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Academic Mentoring

Detailed information about 2020 Forum Mentoring is not yet available but will be posted in the future. Please review the information from the 2019 Forum for a look at the types of mentoring that may be available at the 2020 Forum.

One of the most significant needs of the evangelical church is developing its next generation of intellectual leaders.  Currently when evangelicals are sent off for PhD studies, they are given the proverbial fatherly push into deep water "to sink or to swim."  Sadly, many struggle to stay afloat and some “spiritually sink.”  Most all experience an intense sociological pressure to give up or compromise their basic Christian convictions.

How can we help these key academic leaders?

Forum Academic Mentoring is designed to help young academics take a practical step toward academic excellence and biblical faithfulness.  Academic Mentoring participants have the option to submit a portion of their work (perhaps a chapter of a thesis/dissertation or a scholarly article), which will be read and evaluated by a more senior academic.  During the Academic Mentoring meeting, the participant will have the opportunity to discuss this piece with a Forum Academic Mentor, who will carefully assess the argumentation, presentation and evidence of critical thinking in the paper. Participants can also discuss the academic calling more broadly with a more experienced academic. 


Ralf Bergmann received his degree in physics and a doctorate from German universities. He is or has been involved in topics such as solid-state physics, semiconductors, photovoltaics and optical technologies at several research institutions in Germany and Australia and has also worked in industrial research. Currently he is a professor at a German university and head of a research institute working on optical technologies and optoelectronics. Beyond his research, he is interested in defending the reasonability of Christian faith, especially all around the triangle of physics, philosophy, and theology and the relevance of Christian faith for modern western society.


Fred W. Beuttler is an administrator at the Graham School of Continuing Liberal and Professional Studies at the University of Chicago. He received his PhD in history from the University of Chicago in 1995 and an MA in the History of Christianity from Trinity International University.  Prior to coming to Graham in June 2015, he was director of general education and taught history at Carroll University in Wisconsin. From 2005 to 2010, he was the deputy historian of the U.S. House of Representatives in Washington, D.C., and from 1998 to 2005 he was the associate university historian of the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Leonardo De Chirico is the pastor of Breccia di Roma, a church that he helped plant in Rome in 2009, and Vice Chairman of the Italian Evangelical Alliance. Previously, Leonardo planted and pastored an evangelical church in Ferrara, Italy from 1997 to 2009. He earned degrees in history (University of Bologna), theology (ETCW, Bridgend, Wales) and bioethics (University of Padova). His PhD is from King's College (London); it was published as Evangelical Theological Perspectives on Post-Vatican II Roman Catholicism. In 2015, he published A Christian Pocket Guide to Papacythrough Christian Focus. He is a lecturer of historical theology at Istituto di Formazione Evangelica e Documentazione in Padova, Italy. Additionally, Leonardo is the director of the Reformanda Initiative, which aims to equip evangelical leaders to better understand and engage with Roman Catholicism, and the leader of the Rome Scholars and Leaders Network.

Fabian F. Grassl has studied theology and philosophy in the United States, Northern Ireland, and Liechtenstein, where he is currently research fellow at the International Academy of Philosophy ( His doctoral dissertation on Helmut Thielicke is about to be published by Pickwick under the title In the Face of Death: Thielicke – Theologian, Preacher, Boundary Rider. Fabian is passionate about Christlike disciples being able to give a rational account of the Gospel. Happily married to Anja, they have been blessed with three wee girls and live on the Bavarian side of Lake Constance.


Jonathan Loose is a Christian philosopher working in the areas of philosophy of religion and philosophy of mind.  With a background in the cognitive sciences his recent publications include The Blackwell Companion to Substance Dualism, edited with Angus Menuge and J.P. Moreland, as well as book chapters and articles exploring topics such as Christian physicalism and the cognitive science of religion.   Jon is presently Research Associate of the School of Advanced Study, University of London, and the Margaret Beaufort Institute of Theology, Cambridge, and an executive committee member of the Evangelical Philosophical Society (  Jon was Senior Lecturer in Philosophy and Psychology at Heythrop College, University of London for twelve years until the College’s closure in 2018 and continues to be involved in review of higher education institutions in the UK and internationally.  Jon is Research Director for Stewards Company Ltd (J.W. Laing Trust), which supports a wide variety of Christian ministries.

Karis G. Riley is a postdoctoral research associate on the Faculty of History at the University of Cambridge for the AHRC project ‘Remembering the Reformation’. She has a BA in philosophy from Wheaton College, IL (2012) and received her PhD in English Literature from the University of York in 2017. Her thesis examined concepts of early modern emotion, reason, materialism, epistemology, and the moral body in seventeenth-century thinkers, with a particular focus on John Milton. The day after submitting her doctorate, she began the master’s in Classics at the University of Oxford. She is currently preparing her first book, Milton's Passions. She has published in Renaissance Studies and The Seventeenth Century and has presented on tragedy and pity at The Renaissance Society of America. Karis is married to Malcolm and together in 2014 they started Trinity Church Central London, an evangelical church-plant and community in the capital city.

Daniel von Wachter ( is professor and director of the International Academy of Philosophy in the Principality of Liechtenstein ( He is German and studied philosophy and theology at Munich, Liechtenstein, Innsbruck, Hamburg, and Oxford. Before he moved to Liechtenstein, he was a professor in Chile. Metaphysics and philosophy of religion are the main areas of his research. His method is within what is associated with analytic philosophy, but he places himself in the broader tradition of European philosophy, especially Protestant scholasticism and the non-deterministic philosophers of the 18th century.


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