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Alister McGrath

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Title: Alister McGrath  
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Subject: List of Christian apologetic works, The Dawkins Delusion?, Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, Thomas F. Torrance, A Scientific Theology
Collection: 1953 Births, 20Th-Century Theologians, 21St-Century Theologians, Academics of King's College London, Alumni of Linacre College, Oxford, Alumni of Merton College, Oxford, Alumni of Wadham College, Oxford, Anglican Priests, Anglican Priests from Northern Ireland, Anglican Theologians, Anglicans from Northern Ireland, Calvinist and Reformed Ministers, Christian Apologists, Christian Scholars, Christian Theologians, Converts to Anglicanism from Atheism or Agnosticism, Critics of Atheism, English Anglicans, Former Atheists and Agnostics, Living People, People Educated at Down High School, People Educated at Methodist College Belfast, People from Belfast, Priests from Northern Ireland, Principals of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, Professors of Gresham College, Theistic Evolutionists
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Alister McGrath

The Reverend
Alister McGrath
Born Alister Edgar McGrath
(1953-01-23) 23 January 1953
Belfast, Northern Ireland
Nationality Irish and British
Occupation Theologian, priest, historian, apologist, professor, scientist
Spouse(s) Joanna Collicutt
Theological work
Language British English
Tradition or movement Anglicanism
Notable ideas Theistic evolution, Renewal of Natural Theology

Alister Edgar McGrath (born 23 January 1953) is a Northern Irish theologian, priest, intellectual historian, scientist, and Christian apologist. He currently holds the Andreas Idreos Professorship in Science and Religion in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford,[1] and is Professor of Divinity at Gresham College.[2] He was previously Professor of Theology, Ministry, and Education at King's College London and Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture.,[3] Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Oxford, and was principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, until 2005. He is an Anglican priest and is ordained within the Church of England.[4][5]

Aside from being a faculty member at Oxford, McGrath has also taught at Cambridge University and is a Teaching Fellow at Regent College. McGrath holds three doctorates from the University of Oxford, a DPhil in Molecular Biophysics, a Doctor of Divinity in Theology and a Doctor of Letters in Intellectual History.

McGrath is noted for his work in historical theology, systematic theology, and the relationship between science and religion, as well as his writings on apologetics.[6] He is also known for his opposition to New Atheism and antireligionism and his advocacy of theological critical realism.[7][8][9][10][11] Among his best-known books are The Twilight of Atheism, The Dawkins Delusion, Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life, and A Scientific Theology.[12] He is also the author of a number of popular textbooks on theology.[13]


  • Biography 1
  • Views 2
  • Writings 3
  • References 4
  • Further reading 5
  • External links 6


McGrath was born in Linacre College, Oxford, for the academic year 1975-6, and to a Domus Senior Scholarship at Merton College, Oxford, for the period 1976-8. During these three years, he carried out scientific research while studying for the Oxford University Final Honour School of Theology. He was awarded an Oxford D.Phil. for his research in molecular biophysics (December 1977), and gained first class honours in Theology in June 1978.[14]

McGrath then left Oxford to work at Cambridge University, where he also studied for ordination in the Church of England. In September 1980, he was ordained deacon and began ministry as a curate at St Leonard's Parish Church, Wollaton, Nottingham, in the English East Midlands. He was ordained priest at Southwell Minster in September 1981. In 1983, he was appointed lecturer in Christian doctrine and ethics at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, and a member of the Oxford University Faculty of Theology. He spent the fall semester of 1990 as the Ezra Squire Tipple Visiting Professor of Historical Theology at the Divinity School of Drew University, Madison, New Jersey.[14]

McGrath was elected University Research Lecturer in Theology at Oxford University in 1993 and also served as research professor of theology at Regent College, Vancouver, from 1993 to 1999. In 1995, he was elected Principal of Wycliffe Hall and in 1999 was awarded a personal chair in theology by Oxford University with the title "Professor of Historical Theology". He was awarded the Oxford degree of Doctor of Divinity in 2001 for his research in historical and systematic theology,[14] and was a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion.[15] On 1 September 2008 McGrath took up the Chair of Theology, Ministry and Education in the Department of Education and Professional Studies at King's College London. In 2010 McGrath was included in "The 20 Most Brilliant Christian Professors" list.[16] In 2013 he was awarded his third doctorate from Oxford University, a DLitt, Division of Humanities, for research into science and religion, and natural theology. He is married to Joanna Collicutt McGrath and they have two grown up children.[17]

In 2014 McGrath was appointed the 32nd Professor of Divinity at Gresham College, a position dating back to 1597.[2] In this position he is to deliver a series of free public lectures on Science, Faith, and God: The Big Questions,[18] in which he hopes to present "a coherent exploration of how Christian Theology can engage with concerns and debates within modern culture, focussing on one of its leading elements – the natural sciences."[19]


