Skip to main content
Meet A Student/Graduate

DJ Goodwiler

DJ Goodwiler

Why did you decide to attend WSC?
There were a number of factors that went into my decision to attend WSC, though providentially all those factors occurred around the same time. I was finishing up my studies at Concordia University and had developed specific interests throughout my time in the philosophy and theology classes there. As I looked for further resources I kept running into names like David VanDrunen and Michael Horton, and I proceeded to zealously devour their writings. At the same time I was being revolutionized by The White Horse Inn broadcast and heard advertisements for Westminster Seminary California (according to the advertisement, I knew it was the right thing to do!). Additionally, my pastors at the time (one of whom was a graduate from WSC) encouraged me to look into the school. I scheduled a visit during a Seminary for a Day event and decided that WSC was the place where my wife and I belonged.

What particular truths or experiences that you gained from WSC do you find most important and valuable now? 
I think the most important line that I ever heard in seminary was in my first class with Dr. Bryan Estelle, when he was laying down the framework for the necessity of Christ’s active obedience from Genesis. He told us simply, “Heaven must be earned.” Those words started my journey toward a clearer understanding of the law and the Gospel, and the dramatic, Christ-testifying story of redemption that unfolds throughout every page of Scripture.

Beyond these foundational truths, I developed an immeasurable appreciation for the church—not only in its purpose to call and feed God’s saints through the means of grace, but also in its relationship to the world and other common institutions.

Do you have an unforgettable memory from your time at WSC?
I had so many great experiences at Westminster, but one that sticks with me is from my visit during Seminary for a Day. As the faculty were seated in front of the visiting students, simultaneously playfully insulting one another and waxing eloquently about Christ’s church and the good news proclaimed therein, Dr. Estelle ran in the room wearing athletic gear and told everyone if they were tired of sitting in a library they could join him and other students outside for a game of Ultimate Frisbee. After an unceremonious exit, President Godfrey ended by telling us that the faculty is dedicated to taking the Gospel very seriously, even if they didn’t take themselves very seriously.
This would prove to be a representative foretaste of what was a rigorously academic community that required deep thought, while also being an immensely fun environment that fostered strong friendships, good conversations, and intense competitions. (On the Frisbee field, Dr. Estelle proved to be a formidable foe, and a gracious loser.)

What is your vocation and how did your education at WSC prepare you for your present responsibilities?
After my time at WSC I pursued further studies in the field of Rhetoric and despite its ostensible irrelevance to my theological studies at WSC, it became immediately clear that the wide range of issues covered from Hebrew to Modern Mind prepared me for all manner of discussions from sociolinguistics to Foucault.  Much of what I was able to accomplish in that program was due to the training I received at Westminster.

I recently finished my first year of teaching humanities at The Cambridge School, a Christian classical school in San Diego. Apart from the content that I received from classes at WSC and am now able to distill for younger thinkers, WSC prepared me to become a teacher in two crucial ways. First, I took away a greater sensitivity for how grace and judgment work in everyday situations, which have made an incredible impact on how I interact with others, how I manage a classroom, and how I teach. Second, the professors at WSC modeled excellent pedagogy that I constantly draw on for my own approach to teaching. 

What, in your opinion, makes WSC a unique and important institution? 
Westminster Seminary California is a place of serious study with a zealous mission to train experts in the Bible who will serve Christ and love his church—whether in the pulpit, in the pews, or through their secular vocations. This task is accomplished through an incredible faculty comprised of pastor-scholars who have a heart for their subjects and their students, and they create and nurture a sense of community so that every lecture is accessible, every professor is approachable, and every student is a loving colleague. WSC is a distinct institution that continues to defend and promote Reformation theology in ways that will forever affect me for the better.

What advice would you give to prospective students considering seminary? 
Do everything you can to visit WSC and I can’t imagine you wanting to go anywhere else after that. And brush up on your Ultimate game!

View More Profiles