The Reverend Dr. Richard E. Burnett is Executive Director and Managing Editor of Theology Matters. An ordained pastor, scholar, and author, Dr. Burnett graduated from King College in Tennessee and received his M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary where he was active in the Theological Students Fellowship, a ministry of Intervarsity. He spent a year studying at the University of Tübingen, Germany, returning to be ordained as Associate Pastor of First Presbyterian Church in Bristol, TN. He earned an S.T.M. at Yale University Divinity School, and a Ph.D. in Systematic Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary. He has authored and edited several academic books and articles, but he is also committed to the Church and has served congregations in Tennessee, New Jersey, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Dr. Burnett is very familiar with the work of Theology Matters, having served for over a year on the board of Directors.
He is married to Martha Kirsch, the daughter of a German Lutheran pastor whom he met at a conference in Amsterdam in 1986 sponsored by the Billy Graham Association. They have four children. Dr. Burnett’s heart, experience, theological maturity, and pastoral gifts align exceptionally well with the vision of Theology Matters, and we are thrilled to welcome him to this strategic leadership role. “Martha and I have a strong sense that the Lord is calling us to [this] and accept it with great joy,” Dr. Burnett says. “I want to lead Theology Matters in a direction that will honor the Lord and serve his church.”
“If a single proposition characterizes my vocational life thus far, it is that theology matters.” Dr. Burnett was a leader in the Confessing Church Movement within the PC(USA) and served on the Theological Task Force of the ECO/Presbyterian Fellowship.
Dr. Burnett was Professor of Systematic Theology at Erskine Theological Seminary from 2002–2016, and also taught theology courses at Columbia Theological Seminary, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Union Presbyterian Seminary. He writes, “I am firmly committed to the Reformed tradition, have deep gratitude for my Presbyterian heritage, and an abiding love for Reformed Theology.” He continues, “Given this ministry’s past record and future possibilities of bearing witness and doing good, I can think of no calling to which I would rather dedicate my life than to serve as Executive Director of Theology Matters.”