“When you come, bring the books, especially the parchments.” 2 Timothy 4:13
I am what most scholars and theologians like to call a wannabe. I did earn two undergraduate degrees in Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (though I am not a Baptist, per se). I also earned a master’s degree in Christian Apologetics from Biola University. My Biola professors included: J. P. Moreland, Greg Koukl, Gary Habermas, William Lane Craig, Scott Rae, and Lee Strobel, to name a few. I am currently pursuing a PhD Divinity in Systematic Theology at the University of Aberdeen (Scotland).
I attended a summer semester at Oxford in 2003 through my seminary, taking courses in Theology, Old Testament, and Church History, but that doesn’t count. I also lost a bid for acceptance into a master’s program at Oxford’s Wycliffe Hall in 2011. I will be applying again after completion of the PhD at Aberdeen. And, I have never written a book, so technically, I’m wannabe status. I have two or three books in my bones (one on business almost finished). Perhaps some sleepy, hapless publishing company will pick up my doctoral dissertation some day.
I spent a summer in 2008 working on an archaeological dig in the Negev at Tel-Gezer, Israel with my seminary and the Israel Antiquities Authority. Earned credit in archaeological field techniques toward my degree. My then 14-year old daughter Chelsea joined me for the experience. Below is a shot of the 2008 season team, 70 in all. Slave labor, I tell you!
(I am in the white hat on the back row in front of the guy standing. Chelsea is in the white tee shirt on the second row, second from right.)
As the saying goes, them that can, do, them that can’t, teach. After pastoring and preaching for 12 years at Compass Community Church (www.compasscommunitychurch.org), teaching for the Bible Institute is now my scholarly outlet, and what a heady environment it is. Training pastors in Systematic Theology, the Old and New Testaments, and Hermeneutics in the bush and jungles of Africa, Asia, and South America is like pouring ice water on the parched desert floor. The students soak up every ounce of training and beg for more. They hang on every word. You are honored and revered. The biggest struggle, of course, is humility. But, I am proud to say, I am very humble.