Christopher Foster came to ORU in 2000 for a Masters of Divinity. “The vision and mission of ORU,” he recalls, “helped expand my own vision of what God can do through a willing and obedient vessel.” While in seminary he was a Graduate teacher assistant to undergraduate theology and a research assistant to Dr. Dorries. He put what he was learning into practice at Family Church, a new church plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Over the next five years, he served on church staff in a variety of roles including church administration, youth and small group ministry. He discovered, “I am a teacher at heart and love working with students of all ages.”
In further pursuit of God’s call to Christian higher education and teaching, Foster moved in 2008 with his wife, Sarah to Manchester, UK for an MA in Theology and a PhD in Biblical Studies. He studied at Nazarene Theological College, an affiliate of the University of Manchester. “The immersion into a culturally diverse, urban setting in a European country has been richly rewarding,” he states, “and given me new insights into Christian belief and practice around the world.”
Foster’s MA dissertation was on the motif of impurity in Mark 5:1-20. This stimulated his interest in the Second Temple Jewish background of the New Testament, and in particular early charismatic phenomena. He completed his Ph.D. thesis in 2013 on ‘Communal Participation in the Spirit: the Corinthians Correspondence in Light of early Jewish Mysticism in the Dead Sea Scrolls.’ This comparative study illuminates through differences and similarities how Paul advocates a mystical and communal participation in the Spirit. Besides revising his thesis for publication, his research interests include worship practice, community formation, a corporate and communal reading of Paul’s epistles, and religious experience and perception in early Christianity and Second Temple Judaism.
Foster’s return to ORU as a faculty member in 2016 not only fulfils God’s call to help equip and train ministry leaders with biblical truth, but also fulfils a life-long dream to teach in the Graduate School of Theology and Ministry. “As a fellow Christ-follower and learner, who by God’s grace practices what he is teaching, I hope to come along side students and learn with them, nurturing them along the way and equipping them to become life-long learners and practitioners of biblical truth.” For Foster, the most rewarding aspect of teaching is seeing Christ-like transformation and growth in the lives of students that is leading to redemptive service in the world.
Foster presents regularly at academic conferences and has been a visiting lecturer at Nazarene Theological College, Manchester, European Nazarene College, Büsingen, Germany, Oklahoma Wesleyan University, Southwestern Christian University and the University of Tulsa. Recently, he received the Innovation in Online Teaching Award (2018).