Dr. Lubomir Martin Ondrasek
President and Founder
D.Min., Boston University
M.A., University of Chicago
Th.M., Harvard University
M.Div., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
B.B., Zion Bible Institute
Born and raised in Czechoslovakia when Europe was divided by the Iron Curtain, Lubomir Martin Ondrasek converted from atheism to Christianity in his late teens. In order to prepare for faithful and effective Christian service, he arrived in the United States in 1995. After completing his undergraduate studies with high honors at Zion Bible Institute in 1999, he received his M.Div. in 2003 from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, graduating summa cum laude. He earned his Th.M. in Christianity and Culture at Harvard University in 2005.
From 2005-2013, Ondrasek pursued a course of Ph.D. study in religion and ethics (philosophical, theological, political, war and peace) at the University of Chicago under the supervision of the late Professor Jean Bethke Elshtain. He received his M.A. in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago in 2014. Subsequently, he completed his D.Min. in Transformational Leadership at Boston University in 2020. His doctoral project thesis was titled “Spiritual Autobiography as a Method of Research, Vehicle of Personal Transformation and Tool of Transformational Leadership” and was written under the supervision of Professor Claire E. Wolfteich.
During his academic journey, Ondrasek was honored with a number of awards, including the nomination-based Rumsfeld Graduate Fellowship, which is awarded to candidates of “outstanding intellectual ability, integrity, moral character and leadership potential” (2010); Robert J. Lamont Award for Excellence: “Granted to the graduating senior, who, having achieved academic excellence, is in the opinion of the faculty likely to apply his or her beliefs effectively to personal and social problems in the work of the pastorate” (2003); and John and Sally R. (Brunetto) Albanese Memorial Scholarship: “In recognition of outstanding Christian character and commitment to ministerial pursuit” (1999).
From 1999-2005, Lubomir Martin Ondrasek served as a minister in two New England churches. He also worked as an adjunct faculty at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, teaching courses in the area of Christian Social Ethics and the Public Ministry of the Church. In 2008, he was a recipient of the University of Chicago’s Human Rights Internship, which enabled him to explore the issue of religious freedom in Slovakia. He later closely cooperated with the Institute for State-Church Relations and Institute for Legal Aspects of Religious Freedom in Slovakia and provided expert advice to the Department of Religious Affairs of the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic. In 2011, he was recognized for his contributions by the Minister of Culture of the Slovak Republic.
As a public theologian, he contributed more than 130 commentaries and essays to leading Slovak newspapers from 2013 to 2020 that were published in three books: Kresťanská etika a verejný život (Christianity, Ethics, and Public Life, 2017), Verejná teológia na Slovensku (Public Theology in Slovakia, 2019), and Úvahy verejného teológa o viere, spoločnosti a politike (Reflections of a Public Theologian on Faith, Society, and Politics, 2021)
His other works include the groundbreaking book Neocharizmatické hnutie na Slovensku (Neocharismatic Movement in Slovakia, 2011) and coedited volumes Church and Society: Towards Responsible Engagement/Cirkev a spoločnosť: Smerom k zodpovednej angažovanosti (2015) and Pentekostalizmus v náboženskom a spoločenskom kontexte (Pentecostalism in Contemporary Religious and Social Context, 2013). He has also written numerous chapters, articles, and reviews that were published in Slovak and English.
After living with his wife and ministry partner, Dr. Noema Bradnanska Ondrasek, on the South Side of Chicago for over a decade, the couple now resides in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. He is a cancer survivor.
WHAT OTHERS HAVE SAID
I have known Lubomir for over 20 years as his former professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, but also as his colleague in ministry and personal friend. With great joy, I have witnessed Lubomir’s maturity and development as a faithful Christian, husband, father, teacher, scholar, and public theologian and ethicist. Let me note in passing that in a course Lubomir took with me, “Reading in Social Ethics,” in which he focused on Václav Havel, I graded Lubomir an A+. It was the first and only A+ I have given in my 40-plus years of teaching at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. This was not just because of his intelligence—he is truly a bright and gifted scholar—but also due to his work ethic. Lubomir approaches the subject matter at hand with deep passion and commitment, whether it is a course of study or teaching, a research project, or as can be attested by the writings in the book The Tunnel at the End of the Light.
