MACON, Ga. – Mercer University Provost Horace Fleming has announced the appointment of prominent ethicist Dr. David P. Gushee to the position of Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics. Dr. Gushee currently serves as a University Fellow, Graves Professor of Moral Philosophy, and Senior Fellow of the Carl F.H. Henry Center for Christian Leadership at Union University in Jackson, Tenn. At Mercer he will be based in the James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology in Atlanta and is expected to teach interdisciplinary ethics courses throughout the University.
McAfee Dean R. Alan Culpepper said that Dr. Gushee stands in the tradition of great Baptist ethicists and social activists such as T.B. Maston, Henlee Barnette, and Glen Stassen. “Dr. Gushee is widely recognized among Baptists and evangelicals for his prophetic voice on such vital issues as creation care, torture, and human rights,” Dr. Culpepper said. “We look forward to the consciousness-raising that he will bring to McAfee and the recognition that his work will bring to Mercer.”
“In recent weeks Dr. Gushee has met with McAfee faculty members, several of our deans and others at the University. Out of those discussions a shared sense emerged that he and Mercer are a good fit,” Dr. Fleming said.
“David Gushee is one of the country’s leading voices in the field of Christian ethics,” Mercer President William D. Underwood said. “He not only is an outstanding teacher and a prolific scholar, he is frequently called upon by the popular press to comment on contemporary ethical and moral issues facing our country and our world. He is an evangelical Christian who is committed to broad ecumenical and interfaith engagement. Mercer is extraordinarily fortunate to attract him to our faculty.”
A native of Virginia, Dr. Gushee is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the College of William and Mary, where he earned a bachelor of arts degree in 1984. He received the master of divinity degree from Southern Seminary in 1987 and earned a master of philosophy degree and a Ph.D. in Christian ethics from Union Theological Seminary in New York.
A columnist for Christianity Today, Dr. Gushee has written or edited nine books, and has published scores of articles, book chapters, and reviews. His career began with his groundbreaking work on Christian behavior in Europe during the Holocaust. His first book, The Righteous Gentiles of the Holocaust, is based on his doctoral dissertation and was translated into German in the mid-90s.
Besides his continuing work on the Holocaust, Jewish-Christian dialogue, and related issues, he has written and lectured widely on a variety of subjects, especially in the areas of social ethics, Christian political engagement, and Christian higher education. His 2003 Kingdom Ethics: Following Jesus in Contemporary Context, with Glen Stassen, was named Theology/Ethics Book of the Year by Christianity Today. It has sold over 15,000 copies, has been used as a textbook at such schools as Yale, Princeton, and Cal-Berkeley, and has been translated into Japanese, Bulgarian, and Spanish with other translations pending.
His most recent book, Only Human, published by Jossey-Bass in 2005, offers a Christian theology of human nature for a general audience and was named one of 2005’s top 10 books in Christianity by Amazon.com. It is the first book in a series he is editing for Jossey-Bass called “Enduring Questions in Christian Life.” His other upcoming books will include an analysis of evangelical engagement in American politics (Baylor Press, January 2008), a major examination of the sanctity of human life (Eerdmans) and a Christian interpretation of Western moral philosophy (Chalice).
“I am very excited about joining Mercer at a pivotal point in its long history as a Baptist university. Under President Underwood’s leadership, Mercer is making important new contributions in Baptist higher education that have national and international ramifications,” Dr. Gushee said. “I look forward to helping enhance the ethics offerings at McAfee and in the university in general, and particularly the study and practice of ethics as articulated by Mercer’s Quality Enhancement Plan. I believe Mercer is a place where I can continue to serve the evangelical world through my teaching, writing and activism while also engaging in significant interfaith dialogue.”
Dr. Gushee’s articles and reviews have appeared in such diverse publications as Christianity Today, Christian Century, Books & Culture, Perspectives in Religious Studies, Sojourners, the Journal of Church and State, the Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, the Journal of the Society of Christian Ethics, the Journal of Family Ministry, Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Catholic Digest, and Theology Today. He is widely consulted and quoted by the media as a commentator on contemporary moral issues, including CBS News, ABC News, the Los Angeles Times, the New York Times, the Washington Post, Der Spiegel, the Jerusalem Post, The New Republic, PBS Religion & Ethics Newsweekly, and Time.
In recent years Dr. Gushee has emerged as a leader in addressing two sensitive moral issues in American public life: torture and climate change. His widely quoted 2006 Christianity Today cover article on torture has led to ongoing opportunities to address issues related to U.S. military policy. Currently he leads Evangelicals for Human Rights, a national initiative on human rights issues. On the environment, he was the principal drafter of the Evangelical Climate Initiative and remains deeply involved in efforts to address climate change and other environmental issues, including an important initiative co-sponsored by Harvard Medical School’s Center for Health and the Global Environment and the National Association of Evangelicals.
An ordained Baptist minister, Dr. Gushee is married to Jeanie, a homemaker, poet, and nurse. They have four children: Holly, David, Marie, and Madeleine.
About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit www.mercer.edu.