Professor of Philosophy and Religion

Ph.D, Philosophy, Makerere University (Kampala, Uganda)
M.Div., Theology, Harding Graduate School of Religion
B.A., Religion, Harding University

School: School of Humanities/School of Theology and Ministry
Office: Executive Suite
Phone: (248) 218.2026



  • Christian/Muslim Interactions (co-taught)
  • Human Nature
  • Introduction to Ethics
  • Introduction to Western Philosophy
  • Philosophy of Religion
  • Reconciliation as Mission (both undergraduate and graduate)
  • Seminar in African Philosophy
  • Seminar in Existentialism
  • Seminar in Plato
  • Soteriology and Human Identity (graduate class)
  • World Religions



  • Member, The American Philosophical Association (APA)
  • Member, Board of Provosts and Chief Academic Officers, Christian Scholars Conference
  • Consulting Editor, Missio Dei: A Journal of Missional Theology and Praxis
  • Voted “Professor Everyone Should Have.” RC Student Body, Spring 2012



  • Member, Board of Kibo Group International 501(c)(3)
  • Associate Dean, College of Arts and Sciences, Rochester College (2004-2008)
  • Chairperson, Department of Philosophy and Interdisciplinary Studies, Rochester College (2002-2008)
  • Faculty Sponsor, RC’s Global Education Opportunity‘s program in Vienna, Austria (Fall 2006)
  • Founder and Instructor, Busoga Bible School, Jinja, Uganda (1996-2002)
  • Adjunct Professor of Philosophy, Queen of Apostles Philosophy Centre, Jinja, Uganda (1999-2000)
  • Chairperson, Non-Government Organization (NGO) in Uganda, East Africa, associated with the Churches of Christ (1997-2002)



John is married to Sara Barton and they have two children, Nate and Brynn. John and Sara lived in Uganda, East Africa, from 1994-2002, where they worked as missionaries. Their African experiences continue to influence and shape their lives. John is interested in international studies and has traveled or led groups throughout Europe, Africa, Australia, and Turkey. He also is active in intercultural and interfaith initiatives in the Detroit area. John and Sara provide mentoring to numerous young couples as well as to ministry teams. John enjoys listening to various kinds of music (from Beethoven to the Beatles to Ben Harper), watching sports (especially the Detroit Tigers), and hanging out with his family.



  • “The Hermeneutics of Identity in African Philosophical Discourse as a Framework for Understanding Ethnicity in Post-Genocide Rwanda.” Philosophia Africana, volume 15/number 1, March-April, 2013.
  • “Confusion and Communion: Christian Mission and Ethnic Identities in Rwanda.” Missiology: An International Review, Volume XL, no. 3, July 2012.
  • “Can Abraham’s Children Be Reconciled?: A Jewish, Christian, and Muslim Discussion.” Convener of Panel Discussion with Miroslav Volf (Yale Divinity School), Saeed Khan (Wayne State University), Mark Kinzer (Messianic Jewish Theological Institute). David Lipscomb University, Christian Scholar’s Conference, June 2012.
  • “Beyond Cold Wars and Religious Clashes: Reflections on Peaceful Coexistence.” Turkish Review, volume 2/issue 2, March 2012.
  • The Missional Posture and Our Muslim Neighbors.” Missio Dei: A Journal of Missional Theology and Praxis, volume 2/number 2, August 2011.
  • “Causation in Modern African Philosophical Discourse: Four Perspectives.” Philosophia Africana, volume 12/number 2, Fall 2009. Pages 107-139.
  • “The New Faces of Christianity: Reflection in Four Disciplines” (co-authored). Restoration Quarterly, volume 50/number 2, second quarter 2008.
  • “Strategic Thinking for the 21st Century: Characteristics of the Cultural and Religious Environment that Christian Colleges Should Keep in Mind.” A keynote presentation delivered at the Conference for Academic Deans and Provosts, Abilene Christian University, October 2007.
  • “If Mark Could See Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ.” In Preaching Mark’s Unsettling Messiah, edited by David Fleer and David Bland, Chalice Press, 2006. Pages 72-87.
  • “A Shared Quest for the Transmodern: Modern Africa and the Postmodern West at the Crossroads of Science, Religion, and Philosophy.” Presented at Pepperdine University, Christian Scholar’s Conference, May 2005.
  • “The Kingdom of God on Earth: Considering the Legacy of H. Richard Niebuhr and the Implications for Missions.” Presented at the Global Missions Conference, Arlington, Texas, July 2005.
  • “Keeping Each Other Out of the Ditches: Using Theories of Causation to Explore What Modern Africa and the Postmodern West Can Teach One Another About Science and Religion.” Presented to the Africa Working Group at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, University of Notre Dame, September, 2002.