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Full Professor of Ethics and Head of Department, Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, Director of the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology, Stellenbosch University

Dion is Head of Department, Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, Full Professor in Systematic Theology, Ethics and Public Theology, and Director of the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology. Dion holds two PhD degrees. His first PhD is in theology and science (specialising in intersubjective identity, cognitive neuroscience and African relational ontology, 2006). His second PhD was awarded at Radboud University, in the Netherlands with a focus on intercultural hermeneutics and the 'politics' forgiveness among Black and White South Africans (2017).

His research is focussed in the areas of Public Theologies and Christian Ethics, with a focus on political ethics and economic ethics and the roles of faith communities and faith identity as they operate in the various publics of society.

Experience

  • 2014–present
    Head of Department, Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, Associate Professor in Ethics and Public Theology, Director of the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology, Stellenbosch University

Education

  • 2017 
    Radboud University, Nijmegen, PhD (New Testament and Social Identity)
  • 2008 
    Stellenbosch University, SMDP
  • 2006 
    University of South Africa, PhD (Theology and Science)
  • 2001 
    Rhodes University, MTh
  • 1997 
    Rhodes University, BTh.Hons

Publications

  • 2022
    Social Identity Complexity and a Politics of Forgiveness among Black and White South Africans, 1. Forster, Dion A. (2022). 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, 2022. DOI: DOI: 10.4324/9781003178101-10.
  • 2021
    Engaging ’Kyrkan och kampen för ett bättre samhälle’: Dissenting Protestantism and the Merit Trap, 2. 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.
  • 2021
    Religious Diversity and Social Cohesion: The Importance of Mediated Inter-Group Contact in the Workplace in South Africa, 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.
  • 2021
    A Critical Consideration of the Relationship Between African Christianities and American Evangelicalism: A Cautionary Tale of Theo-Political Exceptionalism?, 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.
  • 2021
    I Must Honestly Confess That I Am Afraid of You’: Prophetic Preaching as Public Theological Engagement in a Context of Socio-Political Fear, 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.
  • 2021
    ‘Towards a Future with Greater Freedoms for All: Historical Theological Engagement with Mary-Anne Plaatjies-Van Huffel’s Contribution to Religion and Law’, 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.
  • 2021
    Post-Foundational Theology and the Contribution of African Approaches to Consciousness and Identity, 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.
  • 2021
    ‘Born Free? South African Young Adults, Inequality, and Reconciliation in Stellenbosch’, 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.
  • 2020
    A Politics of Forgiveness? Engaging the Ontological and the Structural in the Dialogical Theology of John de Gruchy, 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
  • 2020
    Religion and diversity management in the southern African context, 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.
  • 2020
    Towards an (Im)Possible Politics of Forgiveness? Considering the Complexities of Religion, Race and Politics in South Africa, 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.
  • 2020
    Uma Abordagem Da Teologia Pública Na África Do Sul Em Diálogo Critico Com Influências Selecionadas Do Brasil, Da Alemanha Edos Estados Unidos Da América, 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.
  • 2020
    Ordained Deacons and the Sacraments in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa? Revisiting Our Doctrine and Polity, 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
  • 2020
    Can contextual theology bridge the divide? South Africa’s politics of forgiveness as an example of a contextual public theology, 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.
  • 2020
    The Nature of Public Theology, 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.
  • 2020
    Reflecting on the nature of work in contemporary South Africa: A public theological engagement with calling and vocation, 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
  • 2019
    The (im)possibility of forgiveness? An empirical intercultural Bible reading of Matthew 18.15-35, Forster, D.A. 2019. The (im)possibility of forgiveness? An empirical intercultural Bible reading of Matthew 18.15-35. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock.
  • 2019
    A Kairos Moment for the Methodist Church of Southern Africa? Engaging Nationalism and State Theology in the Democratic South Africa, 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
  • 2019
    New directions in evangelical theologies, Forster, D.A. (2019). New directions in evangelical theologies. Theology, 123(1), 1–9.
  • 2019
    State Theology and Political Populism? A Kairos Critique of Religious Populism in South Africa., 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
