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This month, our featured graduate is Paul Ekk. Paul graduated from WSC in 2003 with his Master of Arts in Theological Studies. Currently, Paul is a public school teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District and deacon at New Life Mission Church (PCA) in Fullerton, CA. His hobbies include running 10K’s, watching soccer, and lots of reading.
How did you first hear about WSC?
In a very roundabout way! After a continued build up of various circumstances, I became immersed in the fascinating world that is the Korean-American sub culture (and I still am!). In my first year of college, I quickly became involved in a Korean-American campus ministry whose teaching at the time was led partially by some WSC students. The content of their studies resonated with what I thought Scripture was truly conveying. At the time I was not worshipping in a Reformed church and yet getting Reformed instruction became a desperate search during my undergrad years at UCI. I wanted to learn more!
Upon graduating college, I spent the following year helping a missionary in Bangalore, India, where I met that missionary’s son, Abraham Chung. He was then a recent graduate of WSC and further solidified my impression of the great teaching that the seminary had to offer. I wanted to be a part of that theological fruit and applied to WSC from India. I had learned enough about Reformed theology during college to know that WSC’s confessional, covenantal, and exegetical strengths would make it my only seminary to consider. That desire to learn more took me to wonderful city of Escondido!
What made you finally decide to attend WSC?
WSC’s strengths within the Reformed community made my decision very simple. I originally came in as a MDiv student, and if I was to go through with ordained ministry of Word and sacrament, I knew I would need to be a craftsman of the Word of God. Even if I wasn’t going to be ordained, I wanted top notch exegetical training! I also wanted clear confessional teaching after having my appetite whetted to the Westminster Standards just prior to applying to WSC.
Would you mind sharing a little bit about the role/occupation that you’re presently fulfilling?
I worship at New Life Mission Church in Fullerton, CA and serve as a newly ordained deacon. For the past few years I have served the church by teaching our church’s Youth Group under the oversight of the session. My service is now shifting towards more specific diaconate duties.
How did your education at WSC best equip/prepare you for your present roles/responsibilities?
I wouldn’t be serving in the capacity that I have been serving if it weren’t for my WSC education. I lead a lot of studies, and every time I prepare a lesson, it takes me right back to my training at WSC. The tools I gained while at WSC are a constant resource for me in my study preparation.
What would you say was one of the most important things you learned/gained from your education at WSC?
I think the greatest thing I came away with from WSC was a lofty view of the Scriptures. Embedded in that view of Scripture is an ongoing appreciation for the original languages. I cherished the language classes as a means to understanding the text better. Even though I struggled initially with Greek and Hebrew, it’s something I will continue to appreciate for the rest of my life. Also, I will always look back with fondness on VanDrunen’s clear instruction of systematic theology. I miss his classes. I constantly go back to his lecture notes. What great clarity! It was a pleasure to see him do solid exegesis one minute and then expound Reformed confessional statements the next minute.
What is your most memorable WSC moment?
With the passing of Meredith Kline and the fact that during my time at WSC he wasn’t going to return, I now cherish those messy chalkboard lectures from Pentateuch. They were so incredibly riveting. The last thing I must mention: I also enjoyed the weekly Deans’ Teas. You can’t beat free coffee and cookies for a hungry seminarian!