Richard Mouw

Richard Mouw

Richard J. Mouw is currently President at Fuller Theological Seminary. He also holds the post of Professor of Christian Philosophy.

Education and Career

Mouw was educated at Houghton College from which he received the B.A. degree. He then studied for the M.Div degree at Western Theological Seminary. He was awarded the M.A. from the University of Alberta, and his PhD. degree from the University of Chicago.

Mouw was Professor of Christian philosophy at Calvin College for seventeen years. He has also served as a visiting professor to the Free University of Amsterdam. He was appointed Professor of Christian Philosophy and Ethics at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1985. In 1993 he was elected president of Fuller Theological Seminary.

During the 1970s Mouw was noted as an innovative evangelical thinker and activist at Calvin College alongside of Stephen Monsma and Paul Henry. Mouw was identified by political scientist Robert Booth Fowler as being one of the important voices in what Fowler dubbed "reform-oriented evangelicals". For example Mouw was among several evangelicals involved in the 1973 Conference of Evangelicals for Social Concern, and was a signatory to that conference's declaratory statement "An Historic Moment for Biblical Social Concern". Mouw's concerns for social justice issues is reflected in his membership in various organizations such as the International Justice Mission, International Center for Religion and Diplomacy, and Christians for Biblical Equality.

He has written extensively on Christian social justice matters, as well as on philosophical topics. He has been a keen advocate of interpreting contemporary culture and suggesting fresh avenues for Christian engagement with culture. He has also urged evangelicals to have a deeper appreciation of their own heritage, particularly in their hymnology and fundamentalist values.

In 2000 he delivered the Stoeb Lectures in which he reanalysed the theological concept of common grace. This topic has had a history of debate within Protestant circles generally, and among Calvinist and Arminian theologians. Mouw's lectures generated a written response from the supralapsarian Calvinist David Engelsma, and they have also held a public debate with each other over the subject.


Mouw has also been noted for his advocacy of a change of attitude and tactics among evangelicals when encountering devotees of new religious movements. This is reflected in the foreword he composed to the apologetics text "The New Mormon Challenge" where he applauded the authors for their efforts to respond to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at a level of intellectual cogency, by using lofty standards of scholarship and maintaining ethical integrity in their unswerving commitment to orthodoxy. Similarly, he endorsed the literary debate between Craig Blomberg (evangelical New Testament scholar) and Stephen Robinson (a Mormon scholar) in the book "How Wide the Divide?" (InterVarsity Press, 1997). He has also endorsed the broader cross-cultural missions position presented by various American, Canadian and Australian evangelicals in the book "Encountering New Religious Movements" (Kregel 2004).

Mouw's stance on dialogue with scholars and leaders of the LDS Church has generated some controversy among Christian apologists in the Christian countercult movement. In November 2004 he offered an apology to Mormons for the way in which many evangelicals have treated the Mormon faith in countercult books, stating:

I know that I have learned much in this continuing dialogue, and I am now convinced that we evangelicals have often seriously misrepresented the beliefs and practices of the Mormon community. Indeed, let me state it bluntly to the LDS folks here this evening: we have sinned against you. The God of the Scriptures makes it clear that it is a terrible thing to bear false witness against our neighbors, and we have been guilty of that sort of transgression in things we have said about you. We have told you what you believe without making a sincere effort first of all to ask you what you believe.

He made this apology in introductory remarks at a speaking event where the Christian evangelist Ravi Zacharias was the featured speaker at the Salt Lake Tabernacle at Temple Square in Salt Lake City, Utah. He has also been the object of criticism from some countercultural apologists for his back cover remarks on a book written by the Mormon scholar Robert Millet that was published by Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co..


* "Political Evangelism" (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1973).
* "Politics and the Biblical Drama" (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1976).
* "Called to Holy Worldliness" (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980).
* "Objections to Christianity" (Grand Rapids: Bible Way, 1981).
* "When The Kings Come Marching In: Isaiah and the New Jerusalem" (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1983).
* "Distorted Truth: What Every Christian Needs to Know About the Battle for the Mind" (San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1989).
* "Stained Glass: Worldviews and Social Science", ed. with Paul A. Marshall and Sander Griffioen (Lanham: University Press of America, 1989).
* "The God Who Commands" (Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, 1990).
* "Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World" (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1992).
* "Pluralisms and Horizons: An Essay in Christian Public Philosophy", with Sander Griffioen (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1993).
* "Consulting the Faithful: What Christian Intellectuals Can Learn from Popular Religion" (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1994).
* "The Smell of Sawdust: What Evangelicals Can Learn from Their Fundamentalist Heritage" (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2000).
* "He Shines in all that's Fair: Culture and Common Grace" (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2001).
* "Wonderful Words of Life: Hymns in American Protestant History and Theology", with Mark A. Noll (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2004).
* "Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport: Making Connections in Today's World" (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2004).
* "Praying at Burger King" (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 2007).

* "Foreword" in "The New Mormon Challenge", Francis J. Beckwith, Carl Mosser and Paul Owen, eds. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2002), pp. 11-13.


* David J. Engelsma, "Common Grace Revisited: A Response to Richard Mouw's He Shines in all That's Fair" (Grandville: Reformed Free Publishing Association, 2003).

* Robert Booth Fowler, "A New Engagement: Evangelical Political Thought 1966-1976" (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1982).

* Paul H. Sherry, Book Review of Politics and the Biblical Drama, "Theology Today", 34/2 (July 1977), pp. 199-204. []

External links

* Mouw's Musings: Richard Mouw's Blog []

* Brief Biographical Profile of Mouw at Fuller Seminary []

* "3000 People Attend A Debate on Common Grace" Banner of Truth, News Report on Public Debate between Richard Mouw and David Engelsma []

* Christians For Biblical Equality website []

* Richard Mouw, "Evangelicalism and Philosophy," "Theology Today", 44/3 (October 1987), pp 39-337 []

* "Healing For A Broken World: Christian Perspectives on Public Policy" DVD []

= References to Latter-day Saint Controversy =

Two different reports from evangelical sources on the Zacharias-Mouw speeches with the Latter-day Saints can be compared at:
* Ted Olsen, "Ravi Zacharias and Richard Mouw Speak in Mormon Tabernacle", "Christianity Today", []
* Cory Miller, ""Controversy Surrounds Mormonism Comments by Fuller exec." "Baptist Press" Nov 24 2004. []

*Mouw’s response to criticism of his comments (as well as the text of his comments) can be found at this link: [] (Note: Open the link at the top of the page to view Mouw’s response as a Word document.)

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