Why I Chose Asbury – Part 2: Faculty
Asbury Theological Seminary has been my home for the last six months, and will be for the next 3 1/2 years. As a candidate for ordination in the United Methodist Church, there are a number of seminaries that I could have gone to. Many of them would have offered full tuition scholarships, and some would even pay for my living expenses, if I had chosen to study with them. Some are quite well known for their academic scholasticism and offer quite a reputation to add to the resume: Candler School of Theology at Emory, Drew University, Duke Divinity School, Boston University, Perkins School of Theology… so why then would I choose the tiny little evangelical inter-denominational Wesleyan seminary in the middle-of-nowhere Kentucky?
Second, the professors at Asbury are phenomenal! They are intelligent, challenging, pastoral, and genuinely care about students as much as their research and academia. Asbury’s Biblical Studies faculty include some the most well-respected biblical scholars in the nation, several of whom are award-winning authors, such as Dr. Craig Keener and Dr. Ben Witherington III.
What’s even more important to me is that every member of the Asbury Theological Seminary faculty has an authentic faith in Jesus Christ. They all believe in the living God, the bodily resurrection of Christ, and the continuous movement of the Holy Spirit in the church today. To be a professor at Asbury, they must affirm the seminary’s statement of faith. In other words, they don’t let atheist and agnostic scholars teach seminarians like other seminaries do – all of our professors actually believe what they teach!
The professors are pastoral. They genuinely care about their students, challenging us intellectually, guiding us spiritually, and leading us in both our spiritual and academic development. Several professors include devotions at the beginning of class, ranging from a quick hymn to a 15 minute devotional. Every professor I’ve had so far but one consistently prays, or invites a student to pray, to begin class. They truly understand their faith and desire to share their faith and understanding with students.
Most professors encourage students to meet outside of class, whether they need help with class or just to fellowship. I’ve been invited to several of my professors’ homes for food and fellowship. Many professors genuinely desire to build relationships with their students; some even offer mentoring and personal discipleship with students.
While not every single professor is an amazing life-changing influence, all of the faculty at Asbury are intelligent experts in their field, genuine affirming believers, and caring pastoral leaders. I have an overwhelming appreciation for these professors who are not only academically brilliant, but who wholeheartedly love Jesus and truly believe in the scriptural, theological, historical, and philosophical material that they teach.
About the Author
Kevin Cook is a 4th year student at Asbury Theological Seminary and an Aspirant for Ordination in the Anglican Church of North America (ACNA). After graduating, Kevin hopes to plant a contemporary three-streams Anglican Church. He and his wife Nicole attend Wilmore Anglican Church in Kentucky.
Kevin holds a Bachelor of Arts in Music and a Master of Business Administration from Florida State University. Kevin enjoys playing music and leading worship, reading fiction and spiritual classics, drinking coffee, and spending time with family and friends.
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