Professor of Theology; Department Chair of Theology
and Church and Ministry Leadership
on faculty since 2001
Faith before learning.
Those three words summarize Professor Yudha Thianto’s philosophy of teaching theology. As chair of Trinity’s theology department, Thianto brings a wealth of education, experience and knowledge to his subject matter. But he is quick to point out that “theology means nothing if it is not for the good of God’s people and God’s church. Therefore, above and beyond just emphasizing knowledge and theoretical understanding of theology, I always put faith in God first.”
Thianto’s academic credentials include undergraduate education in his native Indonesia, where he earned a degree in English linguistics from Diponegoro State University. He began his journey toward his doctorate at South-East Asia Bible Seminary in Indonesia, followed by a master’s degree in general theology at Calvin Theological Seminary (MI). He remained at Calvin Seminary to receive an M.T.S. in general theology, and then pursued coursework toward a Th.M. in historical theology, later completing his Ph.D. in historical theology in 2003.
His research specialty—the controversy over private baptism in 17th century England—is an expansion of the scope of his doctoral dissertation. Thianto’s goal is to write a monograph on the topic of baptismal issues in England during the later-Stuarts period with a specific look at how the Anglican Church used the patristic material to defend its baptismal theology and practice against its opponents. Another area of research involves the influence of Calvinistic theology in the early establishment of Reformed churches in Java, Indonesia, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.
Before joining Trinity’s faculty full-time, Thianto taught at Reformed Evangelical Seminary, Jakarta, Indonesia; Cornerstone University (MI); Calvin Theological Seminary; and Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary (MI).
“I teach in order that my students may have faith that seeks understanding,” said Thianto. “Theological pursuit should be our faithful and ceaseless efforts to seek the truth that God has revealed to us. In teaching theology to my students, I always show that once we start with the true belief in God, we must be able to explain why we believe what we believe.”
After teaching in a variety of academic settings, Thianto found Trinity to be the right fit because he is “fully in line with Trinity’s mission to provide biblically informed liberal arts education in the Reformed tradition.” Like many other faculty members and students, he appreciates Trinity’s emphasis on liberal arts education as well as its strong sense of community and small size. Those elements contribute to his greatest satisfaction in the classroom: “to see students’ eyes twinkle when they understand what I try to explain.”
A member of Hope Christian Reformed Church in Oak Forest, Illinois, Thianto finds time to engage in two primary pursuits outside the classroom. He enjoys gardening, especially planting perennials such as roses and bulbs (tulips, daffodils, hyacinths) as well as vegetables. He also has a collection of tropical plants in his Evergreen Park home. Thanks to the largesse of the biology department, he even has a crop of banana plants in Trinity’s greenhouse. Thianto also finds joy in playing the two full-size electronic organs in his house, a passion he has shared with the Trinity community on many occasions.
Ph.D., Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2003
M.T.S., Calvin Theological Seminary, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 1994
Certificate, South-East Asia Bible Seminary, Indonesia, 1991
Doctorandus, Diponegoro State University, Indonesia, 1988
Courses and Publications/Research
- Basic Teachings of the Christian Faith
- Biblical Foundations: The Old Testament and Its Fulfillment
- Biblical Literature: Wisdom Books
- Calvinistic Tradition
- The Church and Christian Traditions
- Cross-Cultural Missions
- Living Issues in the Christian Tradition
- The Nature and Ministry of the Church
- Recent Trends in the Doctrine of God (honors course)
- Senior Capstone
Papers Published and/or Presented
“Elements of Calvin’s Theology and Practice in the Reformed Churches in Java in the Seventeenth Century.” John Calvin: Myth and Reality, 96-117 Amy Nelson-Burnett, ed. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books (2011)
“Stories Registers of Baptism Told: Private Baptism in Post-Reformation England.” History (Blackwell, Oxford), vol. 95, issue 2, number 318, 177-193 (April 2010)
“Three Persons as Three Individual Substances: Joseph Bingham’s Sermon on the Trinity and Its Place in the Trinitarian Controversy at Oxford in the Last Decade of the Seventeenth Century,” Fides et Historia (40:1), 67-86. Winter/Spring 2008.
Indonesian translation of Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology, published by Reformed Evangelical Council Indonesia, Jakarta, 1992-1996 (six volumes).
Awards and Memberships
Professional Society Membership
- American Society of Church History
- Calvin Studies Colloquium
- Sixteenth Century Studies