David Hilborn
Academic Dean and Senior Lecturer in THEOLOGY AND Church History

BA (Nottingham), MA (Oxford), PhD (Nottingham), SFHEA

David grew up in south London and came to faith at 15 in a United Reformed Church congregation. He studied English and Linguistics at Nottingham University and while there experienced a call to ordination. He duly trained for the URC ministry at Mansfield College, Oxford while reading Theology in the University. At the same time, he met and married Mia, a fellow ordinand, and they served alongside each other as ministers in Keyworth and West Bridgford, Nottingham. During that period David also gained his PhD at Nottingham University under the supervision of Prof. Anthony Thiselton. His doctorate applied linguistic pragmatics to the discourse of English Reformed worship, particularly exploring theological and hermeneutical issues arising from the distinctions between scripted and extemporary approaches to the church service.

David moved back to London and led two congregations there while guest lecturing at various theological colleges and publishing his first book, Picking Up the Pieces, on Evangelicalism and postmodern culture (1994). In 1997, he was appointed as the first in-house theologian at the Evangelical Alliance UK, serving in that role for the next decade, and authoring/co-authoring or editing/co-editing several books on various aspects of Evangelical theology, history and ethics. These included The Nature of Hell (2000), ‘Toronto’ in Perspective (2001), God and the Generations: Youth, Age and the Church Today (2002), One Body in Christ, Movement for Change (2004) and The Atonement Debate (2008). In recognition of his work for the Alliance, David was appointed Associate Research Fellow at London Bible College – subsequently London School of Theology.

Also while at the Alliance, David became an Anglican along with Mia. She moved into hospital chaplaincy while he was appointed in 2006 as Director of Studies at the North Thames Ministerial Training Course – forming ordinands and lay ministers for the Church of England and Methodist Church across London and Essex. David became Principal of NTMTC, with a brief to partner with the St Paul’s Theological Centre at Holy Trinity, Brompton in West London. That partnership developed into St Mellitus College – now the biggest theological college in the Church of England. David served St Mellitus as Assistant Dean and Director of Studies while continuing to lead NTMTC’s part-time programmes within the new, integrated college.

In 2012, David was called to be Principal of St John’s College, Nottingham. He served there for six years, during which time he was also a member of the Church of England’s Faith and Order Commission. While at St John’s David led the development of digital and blended learning alongside classroom-based education. He also played a leading role in facilitating dialogue and cooperation between Anglicans and Pentecostals. That work led to various publications on the subject and was the genesis of the book Anglicans and Pentecostals in Dialogue, which David co-edited with Simo Frestadius (Wipf & Stock, 2023).

After leaving St John’s David led Moorlands College, an interdenominational college based in Christchurch, Dorset. While there he oversaw development of a new partnerships with Wycliffe Bible Translators and Youth Link NI, and, as at St John’s, helped to diversify the college’s programmes online.

David maintains an active wider ministry, serving as a trustee of the Evangelical Alliance UK and chairing its Theological Advisory Group. He also chairs the Bursary Committee of the Jerusalem Trust – a body that makes grants available to students at British and Irish evangelical colleges. In 2023, he was appointed as the Church of England’s representative on the International Pentecostal-Anglican Commission and the World Council of Churches Joint Consultative Group on Pentecostalism. He has successfully supervised a range of doctoral theses in the areas of evangelical history, theology and ethics, ecumenical theology, the theology of worship, and the interface between theology and linguistics. He is in demand as an external examiner for postgraduate research in these areas.

From his earliest explorations in theology, David has been keen to make connections with literature, art, music and sport. He enjoys reading poetry, visiting galleries and exhibitions, listening to his extensive record collection, and attending a variety of shows, concerts and gigs. He is a massive cricket fan, having played the game to a decent amateur level. David’s and Mia’s children, Matthew and Alice, are now in their twenties, and he loves discussing cultural trends and current affairs with them.

Anglicans and Pentecostals in Dialogue (joint ed. w. Simo Frestadius). Eugene, Or: Wipf & Stock, 2023.

‘Introduction’ (with Simo Frestadius), in David Hilborn & Simo Frestaius (eds) Anglicans and Pentecostals in Dialogue. Eugene, Or: Wipf & Stock, 2023, pp.1-16.

‘Anglican Ordination’, in David Hilborn & Simo Frestadius (eds), Anglicans and Pentecostals in Dialogue. Eugene, Or: Wipf & Stock, 2023, pp.79-101.

‘Anglicans, Pentecostals and Ecumenism’, in Joe Aldred (ed.), Pentecostals and Charismatics in Britain: An Anthology. London: SCM, 2019, Ch. 8.

Reviewing the Discourse of ‘Spiritual Abuse’: Logical Problems and Unintended Consequences. Evangelical Alliance Theology Advisory Group, London: EAUK, 2018 (Editor and Lead Writer).

‘The Reformation, Evangelicals and Roman Catholicism’, Partnership, 60 (Summer 2017), 37-43.

‘Key Theological Developments in Evangelical Social Ethics Since the 1970s’, Crucible (Journal of Christian Social Ethics), April 2017, pp.11-24.

‘Evangelical Models of Leadership: General Trends and Anglican Expressions’, in Loveday Alexander & Mike Higton (eds), Faithful Improvisation: Theological Reflections on Church Leadership, London: Church House, 2016, pp.166-185.

Eight articles for Martin Davie et al (eds), New Dictionary of Theology – Historical and Systematic (Second Edn) London/Downers Grove: IVP, 2016. On: Annihilationism (pp.34-36), The Ecumenical Movement (pp.283-286), Evangelical Theology (pp.309-312), The Gospel (pp.374-375), Liberal Evangelicalism (pp.513-514), The Papacy (pp.650-652), Postmodernism (691-693) and Roman Catholic Theology (pp.783-785).

‘A Response to Campbell’s “Connecting the Dots”, in Chris Tilling (ed.), Beyond Old and New Perspectives on Paul: Reflections on the Work of Douglas Campbell. Eugene, Or.: Cascade, 2014, pp.114-123.

‘Interview with Professor Andrew Walker’, in Martyn Percy & Pete Ward (ed.), The Wisdom of the Spirit: Gospel, Church and Culture. Farnham: Ashgate, 2014, pp.175-193.

‘Anglicans, Pentecostals and Ecumenical Theology’, in Harold D. Hunter & Neil Ormerod (eds),

The Many Faces of Global Pentecostalism. Cleveland, Tn.: CPT, 2013, pp. 243-263.

Heißes Eisen Hölle. Geißen: Brunnen, 2011.

The Atonement Debate: Papers from the London Symposium on the Theology of Atonement. Edited with Derek Tidball & Justin Thacker. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008.

‘Atonement, Evangelicalism and the Evangelical Alliance: The Present Debate in Context’, in Derek Tidball, David Hilborn & Justin Thacker (eds), The Atonement Debate: Papers from the London Symposium on the Theology of Atonement. Edited with Derek Tidball & Justin Thacker. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008, pp. 15-33.

‘Unity and Truth in Pan-Evangelical Theology’, in Christian Hermann (ed.), Rechenschaft des Glaubens: Fetschrift für Rolf Hille zum 60. Geburtstag. Wuppertal: R. Brockhaus, 2007, pp. 50-64.

‘Glossolalia as Communication: A Linguistic-Pragmatic Perspective’, in Mark Cartledge (ed.) Glossolalia: A Multi-Disciplinary Approach. Studies in Pentecostal and Charismatic Issues. Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 2006, pp. 111-146.

‘Jean-François Lyotard’, entry for New Dictionary of Apologetics (eds Campbell Campbell-Jack & Gavin McGrath), IVP: Leicester: 2006, pp. 410-411.

‘Principled Unity or Pragmatic Compromise? The Challenge of Pan-Evangelical Theology’, Evangel 22:3, Autumn 2004, 80-90.

 Movement for Change: Evangelicals and Social Transformation (Editor), Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 2004.

‘Church, Society and State: Romans 13 in Evangelical Practice’, in Movement for Change: Evangelicals and Social Transformation, ed. David Hilborn, Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 2004, 113-32.

‘Homosexuality, Covenant and Grace in the Writings of Rowan Williams’, Anvil (20/4) December 2003, pp.263-75.

‘Universalistic Trends in the Evangelical Tradition: A Historical Perspective’ (with Don Horrocks), in Robin Parry & Chris Partridge (eds), Universal Salvation? The Current Debate, Carlisle: Paternoster Press, 2003, pp.219-246.

‘An Evangelical Perspective on Orthodox Liturgy’ in Ian Randall (ed.), Baptists and the Orthodox Church, Prague: International Baptist Seminary, 2003, pp.64-80.

God and the Generations: Youth, Age and the Church Today (Co-Editor with Matt Bird), Carlisle: Paternoster Press/Evangelical Alliance, 2002.

‘Truth, Collegiality and Consensus: The Dynamics of an Evangelical Theological Commission’, Evangelical Review of Theology, 26/1 January 2002, pp.23-44.

‘One Body in Christ’: The History and Significance of the Evangelical Alliance (with Ian Randall), Carlisle: Paternoster Press/Evangelical Alliance, 2001.

‘Toronto’ in Perspective: Papers on the New Charismatic Wave of the mid-1990s (Editor), Carlisle: Paternoster Press/Evangelical Alliance, 2001.

‘Introduction: Evangelicalism, the Evangelical Alliance and the Toronto Blessing’ in David Hilborn (ed.) Toronto in Perspective, Carlisle: Paternoster Press/Evangelical Alliance, 2001, pp.3-34.

‘A Chronicle of the Toronto Blessing and Related Events’, in David Hilborn (ed.) Toronto in Perspective, Carlisle: Paternoster Press/Evangelical Alliance, 2001, pp.129-330.

The Nature of Hell (Editor). Carlisle: Paternoster Press/Evangelical Alliance, 2000.

‘The Words of Our Lips’: Language Use in Free Church Worship. Congregational Memorial Hall Trust Monograph. London: Congregational Memorial Hall Trust, 1998.

‘Lost Without Her Soul? Diana and the Search for Transcendence’, in Death of a Princess: Making Sense of a Nation’s Grief (ed. Chris Sugden). London: Silver Fish, 1998, pp.59-72.

Picking Up the Pieces: Can Evangelicals Adapt to Contemporary Culture? London: Hodder & Stoughton, 1997.

‘From Performativity to Pedagogy: Jean Ladrière and the Pragmatics of Reformed Worship Discourse’, in Stanley Porter (ed.), The Nature of Religious Language: A Colloquium. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1995, pp.170-200.

‘For the Procreation of Children’, in Susan Durber (ed.), As Man and Woman Made: Theological Reflections on Marriage. London: United Reformed Church, 1994, pp.22-32.

‘Doing Barth Justice: Baptism and the URC: Part I’, Reformed Quarterly (2,1-2), 1991, 7-13; ‘Part II’ (2,3), 1991, pp.4-8.

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