J. Jayakiran Sebastian

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

Dr. Sebastian's CV

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

Before coming to the United States, he was at the United  Theological College, Bengaluru, India, where he was Professor in the Department of Theology and Ethics. He also served as Chairperson of the Department; Dean of Doctoral Studies; and Secretary of the Governing Council. He did his first professional degree at the same college after which he served rural and urban pastorates of the Karnataka Central Diocese of the Church of South India before being invited to join the faculty of the United Theological College as a Junior Lecturer in June 1988. He continued his commitment to pastoral ministry by serving as 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 region and beyond.

‍His doctorate (magna cum laude) is from the University of Hamburg, Germany, where his dissertation was entitled 'baptisma unum insancta ecclesia': A Theological Appraisal of the Baptismal Controversy in the Work and Writings of Cyprian of Carthage (1997).

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 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 Springer/Palgrave Macmillan, and 17 books have already been published as part of this series (Postcolonialism and Religions | Book series home (springer.com)


- The 6th Rev. Dr. K C Abraham Memorial Service and Annual Lecture, Kerala United Theological Seminary and K. C. Abraham Memorial Trust (2022), on the theme: “’On Not Taking Refuge in My Shade’”(Judges 9:15): Remembering the Rev. Dr. K. C. Abraham’s Prophetic Preaching as an Impetus for Faithful Theological Education";

- The 27th M. A. Thomas Memorial Lecture, Ecumenical Christian Centre, Whitefield, India, (2020) on the theme: “Ecumenism and the Pandemic: Seven Challenges and Seven Opportunities Today” on YouTube

- The 12th General K. S. Thimayya Memorial Lecture at Bishop Cotton Boys’ School, Bengaluru (2016), on the theme: “The World Through the Prism of Science and Religion :Perspectives, Possibilities, Promises”, along with Dr. Mandyam Srinivasan, FRS;  

- Teape Lectures, Universities of Cambridge and Edinburgh, UK (2007) on the theme: “Converting Death: Continuity and Transformation in the Understanding of Death in Indian-Christian Communities.”



- 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)

Other recent publications

  • “Christian Mission and Postcolonialism: Re-reading the Bible, the Theology, and the Call,” Oxford Handbook of Mission Studies, eds. Kirsteen Kim, Knud Jørgensen, and Alison Fitchett–Climenhaga (Oxford University Press, 2022);
  • “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 (The Crossroad Publishing Company/Herder &  Herder, 2020);
  • “Estranging the Stranger? Revisions and Re-visioning Ecumenical Missiology,” in Michael Biehl et al., Witnessing Christ: Contextual and Interconfessional Perspectives on Christology (Kohlhammer,  2020);
  • “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 (Lexington Books, 2018);
  • “Celebrating the Dynamic Legacy of the Reformation – An Indian Perspective,” in Philip D. W. Krey, ed., Reformation Observances: 1517–2017 (Cascade Books, 2017);
  • “’Wandering Arameans?’: Interrogating Identity in a  Diasporic Society: Dalitness In Indian Hyphenated Americans,” in Exchange: Journal of Missiological and Ecumenical Research, Vol. 45 (2016). Also published in Bangalore Theological Forum, Vol. XLVIII, No. 2  (2016).
  • “’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 (World Council of Churches, 2016).

Mailing address:
7301 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19119