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Dr. Lubomir Martin Ondrasek 
President and Founder

EDUCATION

D.Min., Boston University

M.A., University of Chicago

Th.M., Harvard University

M.Div., Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

B.B., Zion Bible Institute

BIOGRAPHY

Dr. Lubomir Martin Ondrasek was born and raised in Czechoslovakia in the era of the Iron Curtain, after which he experienced a conversion from atheism to Christianity. At the time, he ranked at the bottom of his high school class and was not allowed to graduate. His dedication to his newfound faith spurred him to repeat his senior year and pursue further education to adequately prepare for faithful and impactful Christian service.

In 1995, Dr. Ondrasek relocated to the United States to attend Zion Bible Institute, where he graduated with high honors in 1999. He continued his academic pursuits at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, earning a Master of Divinity degree summa cum laude in 2003, under the mentorship of Professor Eldin Villafañe. He then advanced his studies at Harvard University, obtaining a Master of Theology in Christianity and Culture in 2005, guided by his academic advisor, Professor Harvey Cox. From 2005 to 2013, Dr. Ondrasek pursued doctoral studies in religion and ethics at the University of Chicago, with Professor Jean Bethke Elshtain serving as his doctoral advisor. He earned his Master of Arts in Religious Studies from the University of Chicago in 2014. Fueled by a passion for transformational ministry, he completed a Doctor of Ministry in Transformational Leadership at Boston University in 2020, focusing his doctoral thesis on spiritual autobiography under the supervision of Professor Claire E. Wolfteich.

Throughout his academic journey, Dr. Ondrasek has been recognized with a number of awards. In 1999, he received the John and Sally R. (Brunetto) Albanese Memorial Scholarship, which acknowledged his “outstanding Christian character and commitment to ministerial pursuit.” In 2003, he was honored with the 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.” In 2010, the Rumsfeld Graduate Fellowship recognized him for his “outstanding intellectual ability, integrity, moral character, and leadership potential.” Additionally, Dr. Ondrasek distinguished himself by earning perfect GPAs for three of his degrees.

From 1999 to 2005, Dr. Ondrasek served as an associate pastor in New England. He also taught courses in the area of Christian Social Ethics and the Public Ministry of the Church as an adjunct professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Boston. In 2008, he was a recipient of the University of Chicago’s Human Rights Internship, an opportunity that allowed him to address the issue of religious freedom in Slovakia. Subsequently, he collaborated 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. He was recognized for his contributions by the Minister of Culture in 2011.

As a public theologian, Dr. Ondrasek contributed to prominent Slovak newspapers between 2013 and 2020. His articles were later compiled into three books: “Christianity, Ethics, and Public Life” (2017), “Public Theology in Slovakia” (2019), and “Reflections of a Public Theologian on Faith, Society, and Politics” (2021). His extensive literary work also includes books “Neocharismatic Movement in Slovakia” (2011) and “The Tunnel at the End of the Light” (2021), along with co-edited volumes “Church and Society: Towards Responsible Engagement” (2015) and “Pentecostalism in Contemporary Religious and Social Context” (2013). Dr. Ondrasek’s publication record also includes chapters, articles, interviews, and reviews in Slovak and English.

In 2011, Dr. Ondrasek learned that he had been secretly baptized by Fr. Félix Záhorec, S.J., who was persecuted under the Communist regime, prompting him to explore the Catholic faith more deeply. On January 23, 2023, marking the 50th anniversary of his baptism, he was formally received into full communion with the Catholic Church by Bishop Milan Lach, S.J. A cancer survivor, Dr. Ondrasek lived on the South Side of Chicago for over a decade with his wife and ministry partner, Dr. Noema Bradnanska Ondrasek, before moving to the Washington, DC area in 2022. He has an adult daughter who, after graduating from Wellesley College and the University of Chicago, has embarked on a career in the federal government.

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

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