(Indianapolis, IN) – Christian Theological Seminary announced today that Rev. Dr. Matthew Myer Boulton has been named the seminary’s sixth president. The CTS Board of Trustees voted to elect Boulton following a nearly year-long, national search. An ordained Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) minister, Boulton earned a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Chicago (2003) and a M.Div. from Harvard Divinity School (1998).
Boulton is relocating to Indianapolis from Cambridge, Massachusetts where he has served as Associate Professor of Ministry Studies at Harvard Divinity School (HDS) since 2007. He has taught a broad range of courses on Christian theology, preaching, and history, including courses that put social justice work in theological perspective. His teaching and research have explored the ways in which Christian life is shaped through worship and music.
CTS Chairman Mark Mutz commented that Boulton understands that the most important work in theology does not occur in the insulated towers of academia, but where faith meets the joys and sorrows of living. “If you look back at those who have made the most significant contributions to theology – people like St. Augustine, John Calvin and Karl Barth – you will see that they were all pastors who spent a great deal of time with men and women confronting the most difficult and rewarding issues of their lives, issues like children, marriage and death. Their thinking arose where their faith met these realities. Matt gets that. He has not only written respected academic works, he has also made films, founded a church and started a band. He has the intellect, creativity and entrepreneurial spirit to lead CTS and theological education in exciting directions,” Mutz said.
An accomplished musician and songwriter, Boulton co-founded the bluegrass gospel band, Butterflyfish. He notes that the arts can provide effective means for conveying theological concepts. “Just as scholarly writing can explain and explore the big ideas of Christian faith, a song or work of art can bring clarity and insight to those very ideas, making them easier to engage and understand,” Boulton stated.
Boulton is no stranger to the Midwest. The son of a religion professor, he grew up in southwest Michigan and earned a degree in film and history from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, before an interest in anthropology, ritual studies and theology prompted him to enroll in Harvard Divinity School.
Prior to his teaching at HDS, Boulton served as Assistant Professor of Worship and Preaching at Andover Newton Theological School. He is the author of God Against Religion: Rethinking Christian Theology through Worship and the forthcoming Life in God: John Calvin, Practical Formation, and the Future of Protestant Theology, due out this fall. His essays have been published in a broad range of scholarly journals, and he is a sought-after speaker, preacher, and workshop leader.
Boulton said he was intrigued by CTS’s legacy of exploring faith in ways that engage both intellectual rigor and passionate inspiration. “We strengthen and deepen our faith by asking critical, adventurous questions while at the same time leaning into what most inspires us. I look forward to working with CTS’s accomplished faculty and staff to continue asking these questions in fresh, exciting, faithful ways,” he said.