Daniel R. Heimbach

Daniel R. Heimbach

Daniel R. Heimbach

Senior Research Professor of Christian Ethics (Retired)

Discipline: Ethics
Teaching Since: 1993
Area: Theological Studies
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CONTACT Daniel R. Heimbach


B.S., United States Naval Academy
M.A., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
M.Phil., Drew University Graduate School
Ph.D., Drew University Graduate School
Additional studies at, University of Southern California; Harvard University John F. Kennedy School of Government; and University of North Carolina Institute of Government


Dr. Heimbach is a scholar, writer and social critic working at the interface between religious and secular thought. He served in several important positions in the Administration of President George H. W. Bush before moving to serve as Professor of Christian Ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.  Dr. Heimbach is an ordained minister in the Southern Baptist denomination. He also was elected a Wake Forest Town Commissioner from 1995 to 1999, served as Secretary for the Republican Party of North Carolina from 1997 to 1999, ran for US Congress in 2000 and chaired the NC Republican Party Platform Committee in 2001 and 2002.

Dr. Heimbach was born of American missionary parents in China during the Communist revolution, and was raised in Southeast Asia. He was nominated for appointment to the United States Naval Academy by Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois, where he earned a B.S. in oceanography. On graduating in 1972, he was commissioned as an officer in the US Navy and served at sea in combat in the Tonkin Gulf during the Vietnam War. In 1978, Dr. Heimbach left the Navy and entered Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he earned the M.Div. (theology) and M.A. (philosophy of religion) degrees. He then completed an M.Phil. and a Ph.D. in law, politics and Christian ethics from Drew University, finishing with special expertise in the ethics of war and peace and the interaction of religion, law and morality. 

From December 1985 to January 1989, Dr. Heimbach served as Political Advisor and Legislative Assis-tant to Senator Richard Lugar of Indiana. Then from January 1989 to February 1991 he served on the personal staff of President George H. W. Bush at the White House, both as Associate Director for Domes-tic Policy and as Deputy Executive Secretary of the Domestic Policy Council. During this period, Dr. Heimbach shaped many health, safety, and judicial reform efforts. He also was individually responsible for composing the moral framework used by Coalition forces in the 1991 Persian Gulf War. 

Following work at the White House, Dr. Heimbach served from February 1991 to February 1993 as Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Manpower. In this capacity, he oversaw military personnel policy for approximately 740,000 men and women then serving on active duty in the United States Navy and Marine Corps. Dr. Heimbach left the federal government at the end of the Bush Administration and then served seven months as Executive Director for the Defense Readiness Council before moving into academic instruction. 

Dr. Heimbach wrote his doctoral dissertation on The Moral Accountability of Law, and has written or contributed to twenty-four books including God & CaesarChristians in the Public SquareThe Foreign Policy World of President George BushFirst Freedom: The Baptist Perspective on Religious Liberty; and War in the Bible and Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century. He is contributor to The English Standard Version Study Bible, and has written more than 81 articles and papers on a range of subjects including “The Problem of Universal Ethics for Christian Pacifists,” “Christian Views Clash over War and Peace,” “Distinguishing Just War from Crusade,” and “How Currently Relevant Is the Old Testament Crusade Ethic of War?” 

Dr. Heimbach initiated and led development of what is now one of the strongest graduate programs in the field of Christian ethics in the world. He is a fellow of the Southern Baptist Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission Research Institute, editor of the Broadman & Holman Christian Ethics Series, and served as founding chairman of the Christian Ethics planning unit for the Evangelical Theological Society. 

Dr. Heimbach lives with his wife and two sons in Wake Forest, North Carolina.

The Abstract of Principles has served as a guiding document since Southeastern’s founding. In April 2001, Trustees revised the institutional bylaws to include the 2000 revision of the Baptist Faith and Message along with the Abstract of Principles as the official articles of faith for the school. Since then, faculty have been asked to state in writing that these documents represent their personal beliefs without mental hesitation or reservation and they committed themselves to teach in accordance with and not contrary to these statements of faith.

In addition to the articles of faith, Southeastern further recognizes two documents that clarify beliefs on critical issues. The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy reflects Southeastern’s commitment to biblical authority. The Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood addresses the issue of biblical manhood and womanhood. These documents serve as guidelines and affirmations of convictions and beliefs that are already expressed in Southeastern’s statement of faith. Members of the Faculty commit to teach in accordance with and not contrary to the doctrines expressed in these documents.

The faculty of Southeastern published the booklet, “Here we stand! This We Believe!” to introduce the statements of faith signed by the faculty and the affirmation statements endorsed by the faculty. The fifth document in the booklet is the Nashville Statement, which is not a formally recognized document of the school but expresses the position of the school on gender and sexuality.