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Prof. dr. B. van den Toren

Prof. dr. B. van den Toren

Hoogleraar interculturele theologie
Afdeling:Beliefs, ST Beliefs

This is the personal webpage of Benno van den Toren, Professor of Intercultural Theology at the Protestant Theological University (Groningen campus).

Personal introduction

In January 2014, I arrived in Groningen after 8 years of teaching in French-speaking Africa followed by 8 years at Wycliffe Hall, University of Oxford. The experience of teaching theology in a non-western cultural environment deeply influenced by African Traditional Religion and Islam and marked by poverty and injustice has profoundly influenced my theological understanding and approach. It has deepened my confidence in the vibrancy, power and relevance of the Christian faith. It has furthermore deepened my understanding of the contextual nature of all expressions of the Christian faith and the need for a serious theological consideration of the question how the Christian faith can both be faithful to the Triune God and relevant to the different contexts in which it is lived out, both overseas and in the post-Christian West. Faithfulness and relevance of the Christian faith and theology are not necessarily polar opposites, for Christian theology can only be relevant in being true to its proper object: God revealed in the crucified and risen Christ. It is this conviction which makes the serious study of theology highly relevant for the life and message of the church today – and which motivates me in my study and teaching of Christian doctrine.

I am thrilled to be invited to take up a teaching position in Intercultural Theology, because I believe that in this area of globalisation intercultural theological dialogue can be a crucial resource for the renewal of the Church in Western Europe and in other parts of the world. This can only happen if intercultural theology engages in a properly theological discussion: a discussion aimed at deepening and broadening our understanding of God and his mission.

I combine my role at the PThU with an Extraordinary Professorship in the Theology of Charismatic Renewal at the VU University in Amsterdam.  I still retain links with Wycliffe Hall, where I am Project Co-leader of the ‘Configuring Adam and Eve’ funded by Biologos, which studies the interface between new developments in the study of the evolution of the human species on the one hand and theological anthropology on the other. I visit the Faculté de Théologie Evangélique de Bangui (FATEB, Central African Republic) once a year as a Visiting Professor and supervise doctoral candidates at the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies.

Research interests

My current research focuses on the theology of religions (with a special interest in Islam), the theological understanding of multiculturalism, the nature and possibility of (cross-cultural) apologetic witness, pneumatology and the interface of science and faith with a focus on human origins. I further welcome doctoral students with an interest in non-Western (and particularly African) theology.

Candidates for doctoral study interested in working in other areas of historical theology, Christian doctrine, the philosophy of religion and intercultural theology are also welcome to apply. In such cases, I will share the supervision with other specialists in the department of Systematic and Intercultural Theology.

Recent publications


  • Christian Apologetics as Cross-Cultural Dialogue (London: T. & T. Clark/Continuum, October 2011), 262 pp., ISBN 978-0-567-05276-6 (hardback), 978-0-567-16916-7 (paperback)
  • Reasons for my Hope: Responding to my non-Christian Friends (Oxford: Monarch, 2010), 160 pp. ISNB 978-1854248633
  • Vele Talen, één Geest. Eenheid en verscheidenheid in het vernieuwende werk door de Geest van Christus, rede uitgesproken bij de aanvaarding van het ambt van bijzonder hoogleraar in de theologie van de charismatische vernieuwing aan de Vrije Universiteit te Amsterdam, 10 september 2010 (Gorinchem: Ekklesia, 2010), 46 pp. [Many Languages, One Spirit: Unity and Diversity in the Renewing work of the Spirit of Christ, inaugural lecture]
  • Doordenken over de mens (Zoetermeer : Boekencentrum, 2010) 65 pp. [Enquiring about Being Human]
  • Doordenken over God (Zoetermeer: Boekencentrum, 2009), 72pp. [Enquiring about God] ISBN 978-90-239-2350-3
  • Pocket Guide to Christian Belief (Oxford: Lion, 2009), 217 pp. ISBN 978-0-8254-7863-5


  • “De Heilige Geest in schepping en herschepping” [“The Holy Spirit in Creation and New Creation”], in: Kees van der Kooi, Peter-Ben Smit & Liuwe Westra (eds.), Vele gaven, één Geest: Meedenken met Martien Parmentier op het gebied van oecumenica, patristiek en theologie van de charismatische vernieuwing, Gorinchem: Ekklesia, 2012.
  • “The Relationship between Christ and the Spirit in a Christian Theology of Religions”, Missiology 40/3 (July 2012): 263-280.
  • “Leven in de Geest van Christus: Het eigene van de christelijke spiritualiteit te midden van de godsdiensten” [“Living in the Spirit of Christ: The Particularity of Christian Spirituality among the Religions”], Geestkracht: Bulletin voor Charismatische Theologie 69 (Spring 2012), pp. 2-14.
  • “Kunnen we de opstanding van Christus aannemelijk maken?” [“How Credible is the Resurrection of Christ?], in : Jan Hoek (ed.) Verantwoorde hoop - apologetische thema 's, Heerenveen: Groen, 2011, pp. 140-171 (footnotes pp. 266-269).
  • “Evangelische theologie als bron van geestelijke vernieuwing” [“Evangelical Theology as Source of Spiritual Renewal”], in: Hans Esbach (ed.), Voortdurend Verlangen, Zoetermeer: Boekencentrum, 2011, pp. 67-80.
  • “Y a-t-il un noyau supraculturel de l’Evangile humainement accessible ?”, Hokhma 99 (2011), pp. 41-66.
  • “La Contextualité de l’Evangile et de la doctrine chrétienne”, Hokhma 98 (2010), pp. 57-70.
  • “De gemeente als het begin van de oogst” [“The Church as the Firstfruits of the New Creation”], Geestkracht: Bulletin voor Charismatische Theologie 66 (2010), pp. 13-21.
  • “De Heilige Geest als gave van het Nieuwe Verbond” [“The Holy Spirit as Gift of the New Covenant”] in: Willem J. Ouweneel e.a., Omgaan met olifanten: tien bezinningen op vijf brandende onderwerpen, Heerenveen: Medema, 2010, p. 121-129.
  • “Welkom bij de drie-enige God” [Welcome to the Triune God], in: Cees Dekker & Reinier Sonneveld (eds.), De crux. Christenen over de kern van hun geloof [The Crux: Christians on the the Core of their Faith] (Amsterdam: Buijten & Schipperheijn Motief, 2010, pp. 192-199.
  • “Can We See the Naked Theological Truth?”, in: Matthew Cook, Rob Haskell, Ruth Julian and Natee Tanchanpongs (eds.), Local Theology for the Global Church: Principles for an Evangelical Approach to Contextualization (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2010), pp. 91-108.
  • “Challenges and Possibilities of Inter-Religious and Cross-Cultural Apologetic Persuasion”, Evangelical Quarterly 82/1 (January 2010), pp. 42-64. ISSN 0014-3367
  • “Growing Disciples in the Rainforest: A Contextualized Confession for Pygmy Christians”, Evangelical Review of Theology 33/4 (October 2009), pp. 306-315. ISSN 0144-8153
  • “Une confession de foi contextualisée pour des chrétiens Pygmées Aka. Former des disciples dans la forêt équatoriale.”, Perspectives Missionnaires 58 (2009/2), pp. 18-32.
  •  “Kunnen we christelijk geloof aannemelijk maken? Over noodzaak en aanstoot van de apologetiek in een postmoderne wereld” [“Can we Show the Reasonableness of the Christian Faith? On the Necessity and Scandal of Apologetics in a Postmodern World”], Kerk en Theologie 60/3 (Juli 2009), pp. 239-255. ISSN 0165-2346