Robert J. Priest
Robert J. Priest, Ph.D.
Professor of Anthropology
1993 Ph.D in Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley
1983 M.A. (Social Sciences), University of Chicago
1982 M.Div, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
1979 B.A. Biblical Studies, Columbia International University
1993 Defilement, Moral Purity, and Transgressive Power: The Symbolism of Filth in Aguaruna-Jívaro Culture.
PhD Dissertation, University of California, Berkeley.
1984 Functionalist Anthropology and the Criticism of Missionaries. MA Thesis. The University of Chicago.
2017 Professor of Anthropology, Taylor University
2012-2017 G.W. Aldeen Prof. of International Studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
2006-2017 Professor of Mission & Anthropology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
2001-2011 Director, PhD Progr in Intercultural Studies, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
1999-2006 Assoc Prof. of Mission & Anthropology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
1995-1999 Associate Prof. of Intercultural Studies, Columbia Biblical Seminary & School of Mission
1990-1995 Assistant Prof. of Intercultural Studies, Columbia Biblical Seminary & School of Mission
1984-1985 Teaching Fellow, NT & Anthropology, Columbia International University
1982-1983 Youth Director & Assistant to the Pastor, Westminster Presb. Church, Bluefield, W. Virginia (PCUSA Church)
2017 Africa Christian Leadership: Realities, Opportunities, and Impact, co-edited with Kirimi Barine: Maryknoll, NY: Orbis.
2014 The Missionary Family: Witness, Concerns, Care, co-edited with Dwight Baker. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library.
2009 Misiones de corto plazo en América Latina: Reflexiones y perspectivas, co-edited with Tito Paredes. Lima, Peru: Centro Evangélico de Misiología Andino-Amazónica (CEMAA).
2008 Effective Engagement in Short-Term Missions: Doing It Right! Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library.
2007 This Side of Heaven: Race, Ethnicity, and Christian Faith, co-edited with Alvaro Nieves. New York: Oxford University Press.
Guest editor of Theme Issues of Journals
2016 Special Theme Issue (“Wheaton and the Controversy Over Whether Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God“) of the journal Occasional Bulletin of the Evangelical Missiological Society
2013 Special Theme Issue on the “Anthropology and Sociology of Short-Term Missions” of the journal Missiology: An International Review 41(2), Guest edited with Brian Howell.
2012 Special Theme Issue “Preaching and Culture” of the Trinity Journal 33 NS (2), guest edited with Greg Scharf.
2009 Special Theme Issue “Dr. Paul Hiebert in Memorium” of the Trinity Journal 30 NS (2). Guest edited with Dr.Craig Ott.
2007 Special Theme Issue “Short-Term Missions in Latin America” of the Journal of Latin American Theology: Reflections from the Global South 2 (2).
2006 Special Theme Issue “Short-Term Missions,” of the journal Missiology: An International Review 34 (4).
2018 “Same-Sex Sexuality, Marriage, and the Seminary Professor: Catholic, Evangelical, and Mainline Protestant.” Interdisciplinary Journal of Research on Religion 14, Article 8: 1-45.
2016 “Wheaton and the Controversy Over Whether Muslims and Christians Worship the Same God.” Occasional Bulletin of the Evangelical Missiological Society (special theme issue), pp 1-3, 31.
2015 Putting witch accusations on the missiological agenda: A case from Northern Peru. International Bulletin of Missionary Research 39: 3–6.
2015 The value of anthropology for missiological engagements with context: The case of witch accusations.
Missiology 43: 27-42.
2014 (co-authored with Esther E. Cordill). “Response to Evinger and Darr’s ‘Determining the Truth of Abuse in Mission Communities,’” Christian Scholar’s Review 43: [forthcoming]
2013 (co-authored with Robert DeGeorge) “Doctoral Dissertations on Mission: Ten-Year Update, 2002-2011.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 37(4): 195-202.
2012 “Building a Bridge to Somewhere.” Trinity Journal 33 NS (2): 175-179.
2012 (co-authored with Greg Scharf) “From the Guest Editors,” Theme Issue on Preaching and Culture, Trinity Journal 33 NS (2): 171-174.
2012 (co-authored with Esther E. Cordill) “Christian Communities and ‘Recovered Memories’ of Abuse,” Christian Scholar’s Review 41: 381-400.
2010 “U.S. Megachurches and New Patterns of Global Mission,” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 34(2): 97-104.
2009 “Paul G. Hiebert: A Life Remembered,” Trinity Journal 30 NS (2): 171-175.
