Curriculum Vitae

 HOME ADDRESS:    305 Bushview Crescent,  Waterloo, Ontario,  N2V 2A6;   Phone:  (519) 746-2821;  Email:  ejthiessen[at]

PERSONAL DATA:  Date and place of birth:  January 18, 1942,  Wymark, Saskatchewan; married; three children.

PRESENT STATUS:   I took early retirement from Medicine Hat College in 2003, after having taught philosophy at the college for 36 years.  I continued teaching at the college on a contract basis for another 4 years, alternating between this and teaching overseas. After a move to Waterloo in the summer of 2007, I accepted the position of  Research Professor of Education at Tyndale University College in Toronto, for a three-year term.  I am presently alternating between teaching the occasional course  in Kitchener/Waterloo (Wilfrid Laurier University, Emmanuel Bible College) and teaching overseas.


Mennonite Brethren Bible College and College of Arts,  Winnipeg.  (Affiliated with Waterloo Lutheran University) B.Th., 1963.

University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. B.A. with Distinction, Major:  Physics, 1965.  B.A. (Honours) with High Honours in Philosophy, 1966.


McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.  M.A. in Philosophy, 1968.  Thesis:   “The Relationship of the Idea of God and the Postulate of God in Kant.”

Friedrich Alexander Universität, Erlangen-Nürnberg, West Germany, 1967/68.  Research on M.A. thesis completed; courses taken in philosophy, theology,  German literature and language.

University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario. Ph.D. in Philosophy, 1980.  Dissertation topic:  “Indoctrination, Education and Religion: A Philosophical Analysis.”


Kinsmen Club Bursary
Leonard Foundation Scholarships (three years)
University of Saskatchewan Undergraduate Scholarship
University of Saskatchewan Honours Scholarship
Graduate Teaching Fellowship (McMaster)
Germany Exchange Fellowship
(Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst)
Graduate Teaching Fellowship (Waterloo)
Canada Council Doctoral Fellowship (1978/79)
Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council Grant (1989/90)
Aid to Scholarly Publishing Grant (1994)
Academic Achievement Award, Medicine Hat College (1999)
Aid to Scholarly Publishing Grant (2001)


1968 – 1970:   Waterloo Lutheran University (now Wilfrid Laurier University);  Sessional appointment.

1970 – 1971:    University of Waterloo (Teaching Assistant)

1971 – 2007:     Medicine Hat College

Fall, 1977:        University of Lethbridge.   I taught a senior off-campus course in the philosophy of education.(Education 3050)

Summer, 1985:   University of Prince Edward Island.  I taught a summer course in the philosophy of religion (Philosophy 362).

Fall, 1993:       Lithuania Christian College

Winter, 2005 :  Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven, Belgium.  Graduate course taught:  Worldviews and the Christian Mind

Winter, 2006:  Lithuania Christian College

Winter, 2009:  Evangelische Theologische Faculteit, Leuven, Belgium.  Graduate course taught:  Philosophy of Religion

2008 – 2011      Research Professor of Education, Tyndale University College, Toronto

Fall, 2009 – 2012:  Laurier Association for Life-Long Learning, Wilfrid Laurier University.  Courses taught:  Ethics for a Pluralistic-Postmodern World;  Philosophy of Religion, Parts I & II;  Logic.

Spring, 2011:  Meserete Kristos College, Ethiopia.  (Intro. to Philosophy and Theology)

Fall, 2013: Caribbean Graduate School of Theology, Jamaica (Intro. to Philosophy and Theology)

Winter, 2012 to present:  Emmanuel Bible College.  (Worldview Studies Seminar)


Member of General Academic Council;  Chairman, Faculty Handbook Committee;  Chairman, Constitution Committee of the Faculty Association;  Secretary of the Faculty Association;  President of the Faculty Association;  Faculty Representative on the Board of Governors.


1981 ‑ 1982:  The Calgary Institute for the Humanities, University of Calgary.  I was on a secondment to the University of Calgary, researching  the need for humanities in Alberta technical/vocational post‑secondary  education.  The final report was submitted to the Alberta Department of Advanced Education and Manpower in January, 1983 and has since been published by the University of Calgary Press.

1985 ‑ 1986:  Oxford University.  Sabbatical Visitor at Mansfield College, Oxford.

1989 ‑ 1990:  Research and Writing. (Social Sciences & Humanities Research Council Grant)

1993 – 1994:  Sabbatical:  One semester spent teaching at Lithuania Christian College, and one semester spent in research at the Stapleford House Education Centre, Nottingham, England.

1996 – present:  Member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Beliefs and Values:  Studies in Religion and Education; Member of a Panel of Editorial Advisors to the Journal of Education & Christian Belief.

1998 – 2007:  Member of the Ethics Committee, Palliser Health Authority.

