George C. Heider

George Heider profil

George C. Heider Senior Research Professor of Theology 231.498.2584 7350 North Bayshore Drive, Elk Rapids, MI 49629


George C. Heider was born in Washington, DC, and grew up in Maryland.  Following graduation from high school, he pursued a college and seminary curriculum of preparation for the Lutheran pastorate, culminating in his ordination in 1979.  Earlier in that same year he married Carolyn Wolters; the couple have two adult children, Kristen and Matthew.  He completed his Ph.D. at Yale University in Old Testament studies in 1984.    

After serving for five years as an assistant pastor in Cheshire, CT, during his doctoral work, his academic career began at Concordia College in Seward, NE (Carolyn’s alma mater), where he served on the theology faculty fulltime for two and a half years before his appointment as Vice President for Academic Affairs in 1987.  In 1994-1995 he was awarded an American Council on Education Fellowship, which he served at Pepperdine University in Malibu, CA.  During his fellowship year, he was elected president of Concordia University in River Forest, IL, and he served there for eight years.  He was appointed Visiting Professor of Theology at Valparaiso in 2004, and, following three years in that role, was granted tenure as Associate Professor of Theology in 2007.  He was promoted to Professor of Theology in 2013.  He chaired the department from 2010 to 2017.  Among his courses taught were three short-term study-abroad courses in the Holy Land.  He retired from active faculty service in 2019 and now holds appointment as a Senior Research Professor of Theology.


1979-84: Yale University, New Haven, CT (Ph.D., Old Testament)

[M.Phil. (1982) and M.A. (1980) earned in course]

1975-79: Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, MO (M.Div.)

1973-75: Concordia Sr. College, Fort Wayne, IN

(B.A. with High Distinction—4.0 CGPA)

1971-73: Concordia College, Bronxville, NY (A.A.)


Publications in Scholarly Field (Old Testament/Hebrew Bible/Christian Bible):


The Cult of Molek: A Reassessment. Journal for the Study of the Old Testament Supplement Series 43. Sheffield, Eng.: JSOT, 1985 (reprinted 2009).

Book Chapter:

“Holy Baptism:  Scriptural Foundation.” Pages 750-763 in Confessing the Gospel: A Lutheran Approach to Systematic Theology. Edited by S. H. Nafzger. St. Louis, MO: Concordia, 2017.

Refereed Journal Articles:

“Cleaving and Cloven:  Genesis and Gender.”  Biblical Research 57 (2012) 39-50.

“The Gospel according to John:  the New Testament’s Deutero-Deuteronomy?” Biblica 93/1 (2012) 68-85.

“Atonement and the Gospels.”  Journal of Theological Interpretation 2/2 (2008) 259-273.

“A Further Turn on Ezekiel’s Baroque Twist in Ezek 20:25-26.” Journal of Biblical Literature 107 (1988) 721-724.

Dictionary and Encyclopedia Articles:

“Zephaniah.”  Pages 429-431 in vol. 2 of The Oxford Encyclopedia of The Bible and Ethics.  Edited by R. L. Brawley.  Oxford:  Oxford University Press, 2014.

“Marriage and Sex.”  Pages 451-7 in IVP Dictionary of the Bible:  Psalms, Writings, and Wisdom.  Edited by T. Longman and P. Enns.  Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity, 2008.

“Lah̬mu.”  Page 502 in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible.  Edited by K. van der Toorn, B. Becking, and P W. van der Horst.  2d ed.  Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1999.

“Molech.”  Pages 581-5 in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible.  Edited by K. van der Toorn, B. Becking, and P W. van der Horst.  2d ed.  Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1999.

“Tannin.”  Pages 834-6 in Dictionary of Deities and Demons in the Bible.  Edited by K. van der Toorn, B. Becking, and P W. van der Horst.  2d ed.  Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1999.

“Molech.” Pages 895-8 in vol. 4 of Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by D. N. Freedman.  6 vols.  NY: Doubleday, 1992.

Lectionary Studies:

“Psalm 30 (Psalm of the Day for Easter 3C, 14 April 2013),” Lectionary Homiletics 24/3 (April/May 2013) 10-11.

“Preaching Helps (Pentecost 16 through Thanksgiving Day, RCL Series A).”  Currents in Theology and Mission 38/3 (August, 2011) 294-311.

“Living by the Word” (lectionary studies) for 7/5-12/2009 and 1/3-10/2010, The Christian Century 126/13 (6/30/2009) 20-21 and 126/26 (12/29/2009) 18-19, plus online “Blogging toward Sunday” for 1/3/2010 and 1/10/2010.

“Preaching Helps (Palm Sunday through Easter 7, RCL Series C).”  Currents in Theology and Mission 34/1 (February, 2007) 59-81.

“Preaching Helps (Pentecost – Pentecost 9, RCL Series B).”  Currents in Theology and Mission 33/2 (April, 2006) 179-201.

Book Reviews:

Review of Robert Benne, Keeping the Soul in Christian Higher Education: A History of Roanoke College in Lutheran Forum 53/1 (2019) 47-49.

Review of Philip R. Davies and Diana V. Edelman, eds., The Historian and the Bible:  Essays in Honor of Lester L. Grabbe in Review of Biblical Literature, 3/29/2013.

Review of Job Y. Jindo, Biblical Metaphor Reconsidered:  A Cognitive Approach to Poetic Prophecy in Jeremiah 1-24 in Catholic Biblical Quarterly 74 (2012) 128-130.

Review of Michael B. Dick, Reading the Old Testament:  An Inductive Introduction, in Review of Biblical Literature, 7/24/2009.

Review of Katherine Dell, Opening the Old Testament, in Review of Biblical Literature, 11/08/2008.

Review of Donald Jackson, Prophets, The Saint John’s Bible 5, in Review of Biblical Literature, 06/13/2007.

Review of Tremper Longman III, How to Read Genesis, in Review of Biblical Literature 05/27/2006.

Review of Donald R. Vance, Introduction to Classical Hebrew, in Review of Biblical Literature 03/27/2005.

Review of John Day, Molech:  A God of Human Sacrifice in the Old Testament, in Scottish Journal of Theology 48 (1995) 130-131.

Review of  John  D. W. Watts, Isaiah 1-33, Word Bible Commentary 24, in Concordia Theological Quarterly 51:1 (1987) 61-62.

Review of Robert C. Hoerber, Reading the New Testament for Understanding, in Issues in Christian Education 21/1 (1986) 17-18.

Abstracter of books and articles on Old Testament from The Evangelical QuarterlyPresbyterionAndrews University Seminary Studies, Indian Journal of Theology, Bibliotheca Sacra, Journal of Semitic Studies, and Journal of Theological Interpretation for Old Testament Abstracts, as assigned (1991-present):  7 books, 16 book chapters, and 98 articles while at Valparaiso University (2004-present).

Lectures/Presentations in Scholarly Field:

Biblical scholars:

“Clothes Make the (Son of) Man:  The Role of Garments in Mark’s Gospel”—Society of Biblical Literature/Midwest Region annual meeting, February 2018.

“Cleaving and Cloven:  Genesis and Gender”—Chicago Society of Biblical Literature, April


“’Cleave’ as Clue to Gender Relationships in Genesis 2—and Ripples Outward from There”—Biblical Lexicography section, Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting, November 2012

“Enhancing the Value of Class Time via Pre- and Post-class Student Reflection”—Academic Teaching and Biblical Studies section, Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting, November 2012

“’Cleave’ as Clue to Gender Relationships in Genesis 2”—Hebrew Bible/Old Testament section, Society of Biblical Literature/Midwest Region annual meeting, February 2012

“From God’s Mouth to Your Ear:  Parallels in Canonical Function and Theological Emphasis Between Deuteronomy and the Gospel according to John”—Gospels section, Society of Biblical Literature/Midwest Region annual meeting, February 2009

“Atonement and the Gospels”—Christian Theology and the Bible section, Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting, November 2007

Faculty colleagues:

“Distinguish, Not Divorce:  Doing and Teaching Biblical Studies Today,” Professorial Lecture at Valparaiso University—17 April 2014

