Joshua B. Ralston

Assistant Professor of Theology

Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Phone: 804.278.4289

Location: Richmond

Department: Theology and Ethics


Emory University, Ph.D.

Candler School of Theology, Emory University, M.Div.

New College, University of Edinburgh, M.Th.

Wake Forest University, B.A.



Joshua Ralston joined the faculty at Union Presbyterian Seminary in January, 2013.  His teaching and research is animated by the challenge of faithfully articulating and creatively re-thinking Christian claims about God and the world in light of Scripture, the history of Christian thought, other religious traditions (especially Islam) and the shifting socio-political landscape of the 21st Century. His doctoral dissertation, undertaken at the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University, considers how Christians might bring our commitments concerning the Law, the Gospel, and the Kingdom of God into conversation and debate with Islamic perspectives on law (Shari'a) and the political order.  This commitment to Christian-Muslim dialogue has been shaped not only through study, but more profoundly through teaching theology and interfaith relations in Nigeria and Egypt and living in Israel/Palestine.  Additional doctrines and themes of interest include political theology and ecclesiology, soteriology and Christology, and Arab Christianity.

Ralston is a candidate for ordination to the ministry of Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA) and has previously worked at churches in the San Francisco Bay Area and Atlanta; he also co-founded a New Church Development for refugees and immigrants in Clarkston, Georgia. A native Californian, he loves strong black coffee, cooking, international travel, debating Middle East politics, and the San Francisco Giants.  His wife, Sarah, works in international development, and they have two young daughters.


Books, Publications & Workshops

"Toward a Political Theology of Refugee Resettlement" Theological Studies 73 (2012): 363-390.

"Preaching Makes the Church: Recovering a Missing Ecclesial Mark" in John Calvin's Ecclesiology: Ecumenical Perspectives, edited by Eddy van der Borght and Gerard Mannion (New York: Continuum Press), 125-142.


Faculty Speaking Engagements and Events

"Bearing Witness: A Framework for Christian-Muslim Encounter"

From 4 to 6 pm UPSem Charlotte Campus
Union Presbyterian Seminary, Charlotte, NC
More Info

"Knowing Our Muslim Neighbors"

Sunday school hour, 9:30-10:30
Ginter Park Presbyterian Church, Richmond, VA
More Info

"A Closer Look into the Events of the Middle East"

Interfaith Panel Discussion for VCU's Muslim Student Awareness Week, 7 to 9 pm
Virginia Commonwealth University, West Grace North 1030J, Richmond VA

"No God but God: Understanding Muslim-Christian Relations"

9:30 to 10:30 am, April 26 and May 3 , Sunday school hour
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, Ivy, VA

"Christians and Muslims in Conversation"

9:45 to 10:45 am, with Imad Damaj
Bon Air Presbyterian Church, Richmond, VA

"On Bearing Witness: A Framework for Christian-Muslim Exchange"

May 21 to 24 at Georgetown University's Vatican Remembering the Future Conference
Georgetown University, Washington, DC
More Info

Courses Taught

Theology 101

Christian Theology and the Abrahamic Religions

Preacher and Presider as Theologian (w/ Paul Galbreath)

Theologies of the Atonement

Theology and World Christianity

Wrestling with Scripture (w/ Frances Taylor Gench)

The Theology of Karl Barth