The Rev. Dr. José David Rodríguez was appointed to the Augustana Heritage Chair of Global Mission and World Christianity by the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago board of directors at its recent meeting. Rodríguez is Professor of Systematic Theology and Director of LSTC's Th.M./Ph.D. program. For almost 20 years, he directed the seminary's Hispanic Ministry Program.
In his commendation, Acting Dean Ralph Klein noted Rodríguez's scholarship and experience. Rodríguez's work with LSTC graduate students who come from Latin America, Africa, and Asia helps to develop leaders for Lutheran churches around the world. Rodríguez is published in the area of global theology and mission issues. With colleagues at the ELCA's Division for Global Mission, he has helped strengthen partnerships among Lutheran church bodies in Central, North, and South America. Rodríguez is a member and leader in the Ecumenical Association of Third World Theologians (EATWOT) and has taught courses in Third World Theologies.
"Professor Rodriguez, in many ways, embodies the spirit of the former Augustana Synod," said Klein, "whose sons and daughters have contributed generously to establish this professorship at LSTC. He is a leader in ecumenism and in mission and recognizes that in many ways the church exits primarily for those who are not yet part of it."
Rodríguez was born in Puerto Rico and is a lifelong Lutheran. His church of origin was started by missionaries from the Augustana Synod of the Lutheran church. His family spent three years on mission in Argentina while Rodríguez was growing up. He is a graduate of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (1975, M.Div.; 1985, Th.M.; 1987, Th.D.) After teaching at the Seminario Evangelico de Puerto Rico, the Comunidad Teologica de Mexico, Elmhurst College, and Northern Baptist Theological Seminary, Rodríguez joined the LSTC faculty in 1985.
The Augustana Heritage Chair of Global Mission and World Christianity was established in 1996 as a visible expression of the Augustana Heritage Endowment established at LSTC in 1990. This chair provides a way to remember and honor one of the traditions of the Lutheran church and Augustana Theological Seminary, Rock Island, Illinois, a predecessor school of the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago.