Mariano Avila was born in México City, where he served as pastor of six Presbyterian churches. He has also served in the Seminary of the National Presbyterian Church as professor, academic dean, and president, and was professor of Biblical Studies at the Comunidad Teológica de México. He was Academic Dean of the Facultad Latinoamericana de Estudios Teológicos (Miami, Florida), and is a member of the Academic Council of PRODOLA, the doctoral program (Ph.D.) for professors, leaders, and pastors in Latin America. For several years he was coordinator of urban ministries for community transformation and theological adviser for World Vision México, and was also advisor for the Spanish ministry of CRC Publications.
Mariano was a member of the Biblical Translation Committee (International Bible Society) that produced the Nueva Versión Internacional and also he is one of the translators of the Traducción en Lenguaje Actual (United Bible Societies), a translation in contemporary Spanish from the original languages. He has translated books from English and Portuguese into Spanish, and has published a good number of articles and books. His most recent publications in Spanish are Entre Dios y el Cesar: Líderes evangélicos y política en México (Between God and Cesar: Evangelical leaders and politics in Mexico), and Carta a los Efesios. Comentario para exégesis y traducción(Letter to the Ephesians. A Commentary for exegesis and translation). Prof. Avila teaches, lectures and preaches in different seminaries and churches in the Americas and other parts of the world. Mariano’s rich experience in pastoral and teaching ministries, Bible translation, community transformation, and the academic world has equipped him to effectively train students for ministry:
“In my own experience as a pastor, educator and also in training others for diverse ministries, I found that there are three sine qua non tools for a significant ministry in our complex world: a solid knowledge and love for Scriptures, a well articulated Reformed world and life view, and a good understanding of the cultural, social, and political realities we want to transform so that they may express Jesus’ Lordship over all of creation. I am convinced that God’s gifts to his Church are well equipped servant leaders who will lead and train God’s people for service in a world that urgently needs salvation, justice, reconciliation, and shalom.”
Mariano Avila is married to Rosa María and has two married adult sons, Mariano III to Kate and Luis to Amanda, and one grandson, Luis Jr.
John Bolt has served as pastor of Christian Reformed churches in Pencticton and Kelowna, B.C. He began his teaching career at Calvin College in the Department of Religion and Theology. John moved from there to teach at Redeemer College, Ancaster, Ontario. After seven years in Ontario, John came to Calvin Theological Seminary where he now teaches systematic theology. For John, the task of the systematic theologian is to pay attention to the big picture of the Christian faith, to summarize the grand truths of scripture in a coherent way, and listen closely to the voices of important theologians throughout church history. John’s goal is to communicate to students the vision of the Christian faith from a Reformed perspective.
“By background, training, and conviction I am a Reformed theologian. What especially excites me about the Reformed tradition is its bigness, its grand kingdom vision of Christ’s universal lordship. This vision, which gives dignity and worth to human vocation and hope in the midst of an uncertain age, is what I want above all to communicate to my students. My vision for Calvin Theological Seminary is that it will increasingly become a center for training students from all over the world in the Reformed Christian faith. I believe this faith is the hope of the world.”
John is married to Ruth, and has three children and nine grandchildren.
John Bolt is author of The Christian Story and the Christian School, Stewards of the Word, and A Free Church, A Holy Nation: Abraham Kuyper’s American Public Theology. He is also the editor of the four volume English edition of Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics.
Sarah Chun joined Calvin Theological Seminary in 2012 as the Associate Dean of Students and International Student Advisor. She was born in South Korea, and at the age of six immigrated to Grand Rapids with her family. Sarah graduated from Calvin College with a major in Psychology and received her MSW from Michigan State University. Prior to joining Calvin Seminary, Sarah worked at Bethany Christian Services as an adoption counselor. She and her late husband, an ordained CRC pastor, served at Han-Bit CRC in Rochester, MI; Anaheim CRC, Anaheim, CA; and Covenant CRC in North Haledon, NJ.
“Calvin Seminary seeks to invest in the lives of the students not only in terms of academic learning, but also in their spiritual growth and emotional well-being. As a community of people who come from all around the world, we strive to be Jesus’ hands and feet as we do life together and build relationships with one another and with God. I am grateful for the opportunity to shepherd students in their calling of service to God and others.”
Outside of work, Sarah stays busy being a mom to her three children—Hope, Noah and Hannah.
John Cooper’s career began in the United States Army as a Chaplain’s Assistant. From there he continued his studies at the University of Toronto and then at Calvin Theological Seminary. He taught Philosophy at Calvin College from 1978 to 1985, when he joined the seminary faculty. As an ordained Christian Reformed Minister John appreciates the need for Calvin Theological Seminary to train students in traditional Scripturally-based theology, practical application and hands-on training. His goal is for students to be academically and Scripturally prepared to meet the challenges of Christianity through his teaching of philosophical theology and apologetics.
“I appreciate our tradition’s combination of academic excellence with faithfulness to Scripture. My job is to help students understand the most important theologies, religions, philosophies, and worldviews that challenge biblical Christianity. This enables students to defend the faith and press the claims of the gospel more effectively.”
John and his wife, Sylvia, have two grown children, John and Catherine. He enjoys current events, church activities, classical music, choral singing, sports and gardening.
John Cooper has written Body, Soul, and Life Everlasting: Biblical Anthropology and the Monism -Dualism Debate; A Cause for Division?: Women in Office and the Unity of the Church (pdf); Our Father in Heaven: Christian Faith and Inclusive Language for God; Panentheism–The Other God of the Philosophers: From Plato to the Present;, and dozens of articles, including “Affirm the Belhar? Yes, But Not As a Doctrinal Standard.” (pdf)
Dean Deppe’s life is marked by service in a variety of Christian Reformed churches – inner city, suburban and rural charges. Not only that, but Dean has taught in a variety of settings, including Asian Theological Seminary in the Philippines, Classis Red Mesa, in New Mexico, and now Calvin Theological Seminary. His aim in the classroom is to equip students for a full life of teaching and preaching through his classes on the New Testament. He values conversations with students about goals in ministry and detailed discussions about Jesus’ sayings and teachings.
“In the increasing search for meaning in the twenty-first century, we have to open anew a window to the life, ministry, and death of Jesus. This captivating person of the first century who now rules over every inch of his creation is both the target of our study and the Lord who by his Spirit enables us to understand His life and work. I rise up every morning with the excitement of discovering more of the significance of this pivotal figure in earth’s history. I hope that my students will be stimulated to deepen their understanding of this person about whom ‘even the whole world would not have room for the books that could be written’ (John 21:25).”
Dean wrote his master’s thesis on ”The Salt Sayings of Jesus” and his doctoral dissertation on “The Sayings of Jesus in the Epistle of James.”
Dean Deppe, native of Grand Rapids, MI is married to Julie Hollemans and has four children.
Ronald Feenstra’s area of professional training and teaching is systematic and philosophical theology. He earned his Ph.D. at Yale; his dissertation topic was Pre-existence, Kenosis, and the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. He taught theology at Marquette University for eight years before coming to Calvin Theological Seminary. In addition to teaching, he oversees the Ph.D. program, which is designed to attract students from diverse backgrounds and to encourage students to pursue a scholarship that wrestles with the theological issues of the day.
“Theological education in the Reformed tradition draws upon a rich biblical, confessional, and theological heritage. My goal in teaching is to illuminate that heritage in such a way that people will be drawn into it and understand it more fully, thereby coming to a renewed sense of the mystery and power of the gospel. I also try to set Reformed theology in the context of the broader Christian tradition. I thoroughly enjoy studying and learning theology alongside my students and I hope that their study at Calvin Theological Seminary both equips and encourages them to engage in vigorous, faithful Christian ministry.”
Ronald is married to Barbara and they have three daughters. His interests include child rearing, current events, reading, jogging, and bicycling.
Ronald Feenstra is co-editor with Cornelius Plantinga, Jr., of Trinity, Incarnation, and Atonement: Philosophical and Theological Essays.
Paul Fields is a theologian with an emphasis on service. Paul has degrees in history, systematic theology and library science. His responsibility as a theological librarian at Calvin Theological Seminary is to provide access to theological materials in a timely, efficient and up to date way. Paul is also the curator of the H. Henry Meeter Center for Calvin Studies and specializes in the collecting, care, and preservation of rare collections from the sixteenth century.
“Reformed education recognizes that work done in the study is a matter of thinking God’s thoughts after him as his revelation in Scripture and nature is studied. Such ongoing education can only call for humble, worshipful scholarship. When students work and live in the context of such scholarly service to God, they minister with integrity and speak the truth with conviction -truth based upon God’s revelation in Scripture. My hope is that both students and faculty will also live in such a way that appreciation for God’s grace and his primacy in all things is evident.”
Al sees God’s hand at work in his new position as Director of Mentored Ministries. Having served five churches (in New Mexico, South Dakota, Missouri, Michigan and, for the past 17 years, in New York), being a mentor and resource to pastors, a regional pastor and leader of the Northeast Regional Ministry Leadership Team, the work of Mentored Ministries seems a natural fit and a way to “keep stretching”. Al is excited to get to know students in the M.A. and M.Div. programs, helping them develop relationships and ministry skills which will prepare them for serving Christ and Christ’s church most effectively.
Al is married to Jan and they have three children and eight grandchildren. Being parents of an adult child with cerebral palsy, Al and Jan have a special interest in services for persons with disabilities.
Darwin K. Glassford came to Calvin Theological Seminary following sixteen years at Montreat College. There, he served as Assistant Academic Dean, Professor of Bible and Christian Education, and Chair of the Department of Biblical, Religious and Interdisciplinary Studies. He has also held various adjunct professorships in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Utah and Kenya. Ordained a Teaching Elder in the Presbyterian Church in America, Darwin has served in various youth ministry settings and as a consultant to the Presbyterian Church in America of Milwaukee. At Calvin Theological Seminary, Darwin Glassford continues in his passion for church education, and training students for effective ministry, as he explains:
“The challenges of equipping students for the specialized area of educational ministry are exciting. This arena of ministry involves challenging students academically, wrestling with significant questions about the teaching-learning process and applying answers within specific ministry contexts. My interest and approach to this area of ministry is informed by experience as a church educator and youth worker along with specialized interest in the equipping process, youth and family ministry, and contemporary youth culture. Calvin Theological Seminary’s commitment to its Reformed heritage, I believe, provides a solid environment for equipping men and women to serve the educational ministry of Christ’s Church.”
Darwin has contributed to several publications and is the Book Review Editor for the Journal of Youth Ministry.
Darwin is married to Janet. They have two daughters, Rachael and Kristin. As a family they enjoy camping, hiking and biking. Darwin is currently attempting to climb all the 14,000 ft peaks in Colorado with his daughter Rachael and spends time each summer hiking the Appalachian Trail with Kristin.
Lee Hardy has taught in the Calvin College philosophy department since 1981, and at Calvin Theological Seminary since 2002. Lee has lectured across North America, Canada, Europe, and more recently in Asia including Korea and mainland China. He is the author of The Fabric of this World, a book on the philosophy of human labor and the theology of vocation, which was translated into French, Spanish and Chinese.
“Teaching in the PhD program at the seminary has been both a challenge and a joy for me. I enjoy the diversity of students, their camaraderie, and the uniformly high level of motivation. I learn a good deal from them, as I hope they do from me. I sense that my background in post-Kantian European philosophy complements my colleagues’ work in historical and systematic theology quite well.”