2009 (co-authored with Eunhye Chang, J. Rupert Morgan, and Timothy Nyasulu) “Paul G. Hiebert and Critical Contextualization,” Trinity Journal 30 NS (2): 199-207
2009 (co-authored with Andrew Anane-Asane, Timothy Eckert, and Jason Tan) “Paul G. Hiebert’s ‘The Flaw of the Excluded Middle,’” Trinity Journal 30 NS (2): 189-197.
2009 (co-authored with Michael Yoder, Michael Lee, and Jonathan Ro) “Understanding Christian Identity in Terms of Bounded and Centered Set Theory in the Writings of Paul G. Hiebert,” Trinity Journal 30 NS (2): 177-188.
2009 “Witches and the problem of evil,” Books and Culture 15(6): 30-32. 2008 “Service Learning and Short-Term Missions,” Missiology 35 (1): 53-73.
2007 “Introduction: Short-Term Missions and the Latin American Church,” Special Issue on Short-Term Missions in Latin America. Journal of Latin American Theology: Reflections from the Global South 2 (2): 7-20.
2007 “Peruvian Churches Acquire Linking Social Capital Through Short-Term Mission Partnerships.” Special Issue on Short-Term Missions in Latin America. Journal of Latin American Theology: Reflections from the Global South 2 (2): 175-189.
2006 “Introduction to theme issue on short-term missions.” Missiology 34 (4): 427-429.
2006 “Researching the short-term mission movement” (co-authored with Terry Dischinger, Steve Rasmussen, C.M. Brown). Missiology 34 (4): 431-450.
2003 “Etiology of Adult Missionary Kid (AMK) Life-Struggles.” Missiology 31:171-192.
2001 “Missionary Positions: Christian, Modernist, Postmodernist.” Current Anthropology 42:29-68. [Includes 14 published responses to my article, and my own response to those.]
1994 “Missionary Elenctics: Culture and Conscience,” Missiology 22:291-315.
(Translated into Korean and reprinted in 1995 in the journal: Current Mission Trends 7:31-67. Korea Research Institute for Missions.)
1987 “Anthropologists and missionaries: Moral roots of conflict.” Journal of Christian Reconstruction 11(2): 216245.
Chapters in Edited Books
Forthcoming. “Short-Term Missions and the Reconfiguring of North American Global Missions Involvement.” IN Saving the World? The Changing Terrain of American Protestant Missions. Edited by Larry Eskridge. Birmingham, AL: University of Alabama Press.
Forthcoming. “Anthropology, Missiology, and the Witch.” In (Title of edited festschrift not yet determined). This book is being edited by Chris Flanders, and to be published by Wipf and Stock. It is behind schedule but moving forward.
2018. “Bible Translation, Theology, and the Witch.” IN Majority World Theologies: Self-Theologizing from Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Ends of the Earth, Edited by Allen Yeh and Tite Tienou, Pasadena, CA: William Cary Library (EMS Series).
2017. “Introduction,” IN Africa Christian Leadership Study: Realities, Opportunities, and Impact, Edited by Robert Priest and Kirimi Barine, Maryknoll, NY: Orbis.
2017. “Reading and Leading: Challenges for African Christian Leaders,” IN Africa Christian Leadership Study: Realities, Opportunities, and Impact, Edited by Robert Priest and Kirimi Barine. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis.
2016. “Controversy on Paul’s First Missionary Journey: Lessons for Today.” IN Controversies in Mission: Theology, People, and Practice of Mission in 21st Century, edited by Rochelle Sheuermann and Edward Smither, Pasadenca, CA: William Cary Press, pp.3-22.
2015 (Co-authored with Ron Barber). “Culture and the Missional Engagement with Good and Evil: What We Learned About Contextualization from J. Robertson McQuilkin.” In Transformed from Glory to Glory: Celebrating the Legacy of J. Robertson McQuilkin, edited by Christopher Little, CLC Publications, pp. 183-200.
2015 “Introduction: Christian Mission and Economic Realities.” IN Christian Mission and Economic Systems: A Critical Survey of the Cultural and Religious Dimensions of Economics. Edited by John Cheong and Eloise Meneses. Pasadena, CA: William Cary Press, 8-13.
2013 “Researching Contextualization in Churches Influenced by Missionaries.” IN Communities of Faith in Africa and the African Diaspora: In Honor of Dr. Tite Tiénou With Additional Essays on World Christianity. Edited by Casely B. Essamuah and David K. Ngaruiya. Eugene Oregon: Pickwick Publications, 299-318.
