Published Books (Links to Amazon for more information)
- Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)
- Arminius on the Assurance of Salvation: The Context, Roots, and Shape of the Leiden Debate, 1603-1609 (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2007)
My goal as a seminary professor is to help prepare students for theologically responsible ministry, both lay and professional. I relish the opportunity to help students reflect on the development and struggles of the historic, orthodox Christian faith. Although any academic discipline can fascinate or change the way a student sees the world, theological study not only has the potential but actually aims to change one’s life.
The study of church history in particular is important to me personally and professionally, and I am convinced that historical literacy helps to prepare students to face successfully the multi-faceted challenges of service and teaching in today’s world. Church history (more easily than systematic theology) could be studied from a strictly “secular” perspective. But in the classroom there are a number of ways that I present the church’s history as a means for nourishing students’ faith. For instance, I emphasize how church history helps us understand who we are, whence we have come, and whither we are going. We see things to avoid and, more often, examples worthy of imitation. Our interpretation of Scripture and theology should be informed and challenged by the voices of the past, voices that we tend to marginalize because they are dead. These figures—whose knowledge of Scripture and piety of life would put most of us to shame—live on through their examples and writings, if we would only include them in our conversations. They provide vast resources for understanding the faith and articulating it both to the church and to the world. Especially in a day of increasing ignorance of history and the past, church history can open students’ eyes to the broad scope of the universal church’s faith and practice and to the way in which God’s providence has preserved his people.
In general, my philosophy of teaching is based on the assumption of mutual respect among teacher and students who come together to discuss a topic of great significance. In other words, it is not a model that is focused on a teacher who only gives a monologue lecture, nor is it a model focused on student whims and their unconditional affirmation. Although students and their intellectual growth are the primary concern, progress will be made when the classroom environment is focused on the subject matter itself. Relationships and mutual trust in the classroom will follow from this initial commitment. If students do not quickly acknowledge the importance and relevance of the subject, it is the teacher’s task to demonstrate its importance and then get on with the conversation. My vision of the classroom is for it to be an extension of the teacher’s office, a setting where students and teacher feel comfortable to challenge and learn from one another by means of readings and research and dialogue.
I believe that active involvement in and contributions to one’s field of scholarship are not inimical but beneficial to one’s classroom teaching. My primary goal is to make quality contributions to scholarship in the field of historical theology.
In recent years, my research agenda has focused primarily on the life, thought, and works of Jacob Arminius, reflected in five books I have published over a seven-year period. Given the influence that Arminius had on early modern Protestant theology, as well as the impact that Arminianism still has today, technical work on Arminius and Arminianism fills an important gap in the field of historical theology.
In addition to the narrow topic of Arminianism, I have scholarly interests in all periods of church history, the history of biblical interpretation, as well as other areas reflected in my publications (see CV).
Knowing God’s infinite love through Jesus Christ means everything to me. This is my motivation and my goal, the good news that gives me joy. As a devoted follower of Christ on a journey with fellow believers, I am seeking greater understanding of my faith and pursuing an increasing measure of sanctification. My desire and prayer is for the Holy Spirit to help me be conformed to the image of Christ in every way. My pursuit is not always successful, but my goal is to seek God’s face always. My mission is to study God’s word, practice it, and teach it to others (Ezra 7:10).
Select Publications (for a full list of publications, see curriculum vitae):
Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace (New York/Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012)
Arminius on the Assurance of Salvation: The Context, Roots, and Shape of the Leiden Debate, 1603-1609 (Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2007)
- Scholarly Articles:
“Methodological Musings on Historiography (A Rejoinder),” Church History and Religious Culture 92 (2012): 121-9.
“The New Perspective on Arminius: Notes on a Historiographical Shift,” Reformation & Renaissance Review 11/3 (2009): 295-310.
“S. M. Baugh and the Meaning of Foreknowledge: Another Look,” Trinity Journal 26 (2005): 19-31.
- Popular-Level Articles:
“‘Baptism in the Sea’: An Invitation to Typological Interpretation,” Leaven 21/2 (2013): 70-4.
“Knowledge: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” Salt, Leaven, and Light (April 26, 2012): 1-3.
“‘Faith Comes from What is Heard’: The Reformers on the Ministry of the Word and the Holy Spirit,” Leaven 12/3 (2004): 161-6.