Ian McFarland

Ian A. McFarland

Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Theology


PhD, Yale University, 1995
ThM, The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago, 1991
MDiv, Union Theological Seminary (NY), 1989
BA, Trinity College (Hartford), 1984


(404) 727-5668


On research leave for the fall 2023 semester.

Dr. Ian A. McFarland returned to Candler in 2019 after four years serving as Regius Professor of Divinity at the University of Cambridge. Prior to that, he was on the faculty at Candler from 2005–2015, where he was the inaugural holder of the Bishop Mack B. and Rose Stokes Chair of Theology and served as associate dean of faculty and academic affairs.

McFarland’s research has focused on Christology, eschatology, theological anthropology, and the doctrine of creation. His interests also include the use of the Bible in theology, the relationship between theology and science, and the thought of Maximus the Confessor. McFarland is the sole author of six books and has edited or contributed to numerous other books and journals.

McFarland is editor of the Scottish Journal of Theology, a Fellow of Cambridge’s Selwyn College, and a member of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA). He is also a member of the American Academy of Religion, Workgroup of Constructive Theology, Society for the Study of Theology, the Karl Barth Society of North America, and the American Theological Society.


The Word Made Flesh: A Theology of the IncarnationWestminster John Knox Press, 2019

From Nothing: A Theology of CreationWestminster John Knox, 2014

Co-editor, The Cambridge Dictionary of Christian TheologyCambridge University Press, 2011

In Adam’s Fall: A Meditation on the Christian Doctrine of Original SinWiley-Blackwell, 2010

Editor, Creation and HumanityWestminster John Knox Press, 2009

The Divine Image: Envisioning the Invisible GodFortress Press, 2005

Difference and Identity: A Theological AnthropologyPilgrim Press, 2001

Listening to the Least: Doing Theology from the Outside In. Pilgrim Press, 1998


“Response or Remedy? A Reflection on the Role of Contrition in the Economy of Salvation,” in International Journal of Systematic Theology, 25/1 (January 2023): 22-38.

“Eschatology,” in The New Cambridge Companion to Christian Doctrine, ed. Michael Allen, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 156-172, November 2022

“Creation,” in St. Andrews Encyclopaedia of Theology, November 2022

“Sin and the Limits of Theology: A Reflection in Conversation with Julian of Norwich and Martin Luther,” in International Journal of Systematic Theology 22/2 (April 2020): 147-168.

“Being Perfect: A Lutheran Perspective on Moral Formation,” in Studies in Christian Ethics 33/1 (2019): 15-26.

“The Gift of the Non aliud: Creation from Nothing as a Metaphysics of Abundance,” in International Journal of Systematic Theology 21/1 (January 2019): 44-58.

”The Upward Call’: The Category of Vocation and the Oddness of Human Nature,” in The Christian Doctrine of Humanity , Zondervan, 2018

“The Problem with Evil,” Theology Today 74/4. January 01, 2019

“Present in Love: Rethinking Barth on the Divine Perfections,” Modern Theology 33/2. April 01, 2017

“Original Sin,” in the T&T Clark Companion to the Doctrine of Sin. Bloomsbury T & T Clark, 2016

“What Does It Mean To See Someone? Icons and Identity,” in The Image of God in an Image-Driven Age: Explorations in Theological Anthropology. Intervarsity Press, 2016

“‘Always and Everywhere’: Divine Presence and the Incarnation,” in The Gift of Theology: The Contribution of Kathryn Tanner. Fortress, 2015

“Theology of the Will,” in The Oxford Handbook of Maximus the Confessor. Oxford University Press, 2015

“The Saving God,” in Sanctified by Grace. Bloomsbury, 2014

“Spirit and Incarnation: Toward a Pneumatic Chalcedonianism,” in International Journal of Systematic Theology, 16:2. April 01, 2014

Elected Fellow, Selwyn College, Cambridge, 2015

Elected to the American Theological Society, 2011

Emory Williams Award for Distinguished Teaching, 2008

Yale University Dissertation Fellowship, 1994-95

Douglas Clyde Macintosh Fellowship, 1991-93

Sterling Prize Fellowship, 1991-93

Union Seminary Travelling Fellowship, 1989

Thomas J. Watson Travelling Fellowship, 1984-85

Phi Beta Kappa, 1984

In the media

March 17, 2020

Ian McFarland: The Word Made Flesh

December 18, 2019

Ian McFarland: Creation Out of Nothing

September 25, 2019

A prophetic ministry of relationship

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