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Rev. Dr. Esther Acolatse

Professor of Pastoral Theology and Intercultural Studies, Director of Graduate Degree Studies

Esther E. Acolatse joined the Knox Faculty in 2017.

As Professor of Pastoral Theology and Intercultural Studies at Knox College, Esther teaches at the intersection of psychology and Christian thought in aid of human flourishing, with interests in the gendered body, cultural anthropological dimensions of medicine, health, and healing, and their implications for suffering, death, dying, and care at the end of life.

Her ongoing research explores methodological issues in the practice of theology of the Christian life, and the relevance of these themes in the global expression of Christianity, particularly African and Western dimensions in dialogue. Her current research focuses on issues around care and counseling with migrant families and implications for intra/interfaith dialogue and spiritual care for re-missioning the global church.


Forthcoming Projects:

Re-Missioning in an Age of Migrant Angst looks at how caring for migrant families and focusing on their flourishing in exile reorients the Western Church to  a proper missional theology and growth beyond survival.

Holistic Theology for Modern Black/African Churches is an edited volume with a colloquium of 18 theologians from the African continent and diaspora, exploring questions of Christianity and Africanness/Blackness in a world where Black bodies are still contested human space, with irenic spirit and studious scholarship.



Acolatse, E. E. Powers, Principalities, and the Spirit: Biblical Realism in Africa and the West (Grand Rapids: MI, Wm. B. Eerdmans) 2018.

Acolatse, E. E. For Freedom or Bondage?: A critique of African Pastoral Practices (Grand Rapids: MI, Wm. B. Eerdmans) 2014.


Chapters in Books

Acolatse, E. E. “Evangelical Christianity and Politics in Africa: A New Map for an Old Terrain” in Jacob Olupona (ed) Evangelical Christianity and the Transformation of Africa (Forthcoming)

“African Catholicism & the Ecumenical Movement in Africa: Challenges and Possibilities” in William Cavanaugh & Stan Chu Ilo (eds) Handbook of World Catholicism (Forthcoming, Notre Dame University Press Forth, 2020)

Acolatse, E.E. “Pentecostalism and Secularization  in the Philosophy of Wariboko:  The Logic of the Spirit in the Formation of African Civil Society” in Toyin Falola (ed)  The Philosophy of Nimi Wariboko: Social Ethics, Economy, and Religion (University of North Carolina Academic Press,2020), pp. 223-240.

Acolatse, E.E. “Reframing our Experiences in light of the Cross: How African Christianity sees the Decline” in Paul Peterson (ed.) The Decline of Established Christianity in the West (Brill Publishers (Brill-Rodopi, Leiden/ Boston, 2017) pp. 203-212.

Acolatse, E.E. “Pastoral Authority and Responsibility: An African Traditional Leadership Model for Church Governance and Functioning” in Lartey, E. Y. & Tapiwa Mucherera (eds) African Practical Theology, Vol. 1.  Pastoral Care, Health Healing and Wholeness in African Contexts (Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2017) pp. 15-29.

Acolatse, E.E. “Hospitality Praxis: African Diasporan Communities, Religion, and the Black Church” in Contours of Black Practical Theology, Dale Andrews & Robert Smith (eds.) (Baylor University Press, 2015) p. 151-162.

Acolatse, E.E. “All in the Family: Recasting Religious Pluralism through African Contextuality” in ed. Ed Foley Religion, Diversity and Conflict (IPT-Berlin, Munich: Lit Verlag, 2011), p. 261-271.

Acolatse, E.E. “Pastoral Care and Counseling in Independent Evangelical Charismatic Churches in Ghana: A Barthian Theological Perspective” in Maynard, J. Hummel, L. Moschella, M. (eds.,) Pastoral Bearings: Lived Religions and Pastoral Theology (Rowman and Littlefield) 2010.

Acolatse, E.E. “Embracing and Resisting Death: A Theology of Justice and Hope for Care at the End of Life” in Swinton, J. and Payne, R. (eds.,) Living Well, Dying Faithfully: Christian Practices for Care at the End of Life (W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.) 2009.

Acolatse, E.E. “Unraveling the Relational Myth in the Turn toward Autonomy: Pastoral Care and Counseling with African Women” in Stevenson Moessner, J. and Snorton, (eds.,) Women out of Order: Risking Change and Creating Care in a Multicultural World (Mn: Fortress Press), 2009, p. 218-229.

Acolatse, E.E. “Rethinking Sin and Grace: An African Evangelical Feminist Response to Niebuhr” in Njoroje J. Nyambura and Dube, Musa (eds.) Talitha Cum: Theologies of African Women, (Pietermaritzburg, South Africa: Cluster Publications) 2001.


Selected Papers and Articles

Acolatse, E.E. “In Search of postcolonial African masculinity and spirituality: A Psychohistory of President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana” Trinity Journal of Church and Theology, 18 no 4 Sep 2015, p 27-52.

Acolatse, E.E. “God Where Are You?: Theological Reflections on HIV/AIDs in Africa” in Bulletin of Ecumenical Theology Vol. 26, 2014. p. 62-81.

Acolatse, E.E. “Culture of War, Violence and Sexual Assault in the Military: An Ethic of Compromise?” in Journal of Pastoral Theology vol. 24, 2. 2014.

Acolatse, E.E. “What is Theological about Practical Theology: Towards a Hermeneutic of Primal Speech” in Practical Theology vol. 7 Number 3/ September 2014.

Acolatse, E.E. “Hope and God as Good-enough Mother: The Development of Hope in Job” in Journal of Pastoral Theology vol. 24, 1. 2014.

Acolatse, E.E. “The Production of Knowledge on and About Africa: A Review Essay” in International Bulletin of Missionary Research vol. 37, No. 4 (October 2013).

Acolatse, E.E. “Christian Divorce counseling in West Africa: Seeking wholeness through Reformed theology and Jungian Dreamwork” in Journal of Pastoral Theology vol. 21, 1. 2011.

Acolatse, E.E. “Pastoral Counseling Third World Perspectives” in Encyclopedia of Psychology and Religion, Leeming, David A.; Madden, Kathryn; Marlan, Stanton (Eds.) Springer References Online. July 2010.