—Rev. Dr. Eldin Villafañe, Distinguished Senior Professor of Christian Social Ethics, Emeritus, and Founding Director (1976) of the Center for Urban Ministerial Education (CUME) at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, 2021
Ľubomír Martin Ondrášek entered the wider Slovak public consciousness as an erudite author of brilliant articles, commentaries, and reflections in the mainstream Slovak media. He is also known in academic and ecclesiastical circles as a pioneer of public theology, unifying issues in religion, ethics, and public life. The Department of Religious Affairs has always valued his independent attitude and opinions, which were not always in line with the Ministry of Culture but always represented a valuable contribution to the work of the state administration and enriched the public debate. His engaged approach has become a practical example of meaningful cooperation between the government and academic institutions.
—Dr. Ján Juran, Director of the Department of Religious Affairs at the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic, 2021
Ľubomír Martin Ondrášek and I first crossed paths in 2008. Considering that the waters of the Atlantic separated us, we were since unable to spend much time together or engage in intensive long-term cooperation. However, I can say with certainty that as our life paths have meandered over the last decade, whenever I saw Martin’s name in the newspapers Denník N and Postoj or it peeking at me from the cover of a new book awaiting me with a kind dedication in the mail, I always felt delighted. It took me several years to understand what drew me to his writings. Probably the most significant contribution of his work for me was the introduction, clarification, and development of the concept of “public theology.”
—Rev. Dr. Benjamin Uhrin, General Secretary of the Baptist Union of Slovakia, 2021
What you will find in The Tunnel at the End of the Light is the work of a public intellectual. If that’s too imprecise, let us say that “public intellectual” is the genus and that what you are holding in your hands is the work of that particular species known as the “public theologian.” Looking over these fine essays, I am immensely proud to know Lubomir Martin Ondrasek. While he has clearly been shaped by much of the best of the Slovak and American worlds, he is without doubt Slovakia’s son. His fidelity to his homeland is estimable.
—Dr. Marc LiVecche, Executive Editor of Providence: A Journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy and Stockdale Research Fellow at the Stockdale Center for Ethical Leadership at the United States Naval Academy, 2021
Ľubomír Martin Ondrášek’s book Verejná teológia na Slovensku [Public Theology in Slovakia] brings to not only the Christian but also a wider environment—the public space of civil society—a valuable and necessary contribution. The author acquaints us with the basic principles, aims, starting points, and methods of “public theology,” introduces its founders and representative voices, then offers practical examples of how he cultivates this discipline and applies it to reflect and analyze the pressing issues of our time in Slovakia and on a global scale. (...) Colleague Ondrášek puts me in this category in a detailed study about my works and public involvement. With this, he stimulated me to a new way of self-reflection. Do I really belong among “public theologians?”
—Msgr. Prof. Tomáš Halík, Professor of Sociology at the Charles University,
Pastor of the Academic Parish by St. Salvator Church in Prague, President of the
Czech Christian Academy, and 2014 Templeton Prize Laureate, 2019
He preaches without moralizing and teaches without condescending, gradually moving towards his desired goal—the positive transformation of society. Martin aims and contributes to this goal through his life mission: constructing and developing public theology. After all, the book Verejná teológia na Slovensku is dedicated to elucidating this—for many—unfamiliar concept. What encourages me whenever I read Martin’s work and fascinates me every time I meet him is that he not only theorizes about public theology but also lives it on an everyday basis. Martin is not only a theorizing academic or a brilliant journalist, although he is firmly and successfully anchored in both environments; he is above all a witness drawing on the richness of the Christian message.
—Dr. Imrich Gazda, Church Analyst and Head of the World of Christianity section in Konzervatívny denník Postoj, 2019
From the ivory tower to the real world—is a challenge from public theologian, good friend, and intriguing person, Ľubomír Martin Ondrášek. His essays are an excellent example and at the same time an invitation to open dialogue with partners who may not agree on the proposed solutions for the renewal of our society but are united by a mutual regard for responsible public discourse. His thought is characterized by thorough research, a sincere effort to understand those with other perspectives, and perhaps even a hint of provocation that has the potential to move readers to reconsider their positions.
—Prof. Michal Valčo, Professor at the Department of Church History, Lutheran Theological Faculty, Comenius University in Bratislava, 2019
The current Agora comprises a very wide range of beliefs and opinions. In a democratic environment, no one is excluded from public debate, and it is all the more difficult not only to proclaim but also to connect. To speak of human things is as difficult as to speak of divine things. Ľubomír Martin Ondrášek once again faced the challenge to speak sine ira et studio. Reading his works enables us to cross the threshold of hope, and it is our responsibility to accept this challenge: read, meditate, and subsequently act to transform the world.
