Darren Duerksen, Ph.D.
Share why you teach at FPU
I teach at Fresno Pacific University because it is a great place for me to pursue my passion for mission and for helping people and churches join what God is doing around the world. I can use the best of mission scholarship and combine it with the strengths of the Anabaptist tradition, particularly the focus on church community, witness and peace-making. Also, I appreciate the many ethnic and religious communities that reside in Fresno and central California and through whom we can learn from and shape our own thinking regarding contemporary global mission.
My research interests include the theologies of mission, church interaction with culture, Anabaptist studies (history and theology), and India. I am particularly interested in the ways that church communities form missional identities for local and global witness. My dissertation work researched a network of churches (Yeshu Satsangs or Jesus Truth-Gatherings) in India that are contextualizing closely to their Hindu and Sikh communities while worshipping and following Jesus. I explore the ways these groups are relating to their Hindu and Sikh cultures while maintaining biblical distinctions in their beliefs.
Professional and Service Experience
I have been an adjunct instructor at Fuller Theological Seminary and the Mennonite Brethren Centenary Bible College in Shamshabad, India. In addition to this, I have worked in Christian mission organizations and various North American churches in the areas of training, teaching and program leadership. From 2002 to 2009, I worked with MB Mission consulting and liaising with national church ministries in India, and from 2005 to 2008, lived in North India working with a North American team and Indian workers in the region.
Honors and Awards
- Trowbridge Leadership Scholarship, 2010
- First Fruits Grant for research in India, 2009
- US Center for World Mission Grant for research in India, 2009
- Dunavant Reeves Scholarship, 2007
- Evangelical Missiological Society, Member
- Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Member
- Association for the Sociology of Religion, Member
- American Academy of Religion, Member
Publications and Presentations
- "Church as 'Jesus Truth-Gatherings': A Case Study of Fellowships Among Hindu and Sikh Communities." Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the International Society for Frontier Missions, Phoenix, AZ, September 28, 2011.
- “Redefining Religious Conversion and Identity: A Case Study of Yesu Satsangs in Northwest India.” Paper presented at the Annual Meeting for the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion, Baltimore, MD, October 30, 2010.
- “You (and Your Caste) are the Light of the World: Rethinking Caste.” Paper presented at the Annual North American Consultation of the Rethinking Form, Minneapolis, MN, May 19, 2008.
- “Dependency,” in William A. Dyrness, Veli-Matti Kärkkäinen, Juan F. Martinez and Simon Chan, eds., Global Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press Academic, October 2008): 230-231.
- “A Missional Ecclesiology for India: A Mennonite Case Study from Andhra Pradesh,” Dharma Deepika, 8 (2004): 21-40.
- Publications in development: “The ‘Insiders’ Speak: A New Contextual Ecclesiology from India.” “Social Emergence Theory and the Redefining of Religious Identity: A Case Study of Yesu Satsangs in Northwest India.”
I enjoy playing music, including the guitar, and dabble with other string instruments such as the sitar. I also love traveling, hiking and camping.
A quote from a missionary to India named Henry Martyn reflects some of my passion. He said, "The spirit of Christ is the spirit of missions. The nearer we get to Him, the more intensely missionary we become."
Hispanic theologian Justo Gonzalez also talks about the need to keep our talk about Christianity real. He says, "...theology is best done with dirt under one's fingernails."