Lee Hardy is married to Judy and they have four children. Lee and his family are long time members of Eastern Avenue Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, MI.
Rev. Scott E. Hoezee is an ordained pastor in the Christian Reformed Church in North America and has served two congregations. He was the pastor of Second Christian Reformed Church in Fremont, Michigan, from 1990-1993. Then from 1993-2005 he was the Minister of Preaching and Administration at Calvin CRC in Grand Rapids, Michigan. In the spring of 2005 Scott accepted the Seminary’s offer to become the first Director of the Center for Excellence in Preaching. He has also been a member of the Pastor-Theologian Program sponsored by the Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, New Jersey, where he was pastor-in-residence in the fall of 2000. From 2001-2011 Scott served on the editoral board of Perspectives: A Journal of Reformed Thought and was co-editor of that journal from 2005-2011. Scott says this about his work:
“If you talk to just about anyone in any part of the church world, one thing you will hear over and again is a desire to hear fine preaching in our congregations. At the Center for Excellence in Preaching we hope to do anything and everything we can to provide pastors with all the ideas, resources, and direction we can think of in order to help them in the always-difficult, yet utterly vital, task of proclaiming the Word of God to a world starving for the gospel’s good news.”
Rev. Hoezee is married to Rosemary Apol and they have two children, Julianna and Graham. He enjoys birdwatching, snorkeling, and exploring the beauties and wonders of God’s great creation.
Rev. Hoezee is the author of several books including The Riddle of Grace (1996), Flourishing in the Land (1996),Remember Creation (1998), Speaking as One: A Look at the Ecumenical Creeds (1997), Speaking of Comfort: A Look at the Heidelberg Catechism (1998), and Proclaim the Wonder: Preaching Science on Sunday (2003).
Professor Leder’s career began with a position as a pastor in Ontario, Canada. From there he spent eight years as a missionary with Christian Reformed World Missions. He served in Puerto Rico and Costa Rica in varying positions including pastor and teacher. From there, he moved back to Canada as interim pastor, and pursued graduate studies in Toronto. Professor Leder has been at Calvin Theological Seminary since 1987 and teaches Old Testament Studies. His goal is to take the teachings of the Old Testament and help students to see how these teachings inform Reformed theology. Professor Leder’s areas of special interest are the Pentateuch and church architecture.
“My research interests focus on the Pentateuch, specifically Exodus and Leviticus, and church architecture as it relates to the function of the space dedicated to worship. My interests also extend to an examination of the Bible-and specifically the Old Testament-in a variety of mission contexts. These converge with the pedagogical goal of emphasizing the crucial role of the Bible in the ministry of the church and its critical function in the church’s missionary struggle with its detractors and opponents at home and abroad.”
Professor Leder is married with four children. He continues to be active in mission, outreach and Bible study among Hispanics, and travels to Spain and Latin America as a lecturer in Old Testament.
Julius Ted Medenblik, the eldest son of Lambert and Martha Medenblik (nee Vander Ploeg) was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan, in 1960. His family became charter members of Faith Christian Reformed Church and for a short time he attended Kalamazoo North Christian School. In 1966 the family returned to the Fulton, Illinois, area when his father purchased the family farm that had been previously rented by Jul’s grandfather. There Jul attended Fulton Christian Grade School and Fulton Community High School, and the family joined Bethel Christian Reformed Church, also in Fulton.
After high school, Jul attended Trinity Christian College in Palos Heights, Illinois. He graduated with a major in Philosophy and double minors in English and History while on a pre-law track that included a semester internship at a legal aid clinic in Harvey, Illinois. While at Trinity, he met Jackie Klain from Lansing, Illinois. Three weeks after graduation, Jul and Jackie were married, and three days after that they moved to Gainesville, Florida, where Jul entered the University of Florida Law School. During his law school days, Jul served as research assistant for Professor Joseph W. Little.
