Geoffrey Wainwright

Robert Earl Cushman Professor Emeritus of Christian Theology

Duke Divinity School
Box 90968
Durham, NC 27708-0968
(919) 660-3529

B.A., M.A., B.D., D.D., University of Cambridge
Dr. Theol., University of Geneva

Born in Yorkshire, England, and a cricket player in his youth, Geoffrey Wainwright studied in Cambridge, Geneva, and Rome. He is an ordained minister of the British Methodist Church, and after serving a circuit ministry in Liverpool during the heyday of the Beatles, he went for six years as a missionary pastor and teacher to Cameroon in West Africa. In the mid ’70s he taught Scripture and doctrine at The Queen's College, Birmingham. In 1979 he moved to the United States, first to Union Theological Seminary, New York, where he held the Roosevelt chair of systematic theology, and then (in 1983) to Duke. He has devoted much of his energy to the cause of ecumenism, understood as unity in the truth of a gospel that is to be preached to the world. As a member of WCC Faith and Order, he played a leading part in the production of the Lima text on “Baptism, Eucharist and Ministry” (1982); and from 1986-2011 he co-chaired the dialogue between the World Methodist Council and the Roman Catholic Church.

Geoffrey Wainwright has served as president of the international Societas Liturgica (1983-85) as well as of the American Theological Society (1996-97). He was honored by the publication of Ecumenical Theology in Worship, Doctrine, and Life: Essays Presented to Geoffrey Wainwright on his Sixtieth Birthday (Oxford University Press, 1999). He received the 2005 Johannes Quasten Medal from the Catholic University of America for “excellence in scholarship.”


  • Holy Scripture
  • Hymns by Charles Wesley (to be learned by heart)
  • L. Newbigin, The Gospel in a Pluralist Society
  • Pro Ecclesia, a periodical
Selected Publications
  • Embracing Purpose: Essays on God, the World and the Church
  • "Doxology," a systematic theology funded by worship
  • "Lesslie Newbigin: A Theological Life"
  • "The Oxford History of Christian Worship" co-ed. with Karen Westerfield Tucker
Recent Courses

Professor Wainwright chiefly teaches advanced seminars on the nature and functions of theology and on such cardinal topics as the doctrine of the Trinity. For fun he also offers a course on "Icon Theology" from time to time.