—Dr. Michaela Moravčíková, Director of Institute for Legal Aspects of Religious Freedom, Faculty of Law, University in Trnava, 2017
The book Kresťanstvo, etika a verejný život [Christianity, Ethics, and Public Life] will be welcomed by anyone concerned about the quality of public debate. It is written in an attractive style, using the cultivated language of a scholar, and deals with a number of serious and sensitive contemporary topics, from ethics and politics to Christianity and responsibility. It is not only about Slovakia, as the author’s knowledge enables him to communicate how these and other questions are also being discussed in America. Reading the book takes a few hours, but you will be thinking about it for much longer.
—Dr. Martin Bútora, Honorary President of the Institute for Public Affairs and former Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to the United States, 2017
Ľubomír Martin Ondrášek connects Christianity, ethics, and politics in the way I expect from a public theologian. He does not avoid sensitive topics. On the contrary, he addresses them in depth, distinguishing between causes and consequences, trying to understand connections, and engaging numerous books and authorities to support his positions. He makes no compromises with morality. Martin shares his wisdom simply, comprehensibly, and engagingly; he does not claim to own the truth but earnestly seeks it. He does not attack or insult but insightfully engages in civil dialogue, which our country needs like salt. For that, I thank him from the bottom of my heart.
—Prof. Ján Košturiak, Founder of IPA Slovakia and Enterpreneurial University in Žilina, 2017
Do you not believe in God and feel that it is impossible to talk reasonably with the other side? Ľubomír Martin Ondrášek refutes this prejudice in his works. His well-informed temperance and effort to seek common ground serve as a guide for overcoming seemingly irreconcilable differences.
—Mgr. Roman Pataj, Head of Commentary and Opinion section in Denník N, 2017
I was deeply moved to know how you came to Christ. I want to tell you that after accepting Christ, your next most important decision was to pursue your education. I am so proud of you and what you have accomplished!
—Rev. Nicky Cruz, Founder of Nicky Cruz Outreach and author of Run Baby Run, 2007.
His commitment to Christ is the driving force behind all he does. I have never met a man as young as him who was more focused and dedicated to being all that he could be for God. His Christ-like character has always been evidenced in every encounter I have had with him. The manner in which he conducts himself is beyond his years. His leadership qualities do not find their basis in his “charisma” but in his commitment to excellence in all he does and in his encouraging others to do the same.
—Rev. Harold R. Hidle, Ministerial Credentialing Officer for the Southern New England District of the Assemblies of God, 2004
Lubomir has been one of our outstanding students here at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. His academic record will easily give indication of the great intellectual promise that this young man possesses. As the academic dean I have had the privilege to speak with all of Lubomir's instructors and his faculty advisor and every single one of them is very high on him and have encouraged him to pursue doctoral studies. His intellectual ability is tempered by a very strong commitment to those around him who need a voice to encourage, challenge and guide. His genuine concern for the needs of the "least of these" prevents Lubomir from digressing into flights of intellectual fancy that yield no results for the present circumstances. (...) He is of sound moral character, giving us no reason whatsoever to doubt his genuine commitment to Christ. (...) He is the kind of student that will perform near the top of his class, whatever level of study he is pursuing. I know that Lubomir is the kind of student that our faculty would welcome in its ranks.
—Dr. Alvin Padilla, Academic Dean, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston, 2002
I first met Brother Ondrasek in 1995 while he was preparing for the ministry and I recall that my first impression of him was that he is a man resolutely set on a course to make a difference in this world. As I recall, he demonstrated a unique devotion that set him apart from other students his age. Brother Ondrasek was fully engaged as a disciple of Christ, as husband, and as a serious student. I noticed he routinely disciplined himself to achieve higher academic standards than required and he excelled beyond most of his peers. That caught my attention. Later, when we began working together, I would learn of his deep sense of calling, discipleship, and the intellectual capacity fueling his passion. I believe this passion has set him apart for a special work. (...) He has served well as the Associate Pastor at Glad Tidings Community Church for nearly four years now, and he has been very instrumental in moving our congregation towards a social awareness and a conviction to impact our community with principles of Christian Ethics. The people love and respect him deeply for his devotion to our church, his excellence in teaching, and his example of godly character. (...) Reverend Ondrasek has demonstrated to me and to my church leaders that he is a competent student and promising leader. He is inspirational, motivational, convinced of his calling, and determined to reach his goal. He has never wavered from his commitment to his vision and he lives with a sense of higher purpose in his life. In spite of a difficult childhood, discouragement from his countrymen, and the loss of both of his parents, Lubomir has pursued his dream.
—Rev. John R. Teeter, Senior Pastor, Christ Community Church, Chepachet, RI, 2002