After graduating with a Juris Doctor degree cum laude, Jul obtained a position as an associate in the law firm of Stewart, Call, Byrd & Rozelle in Palm Beach, Florida. The Medenbliks joined Lake Worth Christian Reformed Church in Lake Worth, Florida, where Jul served as a Sunday School teacher and superintendent, catechism teacher, elder, and eventually chair of a Pastoral Search Committee. It is during those years that he felt called by God to ordained ministry, and in 1991 Jul, Jackie, and their four-year-old son, Joshua, left Florida and entered a Master of Divinity program at Calvin Theological Seminary. While at CTS, Jul did a summer assignment at Providence Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Michigan, and a full-year internship at First Calgary Christian Reformed Church in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. It was during the internship year that their daughter Julianne was born.
Following graduation in 1995, Jul accepted a call to Orland Park CRC in Orland Park, Illinois, to be the founding pastor of a church plant in New Lenox, Illinois. New Life Christian Reformed Church began worship services in a public high school auditorium in 1996, was organized as a congregation in 2002, and moved into its own building in 2003. During this time the church expanded from one to three worship services with over 700 people in total attendance.
Jul has served as a former board member and president of the CRC Loan Fund; former board member and president of the Chicago Christian Counseling Center; former board member and chair of the Classis Chicago South Home Missions Committee; Synodical Deputy from Classis Chicago South; board member and president of the Calvin Seminary Board of Trustees; synodical delegate to the synods of 1990, 2002, and 2006; and Church Planting and Development Point Team Leader for Christian Reformed Home Missions.
Upon receiving this latest appointment, Rev. Medenblik stated, “I am humbled by the opportunity to move from serving the church as a local pastor and in various denominational settings to the presidency of Calvin Theological Seminary. One picture that we have in church planting in the Christian Reformed Church is embodied in the phrase, ‘Deep Roots, New Branches.’ Calvin Theological Seminary is deeply rooted in and nurtured by the church. We have a great opportunity to use those roots to nourish preachers and church leaders for the ministries and new opportunities that await us in the mission field around each and every one of us.”
Professor of Preaching B.A. (Calvin College, 1977) M.A. (University of St. Michaels College, 1987) M.Div. (Calvin Theological Seminary, 1987) Th.D. (Emmanuel College of Victoria University in the University of Toronto and The Toronto School of Theology), 1996
“My excitement for preaching has everything to do with Jesus.” John Rottman’s love for Jesus has been there as long as he can remember, and his love for theology, at least as far back as grade 3! John pursued this passion with an undergraduate degree in philosophy and Greek, and continued in Toronto with graduate studies in theology. John spent five years working in a psychiatric hospital and it was during that time that John felt a call to the pastorate – but wasn’t so sure about preaching. This changed during his time in seminary. While writing his first sermon at Calvin Theological Seminary, he felt strongly that this was another piece of his calling. It is with a strong theological training, and understanding of the role of the Holy Spirit in preaching, that John now equips students to bring proclaim the gospel through the medium of preaching. Recently, John has become involved with seminary education in prisons.
“Now after preaching for nearly twenty years and teaching it now for twenty, I have learned some things about preaching, even as I continue to struggle. As preachers we are vulnerable in the pulpit and perhaps never more so than as students. I am reminded of this every time I preach and especially when I preach one of my own sermons to a preaching class.As a teacher of preaching I welcome the challenge of learning with my students as we together invite God to shape us as preachers and disciples of Jesus.”
John is married to Marilyn and they have three adult children.
- Four Pages of a Sermon
David Rylaarsdam began his teaching career at Smith Memorial Bible College in Nigeria, and since has taught at the University of Notre Dame, Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and now, Calvin Theological Seminary. He has also served a variety of churches as interim pastor and received missionary training in Mexico City. David sees church history as an opportunity to listen to testimonies of older brothers and sisters in the faith.
