Starting Down the Path…

Welcome to my blog! I appreciate the chance to share with you a little bit of what God’s shown me in this crazy journey of life we’re on.

I know theology and ministry blogs are almost a dime a dozen these days, but my prayer is that God will use my humble contribution to bless you in some way. If you find that it encourages you to love Christ more deeply, treasure his Word more fully, and serve his church more passionately, then I’ll be quite content.

This Blog’s Purpose

My conviction is that everyone – whether they realize it or not – is a theologian. That’s because we all, at some point, think about God. The only question is, are you going to think rightly about him? Are you going to love him not just with all your heart and soul and strength, but with all your mind as well? You’re already a theologian, but are you a good one?[1]

That’s why my main objectives with this blog are:

  1. To encourage my fellow Christ-followers to grow deeper in their walk with God.
  2. To promote learning in the life of the church.
  3. To equip believers with resources for going deeper in their study of God’s word.

With these goals in mind, I’ll be posting a mix of personal insights, resource recommendations, book reviews, helpful quotes, and meditations on Scripture.

Why “Theology Pathfinder?”

Oxford’s online dictionary defines a “pathfinder” as “a person who goes ahead and discovers or shows others a path or way.”[2] In a significant sense, that’s what I seek to do with this blog. I’ve been blessed enough to have had a lot of exposure to the academic study of God’s word, and it’s my passion to share what I’ve learned with others.

Now, I am by no means the world’s greatest Bible expert – if anything, my education has taught me how much I still don’t know!

But part of the beauty of Christianity is that no one has all the answers this side of heaven, and thankfully we aren’t called to have everything figured out. Instead, we are called to follow Jesus, to obey his teachings, to trust him for the things we don’t know, and to encourage and disciple one another along the way.

That’s why my purpose here is simply to point out the ways forward that I’m discovering, so that others around me can take their next steps.

A Glimpse Into My Journey

I’ve often felt like a bit of an “odd man out” in the circles God has placed me in. I grew up in an Assemblies of God church where more emphasis was placed on experience and activity than on education. Yet, as an inquisitive person, I always hungered for more teaching. I craved discipleship. I wanted to see our church equipping people with knowledge of God’s Word. And I figured if teaching was my home church’s biggest need, why not help be the solution? All of these factors and more led me to pursue a degree in theology.

My undergraduate studies were at John Brown University, where many of my fellow Bible students were from a Reformed/Calvinist background. In contrast, my own theological leanings at the time were closer to a Wesleyan Arminian perspective. This led to some healthy tension and debate here and there, but for me this dialogue became an enriching experience. Not only did my love for God’s Word grow, but I came to appreciate different expressions of the Christian faith throughout the Body of Christ. I saw the importance of majoring on the majors and focusing on what unites us as believers, even while disagreeing on doctrines that aren’t as clear.

“As believers, we should seek truth while always treating one another with love, even (or rather especially) when we disagree.”

In my studies I made it a point to try and understand views different than my own (I spent a semester doing an independent study on John Calvin’s works, for example). This continued in my graduate studies at Dallas Theological Seminary, where my perspective was once again distinct from most of my peers. On the several occasions where it came up in conversation that I attended an Assemblies of God church, my DTS classmates always responded as if I were something out of a legend. “A charismatic? Here!?”

Keep in mind, one of the doctrinal positions all faculty at DTS must adhere to is the belief that some of the gifts of the Spirit (typically miracles, tongues, & healing) are no longer expected to be present in the church. (This view is called “cessationism.” Students were not required to agree to this doctrine in order to attend, so I didn’t mind too much.) I remember one acquaintance who would frequently interview me after class about what being an AOG member was like, as if he were learning about a distant country. Not that I minded – he was an Anglican, so the curiosity was mutual!

I finished my Master’s of Theology (ThM) at DTS with many of my original convictions intact, but stretched and tested and held with an open hand more than a closed fist. As believers, we should seek truth while always treating one another with love, even (or rather especially) when we disagree. The more I’ve studied, the more I’ve realized how much I have yet to learn. My journey continues. But my passion continues to be to bring the best insights from the academic world into my own denomination. To that end, my wife, Ainslee, and I currently serve the college students and young adults at Lakeshore Church in Rockwall, Texas.

So that’s a little bit of my story. I’ll have some more posts up here very soon, and I look forward to getting to know you all in the comments! Consider these posts an invitation to a conversation as we walk the way of Jesus together.

Comment below and let me know what you’d most like to see from this blog!

 


[1] From Stanley J. Grenz & Roger E. Olson, Who Needs Theology? An Invitation to the Study of God (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 13, 51.

[2] https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/pathfinder



Categories: General, Personal

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3 replies

  1. Excited to read your stuff bro! Keep grindin.

    Like

  2. Thank you for sharing your education and experiences. As a student in his first year of seminary school, this will be a great source of knowledge and theological discovery.

    Like

  3. Great overview, Derek. May your “tribe” increase!

    Like

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