Assistant Professor of New Testament
I consider myself a kind of “jack of many trades” (but hopefully not “master of none!”). I enjoy studying most topics related to the interpretation of the New Testament, but I especially get excited about the four “E”s: Exegesis, Egalitarianism, Ecumenism, and Ethics.
As for the first “E” (Exegesis), my areas of specialty are socio-historical, rhetorical, and intertextual interpretation. I am fascinated by the Jewish and Greco-Roman worlds of the New Testament and how the earliest Christians navigated the challenges of survival, fellowship, evangelism, discipleship & holiness, and justice in their environments. Also, I believe paying attention to how the New Testament writers quote, allude to, and interact with the Old Testament is essential for making good sense of their theological reasoning.
The second “E,” Egalitarianism, is all about properly understanding the equal status of men and women in Christian community. There are many misunderstandings in popular Christian culture regarding what Scripture does and does not say about women, and I enjoy helping students see the complexities of the subject, its history of study, and the amazing roles that women played in both the Old and New Testaments.
The third “E” is “Ecumenism.” I love learning from different viewpoints and social, geographic, ethnic, gendered, ideological and ecclesial locations. While I feel “at home” in Wesleyanism, students easily notice my appreciation for theological distinctives of Lutherans, Anglicans, Presbyterians, Catholics, Pentecostals, and Anabaptists! Unfortunately, Christians sometimes spend too much time arguing over who is right and miss out on the beauty of the best contributions of each perspective. (You might find it interesting that the word “ecumenism” comes from the Greek work oikoumenos which means “inhabited world.” An “ecumenical” perspective is a global perspective!)
The final “E,” Ethics, is a more academic way of saying that my vocation is driven by calling believers to a life of cruciform discipleship. The name of my blog is “Crux Sola” which is short hand for a Latin phrase from Martin Luther – “Crux sola est nostra theologia.” The cross alone is our theology. Part of what Luther meant by this is that the Christian life ought to be determined by the transformative vision of the self-denying, self-giving, shame-accepting, other-loving work of Jesus. The main reason I love to teach the New Testament is because my passion is to call men and women to follow the way of the cross, the way of Jesus Christ.
Currently, I am writing two books on 1-2 Thessalonians, the first focused on how these texts shape the new covenant community today, the global church that is called to be the body of Christ in the world. The second work will be a reference volume on scholarship on 1-2 Thessalonians in the last thirty years.
Expertise and Research Interests
Primary Teaching Areas: New Testament, Greek and English translation exegesis, biblical theology
Research Interests: biblical theology, biblical hermeneutics and exegesis, Pauline literature, the Gospel of John, New Testament ethics