Lake Sherwood OPC, Orlando, FL
James grew up in southern California and previously interned at New Life Mission Church, La Jolla, CA & Independent Presbyterian Church, Savannah, GA.
He and his wife, Taylor, have two daughters, Sophia and Calleigh
Why did you originally choose to attend WSC?
I was very impressed by several WSC alumni whose ministry I had the privilege of sitting under. They demonstrated a strong emphasis on preaching and teaching the Scriptures from an exegetical, Reformed, and Christ-centered manner that stood out among the alumni of other evangelical, and even other Reformed seminaries, I had encountered. I thought to myself, “’If the proof is in the pudding’, then WSC is the place for me.” Dr. Michael Horton and his wife, Lisa, who at the time was his fiancée, also befriended me. Their heart for Christ, his gospel, and his Church gave me a glimpse into the overall ethos that so indelibly marks the entire faculty and seminary. After that, I knew WSC was the best seminary to prepare me for Christian ministry.
What were the most significant things that you learned during your time at WSC?
I learned “to know Jesus Christ and him crucified” from all of Scripture in order to minister the gospel to his Church and proclaim him to the world. Every class, every professor, and every lecture—every facet of my WSC education—all served to prepare me for that end. I learned to exegete in the original languages, to understand biblical and Reformed doctrine, theology, and practice, and to do so in dialogue with the church of the past and the present.
What are your present endeavors and future plans?
I am currently engaged in pastoral ministry as the associate pastor of Lake Sherwood Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Orlando, FL. I hope to continue in pastoral ministry for as long as I can.
How did your at WSC prepare you for your present responsibilities?
I was so amazed how everything came together and fit so nicely when I entered into full-time pastoral ministry. My original languages brought me into intimate contact with God’s word. My understanding of biblical and systematic theology helped put everything into the right theological perspective to engage in the practical outworking of my ministry according to God’s word. My practical theology courses helped me integrate all that I learned and apply them in the context of a local Presbyterian church and denomination. I believe, most importantly, that WSC has prepared me to be able to do what is most central to my work as a minister—to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ.
What is one of your favorite memories of your time at WSC?
My favorite memory of all time was in my first year Pentateuch class with Prof. Meredith Kline and hearing his prayer to start the class. I distinctly remember how the depth of his love and zeal for the Lord Jesus Christ came out so powerfully in his prayer that I felt I never knew what prayer really was until that day. I remember how, with such rich biblical language, he pleaded for us to learn, for himself to teach, and for others to know “Him with whom we have to do” that tears were streaming down my face (and class hadn’t even begun!). I knew, right then, that WSC was the right choice.
What advice would you give to prospective students considering graduate theological education?
Find a seminary that has a comprehensive and integrated view of ministerial and graduate theological education. Some seminaries have a “salad bar” approach to theology and ministry where you pick and choose what you deem important. WSC, on the other hand, was the most consistently integrated seminary that I came across. All the professors were committed to a confessional approach to theology and ministry grounded in the Scriptures. This kind of theological education has made my ministerial work biblically-grounded, Christ-centered, and gospel-focused.