Joel P. Okamoto

Dr. Joel P. Okamoto is the Waldemar and Mary Griesbach Professor of Systematic Theology.

A Concordia Seminary, St. Louis faculty member since 1998, he is chairman of the systematic theology department and associate professor of systematic theology.
Before joining the Seminary, Okamoto served as assistant pastor at Abiding Savior Lutheran Church in St. Louis (1996-98).

He received his Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Theology and Doctor of Theology from Concordia Seminary (1993, 1996, 1997). He holds a bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1982).

His published work includes “Science, Technology, and the American Mind” in The American Mind Meets the Mind of Christ (Concordia Seminary Press) and “‘In ______ We Trust’: Filling in the Blank—American Religion and Biblical Christianity” in The Anonymous God: The Church Confronts Civil Religion and American Society (Concordia Publishing House). His journal articles include “Evangelism in an Age of Normal Nihilism” in Missio Apostolica (now Lutheran Mission Matters) and “Attacks on the Christian Faith: Who? What? Why?” in Issues in Christian Education. Among his research interests are the concept of truth for Christian life and witness, a contemporary account of the theology of Luther and Lutheranism, and the intersection of science and theology.

Okamoto serves on several Seminary committees, including as chairman of the curriculum review committee. He is the project director for the Seminary’s participation in the American Association for the Advancement of Science “Science for Seminaries” program.

In addition to his Seminary work, he is book review editor for Lutherans Mission Matters, the journal of the Lutheran Society for Missiology.

He and his wife, Ruth, are the parents of three sons, Jacob, Peter and Thomas.


  • Waldemar and Mary Griesbach Professor of Systematic Theology
  • Chairman of the Department of Systematic Theology
  • Associate Professor of Systematic Theology


  • Contemporary Theology


  • M.Div., S.T.M., Th.D., Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, Mo.
  • S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.

Contact Information:

Concordia Seminary
801 Seminary Pl.
St. Louis, MO 63105

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