With broad teaching and research interests in both historical studies of Christian thought and contemporary methods of theological analysis and construction, Dr. Bessler’s recent course offerings have included: Introduction to Theology, Theological Autobiography, Constructive Theology, Religion and Politics, and Theological Themes in the Contemporary Novel.
Among his publications are A Scandalous Jesus: How Three Historic Quests Changed Theology for the Better (Polebridge, 2013), Law and Theology: Cases and Readings, co-edited with Martin Belsky (Carolina Academic Press, 2005), and a variety of essays, including: “Does Constructive Theology Matter? What Political Candidates Can Teach Seminary Students About Theology and Pastoral Leadership, in A Passion for Christian Unity, edited by John Imbler (Chalice Press, 2009); “Seminaries as Endangered Habitats in a Fragile Ecosystem,” in Revitalizing Practice: Collaborative Models for Theological Faculties edited by Malcolm Warford (Peter Lang, 2008); “Theological Leadership: A Rhetorical Defense of Constructive Theology“ (ADTD presentation, 2008); “Langdon Talking: A Conversation with Langdon Gilkey about the Writing of Shantung Compound” (American Journal of Theology and Philosophy January 2007); “Facing Up to Hard Questions: Christian Faith for a New Age,” in The Future of the Christian Tradition, edited by Robert J. Miller (Polebridge, 2007), “Learning to see God: Prayer and Practice in the Wake of the Jesus Seminar,” in The Historical Jesus Goes to Church (Polebridge, 2004); "Truth as Empire: A Problematic Metaphor in Christian Theology," Encounter (Spring 2004); "Becoming Langdon Gilkey: The Theological Significance of Shantung Compound," in The Theology of Langdon Gilkey, ed. Jeff Pool and Kyle Pasewark (Macon: Mercer University Press, 1999), "The Theological Risks of Taking Jesus Seriously," Forum (Fall 2001),
Bessler has contributed to projects sponsored by the Westar Institute, was a participant in the Lexington Seminar Mentoring Project 2006-2008, a keynote presenter at the Common Dreams Conference in Sydney, Australia in 2009, keynote presenter at ATS Workshop for Mid-Career Faculty, 2009, 2011. Dr. Bessler is a member of the American Academy of Religion and the Association of Disciples for Theological Discussion. He joined the PTS faculty in 1992.