Gregory Alan Thornbury was installed as the sixth president of The King’s College–an institution dedicated to faith, free enterprise, and The American Dream–on August 1, 2013.
Called “America’s first hipster college president” by The American Spectator, Thornbury is a Senior Fellow at The Kairos Journal, an online magazine with more than 10,000 readers in over 100 countries geared toward helping pastors and church leaders think critically about issues in the public square. He also serves as theological editor for Biblemesh.com, an online curriculum platform for biblical literacy, where he has worked with leaders such as Eric Metaxas, Tim Keller and others. Dr. Thornbury is also a Visiting Professor at the Values and Capitalism initiative of the American Enterprise Institute; a columnist for Townhall.com; and a member of the editorial board of the Salem Media Group.
His recent books focus on the relationship between philosophy, theology, and culture. His forthcoming work, Only Visiting This Planet (Penguin/Random House, 2017), is a biography of the 1970s Jesus Movement icon and rock pioneer, Larry Norman, whom Thornbury calls, “the forerunner of the millennial generation’s attitude toward religion.” In the spring of 2013, Thornbury released Recovering Classic Evangelicalism: Applying the Wisdom and Vision of Carl F. H. Henry (Crossway). The book has received positive critical reception and has been featured in Christianity Today, Books and Culture, The Gospel Coalition and as Douglas Wilson’s May 2013 Book of the Month. He is also the author of Bigger on the Inside: Christianity and Doctor Who, with graphic artist Ned Bustard.
Formerly a Professor of Philosophy, Dean of the School of Theology and Vice President for Spiritual Life at Union University in Tennessee, Thornbury has spent his career in higher education. A writer and speaker on philosophy, theology, education, spirituality, and public thought, Thornbury is poised to help The King’s College further the legacy of the great Christian intellectual tradition that has shaped Western culture.
The son of an American Baptist pastor, Thornbury initially intended to pursue a career in media at Messiah College in Grantham, Pennsylvania, but his interests turned toward philosophy and theological studies during his undergraduate years.
While at Messiah, he met his future wife, Kimberly. They married shortly after their simultaneous graduations from Messiah and moved to the campus of Southern Seminary in the summer of 1993.
In addition to his classes at Southern, Thornbury split his time serving on the staff of seminary president Albert Mohler and as a minister at the First Baptist Church of Clarksville, Indiana. After graduating with a Master of Divinity with biblical languages in 1996, Thornbury continued in Southern’s Ph.D. program, where Mohler served as his doctoral supervisor.
After completing additional graduate work at Green College (now Green-Templeton), Oxford University, Thornbury began to write his dissertation on the influence of the Scottish Enlightenment’s version of natural theology upon four generations of Northern Baptist theologians stationed at Brown University and Rochester Seminary, respectively.
In 1998, David Dockery, president of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee, recruited Thornbury as a philosophy professor in the Department of Christian Studies. In 2000, he became Director of the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Christian Leadership, after acquiring permission for the name from the legendary evangelical theologian. In 2001, he completed his Ph.D. and received a promotion to Assistant Professor.
Thornbury was promoted to Associate Professor in 2003 and was awarded tenure in 2006. That same year, Thornbury was elected by his faculty colleagues to become the founding Dean of the School of Theology and Missions at Union. As Dean, he expanded the work of the school to include new graduate programs at both the master’s and professional doctoral program levels and grew enrollment in the School of Theology to nearly 500 students. Thornbury was promoted in his faculty role to full Professor of Philosophy in 2012.
In 2010, Dockery added Thornbury to the university’s Senior Leadership Team and gave him the additional responsibility of Vice President for Spiritual Life at Union, where he has overseen the university’s chapel speaker program, along with student missions, discipleship, and mobilization programs. Thornbury successfully oversaw the startup of Union’s first fully online Master’s degree program.
He has also served as Visiting Professor of Philosophy at Southern Seminary in Louisville and Ansgar Teologiske Hogskøle in Kristiansaand, Norway. A popular campus speaker and lecturer, he is also a member of the Society of Christian Philosophers and the Evangelical Theological Society.
Thornbury and his wife Kimberly have been married for more than 20 years. They have two daughters, Katherine Elizabeth and Carolyn Taylor, and live on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.