James R. Payton Jr.

Professor of Patristics and Historical Theology

Dr. Payton joined the faculty of McMaster Divinity College in 2021. He is Professor Emeritus of History at Redeemer University, where he taught Eastern European history and Church history. Before that, he served eight years as a pastor. Jim has also taught at Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia), St. Stephen’s College (University of Alberta), Evangelical Theological Seminary (Osijek, Croatia), and Matthias Flacius Illyricus Faculty of Theology (Zagreb, Croatia). He has been extensively involved in ecumenical and interfaith activities in both Eastern Europe and North America. He served as Executive Secretary (1998–2006) and as President (2006–2011) of CAREE (Christians Associated for Relationships with Eastern Europe), a UN-endorsed NGO which worked for peace, justice, and reconciliation in and for the region for more than forty years. He served as member (2006–2021) and Christian chair (2008–2011) of the National Muslim-Christian Liaison Committee. He has a wide range of academic specializations in history and historical theology, including the history of Eastern Europe, the intellectual history of Eastern Orthodoxy, the Reformation era, and a long-standing special interest in Patristics.



The Unknown Europe: How Eastern Europe Got That Way (Cascade Books, 2021).

The Victory of the Cross: Salvation in Eastern Orthodoxy (IVP Academic, 2019).

A Patristic Treasury: Early Church Wisdom for Today (Ancient Faith Publishing, 2013).

Irenaeus on the Christian Faith: A Condensation of “Against Heresies” (Pickwick Publications, 2011).

Getting the Reformation Wrong: Correcting Some Misunderstandings (IVP Academic, 2010).

Light from the Christian East: An Introduction to the Orthodox Tradition (IVP Academic, 2007).


Chapters in Books

“Irenaeus, Pseudonymity, and the Pastoral Letters,” in Irénée de Lyon et les Débuts de la Bible Chrétieene: Actes de la Journée du 1.VII. 2014 à Lyon, ed. Agnés Bastit and Joseph Verheyden, Instrumenta Patristica et Mediaevalia 77 (Brepols, 2017), pp. 273–282.

“Irenaeus,” The T&T Clark Companion on the Doctrine of Sin, ed. Keith L. Johnson and David Lauber (Bloomsbury T& T Clark, 2016), pp. 149–163.

“Becoming ‘Like God’ and Monastic Dialogue,” Monastic Tradition in Eastern Christianity and the Outside World: A Call to Dialogue, University of Leuven Eastern Christian Studies 19, ed. Inez Murzaku (Peeters Publishers, 2013), pp. 28–54.

“Reading Orthodox Spirituality,” Reading the Christian Spiritual Classics: A Guide for Evangelicals, ed. Jamie Goggin and Kyle Strobel (IVP Academic, 2013), pp. 131–147.


Recent Articles

Fides quaerens … quid? Toward an Orthodox Approach to the History of Christian Doctrine,” in Logos: A Journal of Eastern Christian Studies 60 (2019):173–196.

“Reformation Ecumenism Reframed,” in Post-Christendom Studies 2 (2018):20–41.

Liter’arafu—Getting to know Each Other: The Neglect and Necessity of Muslim-Christian Dialogue,” Journal of Ecumenical Studies 52:3 (2017):357–380.


Earlier Patristics Contributions

“Advice from St. Maximos Confessor for Contemporary Macedonians,” Religion in Eastern Europe 24/5 (2004):1–14. (Translated into and published in Albanian and Macedonian.)

“St. Gregory of Nyssa” and “Iconoclasm (Controversy),” The Encyclopedia of Monasticism, 2 vols., ed. William M. Johnston (Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, 2000), 1:554; 1:633–634.

“John of Damascus on Human Cognition: An Element in His Apologetic for Icons,” Church History 65 (1996):173–183.

“Calvin and the Legitimation of Icons: His Treatment of the Seventh Ecumenical Council,” Archiv für Reformationsgeschichte 84 (1993):222–241.


University of Waterloo
Waterloo, ON
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, PA
Westminster Theological Seminary
Philadelphia, PA
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC
Bob Jones University
Greenville, SC

Recent Publications

Title Professor Name Year
The Unknown Europe: How Eastern Europe Got That Way James R. Payton Jr. 2021