William A. Dyrness

Dean Emeritus and Professor of Theology and CultureSchool of Theology

Contact Information
BA, Wheaton College
BD, Fuller Theological Seminary
DThéol, University of Strasbourg
Doctorandus, Free University, Amsterdam
Postdoctoral study, Cambridge University

William Dyrness, professor of theology and culture, joined the Fuller faculty in 1990 and served as dean of the School of Theology from 1990 to 2000. He teaches courses in theology, culture, and the arts, and was a founding member of the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts.

Dyrness has over 30 years of teaching experience in the United States, the Philippines, Kenya, and South Korea. He has published work in a variety of fields, including theology and culture, apologetics, theology and art, and global missions. More recent works include Theology without Borders: An Introduction to Global Conversations (co-authored with Oscar García-Johnson, 2015), The Senses of Devotion: Interfaith Aesthetics in Buddhist and Muslim Communities (2012), Poetic Theology: God and the Poetics of Everyday Life (2010), A Primer of Christian Worship (2009), Global Dictionary of Theology (co-edited with Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, 2008), and Senses of the Soul: Art and the Visual in Christian Worship (2008). Two current writing projects are forthcoming from InterVarsity Press: Modern Art and the Life of a Culture (co-authored with Jonathan Anderson) and Insider Jesus: Theological Reflections on New Christian Movements.

He has also served on the national boards of Christians in the Visual Arts (Wenham, MA; 1999–2005), and Development Associates International (Colorado Springs, CO; 2000–present), and is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Courses Taught

  • PH510: Christian Apologetics
  • ST501, 502, 503: Systematic Theology 1, 2, 3
  • ST860/560: Theology and Culture
  • ST588: Theology of Africa, Asia, and Latin America
  • TC516: Theology, Worship, and Art
  • TC519: Medieval Art and Theology (taught in Orvieto)
  • TC546: Contemporary Theological Issues in Worship and the Arts
  • TC849/549: A Theology of General Revelation
  • TC860/560: Theology and Culture Seminar
  • TC862/562: Dante's Comedy in the Context of Medieval Art and Theology
  • TC864/564: A Theology of Beauty
  • TC865/565: Worship and Culture
  • TC866/566: Aesthetic Theology and Postmodern Culture
  • MT501: Doing Theology in Global Contexts
  • MT543: Theology in Global Perspective
  • MT701/801: Methods in Mission Theology

Areas of Expertise, Research, Writing, and Teaching

Theology and culture (especially theology and the visual arts), Protestant vision since the Reformation in relation to the visual arts, non-Western theology, Christian apologetics, global theology



  • Rouault: A Vision of Suffering and Salvation. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971.
  • Daniel in the Television Den: A Christian Approach to American Culture. Portland: Western Baptist Press, 1975.
  • Christian Art in Asia. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1979.
  • Themes in Old Testament Theology. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1979. Reprinted in 1998 by Paternoster Publishing as part of the Biblical and Theological Classics Library series. Translated into French, Spanish, Korean, Indonesian, Vietnamese, Romanian.
  • Persuasive Christianity in Today's World. Manila, Alliance Publishers/InterVarsity Press, 1981. US Edition: Christian Apologetics in a World Community. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1983. Trans. Polish, Korean, Chinese.
  • Let the Earth Rejoice: A Biblical Theology of Holistic Mission. Westchester: Crossways Books, 1983. Trans. Indonesian.
  • How Does America Hear the Gospel? Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989.
  • Learning about Theology from the Third World. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990.
  • Invitation to Cross-cultural Theology: Case Studies in Vernacular Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992.
  • Editor. Emerging Voices in Global Christian Theology. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994.
  • The Earth is God’s: A Theology of American Culture. Maryknoll, Orbis Books, 1997.
  • Co-author with James F. Engel. Changing the Mind of Missions: Where Have We Gone Wrong? Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2000.
  • Visual Faith: Art, Theology and Worship. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001. Worship Leader top twenty book 1990-2010, December 2012.
  • Reformed Theology and Visual Culture: The Protestant Imagination from Calvin to Edwards. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 2004.
  • Senses of the Soul: Worship and the Visual in Christian Worship. Eugene, Or: Cascade Books, 2008.
  • Co-editor with Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen. Global Dictionary of Theology. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2008.
  • A Primer of Christian Worship: Where We Have Been, Where We Are, and Where We Can Go. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009.
  • Poetic Theology: God and the Poetics of Everyday Life. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2011.
  • The Senses of Devotion: Interfaith Aesthetics in Buddhist and Muslim Communities. Eugene: Cascade Books, 2012.
  • Co-author with Oscar García-Johnson. Theology without Borders: An Introduction to Global Conversations. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2015.
  • Co-author with Jonathan Anderson. Modern Art and the Life of a Culture. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, forthcoming June 27, 2016.
  • Insider Jesus: Theological Reflections on New Christian Movements. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, forthcoming.

