Paul Hiebert (missiologist)

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Paul Gordon Hiebert (13 November 1932 – 11 March 2007) was an American missiologist. He was "arguably the world's leading missiological anthropologist."[1]. Hiebert has authored number of books, contributing majorly to the field of Missiology.

Hiebert was born in India to missionary parents, and studied at Tabor College, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, and the University of Minnesota.[1] Subsequently Hiebert went on an overseas mission to India and was Principal of the Mennonite Brethren Centenary Bible College, Shamshabad. After a period of missionary service, he proceeded to Pasadena, California where he taught at Fuller Theological Seminary before becoming Distinguished Professor of Mission and Anthropology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Hiebert was best known for his concept of the "excluded middle". He argued that most Westerners see the universe as consisting of two tiers - the invisible things of the other world, and the visible things of this world. In this way, they exclude the part in between - namely, the invisible things of this world, and in particular the unseen personal beings, such as angels and demons. Hiebert suggested that non-Westerners are much more likely to accept this "excluded middle".[2][3][4]

A Festschrift in his honor, Globalizing Theology: Belief and Practice in an Era of World Christianity, was published in 2006. Hiebert died of cancer in 2007.[5]

During 1974-1975, Hiebert came lecturing to Osmania University, Hyderabad, India on a Fullbright Scholarship.[6]


  • "The Bicultural Bridge." Mission Focus Vol. 10, no. No. 1 (March 1982).
  • Cultural Anthropology. Second Edition ed. Grand Rapids, Ml: Baker Book House, 1983.
  • French Structuralism and Modern Missiology. Christian Perspectives on Anthropological Theories, edited by Sherwood and Douglas Hayward Lingenfelter, 2000.
  • Transforming Worldview- An Anthropological Understanding of How People Change. Bakers Academic. 2008.
  • "Anthropological Insights for Missionaries." Bakers Academics. 1985.


  1. ^ a b Priest, Robert J. "Paul Hiebert: A Life Remembered". Books and Culture. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  2. ^ Hiebert, Paul G. "The Flaw of the Excluded Middle" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 February 2015. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  3. ^ Croucher, Rowland. "Flaw of the Excluded Middle". Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  4. ^ Gilbert, Pierre (Fall 2007). "Further Reflections on Paul Hiebert's "The Flaw of the Excluded Middle"". Direction. 36 (2): 206–218. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  5. ^ Wan, Enoch. "Legacy of Paul G. Hiebert". Global Missiology. Retrieved 7 February 2015.
  6. ^ Directory of U.S. Fulbright Scholars 1974-1975, p.76.[1]

External links[edit]

Academic offices
Preceded by
Peter V. Balzer,
Mennonite Brethren Centenary Bible College,
Shamshabad, India

Succeeded by
Peter M. Hamm,
Preceded by
Fulbright Professor of Anthropology
Osmania University, Hyderabad, India

Succeeded by
  1. ^ Cite error: The named reference Fullbright was invoked but never defined (see the help page).