He’s been called an icon of the University and an asset to the Evangel family. Students respect him as an expert in his field. Alumni remember him as a character that made learning fun.
Dr. Robert Berg, professor of New Testament at Evangel University, has challenged generations of students to embrace the integration of faith, learning and life through every creative means possible.
“I’ve been known to act out historical figures in my bathrobe — from heretics in church history, to James Madison in debate with Patrick Henry, to Martin Luther doing the Reformation Rap,” said Berg.
This spring, Dr. Berg was honored to receive Evangel’s top award for members of the faculty — the E.M. & Estella Clark Award for Excellence in Teaching, Scholarship and Service.
The Clark Award was established in 1991 by Dan and Elaine Johnson, in recognition of her parents’ work on behalf of higher education in the Assemblies of God, as well as their special affection for Evangel University. The Clark Award includes a cash grant and was presented on May 4, during Evangel’s 60th Annual Commencement ceremony.
“I am honored to be among the outstanding teachers who have received this award in past years — they have been an inspiration in my own teaching,” said Berg, who is also a published writer, biblical translator, and in-demand lecturer.
“From the time he first arrived in 1989, I have heard alumni speak of Dr. Berg as a highly regarded professor,” said Dr. Brandon Schmidly, chair of the Department of Theology and Global Church Ministries. “Students enjoy being around him — they know they will learn from him, and have fun, too. The bottom line is, students get a fuller understanding of God’s call on their lives through interaction with him.”
Bob Berg is seen as an leader by his peers, and is known to foster collaboration among faculty from different disciplines. “He is respected, trusted and liked,” according to Schmidly. “He is known for having good ideas and thus, gets voted to key committee positions.”
As a result, Berg has provided academic leadership in a dozen different ways since joining the Evangel family, including as chair of EU’s Department of Theology from 2003 to 2006, director of Lifeworks from 2006 to 2012, and as chair of the Core Curriculum Committee since 2015.
Through the LifeWorks program — which was funded by a grant from the Lilly Endowment — he supervised an innovative, multidisciplinary program incorporating career development, leadership, strengths education, service trips and volunteerism.
Dr. Fred Drake, professor of education, was one of Berg’s peers who nominated him for the Clark Award.
“Dr. Berg is a tireless contributor to the academic health of the university,” Drake wrote. “In each setting, he provides an abundance of wisdom and hard work to make the university better.”
A native of New York, Berg considers himself a life-long learner. He holds a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College, a master’s from Gordon-Conwell Seminary, and a Ph.D. from Drew University. He has done additional studies at Columbia University in New York and two other seminaries.
Prior to starting his career in higher education, Berg served as an assistant pastor in Fayetteville, Ark., and at the historic Glad Tidings Tabernacle in New York City. From there, he moved to Phoenixville, Pa., for a stint at what is now known as the University of Valley Forge.
Berg began his career at Evangel University as a professor of Biblical Studies in 1989; he has also served as an adjunct professor at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary since 1990.
“Dr. Berg sets a standard of dedication to the students, as he challenges them to take personal responsibility to understand and articulate their faith and to own their intellectual journey,” said Dr. Jon Spence, director of the Center for Student Success at Evangel.
In the community, Berg has volunteered with FOBs (Father of the Baby) at Springfield’s Pregnancy Care Center; has been a member of the Springfield Roman Catholic-Pentecostal Dialogue since 1996; and has served a variety of positions at his home church, Evangel Temple Christian Center, since 1992.
Bob’s wife, Jane, has taught music at Evangel for 23 years. Together they have a grown son, David, who is in the process of enlisting in the U.S. Navy as a cryptographic technician.
RELATED — Dianne Twigger was honored at Evangel’s 2018 Commencement with The Orville & Jewel Mills Young Faculty Award for Excellence in Teaching, Scholarship & Service. — https://www.evangel.edu/press_releases/2018/06/06/twigger-young-faculty-award-excellence/