Thank you for coming by my homepage. Below you will find my extended biography.
I am a father, husband, and professor of theology, but ultimately, I am an adopted child of God. I came to know Jesus through the ministry of Willow Creek, where I grew up in the first generation of the seeker experiement. I ended up going to Judson University where I enrolled as a “Biblical Studies” major, because I didn’t know what else to do and because I had no working knowledge of the Bible. These years deepened my understanding of scripture, but did so well beyond my own spiritual development. Like so many young men, I found myself able to argue but not able to be faithful to my call. The Lord was gracious enough to put many great mentors in my life, of whom I am eternally greatful. It was my time at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, that I really began to grow into who the Lord has called me to be. It was there that I deepened my passion for Scripture, spiritual formation, and, ultimately, theology.
Most importantly, it was during my time there that I met Kelli who eventually became my wife. We have one daughter, Brighton, and are continually asking the Lord to open doors of ministry wherever he leads us.
Like everyone else, I have a multi-faceted ministry. I do preach, from time to time, and I do lead things like pastors retreats and retreats through Metamorpha.com. One pastors retreat I led was recorded, and the audio is here on the website. My entire life I have gone back and forth between being a pastor or an academic. Two people I consider mentor-figures have made comments that have pushed me towards the academy. The first told me that he was 51% teacher and 49% preacher, and that spoke to me. I think that is how I’m made up as well. The second told me that when he was contemplating the ministry or academy he came to understand that if he went to the academy the church would always be open to him, but it would not work the other way around. I have a similar sense. The academy is not for everybody, certainly, but I think I am particularly fit for life in that setting. But, as I understand it, it is a foreign setting for me as a theologian. Theology is a churchly science and not an academic one. Therefore, as one in the academy, I am a voice calling out in the wilderness.
I have been blessed with a professor position at Grand Canyon University. Grand Canyon University is a Christian University that is committed to increasing their undergraduate and graduate programs in ministry, Bible and theology. I am a part of that increased emphasis and will help with the formation of new programs.
I also understand my ministry to entail writing. I write on both an academic and lay level (and everywhere in between), and I also edit books I think will be helpful for both the church and the academy. I will list my books for the church here and leave the rest for below. My book, Metamorpha: Jesus as a Way of Life (Baker Books, 2007) attempted to argue for a Christian worldview that always deconstructed who we were and what we believed. Rather than the Christian life as just building up, I focused on the Christian life as tearing down. I have just recently submitted my manuscript for my next book focused on the church, and it is called Formed for the Glory of God: Jonathan Edwards and Spiritual Formation (IVP, forthcoming). This book outlines how Jonathan Edwards understood the Christian life. For the first time, this book details how Edwards understood life under God and walks the reader through the kinds of disciplines Edwards engaged in. My hope is that it will serve as an example of how to think about and live out the spiritual life in a distinctively Protestant, evangelical, and theological manner.
I studied Biblical Studies at Judson University (1996-2000) before moving to Southern California and doing master’s degrees in Philosophy of Religion and Ethics (2000-2002) and New Testament (2003-2005). While undergoing a third masters in Spiritual Formation, I left Talbot to do my PhD at the University of Aberdeen in Systematic Theology (2006-2010). There, I wrote my dissertation on Jonathan Edwards’s Theology, which is being published as: Jonathan Edwards’s Theology: A Reinterpretation (T&T Clark, 2012).
Immediately after finishing my dissertation I wrote two chapters on Edwards for edited volumes, the first, titled “Jonathan Edwards’ Reformed Doctrine of the Beatific Vision” was published in the book Jonathan Edwards and Scotland (Dunedin Academic Press, 2011); and the second is “By Word and Spirit: Jonathan Edwards on Redeption, Justification, and Regeneration,” in Jonathan Edwards and Justification (Crossway, 2012). Building on my work in these chapters, I published an article entitled, “Jonathan Edwards and the Polemics of Theosis,” in Harvard Theological Review.
Jonathan Edwards’s theology is my current focal point. For more on this, see “The Jonathan Edwards Project” on my homepage. But my interests are much broader than that. I am interested in Reformed and Patristic theology, Aquinas, and aspects of modern theology. I am focusing currently in doctrines of redemption and the doctrine of God, ethics, aesthetics and, most broadly, the Christian life.