2011 “‘Who Am I?’ Theology and Identity for Children of the Dragon,” In After Imperialism: Christian Identity and the Global Evangelical Movement, edited by Richard R. Cook and David W. Pao. Eugene OR: Pickwick Publications, 175-192.
2011 “A New Era of Mission is Upon Us,” In Advancing the Gospel of the Kingdom: Echoes from Edinburgh 1910 through Tokyo 2010, edited by Beth Snodderly. Oxford: Oxford Center for Mission Studies, 294-304.
2010 “Short-Term Missions as a New Paradigm,” In Mission After Christendom: Emergent Themes in Contemporary Mission, edited by Ogbu Kalu, Peter Vethanayagamony, and Edmund Kee-Fook Chia. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 84-99.
2009 “Afterword: Concluding Missiological Reflection,” In Power and Identity in the Global Church: Six Contemporary Cases, edited by Brian Howell and Edwin Zehner. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Press, 185- 192.
2009 “Introducción: Misiones de corto plazo y la iglesia en América Latina,” In Misiones de corto plazo en América Latina: Reflexiones y perspectivas, edited by Robert Priest and Tito Paredes. Lima, Peru: Centro Evangélico de Misiología Andino-Amazónica (CEMAA), 11-22.
2008 “Anthropology and Missiology: Reflections on the Relationship,” In Paradigm Shifts in Christian Witness: Insights from Anthropology, Communication, and Spiritual Power, edited by Charles Van Engen, Darrell Whiteman, and J. Dudley Woodberrry. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 23-32.
2008 “Introduction.” In Effective Engagement in Short-term Missins: Doing it Right! Pasadena, CA: William Carey. 2007 “Worship in the Amazon: The Case of the Aguaruna Evangelical Church,” Christian Worship Worldwide:
Expanding Horizons, Deepening Practices, edited by Charles Farhadian, William B. Eerdmans, 131-155.
2007 “Sharing the Gospel in a Racially Segregated Society: The Case of Columbia Bible College, 1923-1963,” in This Side of Heaven: Race, Ethnicity, and Christian Faith, edited by Robert Priest and Alvaro Nieves, Oxford University Press, 127-143.
2007 (co-authored with Kersten Priest) “Divergent Worship Practices in the Sunday Morning Hour: Analysis of an ‘Interracial’ Church Merger Attempt,” in This Side of Heaven: Race, Ethnicity, and Christian Faith, edited by Robert Priest and Alvaro Nieves, Oxford University Press, pp. 275-291.
2007 “Introduction,” in This Side of Heaven: Race, Ethnicity, and Christian Faith, edited by Robert Priest and Alvaro Nieves, Oxford University Press, 3-15.
2007 “Conclusion,” in This Side of Heaven: Race, Ethnicity, and Christian Faith, edited by Robert Priest and Alvaro Nieves, Oxford University Press, 323-333.
2006 “Experience-Near Theologizing” in Diverse Human Contexts, in Globalizing Theology: Christian Belief and
Practice in an Era of World Christianity, in honor of Dr. Paul G. Hiebert. Edited by Harold Netland and Craig Ott, Baker, 180-195.
2003 “‘I Discovered My Sin’: Aguaruna Evangelical Conversion Narratives,” in The Anthropology of Conversion
(edited by Andrew Buckser and Stephen Glazier), Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc.
2000 “Christian Theology, Sin, and Cultural Anthropology,” in Anthropology and Theology: God, Icons, and God- Talk (edited by Walter R. Adams and Frank A. Salamone). New York: Univ Press of America, pp. 59-75.
1997 “Christian Theology, Sin, and Cultural Anthropology,” in Explorations in Anthropology and Theology (ed. By Frank A. Salamone and Walter Randolph Adams). New York: University Press of America, pp. 23-37.
1997 “Cultural factors in victorious living,” in Free and fulfilled: Victorious Christian living in the twenty-first century,edited by Robertson McQuilkin. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson Publishers.
1997 “El sincretismo misionológico: El Nuevo paradigma animista.” In Poder y misión: Debate sobre la guerra espiritual en América Latina, Robert Priest et. al., San José, Costa Rica: IINDEF.
1997 “Spiritual Warfare, Epistemology, and the Missiological Community,” in The Holy Spirit and Mission Dynamics. (Ed. by C. Douglas McConnell) Evangelical Missiological Society Series Number 5. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, pp. 136-146.
1995 “Missiological Syncretism: The New Animistic Paradigm,” in Spiritual Power and Missions: Raising the Issues. (ed. by Edward Rommen) pp. 9-87. Evangelical Missiological Society Series Number 3. Pasadena: William Carey Library. [Co-author with Thomas Campbell and Bradford A Mullen]
1993 “Cultural Anthropology, Sin, and the Missionary,” in God and Culture (ed. by D.A. Carson and J. D. Woodbridge) Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, pp. 85-105.