2000 – 2001:  Sabbatical: One semester spent as a Visiting Scholar at the Centre for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto.  One semester spent at the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria, on a Visiting Research Fellowship.

2007 – present:  Member of the Editorial Board of Journal of Christian Education, Australia.

2008, December:  External Reviewer for a Ph.D. dissertation by Craig S. Engelhardt,  entitled, “Moral and Civic Education and The Public Value of Religious Schools.”  School of Education and Institute of Church-State Studies,       Baylor University.

2008 – 2009:  Member of the Community Editorial Board,  The Waterloo Region Record

2011 – 2015:  Board Member, Waterloo Public Library


Philosophy:  Theology and verification/falsification;  Epistemology of religion;   Religious tolerance;  Epistemological and ethical relativism;  Ethics of proselytizing.

Philosophy of Education:   Philosophy of religious education;  Concepts of ‘education,’ and ‘indoctrination’;   Epistemology and education;   Religious schools/colleges and education pluralism.


Canadian Philosophical Association (CPA);  Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE);  Canadian Association of Foundations of Education (CAFE);   Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain (PESGB);  Canadian Society for the Study of Religion (CSSR);  Canadian Society of Christian Philosophers (CSCP).



Humanities in Alberta Post‑Secondary Technical‑Vocational Education.   Calgary:  University of Calgary Press, 1985. (Co-authored with Harold G. Coward)

Teaching for Commitment:  Liberal Education,  Indoctrination, and Christian Nurture.  Montreal & Kingston:  McGill-Queen’s University Press.  (Co-published by Gracewing, Leominster, U.K.) 1993.

In Defence of Religious Schools and Colleges.  Montreal & Kingston:  McGill-Queen’s University Press, 2001.

The Ethics of Evangelism:  A Philosophical Defence of Proselytizing and Persuasion.  Bletchley, Milton Keynes: Paternoster Press, and Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity Press, 2011.

The Scandal of Evangelism: A Biblical Study of the Ethics of Evangelism. Eugene, Oregon: Cascade Books, an Imprint of Wipf & Stock, 2018.

Guest Editor of a Journal:

I edited a special issue of Ethics in Education (OISE), Vol. 9, #4, March, 1990.  Theme:  “The Ethics of Religiously‑Based Schools.”

See other pages on my blog for “Published Academic Articles and Chapters of Books,” and “Book Reviews Published in Academic Journals”


“The Problem of the Curriculum in the Church ‑ State Controversy in Education Are the Mennonites Justified in Rejecting the Public School Curriculum.”  This paper was co‑authored with Dr. Roy Wilson and was first presented at an Alternatives in Education Conference, University of Alberta, April 20‑21, 1978.

“Indoctrination, Education and Religion,” presented at the Institute of Christian Studies,  Toronto,  March 1979; Conrad Grebel  College, May, 1979; Medicine Hat College, September, 1979;   Religious Studies Department, University of Calgary, March, 1980.

“Liberal Education and the Core Curriculum,” a series of three lectures presented at a faculty retreat of the Mennonite Brethren Bible College and College of Arts, Winnipeg,  August 23 ‑ 24, 1979.

“The Problem of Pain as an Illustration of the Need for a Liberal Education Component in Nurses Training Programs,” Nurse’s Graduation, Medicine Hat College, June, 1981.

“Religious Freedom and Educational Pluralism,” Department of Educational Administration and  Policy, University of Calgary, Fall, 1981.

“Initiation, Indoctrination and Education,” Annual Meeting of the Northwest Philosophy of Education Society, Vancouver, B.C. Nov. 7, 1981.

“Indoctrination and Religious Education,” Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of Education, (CSSE), Ottawa, June 10, 1982.

“Euthanasia,” Medicine Hat Medical Association, March 25, 1983.

“Applied Humanities:  A Review of ‘The Humanities in Alberta Post Secondary Technical / Vocational Education,'” presented at the Annual Meeting of the Alberta Association of College Faculty AACF), Edmonton, May 31, 1984.

“Proselytizing Without Intolerance,” Annual Congress of the Canadian Philosophical  Association  (CPA), Guelph, Ontario, June 10 ‑ 13, 1984.

“Religion and the Other Forms of Knowing:  A Defense of a Uniquely Christian Curriculum,”International Seminar on Religious Education and Values, Kemptville, Ontario, June 26 – July 1, 1984.

“Educational Pluralism and Tolerance,” presented at a Toleration Workshop at the University of York,  February 4, 1986, under the auspices of the Morrell Studies in Toleration, and at branch meetings of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain at Cambridge, February 19, 1986 and in Wales, June 8 ‑ 9, 1986, and at the Annual Meeting of the Society for the Study of  Education (CSSE), Hamilton, May 31 ‑ June 3, 1987.

