Tom Schwanda

photo professor emeritus christian formation ministry

Tom Schwanda, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Christian Formation & Ministry Emeritus

On Faculty since 2006, Retired in 2019

View CV

I was born and raised in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. I was a pastor for over eighteen years serving in three Reformed Church in America (RCA) congregations. I met my wife, Grace, who was the minister of music, while serving in the first congregation. I have also been an editor for Baker Books and Zondervan and served my denomination as Associate for Spiritual Formation. Over the years, I have been privileged to teach various courses in Christian spirituality and worship at numerous seminaries. I am also an adjunct associate professor of Christian Spirituality at Fuller Seminary and regularly teach doctor of ministry courses. I find great joy in leading retreats, teaching adult classes, and offering spiritual direction. Grace and I have two adult children; Rebecca Joy and her husband Jesse, who live in Grand Rapids, MI, and Steve, who lives in Alma, MI. We are also blessed with five grandchildren: Hailey, Brooklyn, Pierce, Aniston, and Clayton. We enjoy attending concerts, traveling, and playing with our grandchildren.

I begin my day with prayer, reading Scripture, and journaling followed by a three-mile run. I am proud of my Czech heritage and cheer for the Toronto Maple Leafs. Bernard of Clairvaux wisely diagnosed a major problem of education in the twelfth century. He noted, “Unless it (e.g. knowledge) has been cooked on the fire of love, and thoroughly digested by the disciplines of the soul, it will also be damaging, instead of being nutritious.” I fear the same can be true today. One of my great challenges and joys is to guide learners into discovering the rich treasures of Christian spirituality. Too often, we separate the mind and experience as if they are unrelated. However, truth that is removed from experience is always left in doubt. Over the centuries, the greatest Christian leaders and educators have all grasped the importance of cooking knowledge on the fire of love. My commitment to creating an experiential foundation for learning invites us to keep company with Jesus through the guidance of the Holy Spirit to the glory of God, the Father.  In my retirement I continue to teach and write and my desire for this new phase of my life is to help people grow in deeper intimacy with Jesus Christ.


Durham University
Ph.D., 2009

Fuller Theological Seminary
D.Min., 1992

New Brunswick Theological Seminary
M.Div., 1975

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

Moravian College
B.A., 1972

  • Spiritual disciplines and practices
  • History of Christian Spirituality
  • Puritan and Early Evangelical Spirituality
  • Mentoring
  • Worship
  • Growing in intimacy with God
  • Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (UK), 2015-present
  • Who’s Who In America, 1995-present
  • American Academy of Religion
  • American Society of Church History
  • Calvin Studies Society
  • Czechoslovak History Conference
  • Czechoslovak Society for Arts and Science
  • Evangelical Theological Society-design leadership for Spiritual Formation and Sanctification sessions
  • Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality-Governing Board
  • Spiritual Directors International

“‘Walking with God’: George Whitefield’s Teaching on True Religion”
Wesleyan Historical Society, Cleveland, TN, March 8, 2018.

"Walking with God: Cultivating Spiritual Disciplines with John Wesley and George Whitefield"
Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Providence, RI, November 15, 2017.

The Sweetness of Christianity Is in Its Pronouns: Luther's Influence on Seventeenth-Century Puritan Devotion
Annual Meeting of American Society of Church History, Denver, CO, January 7, 2017.

"The 'Holy Club' and Beyond: Spiritual Formation through the Religious Societies of John Wesley and George Whitefield:"
Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, San Antonio, TX, November 16, 2016.

"Religious Societies of John Wesley and George Whitefield"
Manchester, UK, Manchester Wesley Research Center, June 15, 2016.

Book Panel on The Emergence of Evangelical Spirituality: The Age of Edwards, Newton and Whitefield (Paulist Press Classics of Western Spirituality series)
Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Atlanta, GA, November 17, 2015.

