Arun W. JonesArun W. Jones, Candler’s recently installed Dan and Lillian Hankey Associate Professor of World Evangelism, will deliver his inaugural sermon, “Confronted by the Unknown God” (Acts 17:16-34), Feb. 17, 11:05 a.m. in Cannon Chapel.

“When, due to the work of evangelism, people first encounter the God made known to us in Jesus Christ, they often do so in ways that are outside the norm of what we consider historic Christianity,” Jones said. “I want to bring understandings of the faith from the past and of the present to bear on each other, because in order to live, the present needs a past and the past needs a future.  In this way, we uphold the communion of saints.”

Jones, a leader in the academy and the church, joined Candler last fall from Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Austin, TX, where he was the John W. and Helen Lancaster Associate Professor of Evangelism and Mission. He received his MDiv from Yale University Divinity School and his Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary, where he worked as a teaching fellow prior to joining Austin Seminary in 2002.

An ordained elder in the New York Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, Jones served as pastor of The Bloomfield United Methodist Church in Bloomfield, CT, from 1988-1995, significantly growing the racially and culturally diverse congregation; increasing programs, worship services, and ministries; and facilitating the construction of a parsonage. He also led The Indian Mills United Methodist Church in Shamong, NJ, as interim pastor from 2001-2002.

“We selected Dr. Jones for this chair to honor his international engagement in mission and evangelism, his scholarship, and his considerable service to the church. He has gotten off to a terrific start at Candler, and we look forward to a bright future together as Dr. Jones offers significant contributions not only to our school but also to the World Methodist Evangelism Institute,” said Jan Love, Dean and Professor of Christianity and World Politics.

The son of Methodist missionaries in India, Jones was raised in India and has lived and worked as a missionary in the Philippines.  He is the author of Christian Missions in the American Empire: Episcopalians in Northern Luzon, the Philippines, 1902-1946 (2003), and of several articles and book chapters on Christianity in Asia. Jones' current research focuses on the history of the church in North India in the 19th and 20th centuries.

“This chair gives me the opportunity to direct my scholarly attention on the spread of the Christian gospel throughout the world, particularly outside Europe and North America, and specifically in Asia,” said Jones. “I would like to bring Christianity from other parts of the world into discussion with what has been considered the norm of Christian theology and practice in the West.”

The Hankey Chair in World Evangelism was established in 2005 with a $2.5 million grant from Daniel and Lillian Hankey, who have partnered with Candler through an endowment and annual support for more than 25 years. Its purpose is to give form to the study of evangelism and shape a concerted emphasis on evangelism at Candler. United Methodist Bishop Rüdiger R. Minor of Dresden, Germany, served as the first Hankey Chair from 2008-2010.