David Setran, Ph.D.


Christian Formation and Ministry

Price-LeBar Chair of Christian Formation & Ministry
On Faculty since 1999

Phone: (630)752-5452


2000 Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana. Ph.D. in History of Education. Doctoral Minor: Philosophy of Education

1994 Wheaton College Wheaton, Illinois. M.A., program in Educational Ministries, Wheaton College 

1992 Wheaton College Wheaton, Illinois. B.S. Biology summa cum laude

About David Setran

A biology major as an undergraduate student at Wheaton, I felt God's call on my life to move in the direction of ministry and teaching. I obtained an M.A. in Educational Ministries and grew passionate about developing a vision for ministry and discipleship that was true to the biblical witness and to the Christian worldview as a whole. I am especially interested in helping students develop their philosophies of ministry and in exploring the best means of approaching spiritual formation and ministry with college students and young adults.

Courses Taught

  • CE 233 Discipleship
  • CE 421 History and Philosophy of Christian Education
  • CFM 513 History and Philosophy of Ministry
  • CFM 641 College and Young Adult Ministry
  • CFM 681 Integrative Seminar  

Membership in Professional Societies

  • Society of Professors in Christian Education (S.P.C.E.)
  • History of Education Society
  • Society for the Study of Emerging Adults 


My research areas of interest include the history of Christian education, the philosophy of Christian education, college student development and formation, and the theory and practice of character formation.

Selected Publications


Setran, David P. and Chris A. Kielsing, Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood: A Practical Theology for College and Young Adult Ministry (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013).

Setran, David P. The College “Y:” Student Religion in the Era of Secularization (New York: Palgrave/Macmillan, 2007).

Select Journal Articles and Book Chapters:

Setran, David P. “Philosophy of Christian Education.” Book chapter in Christian Education: Twenty-First Century Ministry, edited by Freddy Cardoza. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic (accepted and forthcoming in Fall 2016).


Setran, David P. “Declension Comes Home: Cotton Mather, Male Youth Rebellion, and the Hope of Providential Affliction in Puritan New England,” Religion and American Culture 26, no. 1 (Spring 2016): 31-73.


Setran, David P. “Conquering the ‘Tyrannical Commander:’ Richard Baxter on the Perils of Pride in Christian Ministry,” Christian Education Journal 13, no. 1 (Spring 2016): 103-126.


Setran, David P. “Priests and Prophets in the Home: Cotton Mather and Parental Prayer,” Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care 8, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 28-52.


Setran, David P. "Igniting the Family Sacrifice: Cotton Mather and Familial Christian Education in Colonial New England," Christian Education Journal  11, no. 2 (Fall 2014): 350-366.


Setran, David P. "History Matters: Reflections on Studying the History of Christian Education," Christian Education Journal 11, no. 2 (Fall 2014): 294-299.


Setran, David P. “‘Good Fences Make Strange Neighbors:’ Released Time Programs and the McCollum v. Board of Education Decision of 1948,” American Educational History Journal 39, no. 2 (2012): 307-327.


Setran, David P., James Wilhoit, and Dan Haase, “Spiritual Formation Goes to College: Class- Related Soul Projects in Christian Higher Education.” In Building a Culture of Faith: University-wide Partnerships for Spiritual Formation, edited by Cary Balzer and Rod Reed. Abilene, TX: Abilene Christian University Press, 2012.


Setran, David P. and Nathan Ramler, “Reimagining Frankena: Toward a Holistic Model for Philosophy of Ministry,” Christian Education Journal 9, no. 1 (Spring 2012): 7-26.


Setran, David P. “More Religion in Education and More Education in Religion:” Liberal Progressivism and the Educational ‘Common Faith,’ 1917-1940.” Teachers College Record 114, no. 1 (January 2012): 1-29.


Setran, David P. “Getting a Life: Vocational Discernment in the Post-Christian World.” Christian Education Journal 8, no. 2 (Fall 2011): 345-363.


