of Theological Inquiry
on behalf of the GNPT
2008 – 2011
Public and Contextual Theology Strategic Research Centre, Charles Sturt University, Canberra and Sydney, Australia
2011 – 2014
Centre for the Study of Faiths and Public Policy, University of Chester, UK
2014 – 2017
Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology, University of Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch, South Africa
2017 – 2020
Dietrich Bonhoeffer Research Center for Public Theology, University of Bamberg, Bemberg, Germany
2020 – 2023
Postgraduate Programme in Theology, Pontifícia Universidade Católica do Paraná, Curitiba, Brazil
2023 – 2026
Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA, USA
The GNPT Chair and Executive Committee conduct the business of the Network between the triennial meetings, in collaboration with the Global Host institution.
Ex Officio Member
2007 – 2008 | Prof. Dr Nico Koopman, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
2008 – 2011 | Prof. Dr James Haire, Charles Sturt University, Australia
2011 – 2014 | Prof. Dr Elaine Graham, University of Chester, UK
2014 – 2017 | Prof. Dr Nico Koopman, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa (until 2015)
Prof. Dr. Dion Forster, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa (from 2015)
2017 – 2020 | Prof. Dr. Thomas Wabel, University of Bamberg, Germany
2007 – 2008 | Prof. Dr William Storrar, Center of Theological Inquiry, USA
Prof. Dr James Haire, Charles Sturt University, Australia
2008 – 2011 | Prof. Dr Clive Pearson, Charles Sturt University, Australia
Prof. Dr Elaine Graham, University of Chester, UK
2011 – 2014 |N.N.
Prof. Dr. Nico Koopman University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
2014 – 2017 | Prof. Dr. Dion Forster, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa (chair from 2015)
2017 – 2020 | Torben Stamer, University of Bamberg, Germany
Prof. Dr Rudolf von Sinner, Faculdades EST, São Leopoldo, Brazil
International Journal of Public Theology
The idea behind the International Journal of Public Theology came from its first editor, Professor Sebastian Kim. At time he was based at York St Johns University in York, England where he was assisted by members of staff there. The first edition was published by Brill in 2007.
The journal is affiliated with the Global Network for Public Theology. The journal has published submissions arising out of the triennial conferences of the Network held in Chester, Stellenbosch, and Bamberg. There have been a number of special editions: some have been country-bound, for instance, public theology in China, South Africa and Brazil. Others have been more theme-based—for example, NGOs, Charlie Hebdo, urban spaces, climate change. One forthcoming issue is dedicated to the work of Christian scholars (who are not theologians) in the field of international agencies of development, aid and peacemaking.
How the journal understands what constitutes a public theology has not remained static. The most shift has been to extend the definition of a public theology to include the Anthropocene: there is an increasing number of submissions to do with the well-being of animals.
All articles undergo rigorous peer review, based on initial editor screening and blind refereeing by two anonymous referees.
The GNPT’s logo is taken from an Indonesian batik cloth presented to us at our first consultation, by Robert Borrong, Jakarta Theological Seminary.
It covered the table on which the member institutions signed the founding protocol.
It symbolizes the Network’s blend of local contexts with global perspectives, and reminds us of the unity of our common endeavour.