Dion Foster

Personal Statement
I am a Methodist / Wesleyan Systematic Theologian and Ethicist with a particular interest in decolonizing Methodist and Wesleyan Theological Theology and Ethics. I hold two PhD’s, a PhD in Systematic Theology (SA, 2006) and a PhD in New Testament (Radboud, 2017). My current research is focussed on African Public Theology, Political Theology and theological ethics.

Role at Wesley House
I primarily focus on supervising doctoral students within the disciplines of Systematic Theology, Theological Ethics, and New Testament studies. In particular, I am interested in working with students who have an interest in post-colonial and decolonial theological interests, students who wish to focus on African theological and ethical topics, or topics in the field of public theology.

Web presence
https://orcid.org/0000-0002-7292-6203
https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Dion-Forster
https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=HZNLXzIAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao

Research interests
I have written numerous books, academic articles, and other scholarly publications. My most recent books are

African Public Theology (Langham, 2020), The (im)possibility of forgiveness? (Wipf & Stock, 2019)

Reconciliation, Forgiveness, and Violence in Africa (SUN Media, 2020)

Freedom of Religion at Stake (Wipf & Stock, 2020), and Teologia Pública no Brasil e na África do Sul (Sinodal, 2020)

Supervisory Experience
In the last decades I have supervised more than a dozen Post-Doctoral and Doctoral students, and twenty five Masters students in the fields of Systematic Theology, Theological Ethics, Public Theology, and New Testament Studies.

Selected Academic Articles (2021-2018)

  • Forster. D.A. Anthony, Ishaya, (2021). ‘I Must Honestly Confess That I Am Afraid of You’: Prophetic Preaching as Public Theological Engagement in a Context of Socio-Political Fear. International Journal of Public Theology 15, no. 3 (October 27, 2021): 369–84. https://doi.org/10.1163/15697320-01530005.
  • Forster, D.A. (2021). A Critical Consideration of the Relationship Between African Christianities and American Evangelicalism: A Cautionary Tale of Theo-Political Exceptionalism? The South African Baptist Theological Journal 30, no. Theology in Context (October 15, 2021): 199–145.
  • Forster, D.A. (2021). Post-Foundational Theology and the Contribution of African Approaches to Consciousness and Identity. Verbum et Ecclesia 42, no. 2 (Wentzel van Huyssteen special edition) (September 22, 2021): 1–10. https://doi.org/ 10.4102/ve.v42i2.2363.
  • Forster, D.A, (2021). Bowers Du Toit, Nadine, Elisabet le Roux, and Shantelle Weber. ‘Born Free? South African Young Adults, Inequality, and Reconciliation in Stellenbosch’: International Bulletin of Mission Research African Princeton: 1–11. https://doi.org/10.1177/23969393211010747.
  • Forster, D.A. (2021). ‘Towards a Future with Greater Freedoms for All: Historical Theological Engagement with Mary-Anne Plaatjies-Van Huffel’s Contribution to Religion and Law’. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae 47, no. 2: 1–19. https://doi.org/10.25159/2412-4265/8166.
  • Forster, D.A. (2020). Reflecting on the nature of work in contemporary South Africa: A public theological engagement with calling and vocation. HTS. 76(2):10. http://dx.doi.org/10.4102/hts.v76i2.5847
  • Forster, D.A. (2020) “A Politics of Forgiveness? Engaging the Ontological and the Structural in the Dialogical Theology of John de Gruchy.” Stellenbosch Theological Journal, John de Gruchy Festschrift, 5, no. 3: 77–97. http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2019.v5n3.a04
  • Forster, D.A. (2019) “Worship as ‘Protest’: Johan Cilliers as a Public Theologian?” STJ | Stellenbosch Theological Journal, Johan Cilliers Festschrift, 5, no. 2: 155–74.
  • Forster, D.A. (2019). “A Social Imagination of Forgiveness.” Journal of Empirical Theology 1, no. 32 (2019): 70–88. https://doi.org/doi:10.1163/15709256-12341387.
  • Forster, D.A. and Stander S., (2019). Taking back the ‘sex thing’: Patriarchal bargaining and race among the Worthy Women of God. Journal of Theology of Southern Africa, 1-19.
  • Forster, D.A. (2019). State Theology and Political Populism? A Kairos Critique of Religious Populism in South Africa. Journal of Church and State, 1–18. https://doi.org/10.1093/jcs/csz031
  • Forster, D.A. (2019). New directions in evangelical theologies. Theology, 123(1), 1–9.
  • Forster, D.A. (2019). A Kairos Moment for the Methodist Church of Southern Africa? Engaging Nationalism and State Theology in the Democratic South Africa. Methodist Review: A Journal of Wesleyan and Methodist Studies, 11, 1–23. https://doi.org/10.4102/ids.v49i3.1944
  • Forster, D.A. (2018). Translation and a politics of forgiveness in South Africa? What black Christians believe, and white Christians do not seem to understand. Stellenbosch Theological Journal, 14(2), 77–94. http://dx.doi.org/10.17570/stj.2018.v4n2.a04
  • Forster, D.A. (2018). Matthew 18:15–35 and the (Im)possibility of Forgiveness among South African Methodists? A Study in Empirical Intercultural Biblical Ethics. 1–21. Oxford Institute for World Methodist Studies, Pembroke College, Oxford.
  • Forster, D.A. (2018). Revival, Revolution and Reform in Global Methodism: An Understanding of Christian Perfection as African Christian Humanism in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. Journal of Black Theology. 16(1):1-18.
  • Forster, D.A. (2018). Democracy and Social Justice in Glocal Contexts. International Journal of Public Theology. 12(1):1–4.
  • Forster, D.A. (2018). On the 250th Anniversary of A plain account of Christian perfection: A historical review of Wesleyan theological hybridity and its implications for contemporary discourses on Christian humanism. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae, article #3147. Pp.1-12.

