Born in Mexico City to American career missionaries dedicated to evangelism through literature and to promoting world missions through any church or denomination that welcomed them, Steve’s particular “third culture kid” experience led him ultimately to understand his life work to be that of an interpreter. Initially, opportunities to translate talks and testimonies in Mexican churches and town squares for short-term missionaries from the North taught him to look on his mother tongue and culture from the outside. Then, to skip past some years during which he was mainly interested in football, fifteen years of study and research in Russian language and culture helped him to look on his own evangelical Protestant tradition from the outside. From there things started to come full circle, as he felt the need to relate the world of Russian ideas to theology, theology to the task of mission, and mission to the task of Christian unity.
Steve’s first PhD thesis (Russian Literature, Univ. of British Columbia, 1996) gave him the opportunity to study the religious and intellectual landscape of South central Russia as reflected in the works of the novelist Alexander Ertel. A revised version of his thesis was published as Alexander Ertel and the Destiny of Russia (Univ. of Birmingham, U.K., 1998). In his second PhD thesis (Historical Theology, McGill, 2011), he studied the theology of some key sixteenth-century Spanish Protestant reformers. His recent published essays explore the Spanish Protestant understanding of the church, the relationship of the church to salvation, the theology of the image, and a “trilingual” model for thinking about Christian unity and mission.
As the husband of a career foreign service officer, Steve has welcomed the chance to learn more about the challenges facing the church in other cultures, to become better at explaining the message of the Gospel to people whose culture was not historically shaped by it, and to teach theology, apologetics and world Christianity in local colleges and seminaries. Apart from serving as professor of theology at Ryle Seminary in Ottawa, he has taught as a missionary professor at Kiev Christian University in Ukraine, the Alliance Graduate School in Manila, Philippines, the Central American Theological Seminary in Guatemala City, Guatemala, and the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Dehradun, India.