Professor David Martin is Honorary Professor in the Department of Religious Studies, Lancaster University; Emeritus Professor of Sociology at the London School of Economics (1962-1989); and a prolific contributor to public as well as sociological debate about religion. The author of more than 20 books, he has established creative lines of thinking both within the sociology of religion and at the interface between sociology and theology. Early books include Pacifism (Routledge 1965), The Sociology of English Religion (SCM 1967), and The Religious and the Secular (Routledge 1969), but Martin became best known for his magisterial A General Theory of Secularization (Blackwell 1978), which questioned the inevitability of secularization in modern societies. The secularization issue is complex, contingent, and infinitely variable, requiring detailed comparative analysis. Later work, notably Tongues of Fire (Blackwell 1990), elaborates the Latin American case within the "secularization" framework. Forbidden Revolutions (SPCK 1996) continues the commitment to comparative sociology, and Reflections on Sociology and Theology (Oxford University Press 1996) collects a series of essays on the title theme. Most recently (July 2005) Martin has up-dated the secularisation debate in his book On Secularization – towards a revised general theory.
As a teacher, David Martin has initiated at least two generations of scholars into the discipline; organizationally he has promoted the sociology of religion both in Britain , through the British Sociological Association‘s Sociology of Religion Study Group, and internationally as President of the International Society for the Sociology of Religion. His distinction can be quantified in numerous invitations to give the most prestigious public lectures in the field and in a variety of academic appointments in both Europe and the United States.