 

Other recent publications (2022-2018)

  • Forster, Dion A. 2022. Knowing What Is True? Between Science and Belief. Academic. Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge, January 12, 2022. https://www.counterpointknowledge.org/knowing-what-is-true-between-science-and-belief/.
  • Forster, Dion A. 2021. Not Survival, but Prophecy… Is This a Monastic Moment? Academic. Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge, 29 September 2021. https://www.counterpointknowledge.org/not-survival-but-prophecy-is-this-a-monastic-moment/.
  • Forster, Dion A. 2021. TB Joshua, Nigeria’s Controversial Pentecostal Titan – How Should He Be Remembered? The Conversation. June 6, 2021, http://theconversation.com/obituary-tb-joshua-nigerias-controversial-pentecostal-titan-162232.
  • Forster, Dion A. 2021. ‘Born Free’ – A Deceptive and Dangerous Story about South Africa’s Youth.” Academic. Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge, May 25, 2021. https://www.counterpointknowledge.org/born-free-a-deceptive-and-dangerous-story-about-south-africas-youth/
  • Forster, Dion A. 2021. Protestant Evangelicalism and the Merit Trap – Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge. Academic. Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge, February 17, 2021. https://www.counterpointknowledge.org/protestant-evangelicalism-and-the-merit-trap/
  • Forster, Dion A. 2021. Trump Is out, but US Evangelicalism Remains Alive and Well in Africa. The Conversation, Analysis edition. January 20, 2021. http://theconversation.com/trump-is-out-but-us-evangelicalism-remains-alive-and-well-in-africa-151117
  • Forster, Dion A. 2021. Putting Mary at the Centre of Christmas Is a Challenge to South Africa’s Prosperity Gospel. The Conversation, News edition. January 6, 2021. http://theconversation.com/putting-mary-at-the-centre-of-christmas-is-a-challenge-to-south-africas-prosperity-gospel-151720
  • Forster, D.A. 2020. Compassion fatigue is normal during abnormal times. The Mail & Guardian (Johannesburg). 26 September: 1–5. https://mg.co.za/coronavirus-essentials/2020-09-26-compassion-fatigue-is-normal-during-abnormal-times/.
  • Forster, D.A. 2020. “When a Pandemic makes the impossible, possible.” Academic. Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge, April 29, 2020. https://www.counterpointknowledge.org/when-a-pandemic-makes-the-impossible-possible/
  • Forster, D.A. 2020. “Bonhoeffer en Biko: naar een politiek van hoop onder ‘born free’ Zuid-Afrikanen.” Skandalon Godsdienst en Sameleving, http://www.skandalon.nl/shop/tijdschriften/516-ophef-bonhoeffer-zuid-afrika.html.
  • Forster, D.A. 2019. “Methodist Church Southern Africa Enters New Era as Women Take up Top Positions.” The Conversation. December 5, 2019. http://theconversation.com/methodist-church-southern-africa-enters-new-era-as-women-take-up-top-positions-127631.
  • Forster, D.A. 2019. “Understanding the Influence of Contemporary Evangelical Christianities” Academic. Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge, October 3, 2019. https://www.counterpointknowledge.org/understanding-the-influence-of-
  • Forster, D.A, and Sunelle Stander. 2019. “‘Worthy Women’: Sexual Bargaining for a Place in Utopia–or Dystopia?” Academic. Counterpoint: Navigating Knowledge, June 11, 2019. https://www.counterpointknowledge.org/worthy-women-sexual-bargaining-for-a-place-in-utopia-or-dystopia/.
  • Forster, D.A. 2019. “Is It Time to Give Up on Forgiveness among Black and White South Africans?” Academic. Counterpoint Navigating Knowledge, March 20, 2019. https://www.counterpointknowledge.org/is-it-time-to-give-up-on-forgiveness-among-black-and-white-south-africans/.

