(ATLANTA, Ga.) —January 7, 2019— Reformed Theological Seminary is pleased to announce the appointment of Karen A. Ellis as the Director of the Center for the Study of the Bible & Ethnicity (CSBE) at RTS Atlanta beginning January 1, 2019.
Karen earned a B.S. in Fine Art & Communication from Towson State University, a Master’s degree in Fine Art (M.F.A.) from Yale University, and a Master’s degree in Religion (M.A.R.) from Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in Virtue Ethics at the Oxford Center for Mission Studies in Oxford, England. Since 2003, she has worked as an advocate for the global persecuted Church, raising awareness and promoting indigenous leadership in countries where Christianity is restricted or repressed. Her current research explores the relationship between the African American Christian experience and those of others around the world experiencing religious marginalization.
“I am extremely excited about having Karen Ellis as a part of our team here in Atlanta,” said Dr. Guy M. Richard, Executive Director of RTS Atlanta. “Karen is highly educated, exceptionally gifted, and incredibly gracious. She brings a wealth of experience and ability in the areas of world Christianity, the persecuted church, human rights, and cultural theology and apologetics. She is thoughtful and balanced and has a tremendous heart for investing in the next generation of leadership in the church. I am thrilled to have her on our campus and to see how the Lord will use her in connection with our new Center for the Study of the Bible & Ethnicity in Atlanta.”
The Center for the Study of the Bible & Ethnicity seeks to foster an appreciation for the histories and cultures of people groups that are outside of the dominant culture and, in doing so, to provide additional training for church leaders who especially want to minister in multi-ethnic, cross-cultural, or foreign missions contexts. CSBE promotes theological education and reflection on these topics and how they inform and impact local and global ministry in the 21st century.
“As I travel, I’ve witnessed Christians of all stripes discussing what it means not merely to be counter-cultural or engaged politically, but to be ‘other-cultural’ and ‘other-political’ – reflecting something completely foreign to what the rest of the world offers,” Ellis said. “Some are asking what it means to be defined by ‘faithful obedience’ in places where it’s difficult and costly to be a Christian, whether those places be global, or on our own domestic margins. In history and today, we find those for whom ‘minority status’ has been defined primarily by a transformed life in Christ that impacts their surrounding society. How have these biblically-sound Christians lived ‘in the world but not of it,’ and what can we learn from them?
“Dr. Richard and RTS Atlanta have prioritized this conversation at a critical time in church history, and the lens of Christ’s work in redemptive history will serve these discussions well,” Ellis continued. “I’m humbled to be involved with the CSBE, and to explore how God moves through these oft-overlooked voices.”
Karen is married to Dr. Carl F. Ellis, Jr., who is currently serving as Provost’s Professor of Theology and Culture at RTS.