Redeemer OPC, Dayton, OH
Since this interview, Ken has been ordained as the Associate Pastor at Redeemer OPC.
Ken and his wife, Emily have one daughter, Claire
Why did you originally choose to attend WSC?
I grew up in San Francisco, and WSC was the "Reformed seminary down the coast." But more than the convenient location, I was impressed by the faculty I had a chance to meet during my college years. Dennis Johnson came to Covenant College (where I attended) and gave a presentation on educating men for the pastoral ministry. Dr. Johnson struck me then (and still does!) as a gracious and learned man with an uncommon blend of academic and pastoral expertise - surely the type of professor from whom I could learn much. He spoke about why it was important to learn the original languages in which Scripture was written, the necessity of having a sound grasp on systematic theology, and the crucial place of gospel preaching in the life of the church. While considering the vocation of the pastorate in a Reformed church, I knew that finding a seminary with these emphases would be essential to laying a solid foundation for future ministry.
During a summer break, I also had the opportunity to hear Michael Horton give a conference on his book A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-centered Worship. I really appreciated the way in which he brought together covenant theology and practical theology, especially in his discussion of the Word and Sacraments.
Lastly, I had a conversation with Scott Clark when visiting the WSC campus, and his reminder of the importance of attending a seminary with a solid Reformed Confessional identity was the "clincher" for me.
What were the most significant things that you learned/gained during your time at WSC?
One of the first things that I learned in the "Christian Mind" course was that both our doctrine and the theological method must be governed by the Word. This came particularly in the form of being introduced to Covenant Theology and its importance in our exegesis, theology, and even homiletics. The incredibly helpful distinctions I learned in my three years at WSC – e.g. law/gospel, archetypal/ectypal knowledge, two kingdoms, magisterial/ministerial authority, substance/administration, this age/age to come (all of which you will learn during the course of your time at WSC!) – all are integrally related to the covenant scheme unfolded in redemptive history and Word. So for instance, the fundamental Protestant Law/Gospel distinction (unfortunately obscured today by even well-intentioned folks in our circles) comes to most consistent expression when grounded in the categories of Covenant of Works and Covenant of Grace.
Secondly, in training me to preach, WSC gave me significant tools to study, organize, and deliver a text from Scripture for the edification of God's people. But it did this without being formulaic. Dr. Hywel Jones also once answered the question "Are preachers born or made?" with the answer: "Neither; a preacher is reborn and remade." We are continually under pressure in our culture to think in purely pragmatic terms, but when it comes to ministry I know that the bottom line is not numerical, and that I must continually depend upon the Spirit who uses the appointed means to advance the kingdom for the glory of God.
Since graduating last year, I understand that you’ve completed a one-year internship. With that experience under your belt, what element of seminary have you come to especially value? Is there anything you wish you could have done differently during your time at WSC?
During my pastoral internship, I have been preaching through the gospel of Mark. As I continue to study the text, I keep coming back in my mind to the "Gospels and Acts" course with Dr. Baugh. He spoke at length about the doctrine of the Kingdom of God, and the definitions and categories he gave to us have proved invaluable for me as I deal with this dominant theme in Mark.
I have also found Hywel Jones' course "Pastoral Ministry Seminar" to be eminently helpful to me as I train for the ministry. His words of wisdom reflecting on the Pastoral Epistles have come back to me regularly as I seek to relate in godly ways to others in the church and the world about me.
What is one of your favorite memories of your time at WSC?
There are lots of fun memories, including the very intense ping-pong breaks between classes. I would say the morning devotions given by the professors are something that I still remember: it's great to go through a book of the Bible with such insightful preachers!
What are your future plans?
I hope to receive a pastoral call in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, and serve Christ by ministering the Word and Sacraments to his church.