I grew up in Westfield, New Jersey, USA, where I was active in a very dynamic and musical United Methodist congregation; I will always be grateful for that early formation. It was during my time in university that I first began to attend Anglican/Episcopal services. I was drawn into the Anglican tradition by the language of the prayer book, the power of the liturgy, and the deep sense of divine grace and sacramental mystery I encountered there. For a high-church Wesleyan, Anglicanism is a little bit like coming home.
My formal training in theology took place at Yale University, first in the Divinity School and then in the graduate Department of Religious Studies. It was while at Yale that I was first exposed to the thought of Karl Barth, the great Swiss Protestant theologian who articulated a powerful vision of all reality centered on God’s gracious action in Jesus Christ. I would eventually write a dissertation on Barth, later published as Karl Barth on the Christian Life: The Practical Knowledge of God (Peter Lang, 2001). A subsequent study was titled Karl Barth: Theologian of Christian Witness (Westminster John Knox Press, 2004).
My particular theological passion lies in the area of ecclesiology, the Christian doctrine that addresses the nature and mission of the church. One expression of that concern is my work with Pro Ecclesia: A Journal of Catholic and Evangelical Theology, a theological and ecumenical journal for which I have served as editor since 1998. During my time at Wycliffe I have continued to pursue my interest in ecclesiology, but have also discovered that seriousness about the church requires a direct and sustained engagement with Holy Scripture. In 2010 I published Revelation, a volume in the Brazos theological commentary series. Currently I am working on a book called The Vine, a work that seeks to understand the church better through attentive listening to the gospel of John.
My wife, Elisa Mangina, has been a church musician during much of our time in Toronto. She has recently completed her legal studies at the University of Toronto Law School. We have two children, Frances and Nicholas. We attend St. Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church in west Toronto. As a family we enjoy cooking, hiking, cycling, reading aloud, singing around the piano, and listening to the music of Gilbert & Sullivan.