On Thursday, November 30, the Calvin Seminary community, along with family, friends, and colleagues gathered to celebrate the career of Professor John Bolt. As is tradition at the seminary, Bolt was offered a “Last Lecture” to reflect on his teaching career and to offer wisdom for the future.
During the lecture, Bolt used the history of the seminary as a foundation to speak about his work and career. Reflecting on noted former faculty at Calvin Seminary –Vos, Berkhof, and others– Professor Bolt expressed how he approached his work with a sense of the role’s great responsibility those before him brought to the role. In fact, it is this reflection on the important work of the past that shaped much of Bolt’s scholarship. From his teaching career to his work translating Bavink’s writings, Bolt’s efforts have helped bring past Reformed theological thought to today’s classroom and church.
Bolt also spoke on the important influence of his peer group while teaching at the seminary. During his tenure at Calvin Seminary, Professor Bolt taught alongside three class mates from Calvin Seminary’s class of 1973: Ron Nydam, Carl Bosma, and Arie Leder. These fellow professors, along with other colleagues, created a strong group of faculty that shaped the teaching and furthered the mission of Calvin Seminary into the new millennium. These working relationships turned into strong friendships, which was not lost on Bolt who pointed to the importance of these peers. Their friendship inspired and encouraged him. It was touching to hear Bolt’s reflection on these important relationships with many of his former colleagues in attendance. At the conclusion of the talk, Calvin Seminary’s President, Jul Medenblik, invited the class mates of 1973 forward for a photo opportunity and a visual reminder of God’s faithfulness.
Medenblik offered words of appreciation as well, thanking Professor Bolt for his important work at Calvin Seminary. “A Last Lecture is an opportunity for a retiring faculty member to look back by bringing reflections, but also help us look ahead as we gain wisdom and insights at this defining moment,” Medenblik said. “We are grateful for 28 ½ years of teaching ministry by Professor John Bolt at Calvin Seminary that took place inside and outside the classroom.”
On a day to honor the work and career of Professor Bolt, he spoke often of the work of others and discussed the important relationships that inspired him. Bolt began his talk comparing himself to a retiring athlete hanging up the uniform one last time. He ended his talk by addressing his grandchildren; he encouraged them by reminding them of the goodness of God and then showed them the type of uniform professors get to wear. He quickly put on his academic regalia, which he noted was always the brightest at Calvin Seminary ceremonies. He then ended with a “That’s all Folks!”
Thank you, Professor John Bolt, for your decades of service and teaching at Calvin Seminary.
You can watch Professor John Bolt’s Last Lecture Below: