The Rev. Dr. Robert  C. Fennell

Academic Dean
Associate Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology


Contact Me

Areas of Expertise
  • General: Christian theology, contemporary Christianity, historical Christianity, the Bible
  • Specific: C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the social gospel movement (political, social, and religious dimensions), pilgrimage, interpretation theory, fascism, the United Church of Canada
Curriculum Vitae

B.A. (University of Winnipeg)
M.Div. (Emmanuel College/University of Toronto)
M.Litt. (University of St. Andrews)
Th.D. (University of Toronto/Victoria University)

Personal statement

My dual vocation as a minister and professor has happily landed me at AST since 2006. I invite you to come and discover for yourself what makes this a wonderful place to study, learn, grow, and discover.

Research interests

Pilgrimage, hermeneutics, Christology, Trinity, C.S. Lewis, Bonhoeffer, evangelism, congregational vitality, leadership, early modern Christian history, The United Church of Canada

Courses taught

Christianity After Christendom; Theological Foundations; United Church Doctrine; Theological Hermeneutics; C.S. Lewis; Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Confessing Church Struggle; European Reformations; Moltmann on Creation and Eschatology; Intercultural Ministry; Social Gospel

Current projects

Previous positions

Minister in local United Church congregations, 1994-2006

Professional affiliations/activities

  • Ordained Minister, The United Church of Canada
  • Chair, Editorial Board, Touchstone: Theology Shaping Witness
  • Past President, Canadian Theological Society
  • Member, American Academic of Religion

Personal interests

Writing, movies, hiking, canoeing, chopping wood, most forms of chocolate

Representative publications

Books - sole author
  • The Rule of Faith and Biblical Interpretation: Reform, Resistance, and Renewal
  • Writing Prompts: 99 Karate Chops to Writer's Block


Books edited or co-edited
  • (with David J.C. Zub) Love and Freedom: Systematic and Liberation Theology in the Canadian Context: Essays in Honour of Harold G. Wells. Toronto Journal of Theology Supplement 1, 2008. Toronto and Waterloo, ON: TJT and Wilfred Laurier Press, 2008.
  • (with Ross Lockhart) Three Ways of Grace: Drawing Closer to the Trinity. Toronto, ON: United Church Publishing House, 2010.
  • Intercultural Visions: Called to Be the Church. Toronto, ON: United Church Publishing House, 2012.
  • Both Sides of the Wardrobe: C.S. Lewis, Theological Imagination, and Everyday Discipleship. Eugene, OR: Resource Publications/Wipf&Stock, 2015.
 Articles and chapters
  • “How Does the United Church Interpret the Bible?  Part I: 1904-1940s: Tradition and Resistance.” Touchstone 26, no.2 (May 2008): 13-22.
  • “Renewing the Social Gospel through the Doctrine of Passibility.” In Love and Freedom (details above)
  • “In the Bosom of the Beloved Disciple: The Fourth Gospel’s Narrative Openness to Readers.” In The Bible as a Human Witness to Divine Revelation: Hearing the Word of God Through Historically Dissimilar Traditions, edited by Randall Heskett and Brian Irwin, 322-336. New York and London: T&T Clark/ Continuum, 2010
  • “Reading the Bible for Life and Love” and “What about the Sacraments?” In Three Ways of Grace (details above)
  • “ ‘A Sinner of Your Redeeming’: Articulating Hope at the Time of Death.” Touchstone 28, no.1 (Jan 2010): 8-18.
  • “On Ordained Ministry.” Touchstone 29, no.1 (Jan 2011): 8-17.
  • (with Robert Brewer) “Proper 27 Year C: Trinity”; “Proper 28 Year C: Christian Hope”; “Proper 29/Reign of Christ Year C: Jesus Christ as Sovereign”; “All Saints Day: Communal and Personal Calling”; “Thanksgiving Day: The Nature and Will of God.” In The New Interpreter’s Theological Companion to the Lectionary, edited by Paul Scott Wilson, 275-299. Nashville, TN: Abingdon Press, 2012
  • “Canada’s Ever-Changing Contexts: Mission in a Radically Pluralistic
  • Society.” In Green Shoots Out of Dry Ground: Growing a New Future for the Church in Canada, edited by John P. Bowen, 21-34. Eugene, OR: Wipf&Stock, 2013
  • “The Social Gospel and the Social Sciences.” In Theology and the Crisis of Engagement: Essays on the Relationship between Theology and the Social Sciences, edited by Jeff Nowers and Néstor Medina, 41-57. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2013
  • “ ‘The Bible will bring us to Christ’: C.S. Lewis as an Interpreter of Scripture.” Touchstone 31, no. 3 (Nov 2013): 14-21.
  • “Covert Racism in the Canadian Context: Racism, the Teacher, and the Classroom.” Wabash Center for Teaching and Learning in Theology and Religious Studies online blog, Race Matters in the Classroom, 5 December 2014.
  •  “The Theological Foundations of Social Justice.” Touchstone 33, no. 2 (June 2015)

Personal website