 

Education

  • PhD, 2017, Radboud University, Netherlands; New Testament, Ethics, Empirical Inter-Cultural Theology, Public Theology.
  • DTh, 2006, University of South Africa, South Africa; Systematic Theology, African Theology and Science, Cognitive Neuroscience.
  • MTh (with distinction), 2001, Rhodes University, South Africa; Systematic Theology.
  • BTh Hons (with distinction), 1998, Rhodes University, South Africa; Systematic Theology.
  • SMDP (with distinction), 2009, University of Stellenbosch, Business School, South Africa; Economic and Management Sciences.

 

Selected Books

  • Forster, D.A., Agang, S, & Hendriks, JHJ, eds. (2020). African Public Theology. Surrey, UK: Langham Publishers.
  • Forster, D.A., Von Sinner, Rudolf, and Claudete Beisa Ulrich, eds. (2020). Teologia Pública No Brasil e Na África Do Sul – Um Diálogo Teológico-Político. Sao Leopoldo, Brazil: Editora Sinodal, 2020.
  • Forster, D.A. & Nel, MJN, Thesnaar, CHT. (2020). Religion, violence and reconciliation in Africa. Stellenbosch: Sun Media.
  • Forster, D.A. (2019). The (im)possibility of forgiveness? An empirical intercultural Bible reading of Matthew 18.15-35. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock.
  • Forster, D.A. & Gunner, G, Gerle, E. (2019). Freedom or Religion at Stake: Competing claims among Faith Traditions, Sates and Persons. Eugene, OR.: Wipf & Stock.
  • Bentley, W. & Forster, D.A. (2012). Between Capital and Cathedral: Essays on Church-State relationships. Pretoria: Research Institute for Theology and Religion UNISA.
  • Forster, D.A. & Bentley, W. (2010). What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists. Cape Town: Methodist Publishing House.
  • Forster, D.A. & Bentley, W. (2008). Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission. 1st ed. Kempton Park: AcadSA Publishers.
  • Forster, D.A. 2001. An introduction to Wesleyan Spirituality (Wesley Society of South Africa Series). Cape Town: Methodist Publishing House.

 

Selected Chapters in Books (2021-2018)

