B.A. Northwestern College

M.Div. Western Theological Seminary

Ph.D. University of Virginia

keith.starkenburg@westernsem.edu

CV for Keith Starkenburg

Visit Dr. Starkenburg’s website

 616.392.8555

Keith Starkenburg

Director of the Vita Scholars Program and Associate Professor of Theology

Dr. Starkenburg came to WTS in the summer of 2022 from Trinity Christian College. At Trinity, he served as a faculty member for 14 years, including 3 years as Director of New Faculty Formation. He is a graduate of Northwestern College (Iowa), Western Theological Seminary, and the University of Virginia. He has three children and is married to Becky Starkenburg, who is the Dean of Students at Hope College. 

His doctoral work focused on glory and the church in Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics, and his more recent research interests include explorations of land, place, resurrection, new creation and belonging. He is ordained in the Reformed Church in America, serves as book review editor of Reformed Journal, enjoys teaching in multiple contexts (including high school catechism), and is involved in NAAITS An Indigenous Learning Community (formerly the North American Institute for Indigenous Theological Studies).

On this side of the resurrection of Jesus, theology begins from a place of surprise, wonder, and confusion. When the early Jewish followers of the resurrected Jesus spoke about him in multiple languages at Pentecost, the witnesses could only say, “What does this mean?” After Peter interpreted this event within God’s life as narrated by Scripture, the witnesses were cut to the heart. 

In Christ and by the power of the Holy Spirit, God is cracking open the creation as it is being remade in God’s own eternal life. With bodies, minds and spirits trained on Scripture, the church seeks to catch up with God, seeks to behold God, seeks to be caught up in God’s healing of creation. 

Theologians are fellow seekers who can, by the Spirit, find words for what is happening so that the church can act. To do theology is, in wonder, to express how the triune God liberates us from all evil and conforms us to the divine life wherever we find ourselves. Sometimes, like Peter, theologians can help others see into Scripture as they find their place in God’s reworking of the world. Sometimes, like those witnesses, we gratefully receive the wisdom of others who perceive Christ better than we do. 

For me, that’s the heart of Christian theology.