“A Reply to Charges Against Christian Education,”  Annual banquet of the Christian School Society of Saskatoon, February 21, 1987; Colloquia Series of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, Medicine Hat College, November, 1987.

“R.S. Peters on Liberal Education,” presented at the American Educational Studies Association Conventio, Chicago, November 4 ‑ 8, 1987, and at the annual conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education, Windsor, June 3 ‑ 6, 1988.

“Independent/Private/ Religious Schools and the Question of Rights to Choose a Child’s Education,” November, 1988; presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Independent Schools and Colleges of Alberta, Calgary, October, 1988; and at the 37th Annual Meeting of the Far Western Philosophy of Education Society (FWPES), Calgary, December 2 ‑ 4, 1988.

“Christian Nurture and the Charge of Indoctrination”, presented at the annual meeting of the Association of Christian School Principals, Harrison Hot Springs Hotel, British Columbia, September 22 ‑ 28, 1989.

“Christian Nurture, Indoctrination and Liberal Education:  Some Practical Suggestions,” presented at a Christian Education Seminar, North of England Institute for Christian Education, University of Durham, England, April 30, 1990, and at Stapleford House Education Centre, Nottingham, England, May 1, 1990.

“Christian Nurture and the Ideal of Autonomy,” presented at a branch meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain at Cambridge, May 3, 1990; and at the International Seminar on Religious Education and Values, Banff, August 24-28, 1992.

“The Ethics of Teaching and the Problem of Religious Indoctrination,”, at the Annual Meeting of the Canadian Philosophical Association, Victoria, British  Columbia, May     26, 1990.

“Towards a New Paradigm of Liberal Education,” at the Alberta Philosophers’ Conference, Banff,  April 24-26, 1992.

“Liberal Education and Commitment,” at a 30th anniversary celebration of the Philosophy Department Graduate Program, University of Waterloo, May 27, 1993; and at the annual meetings of the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion and the Canadian Society for the Study of Education, University of Calgary, June 5-8; 15-18, 1994.

“Christianity and Rationality,” at the Philosophy Department, University of Klaipeda, Lithuania, Oct., 1993.

“Religiously-based Schools and the Right to Educate,” at the “Towards a Christian Theory of Education Conference,” Stapleford House Education Centre, England, Jan. 7-9, 1994; and at a “Bridgehead for Education” workshop, Bristol, Jan. 22, 1994.

“Teaching for Commitment: Liberal Education, Indoctrination and Christian Nurture,” at a “Bridgehead for Education” workshop, Bristol, Jan. 22, 1994.

“Living as a Christian in a Pluralistic Global Village,” Graduation address at Concord College, Winnipeg, April 24, 1994.

“Response to Ellen Weber’s Review of Teaching for Commitment,” at the With Heart and Mind Conference, Regina, May 15-17, 1995.

“The Embarrassment of Teaching for Commitment,” at the North of England Institute for Christian Education seminar, March 11, 1994; and at the Exeter Branch of the Philosophy of Education Society of Great Britain, March 22, 1994; and at the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion, University of Calgary, June 7, 1994.

“Response to Lee Hollaar’s Review of Teaching for Commitment, at a “Meet the Author” session of the Christian Branch of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education, Rocky Mountain Bible College, June 16, 1994.

Lecture at a faculty seminar at North American Baptist College and Seminary (with representatives from other religious colleges affiliated with the University of Alberta, January 16, 1995.  Topic:  Teaching for Autonomy at a Confessional College.

“Liberal Education, Public Schools and the Embarrassment of Teaching for Commitment,” at the annual meeting of the Philosophy of Education Society, March 30 – April 3, 1995,     San Francisco.

“Curriculum After Babel,” at the With Heart and Mind Conference, Regina, May 15-17, 1995.

Three lectures at a faculty retreat at Canadian Bible College/Canadian Theological Seminary, Regina, August 18, 1995.

“Christian University Education:  Committed Teachers, Teaching for Commitment,” at a Faculty Retreat of Concordia University College of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta, August 27, 1996.

“Academic Freedom and Religious Schools and Colleges:  Confronting the Postmodernist Challenge,” at the Canadian Society for the Study of Education, Brock University,  June 5, 1996, and at the With Heart and Mind Conference, Toronto, May 30, 1997.

“Amy Gutman, the Politics of Recognition, and Religious Schools,” at the annual meeting of the Canadian Philosophy of Education Society, Ottawa, May 29, 1998.

Two lectures on academic freedom at a faculty retreat at Providence College, Winnipeg,  August 25, 1998.

Plenary speaker at the With Heart & Mind Conference.  Topic:  “Faith-full Teaching and Scholarship,” Trinity Western University,  May 13 – 15, 1999.