A former atheist,[20][21] McGrath accepts evolution.[22][23] In 2004 McGrath suggested in The Twilight of Atheism that atheism was in decline. He has been highly critical of Richard Dawkins, calling him "embarrassingly ignorant of Christian theology". His book: The Dawkins Delusion? – a response to Dawkins's The God Delusion – was published by SPCK in February 2007, and the two had public debate on the topic, "Does religious belief damage the health of a society, or is it necessary to provide the moral and ethical foundations of a healthy society?"[24]

McGrath has also debated with

Academic offices
Preceded by
R. T. France
Principal of Wycliffe Hall, Oxford
Succeeded by
Richard Turnbull
Preceded by
Andreas Idreos Professorship in Science and Religion in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Raymond Plant, Baron Plant of Highfield
Professor of Divinity at Gresham College
Succeeded by
  • Alister McGrath homepage
  • Open Forum with Alister McGrath - 'Is God a Delusion? Atheism and the Meaning of Life'
  • Alister McGrath on The Hour (CBC television)
  • Richard Dawkins Interviews Alister McGrath Video
  • Alister McGrath talks to Nigel Bovey of The War Cry: Part 1; Part 2
  • Christopher Hitchens debates (with) Alister McGrath
  • Alister McGrath debates with Peter Atkins at Edinburgh University
  • Alister McGrath debates Sue Blackmore at Bristol University on the motion that "belief in God is a dangerous delusion". 13 November 2007.
  • Full texts of McGrath's 2009 Gifford Lectures on natural theology

External links

  • Chung, S. W. (ed.). Alister E. McGrath and Evangelical Theology: A Dynamic Engagement. Carlisle: Paternoster, 2003. ISBN 978-0-8010-2639-3
  • Keating, James F. "The Natural Sciences as an Ancilla Theologiae Nova: Alister E. McGrath's A Scientific Theology." The Thomist 69 (2005): 127-52.
  • Myers, Benjamin. "Alister McGrath's Scientific Theology." Reformed Theological Review 64 (2005): 15-34.
  • Shipway, Brad. "The Theological Application of Bhaskar's Stratified Reality: The Scientific Theology of A. E. McGrath." Journal of Critical Realism 3 (2004): 191-203.

Further reading

  1. ^ [2]
  2. ^ a b 'Gresham College Press Release, 08/04/15' (accessed 8 April 2015)
  3. ^  
  4. ^ Banner of Truth Trust General Articles
  5. ^ What is an Evangelical Anglican?
  6. ^
  7. ^ Sound and fury of the New Atheists - Alister McGrath - The Times (London) -
  8. ^ Why God Won't Go Away: Reflections on the "New Atheism"
  9. ^ Thank God for the New Atheism – Opinion – ABC Religion & Ethics (Australian Broadcasting Corporation)
  10. ^ Theology and reality: Critical realism in the thought of Alister E. McGrath - Udini
  11. ^ Wipf and Stock Publishers
  12. ^ Alister McGrath | Participants | Profile | Closer to Truth
  13. ^ Prof. Alister E. McGrath - Home
  14. ^ a b c Biography on official website
  15. ^ ISSR List of founding members
  16. ^ The 20 Most Brilliant Christian Professors
  17. ^ World-leading Theologian joins King's
  18. ^ 'Science, Faith, and God: The Big Questions' on the Gresham College website (accessed 8 April 2015)
  19. ^ 'Professor Alister McGrath' on the Gresham College website (accessed 8 April 2015)
  20. ^ Nigel Bovey. "Alister McGrath talks of God, science and Richard Dawkins".  
  21. ^ Interview on CBC: The Hour 18 May 2007
  22. ^ Nigel Bovey. "Alister McGrath talks of God, science and Richard Dawkins".  
  23. ^ Roger Morris. Is 'Theistic Evolution' a Cop-Out?. Faith Interface. Modern proponents of theistic evolution include: Dr Francis Collins, former director of the Human Genome Project and author of The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (2007). Prof Alister McGrath, former Oxford molecular biophysicist and current Professor of Theology, Ministry and Education, and Head of the Centre for Theology, Religion and Culture at King's College, London. He is the author of numerous books and textbooks on Natural Theology and Scientific Theology. Rev. Dr John Polkinghorne, Physicist and Theologian from Cambridge University. 
  24. ^ "Audio Visual Resources".  , includes sound recording of the Dawkins-McGrath debate
  25. ^ NOBTS - Alister McGrath and Daniel Dennett debate the future of atheism at Greer-Heard
  26. ^ Christopher Hitchens Debates Alister McGrath -
  27. ^
  28. ^ Unedited footage of McGrath's interview
  29. ^ Science and Religion: A New Introduction - Google Books


