John F. Kilner, PhD
Professor Emeritus of Bioethics and Contemporary Culture
Faculty Since 1993
BA, Yale University, English Literature
MDiv, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
AM, Harvard University, Religious/Medical Ethics
PhD, Harvard University, Religious/Medical Ethics
John F. Kilner is Professor Emeritus of Bioethics and Contemporary Culture at Trinity International University, where he has held the Franklin and Dorothy Forman Chair of Christian Ethics and Theology. He was the first Director of Bioethics Degree Programs at Trinity International University and the first President of The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity (CBHD) based in Deerfield, Illinois.
He has been researching and teaching in the fields of ethics and bioethics since 1973. He has done research in Switzerland, Boston, and Kenya and led international bioethics initiatives in China and Africa. He has also taught at such institutions as Asbury Theological Seminary, the University of Kentucky, and Harvard University.
Dr. Kilner received the Bachelor of Arts in English literature from Yale University and the Master of Divinity from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He then earned the Master of Arts and the Doctor of Philosophy in ethics from Harvard University, where he received the Newcombe, Danforth, Eisenhower, DeKarman, Roothbert, Merit, Howe, and Sheldon awards. His general doctoral exams and PhD dissertation were recognized with distinction.
Dr. Kilner has been featured in numerous interviews and debates in such television venues as NBC (with Tom Brokaw), FOX News (with Bill O’Reilly), CBS, CNN, and PAX, such radio venues as National Public Radio, Moody Broadcasting Network, and Salem Network, and such newspaper venues as the New York Times, Washington Times, and Chicago Tribune. His various honors include the 2006 national Educator of the Year Award from the Christian Medical & Dental Associations (Tennessee); the 2015 international Paul Ramsey Award for Exemplary Achievement in the Field of Bioethics from the Center for Bioethics and Culture Network (California); and, from Christianity Today, the 2016 Book of the Year Award in theology/ethics for the book, Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God.
In 2019, Trinity’s John F. Kilner Bioethics Lectureship and John F. Kilner Student Mentorship Fund were established in his honor.
Dr. Kilner has written extensively on human dignity. He co-authored the 2017 book Why People Matter
and is the author of the award-winning 2015 book Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God
. He has also authored or edited 20 books on challenges in bioethics (published, e.g., by Eerdmans, Zondervan, Kregel, Tyndale, Georgetown University Press, and Yale University Press). His latest co-authored bioethics works are Why the Church Needs Bioethics: A Guide to Wise Engagement with Life’s Challenges
, and Biotechnology and the Human Good
His many articles have appeared in such periodicals as the Hastings Center Report; Journal of Health Politics, Policy, & Law; American Journal of Public Health; Archives of Internal Medicine, Hospital Practice and Ethics & Medicine, with three essays in the latest Encyclopedia of Bioethics.
Awards, Affiliations, and Achievements
- 2019, The John F. Kilner Bioethics Lectureship and John F. Kilner Student Mentorship Fund established
- 2016 Book of the Year Award in Theology/Ethics, Christianity Today
- 2015 International Paul Ramsey Award for Exemplary Achievement in the Field of Bioethics, Center for Bioethics & Culture Network (CA)
- 2006 National Educator of the Year Award, Christian Medical & Dental Associations (TN)
- 1993, 1988, A.A.R. Research Award
- 1993, Roothbert Research Award, Harvard University
- 1977, Forrester Award for Academic Excellence, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
- Additional Doctoral Fellowship Awards: Newcombe, DeKarman, Eisenhower, Danforth, Rockefeller
- Additional Harvard Awards: Merit Fellowship (Graduate School), Howe Fellowship (Law School), Sheldon Fellowship (University)