“Religious Schools & the Charge of Promoting Divisiveness,” at the annual meeting of the Canadian Philosophy of Education Society, June 10, 1999.  University of Sherbrooke, Quebec.

“The Ethics of Proselytizing:  a Multi-faith Conversation,”  at the University of  Toronto.  Sponsored by the Chaplain’s Association and the Department of Studies in Religion.  Nov. 15, 2000.

Two lectures on ethical relativism at Eden High School, St. Catharines, Ontario, Nov. 20 & 21, 2001.

“On being a Faith-full Christian Academic,” at a meeting of the Graduate Christian Fellowship, University of Toronto, Nov. 23, 2000.

“The Ethics of Proselytizing,”  at the Centre for Studies in Religion and Society, University of Victoria, March 28, 2001.

“Dying with Dignity,” at the Sunnyside Nursing Home, Medicine Hat, AB, March 8, 2002.

“Coercion and the Ethics of Proselytizing,” at the annual meeting of the Canadian Society for the Study of Religion, University of Toronto, May 28, 2002.

“The Philosophical Argument for Canadian Catholic Higher Education,” at a conference on The Future of Catholic Higher Education in Canada, St. Thomas More College, Saskatoon, June 20-22, 2003.

“Teaching for Committed Openness.”  Plenary speaker at Veritas Forum, Lexington Christian Academy, April 20-21, 2004.

“Teaching for Commitment in a University Context.”  Keynote address at an international conference on the theme, “Faith Freedom, and the Academy:  University of Prince Edward Island, Oct. 1-3, 2004.

“Teaching for Committed Openness,”  Education and Ethos Conference,  Nijmegen, The Netherlands,  Jan. 20-22, 2005.

“Teaching for Committed Openness in Religiously Affiliated Schools/Colleges,” at the Free University of Amsterdam,  Feb. 18, 2005.

Resource person via video-conference, for faculty workshop,  Atlantic Baptist University, Aug. 31, 2005.

Keynote addresses:  “The Liberal Case for Educational Pluralism” and “Liberalism and the Boundaries of Education in Religious Schools.”  Symposium on Educational Pluralism,  McGill University, Montreal,  Sept. 29 – Oct. 1, 2005.

“Teaching for Committed Openness in the University Context.” Lithuania Christian College Annual Lectureship Series, Feb. 27, 2006.

“Academic Freedom and Religious Colleges/Seminaries.”  Ansgar Seminary, Kristiansand, Norway, May 12, 2006.

“The Problems and Possibilities of Defining Precise Criteria to Distinguish between Ethical and Unethical Proselytizing/Evangelism.”  Conference of the International Cultic Studies Association, Denver, Colorado, June, 2006. (This paper was read in absentia.)

“Democratic Schooling and the Demands of Religion,” Conference on Religion, Spirituality, and Character in Democratic Education, ed. sponsored by the Von-Hugel Institute of St. Edmund’s College, Cambridge and the Center for Jewish Education of the University of Haifa, Forthcoming: Feb. 9-11, 2007. (Unable to give this invited paper because of a flight cancellation.)

“Ethics for Today’s Pluralistic Society,” 5-week lecture series for seniors at Waterpark Place,  Oct. 30 – Nov. 27, 2008.

“The Ethics of Proselytizing within the Context of Pluralism,” 40th. Anniversary Conference of The Toronto School of Theology,  “Ecumenism and the Challenges of Pluralism,” May 7-8, 2010.

“The Call of the Teacher.” Faculty Retreat, Tyndale University College and Seminary, Aug. 30-31, 2010.

“Teaching for Committed Openness,” 2010 Ontario Christian Teachers Association Educators Convention, Oct. 28-29, 2010, at Redeemer University College.

“The Ethics of Evangelism.”  International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), Montreal, July 5-7, 2012.

Lecture on “The Ethics of Evangelisation,” and a workshop on “Principles of the Ethics of Evangelisation.”  5th. Global Triennial Consultation of the Micah Network, Thun, Switzerland, Sept. 10-14, 2012.

Plenary Address on “The Ethics of Witness in the Health Care Context.” Loma Linda University School of Medicine, California, Jan. 17-18, 2014.

Plenary Address on “Ethical Evangelism and Proselytizing.” Orthodox-Evangelical Consultation, Lausanne-Orthodox Initiative, St. Vlash Monastery, Albania, Sept. 15-19, 2014.

Plenary Addresses on “The Ethics of Assisted Suicide” and “Dignity and Dying.”                 Canadian Mennonite Health Assembly, Waterloo, ON, Oct. 22-24, 2015.                           Available at

Response to Daniel M. Weinstock, “A Freedom of Religion-Based Argument Against Religious Schools,” McGill University Workshop on Religious Education, Jan. 28-9, 2016



(updated:  May 2018)


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