Tom Schwanda, Ph.D.

Associate Professor of Christian Formation & Ministry
On Faculty since 2006

Phone: (630)752-7958


Ph.D. Durham University, 2009.

D. Min. Fuller Theological Seminary, 1992.

M.Div. New Brunswick Theological Seminary, 1975.

Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 1972-1974.

B.A. Moravian College, 1972.

About Tom Schwanda

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 adjunct associate professor of Christian Spirituality at Fuller Seminary and teach a doctor of ministry course each summer. I find great joy in leading retreats, teaching adult classes, and offering spiritual direction.

Grace and I have two grown children; Rebecca Joy and her husband Jesse, live in Grand Rapids, MI and Steve and his wife Stephanie, live in Alma, MI. We are also blessed with four grandchildren, Brooklyn and Aniston from Rebecca Joy and Jesse and Hailey and Pierce from Steve and Stephanie. We enjoy attending concerts, canoeing and kayaking. 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 even though they have not played decent hockey for decades.

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 as a professor is to guide students into discovering the rich treasures of Christian formation and worship. 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.

Courses Taught

  • 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 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

Membership in Fellowships and Professional Societies

  • Fellow Royal Historical Society (FRHistS)
  • 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-Spiritual Formation and Sanctification planning committee
  • Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality-Governing Board (2009...)
  • Spiritual Directors International 


Puritan mysticism and contemplative spirituality, eighteenth–century Evangelical spirituality, history of Christian spirituality, history of the devotional reading of Scripture, and spirituality of worship.

Selected Publications

Books and Chapters in Books

Gazing on Jesus with Gratitude: The Piety of Isaac Ambrose (working title). Grand Rapids: Reformation Heritage Books, forthcoming.

"The Pilgrimage of Two Souls: The Spirituality of John Wesley and George Whitefield" in Wesley and Whitefield? Wesley versus Whitefield? Edited by Ian Maddock. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, forthcoming, 2017.

"Grateful Adoration: Early Evangelical Reception of Contemplation" in Contemplation: A Guide for Evangelicals. Edited by Kyle C. Strobel and John H. Coe. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, forthcoming, 2017.

Tom Schwanda and Mark A. Lamport, "August Hermann Francke: Architect of Practical Piety" in Historical and Theological Foundations of Religious Educators. Edited by George Thomas Kurian and Mark Lamport, Lynchburg, VA: Liberty University Press, 2016.

"Gazing at the Wounds: The Blood of the Lamb Imagery in the Hymns of John Cennick" in Heart Religion: The Reshaping of Protestant Piety, The Sources and Nature of British Pietism, 1690-1860. Edited by John Coffey. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2016, pp. 113-137.

Alec Ryrie and Tom Schwanda, eds. Puritanism and Emotion in the Early Modern World. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016.

"The Saints' Desire and Delight to be with Christ" in Puritanism and Emotion in the Early Modern World. Edited by Alec Ryrie and Tom Schwanda. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2016, pp. 70-93.

The Emergence of Evangelical Spirituality: The Age of Edwards, Newton and Whitefield. Classics of Western Spirituality series. Mahwah, NJ: Paulist Press, 2016.

Edited Journal Issue

Guest Co-editor with James Wilhoit, Theme Issue:  “The Formative Reading of Scripture.” Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care 5, no. 1 (Spring 2012).

Peer Reviewed Journal Articles

"Protestant Reception of Jan Hus in Great Britain and the American Colonies." Journal of Moravian History 16, no. 2 (2016): forthcoming.

"Unity and Division: The Changing Theology and Friendship between George Whitefield and John Cennick." Proceedings of the Wesley Historical Society 60, no. 3 (October 2015): 111-22.

"Sweetnesse in Communion with God': The Contemplative Mystical Piety of Thomas Watson." Journal for the History of Reformed Pietism 1, no. 2 (October 2015): 34-63.

Signed Reference Works

"Spiritual Disciplines" in Evangelical Dictionary of Theology 3rd ed. Edited by Daniel Treier. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, forthcoming.