1987 “Anthropologists and Missionaries: Moral Roots of Conflict,” in Current Concerns of Anthropologists and Missionaries (ed. by Karl Franklin) Dallas: The International Museum of Cultures.
2014 Commentary on Meneses, Eloise, Lindy Backues, David Bronkema, Eric Flett, and Benjamin L. Hartley “Engaging the Religiously Committed Other: Anthropologists and Theologians in Dialogue,” Current Anthropology 55 (1): 97-98.
2012 Should churches abandon travel-intensive short-term missions in favor of local projects? Both Have Purpose. Christianity Today 56 (6):61.
2008 Obituary: William Merrifield. Anthropology News 49 (6): 51.
2007 Paul Hiebert: A Life Remembered. Books and Culture 13 (5): 9.
2007 Short-Term Missions: What Can Peru Teach Us? Trinity Magazine (Spring): 24-27.
2005 Are Short-Term Missions Good Stewardship? A Conversation Between Robert Priest and Kurt Ver Beek.
Christianity Today.Com, Week of July 4, Day One.
2005 Do Short-Term Missions Change Anyone?: A Conversation Between Robert Priest and Kurt Ver Beek.
Christianity Today.Com, Week of July 4, Day Two. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/127/32.0.html
2005 Mission Trips or Exotic Youth Outings? A Conversation Between Robert Priest and Kurt Ver Beek.
Christianity Today.Com, Week of July 4, Day Three. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/127/43.0.html
2005 Who Gets ‘Socially Rich’ from Short-Term Missions? A Conversation Between Robert Priest and Kurt Ver Beek. Christianity Today.Com, Week of July 4, Day Four. http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2005/127/52.0.html
2002 with Tite Tienou, “Working with faculty: Preparing the Ground.” ATS Workshop on Diversity Casebook, 16 – 19.
2000 “What’s in a name change?: The Pauline Paradigm. Trinity World Forum (Winter):1-6.
2000 Entries on “Animism,” “Death,” “Guilt,” “Shame,” “Sin,” in The Evangelical Dictionary of World Mission. (Ed. by A. Scott Moreau). Grand Rapids: Baker.
1997 “Reply to Dan Fast’s review of Defilement, Moral Purity, and Transgressive Power: the Symbolism of Filth in Aguaruna Jivaro Culture.” Notes on Anthropology and Intercultural Community Work 27 (Sept): 41-42.
1996 “Segregationist Culture and Evangelical Religion: The Case of Columbia Bible College.” Center on Religion in the South Newsletter 11:1-6.
1994 “Tell me about a time you were bad,” Columbia International University Quarterly (Winter), pp. 4-6.
2010 “Boundless Faith: The Global Outreach of American Churches by Robert Wuthnow. Berkeley: University of California Press.” Missiology 38 (2): 223-225.
2004 “Military Brats and Other Global Nomads: Growing up in Organization Families, edited by Morten G. Ender.
Westport, CT: Praeger Publishers (2002).” Missiology 32: 516.
2003 “Acculturation: Advances in Theory, Measurement, and Applied Research, edited by Kevin M. Chun, Pamela Balis Organista, and Gerardo Marín. Washington, DC: American Psychological Association (2003).” Missiology 31:497.
2000 “Discipling Nations: The Power of Truth to Transform Cultures, by Darrow L. Miller. Seattle, WA: YWAM Publishing.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 24:92.
1999 “The Twilight Labyrinth: Why Does Spiritual Darkness Linger Where it Does? by George Otis, Jr. Grand Rapids: Baker Books.” Faith and Mission 16:149-151.
1998 “Anthropology for Christian Witness, by Charles Kraft. Maryknoll, N.Y: Orbis Books.” International Bulletin of Missionary Research 22: 35-36.
1996 “Conversion to Christianity: Historical and Anthropological Reflections on a Great Transformation. Ed. by Robert W. Hefner. Berkeley: University of California Press.” Missiology 24:410-411.
1995 “Anthropological Reflections on Missiological Issues by Paul Hiebert. Grand Rapids: Baker.” Evangelical Missions Quarterly 31(3):366-367.
2016 “Sex and the Seminary,” Regional meeting of the Evangelical Missiological Society, Deerfield, IL, Mar 19.
2015 “Why Same-Sex Social Realities Ought to Be a Central Missiological Focus,” Regional Meetings of the EMS, Deerfield, IL, April 25.