Articles and Book Chapters

  • “The Imago Dei and Christian Aesthetics.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Vol. 15, Pt. 3., Summer, 1972, pp. 161-172.
  • “The Age of Aquarius,” Dream, Visions and Oracles. Carl Armerding and Ward Gasque, eds. Grand Rapids, Baker (1976). Reprinted in Christianity Today, September 24, 1976.
  • “Man and Community: Is there an Asian Theology of the Person?” Christian Forum (Manila), Vol. II, 1978, pp. 58-65.
  • “The Pietistic Heritage of Schleiermacher.” Christianity Today, Vol., 23, No. 6., December 15, 1978, pp. 15-17.
  • “Contextualization and Christian Communication.” Journal of Asian Christian Communicators, Vol. I, No. 1, 1979, pp. 5-8.
  • “The Challenge of Christian Art in Japan: The Case of Tadao Tanaka.” Southeast Asia Journal of Theology, Vol. 20, No. 1, 1979, pp. 49-54.
  • “Roman Catholic Theology: An Evangelical Assessment.” Evangelical Review of Theology, Vol. 5, No. 1, April 1981, pp. 48-62.
  • “The Kingdom is our Goal.” Together, Volume, 1, No. 1 (World Vision), 1981, revised and reprinted in Perspectives on the World Christian Movement, 1999.
  • “James 2:13 and the Theology of Faith and Works.” Themelios, Vol. 6, No. 3, April 1981.
  • “Symbolism, Modeling and Theology,” The Living and Active Word of God. Morris Inch and Ronald Younglood, eds. Winona Lake, Eisenbrauns (1983) pp. 283-299.
  • “The Implications of the Kingdom of God for Community Development.” Together, Vol. 1, No. 1, September 1983.
  • “Christian Liberal Arts Education in a World Community.” Reformed Journal, volume 34, Issue, 2, February 1984. pp. 13-19.
  • “How Does the Bible Function in the Christian Life,” How Evangelicals Use the Bible, Robert Johnston, ed. John Knox Press, 1985.
  • “Caspar David Friedrich: The Aesthetic Expression of Schleiermacher’s Romantic Faith.” Christian Scholar’s Review, Vol. XIV, No. 4, 1985.
  • “Equipping the Saints . . . For What?” Eternity/Update, March 1986. Reprinted in Laity Exchange, Fall 1988.
  • “Aesthetics in the Old Testament: Beauty in Context.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society. December, 1986.
  • “Christianity and Culture,” Baker’s Dictionary of Theology, W. Elwell, ed. 1986. (Rev. 1995).
  • “Stewardship of the Earth in the Old Testament,” Tending the Garden: Essays on the “Gospel and the Earth. Wesley Granberg-Michaelson, ed. Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1986.
  • “The Contribution of Theological Studies to the Christian Liberal Arts,” Making Higher Education Christian. Joel Carpenter and Kenneth W. Shipps, eds. Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1987.
  • “Beyond Niebuhr: The Gospel and Culture.” Reformed Journal, February 1988, pp. 11-13.
  • “What is Julian Schnabel Up To?” Reformed Journal, June 1988, pp. 4-5.
  • “A Unique Opportunity: Christianity in the World Today, a Globe-Circling Appraisal.” Mission Handbook. Pasadena, MARC. December 1989, pp. 9-22.
  • “Theism in America” and “Christianity and Art in America,” Dictionary of American Christianity. InterVarsity Press, 1990.