  • 2019
    Taking back the ‘sex thing’: Patriarchal bargaining and race among the Worthy Women of God, 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.
  • 2019
    A Social Imagination of Forgiveness., 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.
  • 2019
    Worship as ‘Protest’: Johan Cilliers as a Public Theologian?, 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.
  • 2019
    From “prophetic witness” to “prophets of Doom”? The role of religion in the South African public sphere, 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.
  • 2019
    Translation Revisited: The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe and the Transformation of Social Imaginaries, 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.
  • 2019
    Social identity, social media, and society: A call for public theological engagement, 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.
  • 2019
    Activating Moral Imagination: ‘EXPOSED – Shine a Light on Corruption’ as a Fourth Generation Faith-Based Campaign?, 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.
  • 2018
    Affect, Empathy, and Human Dignity? Considering Compassion at the Intersection of Theology and Science, 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.
  • 2018
    Translation and a politics of forgiveness in South Africa? What black Christians believe, and white Christians do not seem to understand, 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
  • 2018
    Revival, Revolution and Reform in Global Methodism: An Understanding of Christian Perfection as African Christian Humanism in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, 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.
  • 2018
    Democracy and Social Justice in Glocal Contexts, Forster, D.A. (2018). Democracy and Social Justice in Glocal Contexts. International Journal of Public Theology. 12(1):1–4.
  • 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, 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.
  • 2018
    Spirituality and Workplace diversity practices in Africa, in Religious Diversity in the Workplace, 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.
  • 2017
    Justice and the missional framework document of the Dutch Reformed Church, Forster, D.A. and Botha, J. (2017). Justice and the missional framework document of the Dutch Reformed Church. Verbum et Ecclesia.38(1):1-9.
  • 2017
    A public theological approach to the (im)possibility of forgiveness in Matthew 18.15-35: Reading the text through the lens of integral theory, Forster, D.A. (2017). A public theological approach to the (im)possibility of forgiveness in Matthew 18.15-35: Reading the text through the lens of integral theory. In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi, 51 (3):1-10.
  • 2017
    ‘Social Media and Public Theology’, Forster, D.A., (2017). ‘Social Media and Public Theology’. In Theologians and Philosophers Using Social Media: Advice, Tips, and Testimonials, edited by Thomas J Oordt, pp.143–147. San Diego, CA: SacraSage Press.
  • 2017
    The Religious Linguistic Characteristics of the Presence of the Kingdom in the Light of Speech Act Theory (SAT): Christian Ethical Implications, Forster, D.A. and Cho, A. (2017). The Religious Linguistic Characteristics of the Presence of the Kingdom in the Light of Speech Act Theory (SAT): Christian Ethical Implications. Scriptura.
  • 2016
    An appreciative contextual response to Jean-Pierre Wils, ‘Is there a future for “medical ethics”?’ Just Health as a public theological concern, Forster, D.A. (2016). An appreciative contextual response to Jean-Pierre Wils, ‘Is there a future for “medical ethics”?’ Just Health as a public theological concern. In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi, 51 (3).
  • 2016
    A state church? A consideration of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa in the light of Dietrich Bonhoeffer's 'Theological position paper on state and church', Forster, D.A. 2016. A state church? A consideration of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa in the light of Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s ‘Theological position paper on state and church.’ STJ | Stellenbosch Theological Journal, 2(1):61–88.
  • 2015
    Where is the church on Monday? Awakening the church to the theology and practice of ministry and mission in the marketplace, Forster, D.A. & Oosterbrink, J.W. 2015a. Where is the church on Monday? Awakening the church to the theology and practice of ministry and mission in the marketplace. In die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi, 49(3).
  • 2015
    Activating moral imagination: EXPOSED 2013 as a fourth generation faith-based campaign? , Forster, D.A & Bowers-du Toit, N.B. 2015. Activating moral imagination: EXPOSED 2013 as a fourth generation faith-based campaign? STJ | Stellenbosch Theological Journal, 1(1):19–40.
  • 2015
    What hope is there for South Africa? A public theological reflection on the role of the church as a bearer of hope for the future. , Forster, D.A., 2015b. What hope is there for South Africa? A public theological reflection on the role of the church as a bearer of hope for the future. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, 71(1):1–10.
  • 2014
