Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

John P. Burgess

James Henry Snowden Professor of Systematic Theology
Year Started at PTS: 1998

Contact Info



  • Ph.D., University of Chicago / Christian Theology, 1986
  • M.Div., McCormick Theological Seminary, 1983
  • M.A., University of Chicago / Religion, 1980
  • B.A., Colorado College / Philosophy/Native American Studies, 1976


The Rev. Dr. John P. Burgess has taught at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary since 1998. Previously he was professor and chaplain at Doane College and associate for theology in the Office of Theology and Worship, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). He was awarded his bachelor’s from Colorado College, his M.Div. from McCormick Theological Seminary, and his Ph.D. in Christian theology from the University of Chicago. An ordained Presbyterian minister, Burgess has served several congregations part time. His publications include Encounters with Orthodoxy: How Protestant Churches Can Reform Themselves Again, The East German Church and the End of Communism, Why Scripture Matters: Reading the Bible in a Time of Church Conflict, and After Baptism: Shaping the Christian Life. He also edited In Whose Image: Faith, Science, and the New Genetics, and co-edited What Is Justification About?: Reformed Contributions to an Ecumenical Theme. Burgess’ professional memberships include the American Academy of Religion (where he serves on the steering committee of the Reformed History and Theology Group), the Society of Christian Ethics, and the American Theological Society. He has served his denomination through the Presbyteries’ Cooperative Committee on Examinations and the Re-forming Ministry Initiative (Office of Theology and Worship), and is currently a faculty mentor for the Company of New Pastors, a Lilly Endowment-funded program that assists Presbyterian candidates in the transition from seminary into ordained ministry. Burgess was a Fulbright Scholar to Russia in the fall of 2011, a Luce Fellow in Theology for 2011-2012, and a research fellow at the Center of Theological Inquiry during the 2014-2015 academic year. These awards have supported his current research on the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in shaping a new national identity for post-communist Russia. Burgess is married and has three daughters, who are also his theological teachers.

Church Associations

Ordination: PC(USA), 1984 as Minister of Word and Sacrament

Professional Competencies

Areas of Specialty

  • Ecclesiology
  • Worship and Sacraments
  • Theology of Karl Barth
  • Orthodox Church in Post-Communist Russia
  • Protestant Church in Post-Communist Eastern Germany

Professional Service

Board Service

  • Fellow of the Center for Barth Studies, Princeton Theological Seminary
  • Steering Committee and Reformed History and Theology Group, American Academy of Religion

Leadership for Professional Societies

  • Faculty Mentor, Company of New Pastors (Lilly-funded program for supporting pastors in their first call), Office of Theology and Worship, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)


  • Research Fellow, Center of Theological Inquiry, 2014-2015
  • Luce Fellow in Theology, 2012
  • Fulbright Scholar, 2011

Additional Resources

High res image
"In-Churching Russia," First Things, May 2014. In this article, Dr. Burgess discusses observations of the reemergence of the Orthodox Church in post-Soviet Russia through the eyes of an American Protestant.


Chapel Audio 1
Chapel Audio 2
Chapel Audio 3