“As my students and I listen, we respond to these testimonies in our writing and reflection, in our discussions, in what we believe and in how we live. In other words, we are drawn into conversation with these believers spread through all time. We become part of their community. I relish being a leader and participant in this community discussion, a guide and fellow inquirer with my students as our faith seeks understanding, as we seek guidance from our sisters and brothers of all ages in how to read Scripture, how to make disciples, how to discern wisely the spirits of our age, how to avoid the mistakes of the past. I pray that my students will be persuaded to perceive the story of God’s people as their story so that they may grow wiser and be drawn into a richer, more intimate union with God, the main actor in their stories.”
David is married with three children.
David has contributed to numerous publications and presentations. His dissertation topic was “The Adaptability of Divine Pedagogy: Sugkatabasis in the Theology and Rhetoric of John Chrysostom.”
Prior to coming to Calvin Seminary, Jeff Sajdak served as a pastor for 20 years in 3 congregations: Fairway CRC in Jenison, MI; Immanuel CRC in Orange City, IA; and First CRC in Pella, IA. He earned his M.Div. (1990) and his D.Min. in Spiritual Formation (2005) from Bethel University in St. Paul, MN.
Jeff has an interest in spiritual formation, particularly for pastors, missionaries, and other church leaders.
“My desire is to assure that Calvin Seminary is a safe and healthy community where leaders, current and future, are formed in Christ for a lifetime of faithful service.”
Jeff has led retreats, small groups, and workshops on topics related to spiritual formation, including soul care for pastors and church leaders and their families, individual and group spiritual discernment, and group spiritual direction. He is also available to preach.
Jeff delights in his family; loves playing tennis, golf, or a rousing board game; and cheers enthusiastically for his beloved Milwaukee Brewers baseball team.
Lugene L. Schemper is an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church. He became a theological librarian after eighteen years of service as a pastor of churches in New York State and Chicago. One of his current areas of interest is the history of the printed Bible and Bible translation.
“The hundreds of thousands of books and articles in the Hekman Library contain a record of the theological wisdom of the past. As librarian, my task is to support what is going on in the classrooms at Calvin Theological Seminary by providing convenient and knowledgeable access to that record. I enjoy helping students, faculty, and our many guest users with their research in the library and pointing them to the important literature in their area of study. The library and research needs of pastors and staff serving congregations are a priority here at Hekman Library.”
Lugene is married to Carla, and they have three adult daughters and one adult son. He enjoys biking, traveling,and reading, and has a love-hate relationship with home improvement projects.
Sarah Schreiber joined the faculty of Calvin Seminary in 2014. Her research interests include Second Temple Judaism and early interpretations of scripture. She also regularly teaches Hebrew and other ancient Near Eastern languages. As the Director of the MTS Program, Sarah advises all MTS students and leads a mentoring group of first-year students.
Sarah earned her B.A. from Calvin College and M.Div. from Calvin Theological Seminary. She is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Notre Dame in Christianity and Judaism in Antiquity.
Sarah is an associate pastor at Grace Christian Reformed Church in Grand Rapids. She and her husband, Ryan, have one son, a busy toddler. Together they enjoy playing in the neighborhood and hosting family and friends.
As Adjunct Professor of Church Polity at Calvin Theological Seminary, Kathy Smith enjoys helping to prepare pastors for leadership roles in the church and assisting them in effective leadership when they are in ministry. Kathy consults with pastors and other leaders in congregations, regional classes and denominational positions regarding the application of church order to specific situations, and serves as a regular adviser to the synod of the Christian Reformed Church in North America (CRCNA). She believes that understanding the history and theology behind church polity helps us to understand how to live and work together well as a denomination.
Kathy also serves as the Associate Director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship, and Program Manager for its Grants Programs (http://worship.calvin.edu/about/staff-directory/kathy-smith). There she oversees an ecumenical grants program that encourages vital worship in a variety of worshiping communities, and is part of the leadership team for the Worship Institute, which promotes the scholarly study of worship and the renewal of worship in congregations across North America.
