Two remarkable experiences led to Tom’s two callings. As a teenager he toured a Nazi concentration camp and was shocked by the photos of utter brutality. He felt forced to become a philosopher, to consider how people know good and evil, to investigate the foundations of human rights. A couple years later, with some university friends, he was expelled from a small church that was becoming a cult after asking if their beliefs were biblical and observing how distorted Christian beliefs wreaked havoc in the lives of people. He was compelled to become a theologian, to research deeply what Christians should believe and its impact on how we live. The first experience was in Europe, the second in the US, starting a back-and-forth life, between continents, more deeply between the needs of society and the resources in God’s revelation.
After educations at universities in the US and Germany, Dr. Johnson served as a pastor of three evangelical churches, two in the US and one in the former Soviet Union, planting one new congregation. For almost twenty years he taught ethics, philosophy, and religions at six secular universities in the US, Belarus, Lithuania, and the Czech Republic. He also taught for six Evangelical seminaries in eight countries, including Martin Bucer Seminary in Turkey.
Since 2007 Professor Johnson has been writing, editing, and lecturing for the World Evangelical Alliance in both of his callings. For example, he was senior editor for 2015 Tirana Consultation on Discrimination, Persecution, and Martyrdom. He has written or co-authored ten books on the Trinity, ethics, human rights, and Islam, along with 250 published essays; he also edited 25 books on religion and society. In 2012 he was appointed senior theological advisor to the WEA, in 2016 Special Envoy to the Vatican, and in 2019 Special Envoy to Engage Humanitarian Islam.
Tom has been married to Leslie P. Johnson since 1977. They have three children and five grandchildren. For 11 years Leslie was director of the Christian International School of Prague. She is now a cross-cultural training specialist, serving churches and schools in several countries. Tom & Leslie enjoy practicing hospitality and are available to speak for churches and community organizations.