2015 Swallen Mission Lectures. “Short-Term Mission” Department of World Missions, Andrews University, Barrien Springs, Michigan, Feb 19-21.
2014 “Examining the Authors Being Read by African Christians,” Presentation made at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Indianapolis, Indiana, November 1.
2014 Chapel Speaker and Faculty Workshop Speaker on “Doing Theology in a Globalized World.” Moody Bible Institute, Spokane Washington, October 15.
2014 Invited Speaker for the Windows on the World Series, “Towards Integrating Anthropology and Christian Faith: My Story.” Eastern University, October 8.
2014 Faculty Workshop Invited Speaker on “Multiculturalism and Ethnicity.” Moody Bible Institute, Chicago, August 19.
2014 Presidential Address of the American Society of Missiology: “The value of anthropology for missiological engagements with context: The case of witch accusations,” American Society of Missiology, June 21. 2014.
2014 Presentation on “Theological and Pastoral Engagements with Witchcraft and Witch Accusations,” Faculty of Theology, Stellenbosch University, January 28, Stellenbosch, South Africa.
2013 “NVivo and the Analysis of Sermons in a Seminary Context,” at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, November 10, Boston, MA.
2013 “Understanding and Enhancing the Strategic Role of Global Social Connections Established Through Short- Term Missions,” at MissioNexus, September 20, Dallas, Texas.
2010 Presentation on “Exploring the Value of Visiting Mission Teams to Local Church Leaders,” at session I organized on Short-Term Missions: Religious Circulations in Two Weeks or Less, at the American Anthropological Association, November 17, New Orleans, Louisiana
2010 Presentation on “Exploring Host-Community Connections with Visiting Short-Term Mission Teams,” at session on Religious Global Engagement and Short-Term Travel, at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, October 30, Baltimore, Maryland.
2010 Invited Presentation on “People Groups: The Anthropological Dimension,” at conference on Re-Assessing the Frontiers: Ethnicity, Globalization and the Kingdom of God, International Society for Frontier Missiology, September 22, Charlotte, North Carolina.
2010 Invited Presentation on “Images of Jesus in a Racial World,” at conference entitled: Mosaic: Engaging the Beauty of Kingdom Diversity, and co-sponsored by CrossGlobal Link, The Mission Exchange, and the EMS, September 24, Charlotte, North Carolina
2010 Invited Presentation on “Stimulating Advocacy in the Contemporary Church: Where We Have Been and Hope to Go,” at conference sponsored by Bread for the World, entitled: Government, Foreign Assistance, and God’s Mission in the World, May 18, Wheaton College, Illinois.
2010 Plenary Address, “Short-Term Missions and the Reconfiguring of North American Global Mission Involvement,” at conference titled: A New Century of Change in American Protestant Missions,” May 21, Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, CA.
2010 Presentation on “Missiology and the Witch.” American Society of Missiology, June 19, Techny Towers, Illinois.
2009 Plenary Speaker on Short-Term Missions for the Annual Conference of the Association of Presbyterian Mission Professors, Oct 20, Cincinnati Ohio.
2009 Presentation: “Contours of Short-Term Missions Today,” in session titled: “Light in the New Land?: Gender, Culture, and Activism in Short-Term Religious Travel,” at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion.
Denver, Oct 25.
2009 Invited Presentation: “Frontier Missions and the Short-Term Missions Movement: How to Bring the Two Together Constructively.” International Society for Frontier Missiology, Sept 16, Orlando, FL
2009 Presentation: “The Ethics of Accusing Missionaries of Abuse Based on Recovered Memories.” The Evangelical Missiological Society, Sept 18, Orlando, FL
2009 Presentation: “Megachurches and short-term missions: New Priorities and Paradigms of Mission.” At International Conference: Being There: Short-Term Missions and Human Need, July 30-Aug 1, TEDS.
2009 Lectureship on Short-Term Missions, Seoul, South Korea (May)
2009 Presentation on “The Life of Paul Hiebert,” at the North Central Region of the Evangelical Missiological Society, March 28, TEDS
2009 Presentation on “Witchcraft and the Problem of Evil,” at the North Central Region of the Evangelical Missiological Society, March 28, TEDS
2009 Presentation on “Witchcraft and the Challenge of Contextual Theology,” at the Ethnography and Theology Consultation, Emory University, March 4-6.
2008 Invited Presentation in the social science track: “Secular and Faith-Community Pressures on the Christian Social Scientist.” Conference: Following Christ: Intervarsity’s Conference for Graduate Students, Faculty, and Professionals, Dec 27-30.
