Ellsworth Kalas

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J. Ellsworth Kalas is the former president and a current professor of Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He also served as pastor for 38 years in the Wisconsin and Ohio Conferences of the United Methodist Church and was associated for 5 years with the World Methodist Council.

Education and career[edit]

Kalas obtained his Bachelor of Science at University of Wisconsin–Madison in 1951; his Bachelor of Divinity at Garrett Theological Seminary in 1954; and did additional graduate studies at University of Wisconsin–Madison (1954-1955), and Harvard University (1955-1956). Dr. Kalas also holds honorary degrees from Lawrence University, Asbury Theological Seminary, and Kentucky Wesleyan College.

Kalas' tenure with Asbury began in 1993 and he has taught Preaching there since 2000. He is the author of multiple Bible Studies published by the United Methodist Publishing House as well as a groundbreaking study called "Christian Believer" which attempts to teach Methodist laity systematic theology.[1]

His addition to the field of homiletics is the concept of the Biographical Sermon, teaching a doctrine or biblical concept through the story of a real person's life. Biographical preaching can model methods for dealing with suffering and pain by telling the story of an exemplar's struggle with suffering and pain.


Kalas has authored over 35 different books and many additional published articles. As well as 13 adult study quarterlies for the United Methodist Publishing House. His most well-known works are: