What, in hindsight, do you appreciate most from the time you spent at WSC?
I have fond memories of the classes and the times of interaction with my fellow classmates and professors. I remember the high commitment that the faculty had to the inerrancy of Scripture and the centrality of Christ. I remember my time at WSC as a significant time of spiritual growth where I was challenged in every way in my understanding of traditional Christian theology and the Christian life. The work was challenging, but I remember enjoying every lecture and required reading. I wanted to take more and more classes. I remember meeting with the registrar who informed me that I had nearly taken every course that was offered. I regret that I didn’t take more and moreso, that I didn’t humble myself to the instructions of all my teachers. I remember the friendships made from my days at WSC, the birthday celebrations, and the great times that we all had together.
My training at WSC provided me the theological and biblical foundations for my life as a whole. I recall so clearly the instruction of my teachers and their high commitment to the centrality of Christ in Christian theology and life. That has remained a high virtue in everything that I do – from my duties as a husband and father to the formation of my philosophy of ministry.
Do you have any stories that illustrate the impact that WSC has made on your life and work?
There are two experiences I gained from WSC that have been particularly helpful in my post-seminary life and ministry. One of the last studies that I did as a student at WSC was an independent directive study on the life and theology of John Calvin. I knew that Dr. Godfrey offered such a course and I asked if I could do this as an independent research class because I was about to graduate and I didn’t feel that I understood Calvin well enough. After a period of three months, where all I did was read Calvin’s Institutes from cover to cover, Calvin’s skill as a master theological systematician was obvious and clear. What surprised me was the pastoral care in which he communicated these theological truths. Since then I have strived to balance my life and ministry with solid Reformed theology in the tradition of historical Calvinism with a shepherd’s heart for God’s people. In that regard, Calvin had a major influence upon me.
The second significant experience that I had at WSC was reading the works and life of J. Gresham Machen. Not only was he a brilliant scholar, he was a dedicated and devoted churchmen. Christianity and Liberalism remains one of the most relevant theological works, even to this day. In so many ways I have come to try to model myself after what I have read of Machen. He is the primary reason my membership is in the OPC. In Ned Stonehouse’s devotional biography on the life of Machen, he records a letter that Machen wrote to his mother during his studies in Germany where Machen said that orthodoxy will prevail because fair study has vindicated it. That notion has driven me to study Scripture even more over the years, even to pursue a doctorate in Semitic languages. Machen, along with Calvin, remains a historic mentor for me.
What, in your opinion, makes WSC a unique and important institution? How does the Church benefit from the mission of WSC-to prepare pastors and leaders for Reformed churches?
I love WSC and hope to see the seminary continue in its training of future leaders of God’s church in their commitment to the inerrancy of Scripture and the centrality of Christ in the ministry and life of God’s people. It is such a blessing to see where the Lord has led many of my classmates. Many are professors in established seminaries across the nation. Others have planted and have served as pastors in churches. Some have even given their lives for the cause of the Gospel. It is overwhelming to know that the Lord has brought us up as the new leaders of God’s church. It is exciting to know that the Lord will continue to use WSC to do the same for generations to come. That is my hope and prayer for the seminary. The ways the Lord has used WSC and the fruits of the seminary are very evident in my life, my family, and many of my fellow classmates.