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Karen FinchKaren Petersen Finch

Associate Professor
300 W. Hawthorne Road
Spokane, WA 99251
Phone: 509.777.3891
Fax: 509.777.3274
Office Location: Westminster Hall 106


  • Post-Doctoral Studies: Lonergan Institute, Boston College
  • Ph.D., Gonzaga University
  • M.Div. Princeton Theological Seminary
  • B.A., Pomona College

Year Joined Whitworth Faculty


Areas of Specialization / Expertise

Reformed theology (Calvin); Roman Catholic theology (Lonergan); ecumenical dialogue; public dialogue; theology of the modern period; Christianity and postmodernity; the theory and practice of forgiveness. 

Selected Publications / Presentations / Honors

Completed dissertation through Gonzaga University, titled, "Knowledge that Divides: Reformed-Catholic Dialogue and the Challenge of Epistemology" (2009).

 Publications include:

 “The Reformed Rejection of Natural Theology: Dialectic and Foundations,” special Reformation issue of Method:  Journal of Lonergan Studies, will appear in January 2018.

Review of Zachary Purvis’ Theology and the University in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Oxford University Press, September 2016) in Christian Higher Education, will appear in January 2018.

 “A Deeper Reception:  Engaging Lay Theologians in the Outcomes of Reformed and Roman Catholic Dialogue.”  Conference-based volume forthcoming from Libera Editrice Vaticana.

 “Learning to Speak Thoughtfully of Jesus: Calvin and Heresy.”  Theology Matters, 22.3 (2016), 1-5.

 “Calvin for Postmoderns: Humility as Method and Message” in Pro Ecclesia (23.4 Fall 2014);

"The Image of God, Servant Leadership and Forgiveness," International Journal of Servant Leadership (3.1 2007);

"A Calvinist Learns from Lonergan: Reflections on the Sovereignty-Freedom Debate,” METHOD: Journal of Lonergan Studies (23.1, Spring 2005);

"Jesus Christ our Only Comfort: The Christology of the Heidelberg Catechism," pfr reFORM (Spring 1999).

Presentations include:

  “Lonergan’s Method as Scaffolding for Ecumenical Discernment,” Fourth International Conference on Receptive Ecumenism, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia (November 2017); “Contemplating a Roman Catholic Reception of the Heidelberg Catechism,” at “Reformation to Globalization in Canada, Germany, and the World,” Saint Paul University/University of Ottawa (October 2017); “Naïve Poeticism? Bernard Lonergan and the Emerging Field of Theopoetics,” Lonergan Workshop, Boston College (June 2017); “A Deeper Reception:  Engaging Lay Theologians in the Outcomes of Reformed and Roman Catholic Dialogue,”  Rome Seminar of the College Theological Society,  Rome, Italy (July 2016); “Christ Alone: What Can We Learn from Calvin’s Response to Christological Heresies,” Presbyterian Scholars Conference, Wheaton College (September 2015); “Catholic and Reformed: In Search of a Common Understanding (of Understanding),” Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts (November 2014); Podcast Interview with Dr. Timothy George, Dean, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama (November 1, 2012);  “John Calvin, Postmodernism and Power (three lectures),” 25th Annual Reformation Heritage Lectures, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama (October 2012); “Jesus Christ as Prophet, Priest and King” and “The Definition of Chalcedon: Why it Matters Today,” Mountain States Wee Kirk Conference, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), Albuquerque, New Mexico (May 2012); "Evangelism in a Postmodern Context," Transitional Ministries Education, Synod of Alaska- Northwest, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)(August 2011); "Calvin for Congregations (three lectures)," Whitworth Institute of Ministry (July 2011); "Ecumenism and Epistemology," at the Northwest Lonergan Symposium, Seattle (2010).


Sabbatical at the Lay Centre at Foyer Unitas in Rome, Italy, writing on congregation-based ecumenical method, January-June 2018.

Fellow, Lonergan Institute, Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, September 2014-present.

Minister of Word and Sacrament, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), 1994-Present

Member, Editorial Review Board for The International Journal of Servant-Leadership (2011-present).

Member, drafting committee, "A Theological Foundation for Intercultural Relations at Whitworth University" (2010).

Voted "Outstanding Student" in the Doctoral Program in Leadership Studies 2008-2009 by the Graduate Student Association at Gonzaga University.