Kathy is the author of Stilling the Storm: Worship and Congregational Leadership in Difficult Times (Alban Institute, 2006), a book that developed from her interaction with various congregations on behalf of the Worship Institute. She is an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church and served two congregations in that denomination. Kathy and her husband Doug have three married daughters. They enjoy traveling and spending time with family.
Calvin Van Reken is an ordained minister in the Christian Reformed Church. He has served as pastor at two churches, Momence Christian Reformed Church, Momence IL (1982 – 1986) and Peace Christian Reformed Church, South Holland IL (1986 – 1991). Calvin has taught various philosophy and theology courses at Harper College, Calvin College, Trinity Christian College, Calvin Theological Seminary, Western Theological Seminary, and in Limuru, Kenya. He served as member and president of the board of the Back to God Hour and has published articles and devotional materials dealing with moral issues, worship, and the church.
“My own area of special interest is ethics-the study of morality. In teaching about moral matters, I stress that our salvation does not rest on our obedience to moral rules. Rather, our desire to know God’s will and obey it arises as a result of the saving grace that is ours through faith in Jesus Christ. I continually try to understand more completely how we can best live in response to all we are and have in Jesus Christ. God’s people are confronted with many difficult choices and they need guidance in making them. For examples: is in vitro fertilization a morally permitted way to conceive a child? Or, may I work for a corporation when its policies are harming the environment? My prayer is that I will be effectively used by the Lord to equip students in understanding more fully how God wants us to live.”
Calvin is married to Rosella and they have three daughters – Rebecca Rose, Erica Ruth and Marissa Joy.
Mary Vanden Berg joined the faculty of Calvin Theological Seminary on July 1, 2008. She has taught as an adjunct professor at Kuyper College, Western Theological Seminary, and Calvin Theological Seminary. Her graduate work focused on atonement theology. Mary’s goal as a professor is to not only help her students understand the truths of theology, which can often seem abstract and difficult, but also to help them understand that theological understanding and piety are intimately intertwined.
“My students will tell you that I always ask the ‘So what?’ question. When I teach a concept, no matter how abstract it might seem, I try to give my students an idea of why it’s helpful for ministry, for understanding God, and for moving through life…My kids have taught me that if it doesn’t touch them in some way, what good is it?”
Mary lives in Hudsonville, Michigan with her husband, Skip. She has two sons and a daughter. She enjoys hiking, camping and downhill skiing. She also writes on her blog: Life, God, and Other Mysteries.
Howard D. Vanderwell is a recently retired Christian Reformed Church pastor after serving congregations for 40 years in Iowa, Illinois and Michigan. At Calvin Theological Seminary, his responsibilities include teaching courses in the Introduction to Christian Worship, The Doctrine of Christ and Services of the Christian Year, and Planning and Leading Congregational Worship. Howard is able to speak on numerous issues related to worship, and has done so at various retreats and churches. Howard’s interests include planning, leading and evaluating worship, series preaching, and worship renewal throughout the evangelical church.
“My life-long prayer, from my days as a child, was that I might be honored to serve as a Christian Reformed pastor preaching the Word of God to encourage and challenge his people. I consider the forty years of my pastoral ministry to have been the most valuable way in which I could have invested those years! When I consult with pastors, teach and mentor students, hold conferences for worship leaders, or write worship planning materials, my aim is to equip and inspire others to serve their Lord and Savior by making a whole-hearted investment in his church and his people. Such ministry is certainly not without its stresses and discouragements, and those of us who have found such joy in a life-time of ministry are uniquely fitted to encourage them.”
Howard is married to Eleanor, and they have three married sons, and ten grandchildren from ages 5 through 19. His hobbies are yard-gardening, walking, photography and model railroading.
