Angela Carpenter is a teacher and scholar of theology and ethics in the Reformed tradition. Her work explores the implications of the doctrine of grace for Christian understandings of ethics, moral agency, and human society. Carpenter’s research method is rooted in Reformed theology, but engages scientific understandings of the human person in psychology and anthropology. Her first book, Responsive Becoming: Moral Formation in Theological, Evolutionary, and Developmental Perspective, was published by T&T Clark in 2019.
Carpenter’s research project will explore the implications of a Reformation account of grace for the flourishing of human communities. Crucial to both Luther and Calvin is the idea that human beings cannot earn divine approval but must instead receive it as a gift. In the American context, despite our predominantly Protestant heritage, institutions tend to privilege performance and make human value contingent on behavior. If, however, grace is primary and works flow out of grace, what might it mean to hold this insight consistently in our social institutions? This book will bring together Reformed theology, evolutionary anthropology, and social psychology to develop an account of grace and moral agency, and it will ask what society might look like when it consistently affirms that grace is the proper foundation for action.