Robert Ellis (academic)

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Robert Anthony Ellis (born 24 August 1956) is the Principal of Regent's Park College, Oxford, England.

Robert Ellis was born in Cardiff and educated at Regent's Park College, Oxford, and received his DPhil from the University of Oxford in 1984. He is an ordained minister in the Baptist Union of Great Britain and has served congregations in Milton Keynes and Bristol. He is currently Principal of Regent's Park College, Oxford. Ellis also plays a major role in Training and Formation for Baptist Ministers' training at the College.

He has expertise in pastoral theology and systematic theology, the theology of intercession, and Christianity and culture - especially theology and film, and theology and sport. He serves on the Advisory Committee of the Vatican-sponsored programme 'Sport at the Service of Humanity.'[1]

He delivered the McCandless Lecture at Georgetown College in 2005 and again in 2010.

He has been Moderator of the Baptist Union of Great Britain Ministry Executive, and currently serves on the Baptist Steering group and Baptist Union of Great Britain Council.

Robert Ellis is the younger brother of Christopher John Ellis, the father of actor Tom Ellis.



  • Robert Ellis, The Games People Play: Theology, Religion, and Sport (Eugene OR, Wipf & Stock, and Cambridge, Lutterworth, 2014)
  • Robert Ellis, Answering God: Towards a Theology of Intercession (Bletchley: Paternoster, 2005)

Chapters in books

  • ‘Film Noir,’ in ed. Rhonda Burnette-Bletsch, The Bible in Motion: A Handbook of the Bible and its Reception in Film (Boston MS, De Gruyter, 2016)
  • ‘“Help us to search for Truth:” Baptists and Doing Theology,’ in Gathering Disciples: Essays in Honour of Christopher Ellis, (Eugene OR, Wipf and Stock, 2017)
  • ‘”Play up! Play up! And play the game:” cricket and our place in the world,’ in eds. Stephen Finamore and John Weaver, Wisdom, Science and the Scriptures: Essays in Honour of Ernest Lucas (Bristol: Bristol Baptist College and Centre for Baptist History & Heritage, 2012)
  • Robert Ellis, 'Movies and Meaning: An Introduction to Reading Films' and 'Pondering Providence: Sliding Doors', in Anthony Clarke and Paul S. Fiddes, eds, Flickering Images: Theology and Film in Dialogue (Oxford: Regent's Park College; Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys, 2005)
  • Robert Ellis, 'Covenant and Creation', in Anthony Clarke, ed., Bound for Glory? God, Church and World in Covenant (Oxford: Whitley Publications, 2002)

Articles in journals

  • ‘The Church as Praying Community,’ in International Congregational Journal, 14/2 (Autumn 2015)
  • ‘The meanings of sport: an empirical study into the significance attached to sporting participation and spectating in the UK and US,’ Practical Theology 5/2 (2012)
  • ‘“Faster, Higher, Stronger” – Sport and the point of it all,’ Anvil 28:1, 2012.
  • ‘Bringing out the Meaning: Deacy, Nolan, Scorcese and what films “mean”,’ in The Journal of Religion and Film, 13/2, 2009
  • ‘Baptist Ministers as Leaders’ in ed. Pieter J. Lalleman, Challenging to Change: Dialogues with a Radical Baptist Theologian. Essays presented to Dr Nigel G. Wright on his sixtieth birthday (London: Spurgeon’s College, 2009).
  • Robert Ellis, 'And the Life Everlasting: A Theological Reflection on Death and Dying', Transformation 24 (2007)
  • Robert Ellis, 'Geoffrey Studdert Kennedy: The Pastor and the suffering God', Transformation 22 (2005)
  • ‘Movies and Meaning – an introduction to theology in secular film,’ Expository Times, June 2001
  • ‘On a journey of the Spirit,’ Baptist Ministers’ Journal, July 2000.
  • ‘Gathered at the Table: Reflections on the Lord’s Supper,’ Baptist Ministers’ Journal, April 1999
  • ‘Preaching Christ Crucified,’ Epworth Review, May 1992
  • ‘The Vulnerability of Action,’ Religious Studies, volume 25, 1990.
  • ‘God and Action,’ Religious Studies, volume 24, 1989
  • ‘God and History: an essay on the interface of theological and historical methods,’ Baptist Quarterly, April 1987
  • ‘God’s Adventure of Love: an introduction to some leading ideas of Process Theology, and their pastoral implications,’ The Fraternal, January 1985
  • Robert Ellis, 'How Relative Should Theology Be?', Baptist Quarterly 29.5, (January 1982)
    • Robert Ellis, 'From Hegel to Whitehead', The Journal of Religion 61:4 (October 1981)


  • Robert Ellis, Can God Act in History? A Whiteheadian Perspective (University of Oxford DPhil thesis 1984)
  • Robert Ellis, Teaching Theology in the Academy: 'Preparing Men and Women for Ministry' (University of Oxford Postgraduate Diploma in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education thesis 2004)


Academic offices
Preceded by
Principal of Regent's Park College, Oxford
Succeeded by