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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: Beeksma Family Theological Cen 206


  • 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; epistemology and ecumenism; theology of the modern period; Christianity and postmodernity; public dialogue; 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:

"Bernard Lonergan, Decision, and Ecumenical Discernment," in Receptive Ecumenism: Listening, Learning and Loving in the Way of Christ. Eds. Vicky Balabanski and Geraldine Hawkes. Adelaide, S.A.: ATF Press, 2019.

"Contemplating a Roman Catholic Reception of the Heidelberg Catechism," in Worship, Tradition, and Engagement: Essays in Honor of Timothy George. Eugene, Oregon: Pickwick Publications, 2018, 149-164. 

Publication forthcoming: "A Deeper Reception: Engaging Lay Theologians in the Outcomes of Reformed and Roman Catholic Dialogue," in Full, Conscious and Active: Lay Participation in the Church's Dialogue with the World.  Rome, Italy: Libera Editrice Vaticana, summer 2019.  

Publication forthcoming: "The Value of Polemic Language: Regarding a Roman Catholic Reception of the Heidelberg Catechism," in special reformation issue of Theoforum, winter 2019.  

Reviewed: Zachary Purvis, Theology and the University in Nineteenth-Century Germany (Oxford University Press, September 2016) in Christian Higher Education, 17.1-2 (2018), 110-112.

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

"The Reformed Rejection of Natural Theology: Dialectic and Foundations;" in METHOD: Journal of Lonergan Studies, 6.2 (2015), 19-34.

"Calvin for Postmoderns: Humility as Method and Message," in Pro Ecclesia, 23.4 (2014), 400-417.

"The Image of God, Servant Leadership and Forgiveness," in International Journal of Servant Leadership, 3.1 (2007), 203-216.

"A Calvinist Learns from Lonergan: Reflections on the Sovereignty-Freedom Debate," in METHOD: Journal of Lonergan Studies, 23.1 (2005), 1-17.

"A Protestant Lonergan Scholar in Rome." Blog, Lonergan Institute at Boston College. <>. May 1, 2018.

Presentations include:

"Predestination: Teaching the So-Called Decretum Horribile in Ecumenical Settings." Presbyterian Scholars Conference, Harbor House, Wheaton College, October 23-24, 2018.

"Epistemological Obstacles in the Contemporary Ecumenical Movement." Lonergan Workshop. June 15, 2018. Lonergan Institute at Boston College, June 10-15, 2018.

"Local Ecumenism: Precedents, Method and Questions." European Academy of Religion First Annual Meeting. Session theme (Ecclesiastical Investigations): "The Future of Ecumenism: Shaping Method and Practice for Today's Times." Bologna, Italy, March 6, 2018.

"Lonergan's Method as Scaffolding for Ecumenical Discernment." Fourth International Conference on Receptive Ecumenism. Conference theme: "Leaning into the Spirit: Discernment, Decision-Making and Reception." University House, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, November 6-9, 2017.

"The Value of Polemic Language: Regarding a Roman Catholic Reception of the Heidelberg Catechism." Conference theme: "Reformation to Globalization in Canada, Germany, and the World." Saint Paul University/University of Ottawa, October 5-7, 2017.

"Naïve Poeticism? Bernard Lonergan and the Emerging Field of Theopoetics." Lonergan Workshop. Lonergan Institute at Boston College, Chestnut Hill, Massachusetts, June 19, 2017.

"Christ Alone: What We Can Learn from Calvin's Response to Christological Heresies." Presbyterian Scholars Conference, Harbor House, Wheaton College, September 18-19, 2015.

Keynote speaker, 25th Annual Reformation Heritage Lectures, Beeson Divinity School of Samford University, Birmingham, Alabama, October 30-November 1, 2012.
Conference Theme: "John Calvin, Postmodernism and Power"
Sermon: "Christ and Him Crucified" (I Cor. 1:1-9; 2:1-5)
Session One: "A Theology of Humility"
Session Two: "A Theology of Empowerment"

Selected to direct Whitworth's Honors Smithsonian Internship Program in Washington D.C., fall 2019.

In progress: A Training Manual for Local Dialogue Between Lay People in the Reformed and Catholic Traditions. First training session using the manual at Hamblen Park Presbyterian Church, September 9-October 7, 2018.

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).