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Senior Research Fellow

Revd Dr Chris Schelin

PhD (IBTS, VU Amsterdam)

Dr Chris Schelin serves as the Dean of Students, Director of Contextual Education, and Assistant Professor of Practical and Political Theologies at Starr King School for the Ministry in Oakland, California.

Research Interests

"My research has largely focused on Baptist theology and history with a special emphasis on the intersections between ecclesiology and political theory. My dissertation, which is being edited for publication with Mercer University Press, elucidates the relevance of radical democratic theory for Baptists’ self-understanding of churches as political sites wherein we faithfully engage in contestation over the what it means to enact the gospel in our particular contexts.
I am currently researching other areas of Baptist studies such as potential ecumenical convergence with charismatic Christianity and the development of nontraditional theologies in the increasingly pluralistic United States."


The Contestable Church: Dissent, Democracy, and Baptist Ecclesiology. Macon, Georgia: Mercer University Press (forthcoming 2024).

Review of Radical Friendship: The Politics of Communal Discernment, by Ryan Andrew Newson, Perspectives in Religious Studies 47.1 (2020):

“All Are Alive to God: Paul Fiddes and the Ministry of the Departed Saints.” Perspectives in Religious Studies 44.1 (2017): 53-68.

“Unbreaking the Circle: Conversational Hermeneutics and Intra-Congregational Difference.” Journal of European Baptist Studies 16.2 (2016): 19-32.

“‘In a Congregational Way’: The Baptist Possibility of Sacramental and Radical Democracy.” Journal of European Baptist Studies 10.3 (2010): 22-36.


“What the ‘spiritual but not religious’ have in common with radical Protestants of 500 years ago,” The Conversation, 1 November 2021. https://theconversation.com/what-the-spiritual-but-not-religious-have-in-common-with-radical-protestants-of-500-years-ago-169721.

“The Spirit-Filled Life of Early Baptists,” Word and Spirit Baptists, 4 September 2021. https://www.wordandspiritbaptists.com/post/the-spirit-filled-life-of-early-baptists.

“Cancel culture looks a lot like old-fashioned church discipline,” The Conversation. 28 April 2021. https://theconversation.com/cancel-culture-looks-a-lot-like-old-fashioned-church-discipline-158685.

Memberships & Networks

National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion; American Academy of Religion; American Baptist Ministers Council of Northern California.

Other Activities

“The ‘Pentecostal’ Beginnings and Ecumenical Horizons of Early English Baptists,” National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion Annual Meeting. Belmont University, Nashville, Tennessee. May 2022.

“Forgiving Trumpism in the Nondual Political Theology of Marshall Davis,” American Academy of Religion Western Region Annual Meeting. Online. March 2022.

“All May Prophesy: The Politics of Scriptural Interpretation in Two 17th-Century New England Baptist Congregations,” American Academy of Religion Western Region Annual Meeting. Arizona State University, Tempe, Arizona. March 2019.

“The Artistic Self and the Competent Soul: A Dialogue between Radical Democracy and Baptist Theology,” Thinking Out Loud: An Experimental Colloquium on Freedom, Destiny, and Authenticity. Starr King School for the Ministry, Berkeley, California. April 2018.

“To Punch Nazis or Shake Hands with the Klan: Clarence Jordan’s Nonviolence as a Realistic Answer to White Supremacy,” American Academy of Religion Western Region Annual Meeting. Institute of Buddhist Studies, Berkeley, California. March 2018.

“Unbreaking the Circle: Conversational Hermeneutics and Intra-Congregational Difference,” Student Research Conference: Challenges of Meeting the Other: Theology, History, and Mission. International Baptist Theological Study Centre, Amsterdam, Netherlands, January 2016.