« Adjunct Faculty

Dr. William Spencer

Distinguished Adjunct Professor
of Theology and the Arts

Email: [email protected]
First Year at Gordon-Conwell: 1983
Expertise: Christology, the Trinity, Applied Theology: Cults, the Arts and Theology, Theodicy.

Rev. Dr. William Spencer has served in street ministry, music ministry, urban missions, college chaplaincies, pastoring, and teaching ministries.

After he experienced his second birth in Jesus at Rutgers InterVarsity in 1966, William David Spencer responded by going out on the streets alone in his birth city of Plainfield, New Jersey talking to people about giving their lives to Jesus. When a summer riot broke out two years later in that city, he began to involve himself in urban ministry forming an evangelistic Jesus band in college and then seminary, playing coffee houses, colleges, festivals, churches, a seminary and a prison across the eastern seaboard, and co-leading two evangelistic coffee houses. He also co-lead a second multicultural Jesus band, playing evangelistic block parties to help Newark churches meet their neighborhood after the New Jersey riots of the late 1960s. Two college chaplaincies (serving Rider University and Rutgers Newark/New Jersey Institute of Technology) followed seminary graduation and ordination as a Presbyterian minister, along with his first experience teaching seminary for New York Theological Seminary, while helping develop a college level theological program accredited by The King’s College with four centers in Newark, NJ and New York city, based in a Salvation Army Central Corps and three city churches, two being storefronts. Four years teaching Laubach Literacy ensued where he served as teaching coordinator for Jefferson County, Kentucky, setting up and running adult literacy and GED high school equivalency classes for adults.

Accompanying his wife, Gordon-Conwell Senior Professor Aída Besançon Spencer, to Massachusetts, he helped plant and pastor Pilgrim Church, a storefront church, in downtown Beverly for over 30 years, and, as a theology professor now for thirty-eight years for Gordon-Conwell, he has had the blessing and delight to teach at the Boston campus since 1992. His trajectory of city ministering has grown into fifty-five years and counting.

A prolific writer, Dr. Spencer has also compiled nearly three hundred publications, including articles, editorials, poems, short stories, textbooks, and trade non-fiction and fiction which have won nearly two dozen writing and editing awards. Two of his books (Mysterium and Mystery and Chanting Down Babylon) are universally regarded as definitive in their fields. His latest book, co-edited with his wife, is Christian Egalitarian Leadership: Empowering the Whole Church according to the Scriptures and his next book, Three in One: Analogies of the Trinity, is due in January, 2022 from Kregel You are warmly invited to subscribe to the blog he and his wife co-write, “Applying Biblical Truths Today” at https://aandwspencer.blogspot.com/


  • BA (Rutgers College, Rutgers University)
  • MDiv (Princeton Theological Seminary)
  • ThM (Princeton Theological Seminary)
  • ThD (Boston University School of Theology)

Select List of Publications

  • Chanting Down Babylon: The Rastafari Reader (ed. with N. S. Murrell and A.A. McFarlane) (Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, simultaneously published by Kingston, JA: Ian Randle, Publishers, 1998).
  • Dread Jesus (London: SPCK, 1999, reprinted by Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2011) (being translated into Italian).
  • Global Voices on Biblical Equality: Women and Men Ministering Together in the Church (ed. with A.B. Spencer and M. Haddad) (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, House of Prisca and Aquila Series, 2008).
  • Marriage at the Crossroads: Couples in Conversation about Discipleship, Gender Roles, Decision Making and Intimacy (with A.B. Spencer, S.R. Tracy, C.G. Tracy) (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2009).
  • Name in the Papers (a Novel) (Levittown, PA: Helping Hands: 2013).
  • Reaching for the New Jerusalem (ed. with S. Park, A.B. Spencer) (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, Urban Voice Series, 2013).
  • Redeeming the Screens (ed. with Jeanne DeFazio) (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, House of Prisca and Aquila Series, 2016).
  • Empowering English Language Learners: Strategies of Christian Teachers (ed. with Jeanne DeFazio)(Wipf and Stock, House of Prisca and Aquila Series, 2018).
  • Cave of Little Faces (A Novel)(with A.B. Spencer)(Wipf and Stock, House of Prisca and Aquila Series, 2018).
  • Christian Egalitarian Leadership: Empowering the Whole Church according to the Scriptures (ed. with A.B. Spencer) (Wipf and Stock, House of Prisca and Aquila Series, 2020).

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