  • Forster, Dion A. (2021). Engaging ’Kyrkan och kampen för ett bättre samhälle’: Dissenting Protestantism and the Merit Trap. In Vänskap/Friendship: Festschrift för Arne Rasmusson, edited by O. Sigurdson & J. 293–317. Svenungsson. Malmö: Spricka förlag.
  • Forster, Dion A. (2021). Social Identity Complexity and a Politics of Forgiveness among Black and White South Africans. In Moral Pedagogies for Africa: From Ethnic Enmity to Responsible Cohabitation, edited by Theodros A. Teklu, 135–58. Studies in World Christianity and Interreligious Relations. New York, NY.: Routledge, 2021.
  • Forster, D. A. (2021). Religious Diversity and Social Cohesion: The Importance of Mediated Inter-Group Contact in the Workplace in South Africa, in 12 Lenses Into Diversity in South Africa, edited by Kurt A. April and Preeya Daya, 177-194. Randburg, South Africa: KR Publishing, 2021.
  • Forster, D. A. (2020). Ordained Deacons and the Sacraments in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa? Revisiting Our Doctrine and Polity, in Broken Bodies and Redemptive Tables: The Lord’s Supper and Its Theological, Historical and Socio-Political Dimensions, edited by Robert R. Vosloo, Sipho Sidwell Mahokoto, and Marthinus Johannes Havenga, 181–200. Stellenbosch Theological Reflection. Wellington, South Africa: Bybel-Media
  • Forster, D. A. (2020). Can contextual theology bridge the divide? South Africa’s politics of forgiveness as an example of a contextual public theology, in Bergmann, S. & Vähäkangas, M. (Eds.), Liberating Theology. Swedish Institute for Contextual Theology, Lund.
  • Forster, Dion A. (2020). “The Nature of Public Theology.” In African Public Theology, edited by Sunday Bobai Agang, H. Jurgens Hendriks, and Dion A Forster, 15–26. Carlisle, Cumbria: Langham Partnership: Hippo Books, 2020.
  • Forster, Dion A. (2020). “Towards an (Im)Possible Politics of Forgiveness? Considering the Complexities of Religion, Race and Politics in South Africa.” In Reconciliation, Forgiveness and Violence in Africa: Biblical, Pastoral and Ethical Perspectives, edited by Marius J. Nel, Dion A Forster, and Christo H. Thesnaar, (51–69). Stellenbosch: SUN Press.
  • Forster, Dion A. “Uma Abordagem Da Teologia Pública Na África Do Sul Em Diálogo Critico Com Influências Selecionadas Do Brasil, Da Alemanha Edos Estados Unidos Da América.” In Teologia Pública No Brasil e Na África Do Sul – Um Diálogo Teológico-Político, edited by Rudolf von Sinner, Claudete Beisa Ulrich, and Dion A Forster, 107–34. Sao Leopoldo, Brazil: Editora Sinodal, 2020.
  • Forster, D.A. and April, K.A. (2020). Religion and diversity management in the southern African context. In N.M.H. Carrim & L. Moolman (eds.). Managing diversity in the South African Workplace, (94-114), Cape Town: Van Schaik.
  • Forster, D.A., and Nadine Bowers Du Toit. (2019) “Activating Moral Imagination: ‘EXPOSED – Shine a Light on Corruption’ as a Fourth Generation Faith-Based Campaign?” In A Multidimensional Perspective on Corruption in Africa: Wealth, Power, Religion and Democracy, edited by Sunday Bobai Agang, Pregala Pillay, and Chris Jones, 424. Cambridge: Cambridge Scholars Publishing.
  • Forster, D. A. (2019). Social identity, social media, and society: A call for public theological engagement. In G. Ulshöfer (Ed.), Theologische Medienethik im digitalen Zeitalter [Theological Media Ethics in a Digital Age] (pp. 85-106). Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer.
  • Forster, D.A., and Wabel, T. (2019). Translation Revisited: The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Transformation of Social Imaginaries, in Werner Haußmann, Andrea Roth, Susanne Schwarz, and Christa Tribula (Eds.), EinFach Übersetzen: Theologie Und Religionspädagogik in Der Öffentlichkeit Und Für Die Öffentlichkeit, Volume 33, (pp.203–18). Stuttgart: W. Kohlhammer Verlag.
  • Forster, D.A., (2019) From “prophetic witness” to “prophets of Doom”? The role of religion in the South African public sphere, in Forster, DA., Gerle, E, Gunner, G (Eds.), Religious Freedom at Stake: Competing claims among Faith Traditions, Sates and Persons, (pp.18-39), Eugene, OR.: Wipf and Stock.
  • Forster, D.A., (2018). ‘Research on Forgiveness – Dion Forster’ in Research at Stellenbosch University: Showcasing Research Excellence 100 Years, edited by Eugene Cloete, pp.29–31. Stellenbosch: Stellenbosch University.
  • Forster, D.A., (2018). Affect, Empathy, and Human Dignity? Considering Compassion at the Intersection of Theology and Science. In L.J. Claassens & F. De Lange (Eds.). Eugene, OR: Pickwick Publications Consider Compassion: Global Ethics, Human Dignity, and the Compassionate God, pp.3–16.
  • Forster, D.A., April, KA, Makgoba, T., (2018). Spirituality and Workplace diversity practices in Africa, in Religious Diversity in the Workplace. ISBN: 9781107136038, pp.223-263.