Jerry Sittser specializes in the History of Christianity, Christian Spirituality, and Religion in American Public Life. His course on the history and practice of Christian Spirituality meets over January Term in the wintry beauty of Tall Timber, a Christian camp located in a remote area of the Cascade mountain range. Students live together for three weeks, follow a modified Benedictine Rule, and explore various spiritual traditions that have emerged throughout the history of Christian spirituality. He sits on many committees and boards at Whitworth and in the community, including serving as chair of the Theology Department, the Certification for Ministry program, and the MA in Theology program, which he helped to establish in 2008. He has written eight books, too. He is currently doing research on the history of the "catechumenate," which refers to how the church has trained people in the faith over the past 2,000 years. He enjoys music, literature, hiking, woodworking, and he attends the Oregon Shakespeare Festival every year with his family. Married to Patricia since 2010, he has three married children, two married step-children, and two grandchildren.
Ph.D. University of ChicagoM.Div. Fuller Theological SeminaryB.A. Hope College
History of Christianity; history of Christian Spirituality; history of catechesis; religion in American public life
He has written eight books: The Adventure (IVP, 1985), A Grace Disguised: How the Soul Grows Through Loss (Zondervan, 1996), A Cautious Patriotism: The American Churches and the Second World War (University of N.C. Press, 1998), The Will of God as a Way of Life (Zondervan, 2000), When God Doesn’t Answer Your Prayer (Zondervan, 2003),which won the 2005 Gold Medallion Award in the Christian Living category, from the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association; Water from a Deep Well: Christian Spirituality from Early Martyrs to Modern Missionaries (IVP, 2007), which won the Logos Book Award; and Love One Another: Becoming the Church Jesus Longs For (IVP, 2008). One of these books, A Grace Disguised, is a best-seller and has been translated into twenty languages. In addition, he has written many book reviews and articles, and he has delivered papers at scholarly conferences and on college campuses. His most recent book, A Grace Revealed: How God Redeems the Story of Your Life was published by Zondervan in 2012 and was recognized by Christianity Today with an honorable mention award.
Sittser has written many book reviews and papers. Most recently he has authored "The History of Christian Spirituality," a major introductory essay for the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality (Zondervan Academic, 2011), "The Desert Fathers and Mothers," in Reading the Christian Spiritual Classics: A Guide for Evangelicals (IVP, 2013); "Catechumenate," an article for the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality (Zondervan Academic, 2011); "The Battle Without and Within: The Psychology of Sin and Salvation in the Desert Fathers and Mothers," in the Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care (2009), "From Mountaintop to Mundane Life: The Purpose of Spiritual Retreats," in Conversations (2009), "Protestant Missionary Biography as Written Icon," in Christian Scholars Review (2007), “The Psychology of Sin and Salvation” and “The Catechumenate and the Rise of Christianity, both published in The Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care. He has also authored many book reviews, including a recent lead review of Tim’s Keller book on suffering for Christianity Today.
In 2014-15 Sittser teamed up with Terry McGonigal, former Dean of Spiritual Life, to procure two grants, one from the Lilly Foundation and one a Murdock Grant, worth a total of 1.4 million dollars, which led to the establishment of the Whitworth Office of Church Engagement. Beginning in the summer of 2015 Sittser will work half time as Senior Fellow in that office, in addition to teaching in the theology department.
Sittser won the Hope College Distinguished Alumni Award in 2009. He has also been voted Most Influential Professor ten times by the Whitworth senior class, most recently by the Whitworth Class of 2015. During graduate school he also won the Jacob K. Javits National Graduate Fellowship award.