Setran, David P. “Developing the “Christian Gentleman:” The Medieval Impulse in Protestant Ministry to Adolescent Boys, 1890-1920,” Religion and American Culture, vol. 20, no. 2 (Summer 2010): 165-204.


Setran, David. “Guest Editorial: College and Young Adult Ministry,” Christian Education Journal 5, no. 1 (Spring 2008): 7-10.


Setran, David. “Fifty Years of Lois LeBar’s Education That is Christian: Reflections on a Classic,” Christian Education Journal 5, no. 2 (Fall 2008): 415-427.


Setran, David P. “Character and the Clinic: The Shift from Character to Personality in American Character and Religious Education, 1930-1940,” in Donald Warren, ed. Moral and Civic Learning in America (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006).


Setran, David P. “‘From Moral Aristocracy to Christian Social Democracy:’ The Transformation of Character Education in the Hi-Y, 1910-1940,” History of Education Quarterly 45, no. 2 (Summer 2005): 207-246.


Setran, David P. “Morality for the ‘Democracy of God:’ George Albert Coe and the Liberal Protestant Critique of American Character Education, 1917-1940,” Religion and American Culture 15, no. 1 (Winter 2005): 107-144.


Setran, David P. and James Wilhoit. “Turning Points in Christian Education: Some Initial Perspectives,” Christian Education Journal 2, no. 2 (Fall 2005): 353-357.


Setran, David. "From Morality to Character: Conservative Progressivism and the Search for Civic Virtue, 1910-1930." Paedagogica Historica 39, no. 4 (2003): 435-456.


Select Academic Presentations:

Setran, David P. “Raising them Up: Christian Parenting in the American Puritan Home,” Society for Professors of Christian Education Annual Conference, October 2016.

Setran, David P. "Spiritual Formation Faculty Intensive," Workshop at Trinity Western University, October 2014.

Setran, David P. "Formation at the Hinge: Helping Collegians Navigate the Pathways to Adult Faith," Plenary Address at the Taylor University Colleagues College, August 2014.

Setran, David P. "Mentoring at the Hinge: Navigating the Pathways to Adult Faith," Plenary Address at the Association of Youth Ministry Educators Annual Conference, October 2013.

Setran, David P. Invited Panel Participant, “Don’t Drop the Baton: Nurturing Faith in the Next Generation,” North American Professor of Christian Education Annual Conference, October 2012.

Setran, David P. “Intergenerational Ministry in Emerging Adulthood: Barriers and Possibilities,” North American Professor of Christian Education Annual Conference, October 2012.

Setran, David P. “‘Good Fences Make Strange Neighbors:’ Released Time Programs and the McCollum v. Board of Education Decision of 1948,” Annual Meeting of the Organization of Educational Historians, October 2011.

Setran, David P. “More Religion in Education and More Education in Religion:” Liberal Progressivism and the Educational Common Faith, 1917-1940, Annual Meeting of the Organization of Educational Historians, September 2010.

Setran, David P., Jim Wilhoit, and Dan Haase, “Soul Projects: Class Related Spiritual Practices in Christian Higher Education,” Calvin Conference on Teaching, Learning, and Christian Practices, October 2009.

Setran, David P. & Jim Wilhoit. “Soul Projects: Spiritual Formation in the Classroom,” North American Professor of Christian Education Annual Conference, October 2008.

Setran, David P. & Barrett McRay. “Friendship at a Christian College: Implications for College Ministry,” North American Professor of Christian Education Annual Conference, October 2008.

Setran, David P. “Secularization and College Ministry: The Intercollegiate YMCA, 1888-1917,” Talbot Doctoral Symposium in Christian Education, June 2006.

Buchanan, Trey, Ken Chase, Lynn Cohick, and David Setran. “Wheaton College: Engaging Faculty in the Task of Moral Formation,” 2003 Pruitt Memorial Symposium at Baylor University (“The Schooled Heart: Moral Formation in American Higher Education”).


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