Directors' Bicentennial Associate Professor of Theology
Year started at PTS: 2009
- Ph.D., Yale University / Religious Studies (theology)
- Diploma, Berkeley Divinity School, Yale University / Anglican Studies
- M.Phil., Yale University / Religious Studies
- M.A., Yale University / Religious Studies
- M.Phil., Utrecht University / Philosophy
- M.Div., Utrecht University
- B.Div., Utrecht University / Theology
A native of the Netherlands, the Rev. Dr. Edwin Chr. van Driel earned his B.Div., M.Div., and M.Phil. in philosophy from Utrecht University. In 2000 he came to the United States for further graduate work in theology, and received an M.A., M.Phil., and Ph.D. in religious studies from Yale University, as well as a diploma in Anglican studies from Berkeley Divinity School at Yale. Van Driel taught for two years at Fordham University before receiving a call to Pittsburgh Theological Seminary in 2009. In 2013 he was appointed to the Directors' Bicentennial Chair of Theology at PTS.
Van Driel's main theological interests are in Christology, ecclesiology, and eschatology. His first book, Incarnation Anyway (OUP, 2008) deals with the divine motivation for the incarnation: is it contingent upon sin, or does God have deeper motives to become human? Van Driel suggests the latter, arguing that in friendship and love God wants to come as close to creation as God can – by coming among us as a human being. Van Driel continues to write essays expounding the latter, supralapsarian take on Christology. In addition, he is engaged in two other research projects, both of which have generated a number of book essays and journal articles. One project offers a theological reading of contemporary Pauline exegesis. His thesis is that the difference between traditional Protestant Pauline exegesis and contemporary readings of Paul (New Perspective on Paul, Apocalyptic reading) is a difference in the assumed narrative substructure of the apostle’s texts, which in turn leads to different readings of Pauline notions like “divine righteousness” and “justification by faith.” The other project deals with what he considers the sore spot of Protestant theology: the doctrines of church and ordination. Van Driel is deeply concerned with the recurring conflicts and schisms in the mainline churches, and tries to develop an ecclesiology that radically departs from our deeply engrained voluntarism and re-thinks the church as constituted by divine covenant, and that simultaneously offers a new starting point for our missional task in a post-Christendom world.
Van Driel is an ordained Minister of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) and served on the church’s committee that produced the denomination’s new hymnal, Glory to God. He was the primary writer of the committee’s “Theological Vision Statement” and “A Statement on Language,” and currently serves on the Editorial Advisory Board of the Book of Common Worship. Van Driel is also involved with the PC(USA)’s 1001 New Worshipping Communities and serves as an advisor to the Seminary’s Church Planting Initiative. He is married to Kimberly Miller van Driel, a pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, and they have two children.
Ordination: PC(USA), 2010 as Minister of Word and Sacrament
Areas of Specialty
Leadership for Professional Societies
- Member, Presbyterian Committee on Congregational Song
- Member, Editorial Advisory Board of the PC(USA)’s Book of Common Worship
- Participant, Theological Consultation 1001 New Worshipping Communities
- 2005: John F. Enders Award, Yale University Graduate School
- 2004: John Perry Miller Award, Yale University Graduate School
The Future of the Church
A couple of years ago Van Driel published an article in Theology Today about the unity of the church. As many in our culture think about the church as a voluntary organization, he proposed to think about the church as grounded in God's covenant of baptism. Van Driel then applied this to the manifold conflicts in the mainline churches: If our unity is not a voluntary unity based on our common convictions, but we are united because we are called together by God in our baptism, what does this mean for how we deal with disagreements in the church? He further developed his argument in the manuscript below.
Chapter 1 - Church and Covenant
Chapter 2 - Outside the (United) Church Is No Salvation
Chapter 3 - Bearing With One Another in Love
Chapter 4 - The Household of God (Rooted in the Future)
Chapter 5 - The Household of God (Living As God's New People)
In the December 2014 issue of Presbyterians Today, Professor van Driel argues that our biggest issue is not conflict in the church but what it means to belong to a church. Read the full article. Used with permission.