  • Understanding the Trinity, Grand Rapids: Academie Books, 1988,  
  • Understanding Doctrine, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1992,  
  • Bridge-Building, Leicester: Inter-Varsity Press, 1992,  
  • Intellectuals Don't Need God & Other Modern Myths, Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1993,  
  • The Renewal of Anglicanism, Harrisburg: Morehouse, 1993,  
  • A Life of John Calvin (1993) ISBN 0-631-18947-5
  • A Passion for Truth: The Intellectual Coherence of Evangelicalism (1996) ISBN 0-8308-1866-9
  • Iustitia Dei, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998,  
  • Science and Religion: An Introduction (1998) ISBN 0-631-20842-9
  • Historical Theology: An Introduction to the History of Christian Thought (1998) ISBN 0-631-20844-5
  • I Believe: Exploring the Apostles' Creed (1998) ISBN 0-8308-1946-0
  • T. F. Torrance: An Intellectual Biography (1999) ISBN 0-567-08683-6
  • The Journey: A Pilgrim in the Lands of the Spirit (2000) ISBN 978-0-385-49588-2
  • Christian Theology: An Introduction (2001) ISBN 0-631-22528-5 (often used as a seminary textbook)
  • The Christian Theology Reader (2001) ISBN 0-631-20637-X (containing primary sources referred to in his Christian Theology)
  • In the Beginning : The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language,and a Culture (2001) ISBN 0-385-72216-8
  • Glimpsing the Face of God: The Search for Meaning in the Universe (2001) ISBN 0-8028-3980-0
  • The Reenchantment of Nature: The Denial of Religion and the Ecological Crisis (2002) ISBN 978-0-385-50059-3
  • Knowing Christ (2002) ISBN 0-385-50316-4
  • A Scientific Theology v. 3 (2003) ISBN 0-567-08349-7
  • A Brief History of Heaven (2003) ISBN 0-631-23354-7
  • The Intellectual Origins of the European Reformation (2003) ISBN 0-631-22939-6
  • The Twilight of Atheism: The Rise and Fall of Disbelief in the Modern World (2004) ISBN 0-385-50061-0
  • Dawkins' God: Genes, Memes, and the Meaning of Life (2004) ISBN 1-4051-2538-1 (A critique of scientist Richard Dawkins' attitude towards religion)
  • Christianity's Dangerous Idea: The Protestant Revolution from the Sixteenth to the Twenty-First Century (2007) ISBN 978-0-06-082213-2
  • The Dawkins Delusion? (2007) ISBN 0-281-05927-6 (A critical response to Dawkins' book The God Delusion)
  • The Open Secret: A New Vision for Natural Theology (2008) ISBN 978-1-4051-2691-5
  • A Fine-Tuned Universe: The Quest for God in Science and Theology (2009) ISBN 0-664-23310-4
  • Heresy: A History of Defending the Truth (2009) ISBN 978-0-06-082214-9
  • Mere Theology: Christian Faith and the Discipleship of the Mind (2010) ISBN 0-281-06209-9
  • Chosen Ones (Series: The Aedyn Chronicles Volume: 1) (2010) ISBN 0-310-71812-0
  • Surprised by Meaning: Science, Faith, and How We Make Sense of Things (2011) ISBN 0-664-236-928
  • Why God Won't Go Away: Engaging with the New Atheism (2011) ISBN 0-281-06387-7
  • Flight of the Outcasts (Series: The Aedyn Chronicles Volume: 2) (2011) ISBN 0-310-71813-9
  • Darkness Shall Fall (Series: The Aedyn Chronicles Volume: 3) (2011) ISBN ISBN 978-0-310-71814-7
  • Reformation Thought: An Introduction (2012) ISBN 0-470-67281-1
  • Darwinism and the Divine: Evolutionary Thought and Natural Theology (Oxford: Blackwell-Wiley, 2011). The 2009 Hulsean Lectures at the University of Cambridge
  • The Intellectual World of C. S. Lewis (2013) ISBN 978-0-470-67279-2
  • C. S. Lewis- A Life: Eccentric Genius, Reluctant Prophet (2013)
  • The Big Question: Why We Can’t Stop Talking About Science, Faith, and God (2015), St. Martin's Press, ISBN 978-1-250-07792-9

Among McGrath's more notable works are:


[29] He states that he is not opposed to atheism itself, but rather the views of atheism held by people such as Dawkins.[28] McGrath's interview was not included in the final cut, but the unedited footage is available online.The Root of All Evil? and faith in general for the television documentary Dawkins' God about his book Richard Dawkins He was interviewed by [27] on whether belief in God is a delusion. Veritas Forum at the David Helfand. McGrath has debated existence of God on the Susan Blackmore on the topic 'Darwin and Humanity: Should We Rid the Mind of God?' In November 2007 later that year, he debated University of Edinburgh at the Peter Atkins In March 2007, McGrath debated [26][25]

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