2008 Invited Plenary Address: “Megachurches and Mission,” at the Mission Leadership Forum, OMSC, New Haven, CT, April 25.
2008 Ivan Fahs Memorial Symposium Lecture: “Short-Term Missions: A Social Science Perspective.” Wheaton College, October 9.
2008 Anthropology Chapel Speaker, Wheaton College, “Zeal and Knowledge: Theology and the Human Sciences,” Oct 10.
2004 Presentation, “A Missiological Anthropologist Responds to John Millbank,” at the Association of Professors of Mission. Techny Towers, IL. June 18.
2004 Presentation on “Variables in Mission Churches Which are Predictive of Syncretism,” at the North Central Regional Meetings of the Evangelical Missiological Society: Syncretism vs. Contextualization. Deerfield, IL. March 27.
2004 As a regional Vice-President of the Evangelical Missiological Society I planned and coordinated the North Central Regional Meetings of the EMS: Syncretism vs. Contextualization. Deerfield, IL. March 27. (90 registered participants).
2003 Presentation on “Worship in the Amazon: The Case of the Aguaruna Evangelical Church,” at a Conference, “Christianity, Culture, and Worship Worldwide,” hosted by the Calvin Seminars in Christian Scholarship, Grand Rapids, MI: November 1.
2003 Presentation on “Jesus in a Racial World” at the Evangelical Missiological Society Meetings (Sept 26, Orlando Florida.)
2003 Planned & led a faculty retreat at Wheaton College for the department of Christian Formation and Ministry, focusing on “Race, Ethnicity and Christian Formation.”
2003 As a regional Vice-President of the Evangelical Missiological Society I planned and coordinated the North Central Regional Meetings of the EMS: Money Matters in Mission, Deerfield, IL, March 22. (50 registered participants.)
2002 Planned & led the faculty retreat at TEDS focusing on “Race and Ethnicity and Theological Education.” 2002- One of 15 invited participants in a two-year consultation convened by Clark Gilpin, Katarina Schuth, and
Raymond Williams: Wabash Center Consultation on Vocation: A Career in Theological Scholarship.
2002 “‘The Missionary Position’: Missionaries as Symbols in Anthropological Discourse.” Presented at a Missions Research Colloquia of the Overseas Ministries Study Center, New Haven, CT (October 11).
2002 with Tite Tienou, invited brief presentation at the ATS Workshop on Diversity, March 1-3, Pittsburgh. 2001 “Divergent Worship Practices in the Sunday Morning Hour: Analysis of an “Interracial” Church Merger
Attempt.” This paper (written with Kersten Priest) was the focus of a 2 ½-hour discussion for the “Chicago
Area Group for the Study of Religious Communities,” at Loyola University, Nov 3.
2001 “Analysis of an Interracial Church Merger,” paper presented at the Evangelical Missiological Society, at Winona Lake, Indiana, March 23.
2000 “Victor Turner among the Aguaruna,” paper presented at conference on Christian Perspectives on Anthropological Theory. Biola University, La Mirada, CA, April 7.
2000 “The Place of Evil in Aguaruna Evangelical Conversion Narratives,” paper presented at an invited session on “The Anthropology of Conversion” at the 99th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, San Francisco, November 16.
1998 “The ‘Missionary Position’ in American Popular Culture: Reality, Symbol, and Myth,” paper presented at
The Popular Culture Association in the South and The American Culture Association in the South, Augusta, Georgia, October 8.
1998 “Missionary Positions: Christian, Modernist, Postmodern,” paper presented at the 97th Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Philadelphia, December 2.
1997 “Postmodernism and Morality,” the Founders Lectures presented before the faculty and students of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, May 12-13.
1996 “Segregationist Culture and Evangelical Religion: The Case of Columbia Bible College,” paper presented at the South Carolina Academy of Religion, Columbia, February 17.
1994 “Missiological Syncretism: The New Animistic Paradigm,” paper presented at a plenary session of the Evangelical Missiological Society, Chicago, November 18.
1994 “Christian Theology, Sin, and Cultural Anthropology,” paper presented at the 93rd Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Atlanta, December 2.
1992 Organized and Chaired a panel discussion, “Anthropological Contributions to Mission in the 1990’s,” at the Evangelical Missiological Society, San Francisco, Nov 19.
2010 Executive Producer of educational film: Short-Term Missions: Case Studies From Peru, with funding from the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion, and from The Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding. On October 29 the film was reviewed by three scholars in a session entitled Film Makers Meet Critics, at the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Baltimore, Maryland.
