Robert K. Johnston

Robert K. Johnston (B.A. in History and Honors in Humanities, Stanford University, 1967; B.D, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1970; Ph.D. in Religion, Duke University, 1974) is Senior Professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA, where he has taught students how to engage both biblically and theologically with movies, popular culture, and contemporary fiction. He is a recipient of the Weyerhaeuser Award as “teacher of the year” at Fuller, as well as a former provost.

A co-director of Fuller’s Reel Spirituality Institute and a past president of the American Theological Society, Johnston has written or edited fifteen books including: Deep Focus (2019, co-authored with Kutter Callaway and Craig Detweiler); God in the Movies (2017, co-edited with Catherine Barsotti); God’s Wider Presence (2014); Don’t Stop Believin’: Pop Culture and Religion from Ben-Hur to Zombies (editor, 2012); Reframing Theology and Film: New Focus for an Emerging Discipline (editor, 2007); Useless Beauty: Ecclesiastes through the Lens of Contemporary Film (2004); Finding God in the Movies (2004, co-authored with Catherine Barsotti); Reel Spirituality (2000, 2006), and The Christian at Play (1983, 1997).

Johnston is a former school board member in Wilmette, IL as well as provost at North Park University in Chicago. He has often taught at a seminary in St. Petersburg, Russia, and helped establish PhD programs in Christian Studies that are accredited by the government in both Latin America and in India. For fifteen years, he and his wife taught all new staff members of Young Life, their basic theology class in how to think Christianly. Johnston has been a member of the ecumenical juries at both the Locarno Film Festival In Locarno, Switzerland (2017) and at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France ( 2018). He is married to Catherine Barsotti and has two adult daughters. He is an ordained minister in the Evangelical Covenant Church.

Robert K. Johnston’s Contributions

How to Watch a Movie

How to Watch a Movie

In this episode, Dr. Darrell Bock and Robert Johnston discuss a biblical theology of cinema, focusing…
July 28, 2015
Movies and the Cultural Shift

Movies and the Cultural Shift

In this episode, Dr. Darrell Bock and Robert Johnston discuss a biblical theology of cinema, focusing…
July 21, 2015

Learning from the Contemporary, Worldwide Church: from Spirit to Word

Dr. Robert Johnston, Professor of Theology and Culture of Fuller Theological Seminary, speaks on and answers…
October 24, 2014

Learning from the Medieval Church: Cinema Divina

Dr. Robert Johnston, Professor of Theology and Culture of Fuller Theological Seminary, invites us to consider…
October 23, 2014

Reading the Bible, Again

Dr. Robert Johnston, Professor of Theology and Culture of Fuller Theological Seminary, looks at God's wider…
October 22, 2014

Taking the Testimony of Others Seriously

Dr. Robert K. Johnston, Professor of Theology and Culture at Fuller Theological Seminary, invites us to…
October 21, 2014
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