REV. ROBERT L. SCHENCK, D.MIN.
PRESIDENT AND FOUNDER
Over his 40+-year career, Rob has become known as an accessible public theologian. The ordained evangelical minister has directed a home for recovering heroin addicts, led pastoral and missionary work around the globe, took a 2000-mile walk to Mexico to benefit some of the poorest people on earth, and spent 30 years as an influential political activist on the religious right that put him at the epicenter of some of our nation’s most pivotal moments.
At age 52, Rob began a new stage in his spiritual journey. With the help of the brave, World-War II era German pastor and Nazi resister, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Rob found his way back to the simple gospel he had first embraced as a teenager—revolutionizing his life—all over again.
In 2015, Rob became the subject of The Armor of Light, Abigail Disney’s Emmy-winning documentary examining Evangelicals and the gun culture, putting him in the crosshairs of controversy. As he recently noted, “The popular item on the market, exploding in sales, bought by Evangelicals is…guns.” Rob founded The Dietrich Bonhoeffer Institute in Washington, DC, to continue the work Bonhoeffer began in reforming the evangelical church. TDBI seeks to preserve and promote the legacy of this brave World War II-era Lutheran pastor, moral theologian, ethicist and Nazi resister, who was one of the first religious voices to speak out against Adolf Hitler and ultimately pay for it with his life.
Rob was ordained by the New York District Council of the Assemblies of God in 1982. Today, he holds his clergy faculties with the Mid Atlantic Conference of the Methodist Evangelical Church in the USA. He received his Certificate in Bible and Theology from Buffalo (NY) School of the Bible, his diploma in Ministerial Studies from Berean College (Springfield, MO), B.A. in Religion, M.A. in Christian Ministry, and D.Min. in Church and State from Faith Evangelical College and Seminary (Tacoma, WA). He has been a Visiting Academic at Harris Manchester College, Oxford, and was named a Senior Fellow of the Centre for the Study of Law and Public Policy at Oxford. He is a member of the U.S. Senate Chaplain’s Emergency Pastoral Response Team and is a civilian chaplain. Rob lives just outside Washington, DC, with his wife, Cheryl, a psychotherapist in private practice, whom he says is by far the most interesting part of both his book, Costly Grace: An Evangelical Minister’s Rediscovery of Faith, and his life.