Jonathan L. Walton is an acclaimed author, social ethicist and religious scholar. He is the Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and the Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church of Harvard University, as well as a member of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Religion and Society at the Harvard Divinity School.
Walton was raised in suburban Atlanta, GA, during the 1970s and ’80s by a family who kept the legacy of the civil rights movement sacred in the home. It is those early kitchen table lessons about service and sacrifice that continue to pilot and energize his writing, scholarship, ministry and social activism.
“It…was about how do you extend the legacy of service and commitment to something greater than yourself,” he said in a 2013 interview with The Boston Globe. “That is what my parents and my grandparents beat into us at the kitchen table.”
Much of Walton’s scholarship is focused on evangelical Christianity, and its relationship to mass media and political culture. His first book, Watch This! The Ethics and Aesthetics of Black Televangelism (NYU Press 2009), examines the theological and political traditions of African American religious broadcasters.
Walton is also an outspoken advocate for social justice and civil rights, as well as a passionate voice in support of the marginalized. His work and insights have been featured in several national and international news outlets including the New York Times, CNN, and the BBC.
Devotion to those social issues are prevalent in his writings, media interviews, speaking engagements and sermons.
Walton’s latest book A Lens of Love: Reading the Bible in Its World for Our World (Westminster John Knox Press 2018), is an extension of his work from the pulpit and classroom. The book is the interpretative exploration of the Bible from the perspective of the most vulnerable and violated characters in scriptures. A Lens of Love is an aid for Christians who seek to be rooted in faith while pursuing professional lives that are just, ethical and challenge inequity.
Walton earned his PhD in Religion & Society and MDiv from Princeton Theological Seminary. He also holds a BA in Political Science from Morehouse College in Atlanta. He serves on several professional boards and committees, which include the Board of Trustees at Princeton Theological Seminary, and the National Advisory Board of the John C. Danforth Center on Religion & Politics at Washington University in St. Louis.
He lives with his family in Cambridge, MA and Atlanta, GA.