Ronald J. Allen

Professor of Preaching and Gospels and Letters

Phone: (317) 931-2339


Ronald Allen, a native of Poplar Bluff Missouri and ordained in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ),is Professor of Preaching and Gospels and Letters. He has been at CTS since 1982. 

He received the PhD dgree from Drew University (1977),  MDiv from Union Theological Seminary in New York (1974), and the AB from Phillips University (1971). From 1977 to 1982 he and his spouse, the Reverend Linda McKiernan-Allen, were coministers of First Christian Church, Grand Island, Nebraska.  Rev. McKiernan-Allen is currently Minister at West Street Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Tipton, Indiana.

In addition to over 100 articles and chapters in books, Allen is the author of more than thirty books that are available from The Christian Theological Seminary Bookstore

Allen's most recent publication A Faith of Your Own: Naming What You Really Believe (Westminster John Knox Press, 2010) is being used in small groups in many congregations nationwide.  He has also recently published Preaching and the Other: Studies in Postmodern Insights (Chalice Press, 2010), an exploration of the implications of key postmodern themes for preaching (otherness, deconstruction, social location, transgression, and diversity, etc.). Other recent books include: Preaching and the Other (Chalice Press, 2009), Thinking Theologically: The Preacher as Theologian (Fortress Press, 2008), and The Life of Jesus for Today (Westminster John Knox Press, 2008), also in use as a study in many congregations.

 In 2012, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company released Allen's Reading the New Testament for the First TimeThis book comes with discussion questions for small group use.  With Dawn Ottoni-Wilhelm and Dale P. Andrews, he is editing the three volume Preaching God's Transforming Justice: A Commentary on the Lectionary, with 22 New Holy Days for Justice (Westminster John Knox Press), which not only comments on every reading in the lectionary but also introduces 22 new Holy Days for Justice (e.g., Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Peace in the Home, Yom ha Shoa, Gifts of Sexuality and Gender, Sojourner Truth Day). This series is being published in 2011 (Year B), 2012 (Year C), and 2013 (Year A).

From 2000-2004, he directed one of the first studies of people who listen to sermons to determine the qualities in preaching that encourage people to pay attention to the sermon and qualities that discourage them from doing so. This project, funded by the Lilly Endowment, generated four books: Listening to Listeners: Homiletic Case Studies, jointly authored with Dale P. Andrews, L. Susan Bond, John S. McClure, Dan P. Moseley, and G. Lee. Ramsey, Jr., (2004), Hearing the Sermon: Relationship, Content, Feeling  (2004), Believing in Preaching: What Laity Think about Sermons, coauthored with Mary Alice Mulligan, Diane Turner-Sharazz and Dawn Ottoni Wilhelm (2004) and, with Mary Alice Mulligan, Make the Word Come Alive: Lessons from Laity (2005). All are published by Chalice Press.

He and Clark M. Williamson have authored a three-volume commentary on the Revised Common Lectionary that identifies and proposes remedies for anti-Jewish tendencies in the lectionary. The series, published by Westminster John Knox Press, is called “Preaching without Prejudice,” with the individual volumes entitled Preaching the Gospels without Blaming the Jews: A Lectionary Commentary (2004), Preaching the Letters without Dismissing the Law (2006), and Preaching the Old Testament (2007).

Allen and Williamson have also collaborated on The Teaching Minister (Westminster John Knox Press 1991); A Credible and Timely Word: Process Theology and Preaching (Chalice Press, 1991); Adventures of the Spirit: A Guide to Worship from the Perspective of Process Theology (University Press of America, 1997); The Vital Church: Teaching, Worship, Community, Service (Chalice Press, 1997); and Interpreting Difficult Texts: Anti-Judaism and Christian Preaching (Trinity Press International, 1989).

Other recent books are the Bible studies in The Storyteller’s Companion to the Bible: The Parables of Jesus, volume 10 (Abingdon Press, 2006), a contribution to New Proclamation: Year B, 2006 (Fortress Press 2006, Wholly Scripture: Preaching Themes from the Bible (Chalice Press, 2004), along with Preaching is Believing: The Sermon as Theological Reflection (Westminster John Knox Press, 2002), as well as Preaching: An Essential Guide (Abingdon Press, 2002). With Joseph R. Jeter, Jr., he developed One Gospel, Many Ears: Preaching and Different Listeners in the Congregation (Chalice Press, 2002). Preaching and Practical Ministry is the first volume in the series "Preaching and Its Partners" (Chalice Press, 2001).

Allen is also the author or co-author of
 Preaching Luke-Acts: Preaching Classic Texts (Chalice Press, 2000), and with David M. Greenhaw, Preaching in the Context of Worship (Chalice Press, 2000); with Gilbert L. Bartholomew, Preaching Verse by Verse (Westminster John Knox Press, 1999).

Allen is also the author of a widely used textbook Interpreting the Gospel: An Introduction to Preaching and editor of its popular companion, Patterns of Preaching: A Sermon Sampler (both published by Chalice Press, 1998). He previously jointly authored with Scott Black Johnston and Barbara S. Blaisdell Theology for Preaching: Authority, Truth, and Knowledge of God in a Postmodern Ethos (Abingdon Press, 1997). He joined John C. Holbert in writing Holy Root, Holy Branches: Christian Preaching from the Old Testament (Abingdon Press, 1994).  Among the volumes that he has written by himself are The Teaching Sermon (Abingdon Press, 1995), Preaching the Topical Sermon (Westminster John Knox Press 1992), Contemporary Biblical Interpretation for Preaching (Judson Press, 1984), Preaching for Growth (CBP Press, 1987), and Our Eyes Can Be Opened: Preaching the Miracle Stories of the Synoptic Gospels Today (University Press of America, 1983). He contributed to Thankful Praise: A Guide to the Renewal of Worship in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) (CBP Press, 1987).

Allen also serves as Editor of Encounter, the Seminary’s journal of vital theological topics, published quarterly.

The Allens have five adult children: Canaan, Genesis, Moriah, Barek, and Sabbath. He and his family spent the summer in Zambia in 1990 and in Jamaica in 1998 and have traveled in India, England, Canada, Belize, Israel, Ireland, Korea, and New Zealand.

Curriculum Vitae