Two entries (Susanna Anthony and John Smith) in A Jonathan Edwards Encyclopedia. Edited by Harry S. Stout, Kenneth P. Minkema, Adriaan C. Neele. New Haven: Yale University, Jonathan Edwards Center/Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017.

Eight entries (Historical: August Hermann Francke, Jean Gerson, Frank Laubach, Hannah More, Charles Spurgeon, and Nicholas Ludwig von Zinzendorf. Topical: Fuller Theological Seminary and Mystery) in Encyclopedia of Christian Education. Edited by George Thomas Kurian and Mark Lamport, Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2015.

Reviews in Academic Journals

Sara S. Poor and Nigel Smith, Mysticism and Reform, 1400-1750 in The Journal of Ecclesiastical History forthcoming.

Brian H. Cosby, John Flavel: Puritan Life and Thought in Stuart England in The Journal for the History of Reformed Pietism forthcoming.

Paul Peucker, A Time of Sifting: Mystical Marriage and the Crisis of Moravian Piety in the Eighteenth Century in Spiritus 16, no. 2 (Spring 2016): 123-25.

Ryan M. McGraw, A Heavenly Directory: Trinitarian Piety, Public Worship and a Assessment of John Owen's Theology in The Journal of Ecclesiastical History 67, no. 1 (January 2016): 204.

Donald S. Whitney, Finding God in Solitude: The Personal Piety of Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758) and Its Influence on His Pastoral Ministry in Spiritus 15, no. 2 (Fall 2015): 255-57.

Review Essay of Amy Hollywood and Patricia Z. Beckman, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Christian Mysticism (Cambridge University Press, 2012) and Julia A. Lamm, ed. The Wiley-Blackwell Companion to Christian Mysticism (Wiley-Blackwell, 2013) in Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care 8, no. 1 (Spring 2015): 104-107.

Journal for the History of Reformed Pietism 1, no. 1 (2015): 1-68 in One in Christ 49, no. 1 (2015): 164-68.

Douglas H. Shantz, Introduction to German Pietism: Protestant Renewal at the Dawn of Modern Europe (The Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013) in Evangelical Studies Bulletin 85 (Fall 2013): 5-7.

Ministry Publications

"The Spiritual Discipline of Meditation: Reading Scripture with Isaac Ambrose." Knowing & Doing (C. S. Lewis Institute): A Teaching Quarterly for Discipleship of Heart and Mind (Fall 2012): 4-5, 21-25.

“Inflaming Your Souls By the Word of God:  George Whitefield’s Guidance for Searching Scripture.” Knowing & Doing (C. S. Lewis Institute):  A Teaching Quarterly for Discipleship of Heart and Mind  (Winter 2011):  6–7, 25–29.

“Companions with the Spirit:  The Ministry of Spiritual Direction.“ Reformation and Revival 13, no. 3 (Summer 2004):  11-26.         

“Gazing at God:  Some Preliminary Observations on Contemplative Reformed Spirituality.” Reformed Review 56, no. 2 (Winter 2002/2003):  101-121.

“Growing in Christ:  Glorifying and Enjoying God through Reformed Spiritual Disciplines.” Reformation and Revival 10, no. 1 (Winter 2001):  19-45.

“Maturing in Christ:  The Dynamic Process of Pilgrimage.” Reformed Review 53, no. 3 (Spring 2000):  196-211.

“The Transforming Power of Silence in Personal Prayer and Public Worship” Reformed Liturgy & Music 33, no. 4  (1999):  21-25.

“The Unforced Rhythms of Grace, A Reformed Perspective on Sabbath.” Perspectives 11, no. 3 (March 1996):  14-17.

“Closing the Gap:  Recovering the Experiential Nature of Reformed Spirituality.” Reformed Review 49, no. 2 (Winter 1995-96):  109-25.

“Amazing Grace, A Paradigm for Piety.” Perspectives 9, no. 1 (Jan 1994):  11-14. 

