Dr. James Payton
Professor of History
Bridging East and West
Reconciling history and the Bible’s teachings has long been of interest to Dr. James R. Payton, Jr.
With a B.A.in Religion and M.A. in Theology from Bob Jones University, Dr. Payton discovered his love for Church history in graduate school. At Westminster Theological Seminary he completed a Th.M. in the field, along with his M.Div. This program sealed his interest in history, and enabled him to receive his Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo in the Intellectual History of Early Modern Europe. Dr. Payton spent eight years as a pastor before joining the Redeemer community. He has worked at Redeemer University College for 21 years and he now works as a Professor in the History department.
Dr. Payton believes it is important for Western Christians to break outside the box and study other Christian civilizations. He cites the Byzantine Empire, which lasted for more than 1100 years, all but 19 months being led by Christian emperors. He also notes that some Christian communions like Eastern Orthodoxy have experienced few church splits because they minimize doctrinal disputes, living instead out of the recognition that God is beyond comprehension and his works are mysterious.
Dr. Payton’s interests have gradually shifted eastward, so that, apart from his Church history courses, he now teaches primarily Eastern European history. He is interested in discerning how people in other cultures instinctively look at the world, understand themselves and their neighbors, and process their nation’s history. This has led Jim to create numerous academic courses with this focus.
Dr. Payton currently lives in Mount Hope with his wife, Sharon. Together they have four children and five grandsons. In his spare time, Jim enjoys international travel (especially to Eastern Europe), reading, physical fitness, and weight-lifting. For more information visit his Faculty Profile