Bethlehem College and Seminary (BCS) just announced that I’ll be joining their faculty in August 2013 as Assistant Professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology.
Jenni and I are grateful to God and excited to join the BCS family. We’re planning to move to Minneapolis this summer.
If you don’t know much about BCS, these links are a good place to start:
We’re excited to serve at BCS for at least five reasons:
The doctrine BCS affirms and celebrates is what we affirm and celebrate.
BCS embraces “historic Christian orthodoxy” (e.g., what the Nicene and Chalcedonian Creeds teach about the Trinity and Jesus’ incarnation).
BCS also affirms important second-level doctrines such as
- Calvinism (i.e., Reformed soteriology, including a Reformed view of sanctification)
- Baptist ecclesiology
“On matters such as eschatology and the continuance of the miraculous gifts of the Spirit, we allow for a range of perspectives, provided that such positions are held in submission to the inerrant and infallible Word of God.”
For a fuller statement of BCS’s doctrinal beliefs, see their Affirmation of Faith.
Our aim is to give students an intense immersion in a God-centered, Christ-exalting, Bible-saturated local church that combines rigorous study with church-based application, all to the end that they might joyfully magnify the infinite worth of Jesus Christ, and live for the praise of God’s glory in affection, thought, word, and deed. (“Mission and Vision”)
Education exists because worship doesn’t. (“Core Values”)
The seminary has a cohort-model that accepts only fifteen students a year, and those students take all their classes together. (My responsibilities will be primarily at the seminary-level.) The courses intentionally build on each other, and the professors (who are members of Bethlehem Baptist Church) shepherd the students.
Cf. these videos:
Testimonies (4:38 min.)
BCS has three types of professors. All of them teach, but they each have a different focus:
The latter two have a lighter teaching load. In addition to mentoring a few students, the “research” professors also (a) supervise ThM students, (b) engage in ongoing research and writing, and (c) teach and preach outside BCS as feasible.
I’ll be serving as a “research” professor, which is an ideal fit. It’s exactly the sort of position I’ve longed for.
I didn’t realize until we moved to a small town in South Carolina—where I work in my home office—how much I love the edifying synergy that occurs when I regularly interact in person with colleagues. I miss that, and I’m looking forward to the camaraderie with the BCS team.
In God’s providence, I already know Tim Tomlinson and Jason DeRouchie fairly well since we rafted through the Grand Canyon together in July 2011, and I’ve been friends with Jason Meyer since his first book came out. (Jason Meyer was recently formally approved as successor to John Piper.) Jenni and I have already enjoyed getting to know the BCS family and look forward to building deeper friendships.
It’s an honor to serve with John Piper. He is BCS’s chancellor, and he plans to invest himself in BCS and to teach one course each semester.
Piper is a modern-day Charles Spurgeon and one of my favorite preachers. He exalts God by carefully and passionately explaining and applying the text of Scripture.
God used Piper to transform me as a freshman in college. On Christmas Day 1998, I read The Pleasures of God. I was riveted. I worshiped God as supremely sovereign over all things, including our salvation.
I didn’t know anything about Piper at the time, but what he wrote deeply resonated with me. Shortly later I read Desiring God. Then I started listening to Piper’s sermons and reading more of his books. Very influential then. Very influential now (e.g., over 45 of my blog posts have “John Piper” as a tag).
When Jenni and I started dating in late summer 2003, one of the first things I did was lend her my marked-up copies of Desiring God, The Pleasures of God, and Rediscovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, and I asked her to read them to make sure that we were on the same page theologically. She read them very carefully (especially the chapter on marriage in DG!), and God used them significantly in her life. Since that time, she’s enjoyed listening to hundreds of Piper’s sermons and many of his interviews and audiobooks that I’ve loaded on her iPod.
I’ve enjoyed interacting with John at various venues, and Jenni and I have regularly prayed for him. But we didn’t envision partnering this closely with him. We thank God for John and for this opportunity to serve at BCS.
Cf. John Piper at Bethlehem College and Seminary (3:19 min.)