I have also reviewed 56 books reviews for the Calvin Theological Journal, 46 book reviews for the Reformed Review, eight book reviews for Reformed Worship, and two book reviews for Perspectives

Consulting editor for the Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care, 2008—

Selected Presentations

"Susanna Anthony and Sarah Osborn: Spiritual Friendship in Early Evangelicalism" Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, November 20, 2014.

"Unity and Division?: The Changing Theology and Friendship Between George Whitefield and John Cennick" The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Andrew Fuller Conference, October 22, 2014.

"When Theology Unites and Divides: The Changing Relationship Between George Whitefield and John Cennick" George Whitefield at 300 Conference, Pembroke College, University of Oxford, June 25, 2014.

"Holy Longing: The Contemplative-Mystical Piety of Thomas Watson" Annual meeting of American Society of Church History, January 2, 2014.

"'Kindle the Heavenly Flame': The Joy-filled Spiritualty of John Cennick" Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, November 20, 2013.

"The Saints Desire and Delight to be with God in the Heavenly Mindedness of Thomas Watson" Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, November 20, 2013.

"Being Evangelical in Eighteenth-Century English Spirituality" Durham University, Durham, England, October 17, 2013.

"Lead Me to Calvary: The Lamb of God Imagery in Early Moravian Hymnody" Spurgeon's College, London, England, October 9, 2013.

"'O for a Closer Walk with God': The Emergence of Early Evangelical Spirituality" Nazarene Theological College, Manchester, England, October 4, 2013.

"'Holy, Solemn, Humble Awe' in the Spiritual Writings of Susanna Anthony" Summer Conference of the Society for the Study of Christian Spirituality, University of Notre Dame, July 1, 2013.

"Soul Recreation: Enjoying God with Heart and Mind" Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Symposium, January, 25-26, 2013.

"The Dynamics of Grace in John Owen's The Grace and Duty of Being Spiritually Minded" Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, November 15, 2012.

"Gazing on the Divine Glory: The Evangelical Resistance and Retrieval of Contemplation" Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, November 15, 2012.

“Looking Unto God and Neighbor:  The Life, Piety, and Ministry of Isaac Ambrose” Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, November 17, 2011.

“The Spirit Breathes Upon the Word:  The Formative Use of Scripture in the Hymns of William Cowper” Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, November 16, 2011.

“’Being ‘in Christ’s Company’:  Isaac Ambrose’s Practice of Meditation on Scripture” Hersteld Hervormde Kerk (Reformed Church of the NL) July 1, 2011.

“’A Lovely Taste of Heaven’:  Sanctification through Solitude in Puritan Spirituality’” Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, November 17, 2010.

“Jesus is Your Husband:  Spiritual Marriage and Intimacy in Early Modern Protestantism” Wheaton College Humanities Colloquium, October 22, 2010.

“’Hearts Sweetly Refreshed’:  Puritan Spiritual Disciplines Then and Now” Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theology Society, November 19, 2009.

“Fed by Christ, Formed in Christ:  Spiritual Formation through the Lord’s Supper” Annual Meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, November 15, 2007.

“Retreating and Advancing: Two Spiritual Practices in the Life of Isaac Ambrose” and “Spiritual Marriage and Gender Dynamics in Isaac Ambrose” Oak Hill Theological College, London, May 17, 2007.

“Soul Recreation:  Recovering a Contemplative Spirituality for Today” University of Glasgow, Centre for Advanced Studies in Christian Ministry, May 2004.

“The Life and Times of Isaac Ambrose” and “Spiritual Marriage and the Enjoyment of God” Oak Hill Theological College, London-May 2004.

“Spiritual Formation Inside the Heart of the Faculty” co-presentation with Jim Wilhoit and “Spiritual Marriage:  Cultivating Our Union and Communion with Christ” Spiritual Formation Forum, Los Angeles, May 2004.

“Learning to Pray with Jesus” Spiritual Formation Forum, Dallas, May 2001.

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