Research Professor of Religion and Culture | Executive Director of the Center for Pastoral Excellence and the Lilly Endowment Clergy Renewal Program
Phone: (317) 931-2348
Robert Saler came to CTS in the fall of 2012. Prior to joining the seminary staff, he was Visiting Lecturer in systematic theology at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago and pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church in Gary, IN. He was previously interim pastor of Emmanuel Lutheran Church in Merrillville, IN. He is an ordained minister of Word and sacrament in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).
He received his BA summa cum laude from Valparaiso University, an MA in theology from the Divinity School at the University of Chicago, and the M.Div., Th.M. and Ph.D. (with distinction) from the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. He has pursued additional study at the University of Notre Dame and St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary in New York.
Saler works at the intersection of Christian intellectual history and social theory, with a goal of making the resources of Christian tradition(s) available to leaders in church and society today. His first book, Between Magisterium and Marketplace, explored the ways in which ecclesiology and literary theory provide insights into how theologians understand themselves as authors. His second book, Theologia Crucis, is a field guide to the multifaceted use of the theology of the cross from Luther to liberation theologies. His two current research interests are in theology and cultural aesthetics (with two forthcoming volumes on what theology can learn from Arvo Pärt and Radiohead) and in evaluation methodologies in ministry (with particular attention to the creative interplay of qualitative and quantitative research in evaluating pastoral excellence). He is also active in Protestant-Eastern Orthodox dialogue. He regularly teaches courses on theological legacies of the 16th century, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Martin Luther, C.S. Lewis, Heaven and Hell in Popular Culture, Atheism Old and New, and Augustine.
He is a member of the American Theological Society (Midwest Division), the ELCA Association of Teaching Theologians, and the American Academy of Religion.