I have helped secure funding and organized an on-line inititative to involve African theologies in discussion of witchcraft and witch accusations:
I have written a fair number of blog postings both on witchcraft and on other matters of public interest at the website of the Henry Center: See http://henrycenter.tiu.edu/author/robert-priest/?author_archive=true
Honors and Awards:
2014-2017 President of the Evangelical Missiological Society
2013-2014 President of the American Society of Missiology
2004 Participant in a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar “The Seven Deadly Sins as Cultural Constructions in the Middle Ages,” at Darwin College, Cambridge University, July 12 – August 13.
2002 Recipient of the annual “Understanding Award” in Urban Intercultural Mission, by the Evangelical Free Church of America.
1984 The Earl and Esther Johnson Prize ($1,000), awarded by the University of Chicago for M.A. thesis:
Functionalist Anthropology and the Criticism of Missionaries.
Professional Memberships and Service
American Anthropological Association
American Society of Missiology – President (2013-2014), Board Member since 2009 Association of Professors of Mission
Evangelical Missiological Society – Regional VP and Board Member, 2002 – 2011. President from 2014.
Have Served as External Reviewer of Manuscripts for
Cornell University Press
Culture and Religion
Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion
Journal of Latin American Theology Missiology: An International Review
Religion and Society
Grants Received and Administered:
2018 $13,300 Faculty-Student Summer Research (FMUS): The History and Legacy of a Black Abolitionist Settlement in Grant County.
2017-18 $3,000 Taylor University Women Circle Grant: Co-Curricular Anthropological Underpinnings for Student Global Engagement.
2009-16 I supervised a team of African researchers for a major Africa Leadership Study, with generous funding from the Tyndale House Foundation. We surveyed 8,041 African Christians in three countries (Angola, Central African Republic, and Kenya) using four languages (Portuguese, French, Swahili, English) and carried out extensive follow up interviews with dozens of Christian leaders. The results are presented in a 2017 book manuscript that I co-edited: 2017 Africa Christian Leadership: Realities, Opportunities, and Impact, Orbis, and information is posted on a website featuring results of the project.
2015 $2,500 (with David Luy) Grant from the Wabash Center for a Faculty Colloquy on Teaching for Pastoral Education about Same-Sex Desires, Behaviors, Identities, and Relationships.
2015 $50,000 Follow-up Grant from the Carl F.H. Henry Center for a Blog, an International Conference, and Publication on the subject of Christianity and Witchcraft Accusations.
2014 $10,000 Grant from Tyndale House Foundation for a Witch Accusation Blog Project.
2012 $50,000 Grant from the Carl F.H. Henry Center for a Workshop, International Conference, and Publication on the subject of Christianity and Witchcraft Accusations.
2009 $12,000 Association of Theological Schools Lilly Theological Research Grant for the project: Being There: Short-Term Missions and Human Need.
2009 $12,000 Grant from the Institute for the Study of American Evangelicals for the project: Short-Term Missions and the Reconfiguring of North American Global Involvement.
2007 $40,000 Funding for Survey Research on Short-term Missions and for publishing on the subject [Foundation wishes to remain unnamed] See my 2010 article and 2010 book chapter listed above, as well as 2009 edited book publication for partial results.]
2006 $70,000 Grant from Carl F.H. Henry Center for “Workshop, International Conference, and Publications on the Topic of Short-Term Missions.”
2006 $40,000 Grant from Walter Hansen for Lima Conference: Partnership Through Short-Term Mission. The results of this conference are now published in the 2007 Special Issue on Short-Term Missions in Latin America. Journal of Latin American Theology: Reflections from the Global South 2 (2).
2005 $5,000 ATS-Lilly Theological Research Expense Grant for summer research project: Peruvian Experiences with, and Perceptions of, Short-Term Mission Groups from the USA.
2004 $70,000 Grant from the Wabash Center for a three-year project: Preparing PhD Students for Careers as Teachers Through Collaborative Experiments with Pedagogies of Intercultural Service Learning.
2003 $30,000 Grant from the Frederick and Margaret L. Weyerhaeuser Foundation for a Publication to Prepare Christian Students to Engage a Racially and Ethnically Divided World. This has now resulted in the 2007 publication, This Side of Heaven: Race, Ethnicity, and Christian Faith, co-edited with Alvaro Nieves. New York: Oxford University Press.
2002 $2,500 Wabash Center Grant for Research Expenses on a project, The Vocation of Theological Educators.
2002 $5,000 ATS-Lilly Summer Research Expense Grant for continued work on a project, Missionary Positions: Christian, Modernist, Postmodernist.