CORE Workshop on Teaching the Passion Narratives—January 2009

CORE Workshop on Teaching the Genesis Flood Account—August 2007

CORE Workshop on Teaching the Film “Chariots of Fire”—January 2007

CORE Workshop on Teaching the Biblical Creation Accounts in Genesis and Job—August 2006

Church audiences:

“Creation Beyond Genesis”—adult education series at Westminster Presbyterian Church,

Munster, IN—Spring 2015

“Atonement and the Gospels”—adult education series at Westminster Presbyterian Church, Munster, IN—Winter 2014

Theologian in Residence—Hartwick Seminary Institute of Theology, Hartwick College, Oneonta, NY—Summer 2013

Old Testament introduction—Evangelical Lutheran Church in America Diakonia adult education course (5 3-hour sessions)—Winter 2010, Fall 2010, and Fall 2012

“Reflections on ‘Lutheran Identity’:  A Stimulus for Discussion among the Board of Directors of Wheat Ridge Ministries”—February 2009

“Lent as Journey to the Christian Exodus”—St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Dolton, IL, March 2006

“Fidelity in the Midst of Surprise:  the Heart of the Heart of the Hero”—Professional Educators’ Conference, Florida-Georgia District LCMS, September 2003

“Preaching from the Old Testament”—Indiana District LCMS Southern Pastoral Conference, May 1999

“The Pastor as Sexual Being in the Light of Law and Gospel”—Nebraska District LCMS Pastoral Conference, October 1993

“The End Times”—Texas District LCMS Missionary Pastors’ Conference, August 1991

“The Minister as Teacher”—Mid-South District LCMS Pastoral Conference, May 1991

“Issues in Preaching from the Old Testament”—Denver Tri-circuit LCMS Pastoral Conference, April 1989

“Sermonic Studies for Advent”—Nebraska District LCMS Pastoral Conference, October 1988

“The Book of Ruth”—Nebraska District LCMS Pastoral Conference, October 1985

“Like the Sound of Many Waters:  Ezekiel’s Words for a Time of Upheaval”—New England District, Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS) Pastoral Conference, May 1982

Publications in Public Theology:    

“What the ‘Hell’ in the Apostles’ Creed.” The Cresset (in production).

“Reflections on Half a Century of Being Lutheran.”  The Cresset 79/3 (Lent 2016) 46-48.

“Distinguish, Not Divorce:  One Christian Exegete’s Take on His Task.”  The Cresset 78/2

(Advent-Christmas 2014) 20-30.

“Hosea Goes to the Opera.”  The Cresset 77/6 (Trinity 2014) 48-50.

“What Do You Mean By This Service?”  The Cresset 77/3 (Lent 2013) 43-44.

“What Makes Good Friday Good:  Telling the Whole Story.”  The Cresset 75/5 (Trinity 2012) 53-55.

“What’s the supreme question in Hosanna-Tabor v. EEOC?”, The Immanent Frame:  Secularism, religion, and the public sphere.  Invited column posted on 27 October 2011 at:

“Praying through the Church Year.”  Pages 144-169 in Valparaiso University Prayer Book.  150th Anniversary Celebration Edition.  Edited by W. Karpenko.  Valparaiso, IN:  Valparaiso University, 2008.

“Altared States.”  The Cresset 71/2 (Advent/Christmas 2007) 41-42.

“Aha!  The Word is for Me!”  Pages 8-9 in College Faith:  150 Christian Leaders and Educators Share Faith Stories from Their Student Days.  Edited by R. A. Knott.  Berrien Springs, MI:  Andrews University Press, 2002.

Publications in Higher Education Administration/Christian Higher Education:

“A Final Word” (President/Publisher’s Column for Lutheran Education, journal of the faculty of Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois):  35 columns, published 1995-2003:

“The Opposite of Faith:  ? and !”  Lutheran Education 138/4 (2003) 320.

“What’s Lutheran about Lutheran Education?”  Lutheran Education 138/3 (2003) 240. “Leadership 101.”  Lutheran Education 138/2 (2002) 160.

“Who Will Teach Our Kids?”  Lutheran Education 138/1 (2002) 80.

“In But Not Of—But In For Sure.”  Lutheran Education 137/4 (2002) 315.

“‘Choice’ as Seed of Heresy.”  Lutheran Education 137/3 (2002) 240.

“What in God’s Name:  Lessons from 11 September 2001.”  Lutheran Education 137/2 (2001) 159-160.

“Encouraging Random Acts of Kindness.”  Lutheran Education 137/1 (2001) 80.

“Testing, Testing, 1-2-3.”  Lutheran Education 136/4 (2001) 311-312.

“Who Will Teach the Next Generation?”  Lutheran Education 136/3 (2001) 240.

“Unless You Change and Become Like Children.”  Lutheran Education 136/2 (2000) 160.

“Lord, Teach Us to Number our Moments.”  Lutheran Education 136/1 (2000) 80.

“We Have So Much to Learn.”  Lutheran Education 135/5 (2000) 296.

“To Coin a Phrase.”  Lutheran Education 135/4 (2000) 240.

“Come the Millennium [II].”  Lutheran Education 135/3 (2000) 180.

“Come the Millennium [I].”  Lutheran Education 135/2 (1999) 120.

“Seizing the Moments, One at a Time.”  Lutheran Education 135/1 (1999) 60.

“Teaching the Trinity”  Lutheran Education 134/5 (1999) 297.

“Simple Gifts.”  Lutheran Education 134/4 (1999) 239.

“Thanksgiving as History and Opportunity.”  Lutheran Education 134/2 (1998) 120.

“Boosting the Odds of ‘Aha!’”  Lutheran Education 134/1 (1998).

“Seeing Red.”  Lutheran Education 133/5 (1998) 295-296.

“‘Lutheran’ as Adjective.”  Lutheran Education 133/4 (1998) 240.

“Gilding the Gospel?”  Lutheran Education 133/3 (1998) 180.

“Hablar el evangelio en español.”  Lutheran Education  133/2 (1997) 120.

“May I Ask You a Question?”  Lutheran Education 133/1 (1997) 60.

“Light From a Box?”  Lutheran Education 132/5 (1997) 294-295.

Immanuel—All Year Long.”  Lutheran Education 132/4 (1997) 240.

“Teaching as Patriotism.”  Lutheran Education 132/3 (1997) 180.

“Time to Spare?  Time to Share?”  Lutheran Education 132/2 (1996) 120.

“Called to Labor.”  Lutheran Education 132/1 (1996) 59.

“In Remembrance.”  Lutheran Education 131/5 (1996) 295-296.

“Easter Made Personal.”  Lutheran Education 131/4 (1996) 239-240.

“A Teachable Season.”  Lutheran Education 131/3 (1996) 179-180.

“Throw ‘em Where They Ain’t (Yet).”  Lutheran Education 131/2 (1995) 120.

President’s column for Forester Magazine, 1995-2003 (alumni/friends publication of Concordia University, River Forest, Illinois):  16 columns, published 1996-2002:

“Founders’ Day, Indeed.”  Forester Magazine (Winter, 2002).

“A Whole New World—Here, Too.”  Forester Magazine (Fall, 2002).

“Concordia as Vocational School?”  Forester Magazine (Spring, 2002).

“What Makes a Good Leader?”  Forester Magazine (Winter, 2001).

“Time in Line.”  Forester Magazine (Fall, 2001).

“As You Go, Wherever You Go.”  Forester Magazine (Summer, 2000).

“The Blessings of Being in Urban Ministry.”  Forester Magazine (Winter, 2000).

“The Changing of the Guard.”  Forester Magazine (Summer, 1999).

“New statement of mission and vision tells what we’re all about.”  Forester Magazine (Winter, 1999).

“Watching New Wings.”  The Forester 23/3 (Spring, 1998).

“Concordia as Chrysalis.”  The Forester 23/1 (Fall, 1997).

“When I Run, I Feel His Pleasure.”  The Forester 22/4 (Summer, 1997).

“Too Religious?”  The Forester 22/3 (Spring, 1997).

“Campus Changes.”  The Forester 22/2 (Winter, 1996-97).

