Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen

Professor of Systematic TheologySchool of Theology

Contact Information
MA, Fuller Theological Seminary
MEd, University of Jyvaskyla, Finland
DrTheol, University of Helsinki
DrTheol, Habil University of Helsinki

Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen joined the Fuller faculty as associate professor of systematic theology in 2000 and was named full professor in 2003. He also holds a teaching position at the University of Helsinki as Docent of Ecumenics.

Prior to coming to Fuller, Kärkkäinen served as president and professor at IsoKirja College in Keuruu, Finland. He has taught and lived with his family on three continents: Europe, Asia (Thailand), and North America (U.S.A.) He has also lectured and served as visiting professor in various schools around the world. He travels widely and has a command of several languages.

A prolific writer, Kärkkäinen has authored or edited about twenty books in English (and seven in his native language, Finnish), including The Trinity: Global Perspectives (2007), One With God: Salvation as Deification and Justification (2004), and Trinity and Religious Pluralism: The Doctrine of the Trinity in Christian Theology of Religions (2004), as well as more than 150 articles that have appeared in international scholarly journals. He is also the editor of the Global Dictionary of Theology (with William Dyrness, 2008), The Spirit in the World: Emerging Pentecostal Theologies in Global Contexts (2009), and Holy Spirit and Salvation: The Sources of Christian Theology (2010). Currently he is writing a five-volume series covering all topics of systematic theology titled A Constructive Christian Theology for the Pluralistic World, to be published by Eerdmans (2013–2017); the first volume is Christ and Reconciliation (2013) and the second, Trinity and Revelation (2014). Kärkkäinen is member of several editorial boards, including the Strategic Initiatives in Systematic Theology series by InterVarsity Press, the Studies in Systematic Theology series by E.J. Brill (Leiden, Netherlands), and is a reviewer for the International Journal of Systematic Theology. He has participated in a number of working groups of the World Council of Churches, most recently on “Christian Self-Understanding and Religious Plurality,” and has participated in numerous international theological, missiological, and interfaith consultations, including Edinburgh 2010 and the Conference on World Mission and Evangelism of the World Council of Churches (Athens, 2005). His ecumenical experience also includes long-term participation in several international bilateral dialogues. For years he served as an external examiner for Wales University.

Courses Taught

  • Master’s level courses:
  • ST501 Systematic Theology 1: Theology and Anthropology
  • ST502 Systematic Theology 2: Christology and Soteriology
  • ST503 Systematic Theology 3: Ecclesiology and Eschatology
  • ST523 Theological Challenges of Religious Plurality
  • ST525 Pneumatology: Current Trends and Historical Developments
  • ST5xx Lesslie Newbigin’s Missional Theology
  • TH550 World Religions in Christian Perspective
  • PhD seminars:
  • ST829/529 Theological Method
  • ST838/538 Ecclesiology: Current Developments Worldwide
  • ST855/575 Christian Theology of Religions
  • ST868/568 The Systematic Theology of Wolfhart Pannenberg
  • ST886/586 Contemporary Perspectives on the Trinity
  • TH836/536 The Constructive Theology of Jürgen Moltmann
  • TH846/546 Theological Anthropology in Theological and Scientific Perspectives (with Prof. Nancey Murphy
  • TH866/559 Pneumatology: Theologies of the Holy Spirit
  • TH563 Science and Religion (with Prof. Nancey Murphy)
  • Courses taught at the University of Helsinki (either in English or Finnish):
  • The Trinity in Contemporary Theology
  • The Doctrine of Atonement in Tradition and Contemporary Constructive Theology
  • Pneumatology: History and Current Developments
  • Theological Anthropology in Interdisciplinary Perspectives
  • Ecclesiology in Current Ecumenical Theology
  • Pentecostal-Charismatic Theologies and their Ecumenical Implications

Areas of Expertise, Research, Writing, and Teaching

Pneumatology, ecclesiology, ecumenics, Pannenberg’s theology, Luther studies, Pentecostal-Charismatic theologies, theology of religions and missions, intercultural theologies, comparative theology

Faculty Search

(626) 584-5200
(800) 235-2222
135 N. Oakland Ave.
Pasadena, CA 91182