2001 $50,000 A multistage project entitled: Teaching “Race and Ethnic Relations” in Theological Education. Funding by the Wabash Center ($20,000), the Evangelical Free Church of America ($20,000), and Trinity International University ($10,000).
2001 $15,000 Wheaton College Grant to convene a group of scholars to write a text on ethnicity and race. The project title: Christian Discourses, Practices, and Communities in Engagement with Ethnic and “Racial” Ideologies, Boundaries, Hierarchies, and Identities.
2000 $10,000 2000 Louisville Institute Summer Stipend for work on a research project: Divergent Worship Practices in the Sunday Morning Hour: Analysis of an “Interracial” Church Merger Attempt. [With Kersten Priest]
2000 $2,500 Wabash Center Grant for a project on Ethnicity and Pedagogy in Theological Education.
1999 $7,000 Association of Theological Schools (ATS) Teaching and Learning Grant for A Multi-Disciplinary Team-Taught Advanced Research Seminar Examining Contemporary Discourses on “Spiritual Warfare.”
1998-9 $ 5,000 Association of Theological Schools (ATS) Teaching and Learning Grant for A Multi- Disciplinary Team-Taught Advanced Research Seminar Examining Contemporary Discourses on “Spiritual Warfare.”
1998-9 $ 3,875 Wabash Center Grant to Improve Teaching and Learning. These funds were to expand and strengthen faculty participation in the project already partially funded by ATS (see above).
1998 $ 2,500 Summer Workshop for Teaching and Learning by the Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religion.
PhD Dissertations Supervised (First Reader):
2017 Beth Seversen From Foreign to Familiar: Distinctive Elements and Evangelistic Approaches of Evangelical Covenant Churches Reaching and Incorporating Western Emerging Adults.
2014 Jeanne Yi-Chin Swingle Mission Through Diaspora: The Case of the Chinese Church in the USA.
2013 John Morgan Conversion in the Context of Illness and Healthcare Delivery at Hopital Baptiste Biblique in Kpele-Tsiko, Togo West Africa
2013 Chin (John) T. Wang
2013 David Wesley A Common Mission: Healthy Patterns in Congregational Mission Partnerships.
2012 John Cheong The Socio-Religious Identity and Life of the Malay Christians of Malaysia.
2012 Myunghee Lee Mongolian Migrant Mission: Case Studies in Korea and Mongolia Through the Returned Migrant Worker Churches
2007 Richardson, Richard Reshaping Evangelicalism’s Future Leaders: How Short-term Urban Service Experiences Are Influencing the Theology, Social Change Strategy, Cultural Awareness, and Social Connections of a Group of Evangelical College Students.
2007 Park, Kyeong-Sook The Effect of Short-term Missions Experience on Paternalistic Tendencies and Attitudee Toward Missiological Education Among Students From Selected Christian Colleges in the U.S.
2007 Farnen, Tenny Li Worldview Transformation of Mainland Chinese Converts in Northern America.
2006 Fujino, Gary A Forgiving Identity for an Interdependent Context: Takeo Doi’s Amae and its Relationship to Conflict in the Church in Japan.
2006 Wilson, Douglas Give Me Neither Poverty Nor Riches: Assessing the Material Realities of Malian Urban Pastors and Their Experiences with the Use of Foreign Resources.
2005 Meade, Dale The Meaning of Life as Seen Through the Window of Death Rituals Practiced within Colombian Folk Religion.
2004 William Bacheller Factors Involved in the Divorce or Separation of Pastors and their Wives of the Evangelical Christian Church of Brazil.
2004 Enrique Fernandez Continuity and Discontinuity in Ritual Experience: An Inquiry Into the Ritual Practices of Protestant Believers in Guatemala City.
2004 Jeff Fussner Bridging Two Worlds: Leaders of the Wesleyan Church of Indonesia and Their Role of Administering Financial Assistance from North American Wesleyan Churches.
2004 Donald Grigorenko The Moral Vision of the Jharuwarashi Chhetris (Nepal)
2004 Jeom-Ok Kim A New Pattern of Pastor-Laity Relations in Church Leadership among Korean Presbyterian Churches in the Seoul Area, Korea.
2004 Oyvind Okland Globalization, Media and Youth Culture: Young High School Students in Vennesla, Norway–Between the Local and the Global.
2004 Alan van der Woerd The Leader-Follower Dynamics of an Autochthonous Church in Mexico City: An Ethnographic Study of Authoritarian and Transformational Leadership Styles.
2003 Hartwig Eitzen Dependent, Independent, Interdependent? A Case Study in Mission Partnership Between North and South America.