As of January 1st, I began my new role as President of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC (originally announced here). It is a humbling experience to be asked to lead a seminary of this caliber, but I am excited about what the Lord is doing, and what he will do, through this institution.
For the last eleven years I have served as a professor of New Testament here at RTS, and seven of those years I was also Academic Dean. When I was first approached with the opportunity to be the new president, I was admittedly hesitant. But, what persuaded me in the end was my sincere conviction that God is doing a special work here at RTS-Charlotte. And I wanted to be a part of it.
At the center of this work is the top-notch faculty that God has called to this place. We are blessed with ten full-time residential faculty (plus many adjuncts) who have demonstrated excellence in their respective fields. I think of Dr. Doug Kelly, one of the finest theologians in the reformed world today, and author of numerous volumes on a variety of theological issues (see vol. 1 of his recent Systematic Theology). I think also of Dr. John Currid, Professor of Old Testament, and author of numerous commentaries (see his latest volume, Against the Gods). And many other faculty members could be mentioned.
The Lord is also at work amongst our students. One of the richest blessings of teaching here over the last decade is getting to know such high quality students, committed to God’s word and to following his call into ministries around the world. As of late, I have been particularly encouraged to see the many students who are coming from Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) and other campus groups to train here at RTS’s Institute for Reformed Campus Ministry. These men and women are preparing to head to the front lines of campus ministry—a strategic battleground in our world today.
But at the heart of RTS-Charlotte, and one that is most exciting to me, is the commitment to a very simple principle, that we can love God with both our hearts and our minds. Many have the belief (even if it is not stated) that when it comes to Christian ministry we have to choose between our hearts and our minds. Either we will go with the heart and commit ourselves to really loving and serving others. Or we will go with our minds and commit to serious academic pursuits. But, this is a false dichotomy. We are called to do both. And RTS-Charlotte is committed to doing both; training not just pastors, and not just scholars, but pastor-scholars who love God with their heart and mind.
It is because of this pastor-scholar model that I plan to still teach a number of New Testament courses here at RTS, and also plan to continue to write and publish. Indeed, I am in the midst of a number of publishing projects right now and planning new ones for the future. I do not view my scholarship as antithetical to my role as president. The two should go hand in hand.
In the months and years to come, we plan to announce a number of new events, initiatives, and partnerships for RTS-Charlotte. But, these will not be so much a change of direction as much as an acceleration in the direction we are already going. In many ways, my goal as president is simply to grow what was planted by those who preceded me. God has been at work at RTS-Charlotte. And I look forward with confidence that His work will continue.