Dr. Jeffrey Weima is Professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary, where he has taught for the past 22 years. He is a sought-after speaker who is able to communicate well the truths of the Bible in an interesting, contemporary and practical manner. Jeff is the author of numerous scholarly articles, academic essays and book reviews. He has published four books (Neglected Endings: The Significance of the Pauline Letter Closings ; An Annotated Bibliography of 1 and 2 Thessalonians ; 1 & 2 Thessalonians ), recently completing a major commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians (Baker Books: 2014). He has taught courses all over the world: Hungary, Greece, South Korea, Kenya, Taiwan, The Philippines, and South Africa. Jeff also is an active member of several academic societies, lectures overseas, leads biblical study tours to Greece, Turkey and Italy, conducts intensive preaching seminars for pastors, and preaches widely in the Christian Reformed Church as well as many other churches in both the USA and Canada.
Jeff and his wife, Bernice, have been married for 31 years. They have four children, two sons-in-law and two very cute grandsons.
Bachelors of Science in Business Administration, California Polytechnic University, 2000 Masters of Business Administration, California Polytechnic University, 2000 Masters of Divinity, Fuller Theological Seminary, 2009 Ph.D. in Theology and Culture, Fuller Theological Seminary, 2015 Ph.D. in Systematic Theology, Vrije Universiteit, 2016
Cory's interests include Missiology, Public Theology, Biblical Theology, Interfaith Engagement, Theology of Work, Ethnography, the Psalms, and Reformed Theology.
Cory enjoys hiking, traveling, and meals with friends and family.
I am passionate about enriching the faith and practice of Christians through a sustained engagement with Scripture, theology and culture. My academic training and pastoral ministry have provided the theological and pedagogical training to help me equip men and women for a missional encounter with the cultural contexts in which they live and work.
John D. Witvliet is director of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship and professor of music and worship at Calvin College and Calvin Theological Seminary, respectively. He also teaches in the religion department at Calvin College. His areas of interest include the history of Christian worship, worship practices in various denominations, biblical and systematic theology of worship, the role of music and the arts in worship, and consulting with churches on worship renewal.
“At its best, Christian worship reflects and conveys the beauty of God, profound gratitude for the gospel of Christ, and eagerness to deepen self-giving service in God’s world. In my teaching, I hope to invite pastors and worship leaders to plan and lead services that reflect this vision, to offer worship that is both profoundly biblical and culturally relevant. An important part of this learning process is encountering the wisdom of Christian communities in cultures and historical periods very different from our own. Such encounters deepen our sense of solidarity with the whole body of Christ, and also sharpen, humble, and enrich our ministry.”
John Witvliet is the author of The Biblical Psalms in Christian Worship: A Brief Introduction and Guide to Resources (Eerdmans, 2007), Worship Seeking Understanding: Windows into Christian Practice (Baker Academic, 2003), co-editor of Worship in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: Change and Continuity in Religious Practice (University of Notre Dame Press, 2004), Proclaiming the Christmas Gospel: Ancient Sermons and Hymns for Contemporary Inspiration (Baker 2004), The Worship Sourcebook (Faith Alive/Baker, 2004), Dwelling with Philippians (Eerdmans, 2007), At Your Baptism (Eerdmans, 2011), Psalms for All Seasons (Faith Alive/Baker, 2012), co-author of Walking Where Jesus Walked: Worship in Fourth-Century Jerusalem (Eerdmans, 2010), and editor of A Child Shall Lead: Children in Worship (Choristers Guild, 1999). He serves as editor for three books series: the “Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Liturgical Studies Series” (Eerdmans); “Church at Worship Series” (Eerdmans); and “Vital Worship, Healthy Congregations” (Alban Institute); as well as co-editor, with Pearl Shangkuan, of the Calvin Institute of Christian Worship Choral Music Series (GIA).
He is married to Charlotte van Oyen Witvliet, a professor of psychology at Hope College. They are parents of four very active children, Sheila Grace, Kate, Madeline, and Luke.