Christopher Morse

Christopher Morse (born 1935) is an American Christian theologian. He is Dietrich Bonhoeffer Professor of Theology and Ethics at Union Theological Seminary in New York City.


Raised in Virginia, Morse received a B.A. degree in philosophy from Randolph-Macon College, an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, and an S.T.M. and Ph.D. from Union Theological Seminary. He is an ordained Elder in the United Methodist Church.


Morse's areas of scholarly concentration are dogmatics and ethics. He teaches extensively on the great systematic and dogmatic theologians, especially John Calvin, Karl Barth, Thomas Aquinas, and F.D.E. Schleiermacher.

Prominent in his main work, Not Every Spirit, is the notion of "faithful disbelief", a reference to 1 John 4:1. Essentially, Morse stands the older dogmatic traditions on their head. While most theologians argue for what Christians should believe, Morse argues for what people of faith should not believe, but rather actively "disbelieve".

Some examples of Morse's "Christian Disbeliefs" are:

He has argued that there is a charge from God upon the Christian community to discern the will of God again in every generation, time, and place and to we watchful for those aspects of the tradition which are unfaithful to the will and Word of God.

Morse's work shows that he has been deeply shaped by the theology of Karl Barth. However, he is clearly no Barthian, and is additionally influenced by the classical theologies of Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, John Wesley, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Huldrych Zwingli. Among recent theologians, Morse has been deeply influenced by the work of Reformed theologians Jurgen Moltmann, H. Richard Niebuhr, and Paul Lehmann. Morse's work could be categorized as an example of the so-called Yale School theology.

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