Rob Starner, Ph.D.

SAGU Professor, Theology

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  • Ph.D. Religion, Baylor University
  • M.A. Biblical Studies
  • B.A., Penn State University
  • A.A. Harrisburg Area Community College


Starner has authored dozens of articles and essays on various theological topics, appearing in publications as: The Biblical Archaeologist, The Encyclopedia of Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity, Enrichment Journal and The Journal of Biblical and Pneumatological Research.

Starner's book "Kingdom of Power, Power of Kingdom: The Opposing World Views of Mark and Chariton" is available on

About Dr. Starner

Dr. Rob Starner is a native of Harrisburg, PA, where he resided until his early twenties. Following a career plan that targeted teaching high school mathematics, he earned an associate in Mathematical Sciences from Harrisburg Area Community College and a bachelor’s in the same discipline from Penn State University. On the last day of his teaching practicum his career path took an unexpected turn. Rob was privileged to do the teaching practicum at his Alma Mater, Central Dauphin East High School under his favorite teacher, George Paul. Knowing Rob’s strong faith in God, Mr. Paul suggested that the last day of classes would be a perfect occasion for Rob to share with the students something of even deeper significance than the “Pythagorean Theorem” or “Chebyshev’s Inequality.”

Rob brought his guitar, shared his faith, and sang Randy Matthew’s “Important Things.” The presence of God was palpable. Hearts were touched. Lives were changed. Only eternity will tell all of the wonders that God worked that day. Not least among them was Rob’s unquenchable desire to share his faith in God with others and lead them in becoming stalwart disciples of Christ. He immediately enrolled in a graduate program at Assemblies of God Theological Seminary where he earned a master’s in Biblical Studies. On the recommendation of the dean, Rob accepted a short-term missionary assignment to teach Greek and New Testament courses at Continental Theological Seminary in Brussels.

On his return, he served for two years as the principal of Calvary Christian Schoolbefore accepting a faculty position at Valley Forge Christian College. Rob’s term of service at VFCC brought more than he ever expected. Unbeknownst to him, Grace Ashcroft, beloved wife of then VFCC President Dr. J. Robert Ashcroft and mother of former Attorney General John Ashcroft, masterminded a scheme according to which she independently invited Rob and one very attractive female student from Poland to have lunch with her at the faculty table. Cupid’s arrow struck and Maja and Rob were united in marriage, a union that God later blessed with two incredibly gifted and wonderful children, Kali and Kaleb. Along with the blissful joy of marriage, however, Cupid’s shot also delivered a painful sting, for the union came at great personal sacrifice for Maja. Not only did she leave all of her family in Poland, she also sacrificed her goal of earning a graduate degree in order to put Rob through a doctoral program at Baylor University. At turn after turn, her willingness to sacrifice being a “stay-at-home-mom” and to then leave behind careers she had worked diligently to establish in order to follow and support Rob’s ministerial calling leaves an indebtedness for which repayment is terrestrially impossible.

Together Maja and Rob have a rich family heritage of ministry that spans over 112 years.

Rob’s grandfather, Leo, was an ordained Assemblies of God pastor for over 50 years, and Maja’s father, Jozef Baluczynski, is in his 62nd year of pioneer pastoral ministry with the Pentecostal Churches of Poland—and still going strong! Rob’s history in Assemblies of God academia spans over 30 years and includes full-time faculty service at Continental Theological Seminary, Valley Forge Christian College, Central Bible College, and currently, Southwestern Assemblies of God University. In addition to his service in the college/university arena, Rob has served as a pastor and a Christian school administrator, and has done missions work in Barbados, Belgium, Germany, Poland, and South Africa.


Starner is committed to using the results of exegetical study to communicate the gospel through dramatic arts. He has written and performed oral interpretations of Galatians, Joseph of Arimathea, and numerous passion plays. Not one of these accomplishments would have been possible apart from his wife Maja’s incredible, selfless sacrifice, for which Rob and anyone who has ever been influenced by his ministry will remain forever in her debt.

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