  • “A Christian’s Ecological Responsibility,” William Dyrness and Rob Cahill co-integrators, Theology, News and Notes, Fuller Theological Seminary, Dec. 1992.
  • “Environmental Ethics and the Covenant of Hosea Two”in R. L. Hubbard, R. K. Johnston and R. P. Meye, eds. Studies in Old Testament Theology: Historical and Contemporary Images of God and God’s People (Irving, Texas: Word, 1992).
  • “Cross-Cultural Reflections on the Authority of Scripture,” Perspectives on Leadership Training. Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology, V.B. Cole, R.F. Gaskin, R.J. Sim, eds. 1993, pp. 189-202.
  • The following articles in Christian Century: “Two Widows as Role Models.” Vol. 111, No. 981, Oct. 26, 1994; “Waiting in Hope.” Vol. 111, No. 1011, Nov. 2, 1994; “What Kind of King?” Vol. 111, No. 1041, Nov. 9, 1994; “In Distress” Vol. 111, No. 1073, Nov. 16, 1994; “Rejoice Anyway.” Vol. 111, No. 1107, Nov. 23-30, 1994.
  • “Art and Multiculturalism: Competitors or Allies in Theological Education?” and “Sharpening Our Vision as a Mode of Theological Education.” Theological Education 31, No. 1, Autumn 1994.
  • “Watch Your Language! Theological Reflection on Political Correctness.” Catalyst 20, Nos. 1 and 2, Nov. 1993 and Feb. 1994.
  • “The Christian Imagination.” Image, No. 15, Fall 1996, pp. 84-94.
  • “Can Americans Still Hear the Good News?” Christianity Today, April 7, 1997, pp. 33-35.
  • “Whispers in Ordinary Time: The Art of Lynn Aldrich.” Image: A Journal of the Arts & Religion, No. 19, Spring 1998.
  • “In Search of Spiritual Freedom: The Clowns of Georges Rouault.” Christianity and the Arts, Summer 1998.
  • “What Good Is Truth?” Radix, Vol. 26, No. 3, 1999.
  • “Diversity in Theology: Why Contextualization is not Enough.” Chapter in Festschrift for Harvie Conn, The Urban Face of Mission: Ministering the Gospel in a Diverse and Changing World. Manuel Ortiz, ed (Presbyterian and Reformed, 2002).
  • “Methodology and Theology in the (Visual) Arts.” Catalyst. Volume 28, No. 2, Feb 2002.
  • “Reclaiming Art for Worship.” Theology News and Notes, Fall, 2001. Pp. 9-12.
  • “Open our Eyes: A Glimpse of the Way Churches are Transforming Worship Spaces” Reformed Worship, June 2002, pp. 8-11.
  • “Missions has Changed: Is our Thinking Keeping Up?” Evangelical Missions Quarterly, 38/3, July, 2002. pp. 284, 285.
  • “Integral Missions and Development: Where are We?” (With response by Robert C. Donahue), The Mediator, 4/1, October, 2002, pp. 32-47.
  • “The Church, the University and Culture: Can Theology find its Way? An American Perspective.” In Theology between Church, University and Society, ed. Martien E. Brinkman, Nico F. M. Schreurs, Hendrik M. Vroom and Conrad J. Wethmar. (Assen: Van Gorcum, 2003), pp. 47-60.
  • “Confession and Assurance.” In A More Profound Alleluia: Theology and Worship in Harmony. Leanne Van Dyk, ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2005), pp. 31-54.
  • “Spaces for Evangelical Ecclesiology” in The Community of the Word: Toward an Evangelical Ecclesiology, Mark Husbands and Daniel J. Treier, eds. (Downers Grove: Intevarsity Press, 2005), pp. 251-272.
