For at least five years I have had an inner yearning to teach in a seminary, to concentrate on leaders, pastors and preparing folks to work in churches and in God’s mission in this world, and in fact almost left North Park some time back to join a seminary faculty. It seems increasingly that my natural audience has become pastors and leaders in churches, though I will continue to write for church folks — including a book on Paul (my next project).
So this winter I have been in conversation with Northern Seminary, in Lombard IL, with President Alistair Brown and Karen Walker Freeburg and my friend David Fitch. They have offered me the post as Professor of New Testament, and I have accepted the offer, Kris and I will not be relocating, and classes will begin — Synoptics and New Testament Theology — this Fall (Paul and the Kingdom of God in the Winter, and then an Ethics of Jesus course next year). I will join Cherith Fee Nordling, who also begins this Fall, and she will join Ricky Freeman, Sam Hamstra, Claude Mariottini, Bob Price, and Michael Quicke. And also Karen and Blake Walter, whose father (Vick) was my advisor when I was in seminary. (I think I’ve met most of the good folks but won’t mention everyone.) Northern is a school that is vibrant and growing and seeking to meet the challenge of seminary education in the 21st Century.
This conversation with Northern was right every step of the way, and it has been the easiest and smoothest move I could have made. I am delighted with the leadership, with the vision, with the Board, with the Faculty, and my whirlwind time on campus — wedged between days at North Park — involved getting to meet with some students, and I’m excited to become one of their teachers (and smaller class sizes will be welcomed).
Northern Seminary’s vision: Our vision is to prepare leaders who will faithfully serve Jesus Christ with evangelical passion and missionary skills in Biblically grounded and culturally relevant ministries.
Count me in. I’ll bring some coffee!
One more for trivia: About 30 years ago, when I was home from my first year of doctoral studies at Nottingham, I heard about a position at Northern, applied, and had an interview — and obviously I didn’t impress my future friend, David Scholer, enough to win the job, but … well maybe there’s a little irony that I plan on finishing my career at the place where I first tried to teach!