    Called to work: A descriptive analysis of Call42’s research on faith and work in South Africa, Forster, D.A., 2014a. Called to work: A descriptive analysis of Call42’s research on faith and work in South Africa. Koers – Bulletin for Christian Scholarship, 79(2):1–9.
  • 2014
    Mandela and the Methodists: Faith, fallacy and fact., Forster, D.A., 2014b. Mandela and the Methodists: Faith, fallacy and fact. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae, 40 (Church History Society of Southern Africa 40th Anniversary supplement):87–115.
  • 2012
    Between Capital and Cathedral: Essays on Church-State relationships, Bentley, W. & Forster, D.A. 2012. Between Capital and Cathedral: Essays on Church-State relationships. Research Institute for Theology and Religion, Pretoria.
  • 2011
    Transform Your Work Life, 1. Forster, D.A. & Power, G. 2011. Transform Your Work Life. United States. Boise, Idaho: Russell Media.
  • 2010
    Christian and Positive: Reflections on Christianity in an HIV+ world, Forster, D. 2010. Christian and Positive: Reflections on Christianity in an HIV+ world. MMA Publishers, Kempton Park.
  • 2010
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists, Forster, D.A. & Bentley, W. 2010. What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists. First. Methodist Publishing House.
  • 2010
    A generous ontology: Identity as a process of intersubjective discovery – An African theological contribution, Forster, D.A., 2010a. A generous ontology: Identity as a process of intersubjective discovery – An African theological contribution. HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies, 66(1).
  • 2010
    The Church has AIDS: Towards a Positive Theology for an HIV+ Church., Forster, D.A., 2010b. The Church has AIDS: Towards a Positive Theology for an HIV+ Church. EPWORTH REVIEW, One(Two):6–24.
  • 2010
    African relational ontology, individual identity, and Christian theology An African theological contribution towards an integrated relational ontological identity., Forster, D.A., 2010c. African relational ontology, individual identity, and Christian theology An African theological contribution towards an integrated relational ontological identity. Theology, SPCK, 113(874):243–253.
  • 2008
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity. , Forster, D.A. 2008. An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity. 1st ed. AcadSA.
  • 2008
    More Red than Green: A response to global warming and the environment from within the Methodist Church of Southern Africa., Forster, D.A., 2008a. More Red than Green: A response to global warming and the environment from within the Methodist Church of Southern Africa. EPWORTH REVIEW, 35(2):38–52.
  • 2008
    Prophetic witness and social action as holiness in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa’s mission, Forster, D.A. 2008b. Prophetic witness and social action as holiness in the Methodist Church of Southern Africa’s mission. Studia Historiae Ecclesiasticae, XXXIV,(1):411–434.
  • 2008
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission. , Forster, D.A. & Bentley, W. 2008. Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission. 1st ed. AcadSA Publishers.
  • 2007
    Christ at the centre: Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths., Forster, D.A. 2007. Christ at the centre: Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths. Kempton Park: AcadSA Publising.
  • 2006
    Validation of individual consciousness in strong artificial intelligence: an African theological contribution, Forster, Dion Angus. “Validation of Individual Consciousness in Strong Artificial Intelligence: An African Theological Contribution.” PhD, University of South Africa, 2006. http://uir.unisa.ac.za/handle/10500/2361.
  • 2005
    Post-human Consciousness and the Evolutionary Cosmology of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin., Forster, D.A., 2005. Post-human Consciousness and the Evolutionary Cosmology of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Grace and Truth: A Journal of Catholic Reflection for Southern Africa, Vol. 22 No. 2, pp. 29–44.
  • 2001
    An introduction to Wesleyan Spirituality (Wesley Society of South Africa), Forster, D.A. 2001. An introduction to Wesleyan Spirituality (Wesley Society of South Africa). Cape Town: Methodist Publishing House.

Grants and Contracts

  • 2019
    Public Theology
    Role:
    Primary Researcher
    Funding Source:
    Erasmus+ European Union Funding
  • 2019
    Religion and Populism
    Role:
    Primary Researcher
    Funding Source:
    German Academic Exchange Service
  • 2019
    Youth, Religion and Inequality
    Role:
    Joint Researcher
    Funding Source:
    Nagel Institute
  • 2018
    Role:
    Head of Department, Systematic Theology and Ecclesiology, Senior Lecturer in Ethics and Public Theology, Director of the Beyers Naudé Centre for Public Theology
    Funding Source:
    National Research Foundation
  • 2013
    Scholarship for 2nd PhD research
    Role:
    Primary Researcher
    Funding Source:
    Radboud University
  • 2001
    Scholarship for Master of Theology research
    Role:
    Primary Researcher
    Funding Source:
    South Africa National Research Foundation

Professional Memberships

  • Theological Society of South Africa
  • Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies
  • American Academy of Religion

Honours

DAAD Stipendium, NRF rated researcher, World Economic Forum Expert Network, G20 Anti-Racism interfaith Policy Task Team