Expects to Graduate 2012
Dan is from Walker Valley, New York. When's he's not studying, he enjoys reading about history, theology, and geography; hiking; traveling; and spending time hanging out with friends from both school and church.
1. Why did you choose to attend WSC?
I was impressed with the school's credentials and solid emphasis on Reformed theology. As a newcomer to the Reformed faith (since 2008) and looking for ways to improve my theological and writing skills, I felt the Historical Theology program was the right path to go on. I have some friends from the same college I attended (who are also here at WSC), who were a tremendous influence in helping me make the decision to go here, since they had become Reformed before me and pointed me to this school as one of the top institutions for promoting Reformed theology. I also had some prior experience with some of the faculty's writings, most notably Dr. Horton's (God of Promise and Christless Christianity). Plus, I can't help but admit that the diverse terrain of California with its ocean, mountains, and deserts had a certain magnetic charm on me.....needless to say, I've climbed all the big mountains around here since I arrived last year!
2. What is one of your favorite WSC experiences thus far?
Wow. I've done some serious thinking and [it has been] more like photo album snapshots of great times I've had, both heartwarming and serious. Times chatting about the deepest thoughts of life at the library front desk with my good friend Ross Hodges as he works there. Being at the VanDrunens' home enjoying their hospitality. Being rescued by a selfless [WSC Student] from the desert after an adventurous mishap. Catching up with Dr. Clark in his office. And although this is a little outside the WSC scope, some of the times I've spent with the members of my church, Harvest OPC, have been some of the most meaningful, heart-wrenching, and ultimately rewarding experiences of my time here in California (hikes, movie nights, social adventures, you name it).
3. What challenges and blessings have you experienced as a student here?
I have been stretched both spiritually and academically during my time here. I have to admit that when I first began classes here last year, my priorities were not all straightened in the right direction, and that caused me a lot of spiritual anguish in certain respects (affecting my studies). Thankfully, I'm doing better in that area right now! Writing papers has definitely been a tough learning experience for me in how to do research correctly, formatting footnotes, being careful to abide by the professor's specifications, etc. But I have been tremendously blessed in my classes as I sit under professors who expound God's amazing truths to us, and I often have to kick myself and remind my spirit just how much of a privilege I possess, to be taught the pure Word of God within a consistent and Scriptural framework. I have also enjoyed a good friendship with Dr. VanDrunen, my faculty advisor - I've been able to share with him my deepest struggles and he has always been very gracious and patient in listening to me and sharing advice! And, of course, it is a great encouragement to interact with my fellow students who are also preparing to be used of God wherever He may lead them!
4. Why did you choose to study church history & historical theology?
I love both history and theology and felt it would be great to integrate them together. I believe that church history (and secular history in general) teaches us many lessons that we in our 21st Century circumstances need to examine seriously. Far too many people today are ignorant of history, and it is my hope that through what I learn and write about I can open up minds to be able to more intelligently examine the Word of God and the wider world around us. Besides, history is fun!
5. What would you say to prospective students considering the MAHT program?
I would encourage you to have a basic knowledge of secular history so that you can fit church history into the political situation of the times (ex. the Roman Empire in the time of the ancient church). I would also recommend that you study Latin if you are looking to deal a lot with it in your planned area(s) of historical interest; try to do this before you go into the program (rather than taking the one the school offers), because it will give you more room to take courses in historical theology, etc. Also, please be aware that the program takes most people 3 years rather than 2 because the thesis is a HUGE project. I had to revise my plans just now and add that extra year because I knew there was no way I could do the thesis by May 2011 on top of writing all my other papers for class! 6. What do you plan to do after you graduate from WSC? - Right now, I have no clear idea. I would hope to find something in a teaching/writing capability where I can use the knowledge I have gained to benefit Christ and His Church. No doubt, doctoral work might be a possibility down the road. But I am open to wherever God leads me at this point!