“More Beautiful the Second Time Around.”   The Forester 22/1 (Fall, 1996).

“Moral Leadership and This Christian University.”  Inaugural address in The Forester 21/3 ( Spring, 1996).

“Athens and Jerusalem.”  Lutheran Education 137/4 (2002) 271-274.

“Challenges Facing Christian Higher Education at Century’s End.”  Lutheran Education 134/3 (1999) 123-128.

Response to Richard T. Hughes, “How the Lutheran Worldview Can Sustain the Life of the Mind,” Proceedings and Papers of the 83rd Annual Meeting of the Lutheran Educational Conference of North America (1997) 18-19.

“LCMS Higher Education in 1995 through the eyes of a 1975 College Graduate.”  Lutheran Education 131/1 (1995) 28-31.

Lectures/Presentations in Higher Education Administration/Christian Higher Education:

“Dealing with Conflict in Organizational Leadership”—Western Regional Pastoral Conference, Northern Illinois District LCMS, October 2003

“The College-Related Church:  A Place of Learning and Leadership”—Great Lakes Congregational Leadership Conference for Expanding and Changing Ministries, March 2003

“The Formation of Educators in the Concordia University System”—Council of District Presidents [Bishops] LCMS, September 1997

“Leadership Models and Practice”—Lutheran Education Association Administrators, April 1997


After nearly twenty years devoted to senior academic administration, Prof. Heider turned his attention for fifteen years at Valpo to re-engagement with the vocation of teacher/scholar.  His scholarly interests have broadened from the technical scholarly issues that one focuses on early in one’s academic career to broader matters, such as the application of biblical scholarship to the life of the church and meaningful conversation among people of various religious traditions and convictions.  Now in retirement as a Senior Research Professor, his scholarship focuses on issues of intertextuality both within the Old Testament and between the two testaments of the Christian Bible.  He finds especial satisfaction in introducing interested readers and hearers to new angles on the “old story” and, in the words of one of his own teachers (quoting the Jewish Mishnah), in turning their texts like a jewel, until they shine with particular brilliance.

Somewhere on the border between pastoral vocation and avocation, he retains a special interest in worship leadership and preaching and engages regularly in both. 


  • Freedom and Responsibility (first-year seminar)
  • The Human Experience (year-long, first-year interdisciplinary core course)
  • The Christian Tradition (including Writing Intensive Course version)
  • Honors Seminar: Creation and Redemption
  • Honors Seminar: History of Biblical Interpretation /
  • Topics in Biblical Studies:  History of Biblical Interpretation
  • Understanding the Bible
  • History and Literature of the Old Testament / *Understanding the Old Testament
  • History and Literature of the New Testament
  • Biblical Hebrew I, II, and III / *First and Second Semester [Biblical] Hebrew
  • Supervised Reading and Research in Hebrew (Independent Study)
  • Pentateuch (English)
  • Former Prophets (English)
  • Exodus and Deuteronomy (Hebrew)
  • Latter Prophets (Hebrew)
  • Psalms and Wisdom Literature (Hebrew)
  • Textual Criticism and Intertestamental Relationships (Hebrew/Greek)
  • Chinese Culture and Civilization
  • Topics in Biblical Studies:  The Bible as Oriental Literature
  • Topics in Biblical Studies:  Ancient Near Eastern Civilization
  • Topics in Abrahamic Religions:  Encounters in the Holy Land
  • Theology Seminar (for Senior Majors)
  • Old Testament (streaming video lectures recorded for Concordia University Education Network, used by LCMS teacher, DCE, DCO, and deaconess colloquy candidates)
  • Biblical Hebrew
  • Ezekiel
  • Former Prophets


  • 2013 & 2010:  Valparaiso University Alumni Association Faculty Development Award
  • 2010 & 2008:  Valparaiso University Committee to Enhance Teaching and Learning
  • Travel Grant
  • 2002:  Distinguished Alumnus Award, Concordia College, Bronxville, NY
  • 1981-82: H. Stuart Harrison Fellowship for Excellence in Religious Studies, Yale University Graduate School
  • 1979-81, 82-83: Graduate Fellowships, Yale University Graduate School