  • Puritan Mysticism and Contemplative Spirituality
  • Eighteenth–Century Evangelical Spirituality
  • History of Christian Spirituality
  • History of the Devotional Reading of Scripture
  • Dynamics of Christian Maturity
  • CE 226 Christian Spiritual Practices
  • CE 233 Discipleship
  • CE 321 Teaching the Bible
  • CE 323 Dynamics of Spiritual Growth
  • CE 341 Spiritual Theology
  • CE 342 History of Christian Spirituality
  • CE 344 Origins of Christian Worship
  • CE 345 Worship and Spirituality
  • CE 346 Discipleship
  • CE 459/CFM 694 Recovering Monastic Wisdom
  • CFM 512 Bible in Ministry
  • CFM 522 History and Traditions of Spiritual Formation
  • CFM 532 Discipleship
  • CFM 538 Spirituality (for PsyD students)
  • CFM 694 Mentoring in Ministry

“Puritan Mysticism of Paul Baynes and Richard Sibbes” Protestants and Mysticism in Reformation Europe. Edited by Ronald K. Rittgers and Vincent Evener. St. Andrews Studies in Reformation History. Leiden: Brill, forthcoming, 2019

“Grateful Adoration: Early Evangelical Reception of Contemplation” Contemplation: A Guide for Evangelicals. Edited by Kyle C. Strobel and John H. Coe. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, forthcoming 2018.

“John Newton: Faithful Amid Disappointment” in 12 Faithful Men: Portraits of Courageous Endurance in Pastoral Ministry. Edited by Collin Hansen and Jeff Robinson. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, July, 2018.

“Cultivating True Religion: The Nature and Dynamics of the Means of Grace” Wesley and Whitefield? Wesley versus Whitefield? Edited by Ian J. Maddock.183–203. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2018.

“Evangelical Spiritual Disciplines: Practices for Knowing God” Journal Spiritual Formation and Soul CareTom Schwanda, Tenth Year Anniversary Issue 10, no. 2 (2017): 220–36

“The Long History of Mysticism: A Review of Bernard McGinn’s Mysticism in the Reformation 1500–1650 Vol. VI Part 1 of The Presence of God: A History of Western Christian Mysticism in Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care. Tom Schwanda. Issue 10, no. 2 (Fall 2017): 363–68.

August Hermann Francke: Architect of Practical Piety Historical and Theological Foundations of Religious Educators Tom Schwanda and Mark A. Lamport, 2016

Gazing at the Wounds: The Blood of the Lamb Imagery in the Hymns of John Cennick Heart Religion: The Reshaping of Protestant Piety, The Sources and Nature of British Pietism, 1690-1860.Tom Schwanda. 2016

The Saints' Desire and Delight to be with Christ Puritanism and Emotion in the Early Modern World Tom Schwanda, 2016

Review of Sara S. Poor and Nigel Smith, eds. Mysticism and Reform, 1400-1750 The Journal of Ecclesiastical History. Tom Schwanda, 2016

Review of Paul Peucker, A Time of Sifting: Mystical Marriage and the Crisis of Moravian Piety in the Eighteenth Century Spiritus Tom Schwanda, 2016

Review of Ryan M. McGraw, A Heavenly Directory: Trinitarian Piety, Public Worship and a Assessment of John Owen's Theology The Journal of Ecclesiastical History. Tom Schwanda. 2016

Protestant Reception of Jan Hus in Great Britain and the American Colonies Journal of Moravian History. Tom Schwanda. 2016

Review of Donald S. Whitney, Finding God in Solitude: The Personal Piety of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) and Its Influence on His Pastoral Ministry Spiritus. Tom Schwanda. 2015

Unity and Division: The Changing Theology and Friendship between George Whitefield and John Cennick Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society. Tom Schwanda. 2015

’Sweetnesse in Communion with God’: The Contemplative–Mystical Piety of Thomas Watson Journal for the History of Reformed Pietism. Tom Schwanda. 2015

Review Essay of Amy Hollywood and Patricia Z. Beckman, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Christian Mysticism and Julia A. Lamm, ed. The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Christian Mysticism Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care. Tom Schwanda. 2015

The Puritan and Pietistic Traditions Reading the Christian Spiritual Classics: A Guide for Evangelicals. Tom Schwanda. 2013

Douglas H. Shantz, Introduction to German Pietism: Protestant Renewal at the Dawn of Modern Europe Evangelical Studies Bulletin. Tom Schwanda. 2013

Irena Backus and Philip Benedict, eds. Calvin & His Influence, 1509-2009 Church History.Tom Schwanda. 2013