Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago

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Harold Vogelaar

Professor of World Religions and Interfaith Dialogue

Harold Vogelaar


Education | Biography | Areas of Expertise | Titled Presentations | Profile

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B.A. Central College
B.D. New Brunswick Theological Seminary
M.Phil. Columbia University
Ph.D. Columbia University

Areas of Expertise

Topics that Dr. Vogelaar is available to address at adult forums and other congregational events

Christian-Muslim Relations
Global Mission
Middle East
Muslims in America


Harold Vogelaar, director, Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice and professor of World Religions and Interfaith Dialogue, emeritus, has served on the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago faculty since 1990. His special area of scholarly work and passion is Islamic studies. Fluent in Arabic, he lived for many years in the Middle East, serving in the Arabian Gulf and Egypt as a pastor, hospital chaplain, co-director of refugee services, educator and founder and director of the Center for the Study of Religion at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo. The seminary community knows him best as someone in touch with the Muslim communities in Chicago and who is deeply involved in Christian-Muslim relations, always eager to build bridges of understanding between the two communities. He has recently been named to direct the new LSTC Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice. Married to Mai from Thailand, they live on campus.


Harold S. Vogelaar served as the first director, a Center of Christian-Muslim Engagement for Peace and Justice, and is professor of World Religions and Interfaith Dialogue, emeritus, at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. In addition to teaching, he has served on special assignment to the Chicago Center for Global Ministries; worked with the Division for Global Missions of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA); and the Chicago Synod of the Reformed Church in America on interfaith and cross-cultural ministry in North America.

Ordained in 1962 and sent out in 1963, Vogelaar was a missionary in the Arabian Gulf and Egypt for many years where he served congregations, was a hospital chaplain, and taught and directed the Center for Study of Religion at the Evangelical Theological Seminary, Cairo, Egypt. Upon returning to the United States in 1988, Vogelaar taught at New Brunswick Theological Seminary, New Brunswick, N.J., before joining the seminary's faculty in 1990.

Respected for his expertise in interfaith relations, Vogelaar served on the executive council of the interfaith relations committee of the National Council of Churches of Christ (NCCC) and chaired its committee of Christian-Muslim relations. In 1999, he served on the NCCC working group that developed a policy statement on interfaith relations that includes a study guide, theological commentary and worship service. In addition, he is co-chair of the Conference for Improved Muslim-Christian Relations of Greater Chicago and serves on the advisory committee of North Park's Middle East Study Center.

Widely published in the area of interfaith relations, Vogelaar's articles and reviews have appeared in numerous magazines, including The Lutheran, Muslim World, Theological Review, New World Outlook, and World Encounter.

Vogelaar received the bachelor of arts degree from Central College, Pella, Iowa, and the bachelor of divinity degree from New Brunswick Theological Seminary. The master of philosophy and doctor of philosophy degrees were bestowed by Columbia University, N.Y. in the department of Middle East languages and cultures.

Titled Presentations

Greet and Meet Your Muslim Neighbors (2-5 sessions)
Introduction to Islam (2-5 sessions)
Ministry in a Multi-faith Community (1-2 sessions)
The Bible and Quran: Search for Common Ground (2-5 sessions)
Jesus and Muhammad in History in Faith (2-5 sessions)
Christians and Muslims: Owning our Pasts, Visioning the Future

Page last modified Sep 3, 2015