College Theology SocietyServing Church and Academy Since 1954


Seventy-First Annual Convention 2025

May 29th-June 1st

University of Dayton (Ohio)

“The Locus of the Theological Vocation"


Nathaniel Holmes (Florida Memorial University)

Ramon Luzarraga (St. Martin's University)

Nancy M. Rourke (St. John Fisher University)


Mortality entails embodiment, so all human experience, knowledge, and wisdom is embedded
into spatial, temporal and social locations. Therefore context shapes theology. Christians’
professional, linguistic, racial, geographic, political, gendered, sexual and ecological locus
informs their faith and their ways of seeking understanding. Because theology’s loci are
evolving, the question appears: Where is theology being done, and how do these “locations”
affect theology itself? Therefore this conference theme considers the interplay between various
contexts of theology, and theology itself. We invite consideration of many kinds of “locations” of
theology, but we hope for a particular focus on the professional contexts of theology.
In recent history, many theologians have lived their theological vocations in academic settings.
This was not always the case, and it may not be the case for much longer. Theologians are
increasingly unable to carry out their vocation professionally. Many theologians and religious
studies scholars work in contingent positions. Colleges and universities that previously required
students to study theology or religious studies are ending these requirements. Colleges and
universities are shuttering theological degree programs, closing theology departments, and
terminating theologians. What additional changes might follow from these changes, and how
might this shift affect theology?
At the same time, the loss of academic positions for theologians might liberate theological
vocations to locate previously overlooked contexts. What forgotten loci for theological vocations
might now be found? Might the fading of academic theology make room for theological,
pastoral, ecclesiological or missiological renewal?
We invite papers to engage three related questions, as follows.
Question 1: How do theologians’ loci affect their theological work?
Within this first question, papers might consider:
How does one’s social or geographical locus affect one’s theological reflection, scholarship,
topics or conclusions?
How do theologians’ locations inform their specific theological expectations or responsibilities?
How has the context of academia shaped theology? How might theology evolve when brought
to public scholarship media (podcasting, tiktok, etc.)?
How has the work of teaching impacted the methods or content of theology?
How might a theologian navigate disconnects between guild and employer?
How does the contingency of an academic position affect one’s theological work?
How is theology affected by the dynamics of contingency when intersected with other particular
How does the work of theology change when one moves between contexts, such as exiting
academia, or experiencing other transitions?
What roles do theological professional societies play in theologians’ work, or in the evolution of
Question 2: How will theology’s evolving context impact the life of the Church or the academy?
Within this broader question, papers might consider:
What might we expect of theology as the number of theologians in the academy decreases?
How might a diminished presence of theology affect higher education?
Are there patterns or lessons to learn from how the context of theological work globally impacts
the life of the Church or of the academy?
What might the Church be like with fewer professional theologians?
How might the Church change as fewer graduates of religiously affiliated colleges and
universities have been exposed to theology as an academic discipline? For example, what
methods of biblical hermeneutics will prevail when fewer undergraduates are exposed to
scholarly exegesis?
In what ways will climate instability shape theology’s future?

Question 3: Where is the path forward for theology?
Within this pragmatic question, papers might consider:
What new loci or overlooked spaces might serve as a new habitat for theology?
How might AI impact theology, and what human theological responses are needed?
What resources from our biblical and ecclesial pasts might help us navigate large-scale
theological displacement?
What resources or mechanisms globally might offer prudential paths forward?
How will graduate seminaries shepherd new cohorts who are less likely to encountered
theological or biblical scholarship?
What dioceses, synods or local churches include unique niches for their local theologians?
Where might we find models for providing theological education outside of higher education?
What examples or models might demonstrate benefits of theological work done in nonacademic
What examples or models might guide theologians in resisting this shift?
What theological resources would help us to navigate our increasing climate instability?
What theological responses to our common changing loci would best serve the Church?


Scholars who are invited to present their work at a national convention of the College Theology Society must be current members of the CTS in order to appear in the program.  No person may submit more than one proposal for consideration nor will submissions to multiple sections be considered.  Failure to observe these policies may result in the scholar's disqualification to present a paper at the Annual Convention.

The National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion will once again be joining us this year.

Further questions about our 2025 Annual Convention can be submitted by email to Dan Rober.

The College Theology Society is a registered, non-profit professional society and a Related Scholarly Organization of the American Academy of Religion.


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