Archbishop and Prof. Thomas Schirrmacher, Dr. theol., Dr. phil., PhD, DD (born 1960) has been Secretary General of the World Evangelical Alliance, which represents Protestant churches belonging to 143 National Evangelical Alliances with a total of 600 million members, since March 2021. Before that, he was the WEA’s Associate Secretary General for Theological Concerns (Theology, Theological Education, Intrafaith and Interfaith Relations, Religious Freedom, Research) and director of the International Institute for Religious Freedom (Bonn, Cape Town, Toronto, Colombo, Brasilia), the world’s largest research network involved in supporting religious freedom and opposing the persecution of Christians and other religions or worldviews.
Schirrmacher is also President of the International Council of the International Society for Human Rights (Frankfurt) and Co-President of Religions for Peace (New York).
Schirrmacher serves as extraordinary professor of the sociology of religion at the state University of the West in Timisoara (Romania) and teaches human rights and religious freedom at Oxford University (Regent’s Park College). He is also founder and President Emeritus of the Martin Bucer European Theological Seminary and Research Institutes (Berlin, Bielefeld, Bonn, Chemnitz, Hamburg, Innsbruck, Istanbul, Izmir, Munich, Pforzheim, Prague, Sao Paulo, Tirana, Zurich), where he taught social ethics and comparative religions. Schirrmacher has delivered guest lectures at more than 200 universities and institutions around the globe.
He studied theology from 1978 to 1982 at STH Basel (Switzerland), followed by studies in Cultural Anthropology and Comparative Religions at Bonn State University. He earned a Drs. theol. in Missiology and Ecumenics at Theological University (Kampen/Netherlands) in 1984, a second Dr. theol. in Missiology and Ecumenics at Johannes Calvin Foundation (Kampen/Netherlands) in 1985, a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology at Pacific Western University (now California Miramar University, Los Angeles, CA) in 1989, a Th.D. in Ethics at Whitefield Theological Seminary (Lakeland, FL) in 1996, and a Dr. phil. in Comparative Religions and Sociology of Religion at the State University of Bonn in 2007. He has received honorary doctorates (D.D.) from Cranmer Theological House in 1997, from Acts University in Bangalore, India, in 2006 and a Doctor of Humane Letters from Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi Christian University, Miami (FL).
Schirrmacher has authored and edited 102 books, which have been translated into 18 languages. His most recent books include Creation Care(2019); The Quran and the Bible (2019); Suppressed Women (2019); Leadership in Ethical Responsibility (2017); Coffee Breaks with the Pope(2016/2020); Corruption (2016); Missio Dei (2016); Human Rights (2015); Human Trafficking (2014); Fundamentalism: When Religion Turns Violent (2013); Racism (2012); and The Persecution of Christian Concerns Us All: A Systematic Theology (2011).
Schirrmacher regularly testifies before parliaments, high courts, the United Nations and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe. He has addressed the German parliament (Deutscher Bundestag), the British House of Lords, the EU Parliament, the US House of Representatives and the Supreme Court of Brazil. The major German newspaper Die Welt calls him one of the three leading experts on religious freedom globally.
Schirrmacher has been ordained and consecrated in the Anglican tradition and is Archbishop of the Communio Messianica, a global independent Anglican community in 75 countries. He has visited and worked with the heads of most leading Christian churches, as well as leaders from the whole Muslim world and other major religions. He has collaborated with the last two Popes, the Ecumenical Patriarch of the Orthodox Churches, and many other global church leaders on behalf of religious freedom. Schirrmacher is known for his lead role in developing the first-ever joint statement by the Vatican, the World Council of Churches, and the World Evangelical Alliance, “Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World,” published in 2011.