Why I Enjoy Teaching at Taylor
I can still recall the moment in room 212 of Bergwall Hall when it dawned on me that I would vastly prefer studying and teaching theology and philosophy to becoming one of the world’s elite computer scientists. I had, up until that point, been a computer science major, but soon switched to philosophy. I doubt that the world was deprived that day of any great future advances in computer science, but I am quite confident that it was a very good decision—after all, it is a decision that 19 years later would bring me back to Taylor University.
I have a deep sense of gratitude as I reflect on the journey of my life to this point. After graduating from Taylor I enjoyed the luxury of spending time in colleges and universities pursuing the philosophical aspects of the theological questions that have been most significant for me personally. At the first of those destinations—Princeton, NJ—I met and was married to a phenomenal partner in life’s journey, who is of course my wife, Gwen. We went on to study in Grand Rapids, MI; Marburg, Germany; St Andrews, Scotland; and finally, Notre Dame, IN.
Along the way, I always said that I thought I would be best suited to teach in an environment similar to that of my own undergraduate experience. That we would actually come back to Taylor would have been too good to have hoped for. And yet, by God’s grace, here we are.
I find myself deeply appreciating three aspects of the position I hold at TU. The first is the opportunity to work with Taylor students, who—by and large—are hungry to learn, grow and serve. I can get fairly excited about the possibility of serving as a catalyst for propelling that learning and growth in students who really desire it. The second is the opportunity to work in a very supportive yet highly energized collegial environment. The esprit de corps we enjoy at this institution across administration, faculty and staff is a great gift. The third aspect of my position that I deeply value is the opportunity to give and receive in an inclusive, welcoming, tight-knit community. We see here uncommon manifestations of what Jesus called the Kingdom of God, living together with others in grace, forgiveness, celebration and exhortation which presents enormous benefits for the quality of life we and our children can experience.
I’m thrilled to be teaching at Taylor. My prayer is that God, who is made known in Christ, would by His Spirit use my courses in the lives of students to refine their thoughts, hearts and lives for fuller relationship with God and each other.
Major career accomplishments
“Is God Necessarily Who God Is? Alternatives for the Trinity and Election Debate.”Scottish Journal of Theology (forthcoming 2012)
“The Theology of Reconciliation and the Injustice of Forgiveness: Is There a Place for Unilateral Forgiveness in Transitional Justice?” Taylor University ‘Restoration of the Other’ Honors Conference: Upland, IN. (March 31, 2012)
“Punishment or Forgiveness? Are There Conflicts in a Christian Approach to Justice and International Peacemaking?” Taylor University MLK Day, Upland, IN. (January 16, 2012)
“Can Arguments Boost Warrant for Christian Belief? Warrant Boosting and the Primacy of Divine Revelation.” Religious Studies, 47, no. 2 (2011): 185-200.
“Vision for the Liberal Arts.” Taylor University Colleague’s College, Lake Placid, IN. (August 10, 2011)
“Barth Vader and the Evil Galactic Philosophical Empire.” Philosophy Colloquium, Taylor University. (April 29, 2011)
“Karl Barth and the Relationship Between Philosophy and Theology.” Heythrop Journal 51, no. 6 (2010), 1035-1052.
“Trinity, Election, and Divine Self-Determination: Modal Considerations and the Bounds of Orthodoxy.” Philosophy Colloquium, Taylor University. (October 9, 2009).
“Non-Evidentialist Positive Apologetics.” EPS Conference, Providence, Rhode Island. (November 21, 2008).
“Are Sin and Evil Necessary for a Really Good World? Questions for Alvin Plantinga’s Felix Culpa Theodicy.”Faith and Philosophy 25, no. 1 (2008): 87-101.
“Does Contemporary Theology Require a Postfoundationalist Way of Knowing?”Scottish Journal of Theology60, no. 3 (2007): 271-293.
“The Theology of Revelation and the Epistemology of Christian Belief: The Compatibility and Complementarity of the Theological Epistemologies of Karl Barth and Alvin Plantinga.” Ph.D. Thesis.
“Timelessness, Relationality and the Incarnation: Relational Ontology and Temporal Omnipresence.” Th.M.