  • “Deliverance from Bondage,” Faith in Action Study Bible (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), p. 87.
  • “Contemplation for Protestants: Where the Reformed Tradition went wrong.” Image Spring, 2006, Number 49. Pp. 71-79.
  • “A Lasting Impression.” Harvard Divinity Bulletin, Spring-Summer, 2007, pp. 89-94.
  • “Evangelicals and Culture.” Cambridge Companion to Evangelical Theology. Dan Treier, ed. Cambridge University Press, 2007.
  • “Aesthetics.” Oxford Companion to Systematic Theology. I. Torrance, John Webster, and Kathryn Tanner, eds. Oxford University Press, 2007.
  • “Telephones, Bible Studies, and Education in the African Church: Reflections from Abroad.” Missiology: An International Review 36, No. 3, July 2008. pp. 373-385.
  • “Dante, Bunyan and the Case for Protestant Aesthetics.” International Journal of Systematic Theology. Volume 10, No. 3. Summer, 2008, pp 285-302.
  • “‘Hope that is Seen is not Hope’: Visual Explorations of Advent.” Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology. October, 2008, Volume 62, no. 4, pp. 386-400.
  • “Dancing to Strange Music: Diversity and Faith in the Visual Arts, Image. No. 65 Summer, 2010, pp. 61-65.
  • Interview on Globalization and the arts, CIVA Seen, Spring, 2010.
  • “Seeing Through the Darkness: Georges Rouault’s Vision of Christ,” Image, Summer, 2010.
  • “Subjectivity and Modern Art: Theological Reflections on Jacques Maritain and Charles Taylor,” in “Arte, Fede, Suggestivita,” ed. Stefanie Krauss (Bologne: Centro per le Science Religiose” 2012). English translation in CrossCurrents Vol 63. No. 1. Spring 2013.
  • “The Perception of Spirituality: Hans Holbein’s ‘The French Ambassadors,’” in Art as Spiritual Perception: Essays in Honor of E. John Walford. ed. James Romaine. Wheaton: Crossways Books, 2012.
  • “Is Art Really Useless?” Arts: Arts in Religious and Theological Studies.23:3. Fall 2012, pp. 30-32.
  • “Illuminate: Visual Imagery in the Church” Worship Leader Magazine. December 2012, pp. 27, 28.
  • “Prophesy to These Dry Bones! The Artist’s Role in Healing the Earth.” In Tikkum Olam: To Mend the World; the Confluence of Theology and the Arts. Jason Goroncy ed. Cascade Books, 2013.
  • “Reflections on Interreligious Aesthetics,” Journal of Interreligious Studies (March 2015) http://irdialogue.org/journal/.
  • “God’s Play: Calvin, Theatre and the Rise of the Book,” in Calvin and the Book: The Evolution of the Printed Word in Reformed Protestantism, ed. Karen Spierling (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015).
  • “Edward Knippers: Discerning the Body,” in Edward Knippers: Violent Grace, A Retrospective (Albuquerque: Fresco Books, 2015), pp. 74-79.
  • “Listening for Fresh Voices in the History of the Church,” in Teaching Global Theologies: Power and Praxis, ed. Pui Lan Kwok, et al. (Waco: Baylor University Press, 2015).
  • “Hiding in Plain Sight: Theology and Visual Culture in Early Modern Calvinism,” in The Handbook of Calvinism, ed. Bruce Gordon and Carl Trueman (Oxford University Press, forthcoming).


Dr. Dyrness’s CV

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