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J. Jayakiran Sebastian

The H. George Anderson Chair and Professor of Mission and Cultures, Dean of the Seminary, and Vice President of Student Services


Dr. Theol. - Magna cum laude, University of Hamburg, Germany (1997)
M.Th. - Federated Faculty for Research in Religion and Culture, Kerala (Senate of Serampore College) (1991)
B.D. - United Theological College, Bangalore (Senate of Serampore College) (1984)
B.Sc. - St. Joseph's College of Arts and Sciences,  Bangalore University (1980)

Rev. Dr. Sebastian's CV

The Rev. Dr. J. Jayakiran Sebastian is a Presbyter of the Church of South India, and currently Dean and H. George Anderson Professor of Mission and Cultures at the United Lutheran Seminary.

He has been Professor in the Department of Theology and Ethics at the United Theological College, Bengaluru, India, where he has served as Chairperson of the Department and also as Dean of Doctoral Studies at the College. He comes from Bengaluru and following his theological training at the United Theological College, he served both rural and urban pastorates of the Karnataka Central Diocese of the Church of South India, and even after becoming a theological teacher continued to be associated with the pastoral ministry by serving as an Associate Presbyter in churches where the Diocese needed him. This engagement continues in the United States through regular preaching and presiding at worship services in congregations in the greater Philadelphia area and beyond.

His doctorate (magnacum laude) is from the University of Hamburg, Germany, where his dissertation was entitled 'baptisma unum in sancta ecclesia': A Theological Appraisal of the Baptismal Controversy in the Work and Writings of Cyprian of Carthage

He is a Member of the Center of Theological Inquiry, Princeton, NJ, and was in residence there from August 2003 to May 2004. He is a also a member of the North American Patristics Society, the International Association of Patristic Studies, International Association of Mission Studies, and the American Academy of Religion. He has been the Associate Editor and now Contributing Editor of the journal, Mission Studies. He is also a member of the Global Network for Public Theology and is an Advisory Panel member of its journal, the International Journal of Public Theology. He is the Co-editor of the series, Postcolonialism and Religions, published by Palgrave Macmillan, and 14 books have already been published as part of this series (http://www.palgrave.com/jp/series/14535)

He was invited to deliver the Teape Lectures at Cambridge and Edinburgh Universities in October2007 and recently delivered the 27th M. A. Thomas Memorial Lecture on the theme "Ecumenism and the Pandemic: Seven Challenges and Seven Opportunities Today" via ZOOM at the Ecumenical Christian Centre, Whitefield, India.



- baptisma unum in sancta ecclesia…’: A Theological Appraisal of the Baptismal Controversy in the Work and Writings of Cyprian of Carthage (ISPCK, 1997)

- Enlivening the Past: An Asian Theologian’s Engagement with the Early Teachers of Faith
  (Gorgias Press, 2009)

Recent Chapters in Books and Articles in Journals

  • “Revitalizing the Fading Ecumenical Memory and Reenergizing the Promise of our Ecumenical Future: Can Ecumenism be Taught?” in Peter Casarella and  Gabriel Said Reynolds, eds., The Whole Is Greater Than Its Parts:  Encountering the Interreligious and Ecumenical Other in the Age of Pope Francis (New York: The Crossroad Publishing Company/Herder &  Herder, 2020),
    pp. 141–156.  
  • “Estranging the Stranger? Revisions and Re-visioning Ecumenical Missiology,” in Michael Biehl et al., Witnessing Christ: Contextual and Interconfessional Perspectives on Christology (Stuttgart: Kohlhammer,2020), pp. 63–69.  
  • “The Untenanted Cross: The Vocation of Preaching,” in Limuel Equina and Wati Longchar, eds., Ministerial Challenges in Contemporary World: Towards a Transformative Theological Education – Essays in Honour of Henry S. Wilson (Serampore and Iloilo City: Programme for Theology and  Cultures in Asia and Association for Theological Education in Southeast  Asia, 2019),
    pp. 228–234. 
  • “Evoking the Bible at a Funeral in an Indian-Christian Community," in Tat-Siong Benny Liew  and Fernando F. Segovia, eds., Colonialism and the Bible: Contemporary Reflections from the Global South (Lanham: Lexington Books, 2018), pp. 187–197.  
  • “Interconnections, Interventions, Intersections, Interpretations: A Methodological Journey through Global Christianity,” Bangalore Theological Forum, Vol. L, No. 2 (December 2018),
    pp. 88–94.   
  • “Celebrating the Dynamic Legacy of the Reformation – An Indian Perspective,” in Philip D. W. Krey, ed., Reformation Observances: 1517–2017  (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2017),
    pp. 43–68.  
  • “Neither Fellowship or Patience, nor Toleration or Acceptance: Believing, Belonging, Luther, the Jews, and Questions on Contemporary Nationalism,” in Seminary Ridge Review, Vol. 20, No. 1 (Autumn 2017), pp. 3 – 14.  Also in Y. T. Vinayaraj, Dexter Maben, Woba James, eds., Re-imagining Reformation: Essays in Honor of P. G. George (Delhi: ISPCK 2017), pp. 8–22.  
  • “’Wandering Arameans?’: Interrogating Identity in a Diasporic Society: Dalitness In Indian  Hyphenated Americans,” in Exchange: Journal of Missiological and Ecumenical  Research, Vol. 45 (2016), pp. 1–17. Also published in Bangalore Theological Forum, Vol. XLVIII, No. 2
    (December 2016), pp. 95–109.  
  • “’Only Christ and No Formulation of Christ Can Determine the Frontier’: J. Russell Chandran's Ongoing Challenges to Christian Ecumenism,” in Jesudas M. Athyal, ed., A Light to the Nations: The Indian Presence in the Ecumenical Movement in the Twentieth Century (Geneva: World Council of Churches, 2016), pp. 143-152, notes pp. 238-240. 

Mailing Address

7301 Germantown Avenue

Philadelphia, PA 19119