The Rev. Dr. Robert Paul holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Washington, Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry degrees from Fuller Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the University of Wales through the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies. His doctoral research and writing focused on leadership development and Christian mission in the challenging context of North American culture.
Prior to being appointed as Dean of St. Andrew’s Hall, Bob served as a pastor of Presbyterian churches in Washington, Oregon, and California, most recently as Pastor of Discipleship at Bel Air Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. He has taught for Fuller Theological Seminary, Regent College, Carey Theological College, and the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Osijek, Croatia, and will teach in the area of mission theology for the Vancouver School of Theology.
Bob also has served as the President of two mission organizations, Alongside Ministries International and Medical Ambassadors International, respectively. He is currently a board member of Ingalls Creek Enrichment Center, a conference and retreat venue near Leavenworth, Washington.
- B.A. University of Washington – 1972
- M.Div. Fuller Theological Seminary – 1976
- D.Min. Fuller Theological Seminary – 1990
- Ph.D. University of Wales/Oxford Centre for Mission Studies – 2010
Area of teaching specialty
Mission Theology — including missional leadership; history of Christian mission and the world Christian movement today; missional hermeneutics.
What makes you passionate about teaching?
The subject matter – the magnificent and amazing story of God’s faithful actions in human history to bring healing and new creation to our broken world.
What inspires you about teaching at VST specifically?
I love the energy that comes from the combination of rigorous thinking, devoted spirituality, and gracious community. There is a freshness about everything that is happening at VST which makes it a great place to teach and to learn.
What kind of student do you love having in your class?
The best students (and teachers!) have the humility to recognize that they have a lot to learn, but who bring their previous life experience, knowledge, and questions to each new opportunity. Honest inquiry and personal engagement make a rich learning environment.
Current academic projects
Being new to VST, I’m focused right now on developing the courses I’ll be teaching in the coming year – particularly on missional hermeneutics, the worldwide Christian movement, and missional theology for the post-Christendom North American context.
What do you see the future holding for you in your academic profession?
Lots of learning through dialogue – I love the interaction with students – and making contributions through writing and extra-curricular teaching to the wider Church.
What challenges do students face today that may represent new challenges with respect to changes in practices of education?
Theological education is trending in the direction of more emphasis on the formation of the whole person, as opposed to a primarily intellectual endeavor. This will require all of us who are part of the learning community to come as we are, to engage in education together as imperfect people who are seeking greater wholeness through a shared encounter with the God who calls us to grow.
What gives you hope for church?
My hope for the Church is based in the fact that the Church is God’s, and God has a fantastic track record of faithfulness to the Church through all circumstances. I am especially encouraged by the many signs of creative innovation and fresh expressions of faith that are springing up here in Vancouver and around the world. Anyone who thinks the Church is dying needs to open their eyes — there is new life everywhere, even in this secularized environment.
What advice or guidance would you give to students thinking about coming to VST?
Get ready to work hard, to have your mind stretched, and to have your heart touched by the presence of the living God.