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|Alister Edgar McGrath|
|Born||23 January 1953 (age 56) |
Belfast, Northern Ireland
|Institutions||Oxford University, King's College London|
|Notable awards||Royal Society of Arts|
|Religious stance||Church of England (Rev.)|
Alister Edgar McGrath (born 23 January 1953 ) is a Christian theologian, who holds both a DPhil (in molecular biophysics) and an earnedDoctor of Divinity degree from Oxford. He is noted for his work in historical, systematic and scientific theology.
In his writing and public speaking, he promotes "scientific theology" and opposes antireligionism. McGrath was until recently Professor ofHistorical Theology at the University of Oxford, but has now taken up the chair of Theology, Religion and Culture at King's College London since September 2008. Until 2005, he was principal of Wycliffe Hall.
Early life and education
McGrath was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland and grew up in Downpatrick, County Down, where he attended Down High School. In September 1966 he became a pupil at the Methodist College Belfast, where his studies focused on mathematics, physics and chemistry. He went up toWadham College, Oxford in 1971 and gained first class honours in chemistry in 1975. He claims to have felt that he held atheistic notions as a young student of science but that he reconsidered these notions of atheism while attending Oxford and then subscribed to Christianity. He began research in molecular biophysics in the Oxford University Department of Biochemistry under the supervision of Professor Sir George Radda, FRS and was elected to an E.P.A. Cephalosporin Research Studentship at 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 alongside 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 inTheology in June 1978. [ 1 ]
Career in theology
McGrath then left Oxford to work at Cambridge University, where he also studied for ordination into the Church of England. In September 1980, he was ordained deacon, and began work as acurate at St Leonard's Parish Church, Wollaton, Nottingham, in the English East Midlands. 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. McGrath 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 [ 1 ] .
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 1993-1999. 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 an Oxford Doctorate of Divinity in 2001 for his research on historical and systematic theology [ 1 ] , and was a founding member of the International Society for Science and Religion [ 2 ] 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. 
McGrath is a prolific writer. His work often refers both to the early Church Fathers and to contemporary evangelical stalwarts such as Thomas Torrance and J. I. Packer. His areas of expertise include doctrine, Church history, the interaction of science and faith, and evangelical spirituality. [original research?]
In 2005 he resigned as Principal of Wycliffe Hall, whilst remaining President of the Oxford Centre for Christian Apologetics which was based there. In June 2007 a private letter expressing his concerns about his successor was leaked [ 3 ] .
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?" [ 4 ] McGrath has also debated with Daniel Dennett, at the Greer-Heard Point-Counterpoint Forum (February 2007) in New Orleans. [ 5 ]
He was interviewed by Richard Dawkins about his book Dawkins' God and faith in general for the television documentary The Root of All Evil? McGrath's interview was not included in the final cut, but the unedited footage is available online. [ 6 ]
Have a great weekend, everyone, I'm off to enjoy the sunshine.