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Joel E. Kim

Joel E. Kim

President and Assistant Professor of New Testament

Rev. Kim has taught New Testament at Westminster Seminary California since 2005 and in May 2017 was appointed as the fourth president of WSC. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and has served as Associate Pastor of Segaero Presbyterian Church in Los Angeles. Rev. Kim taught historical and systematic theology at Calvin Theological Seminary and International Theological Seminary in Los Angeles, as well as in Taiwan and Indonesia. He is the son of a pastor in the Christian Reformed Church. He has served on the English Ministry pastoral staff of Korean-American churches during his M.Div. studies at Westminster Seminary California and subsequent to his graduation in 1997, in California and Michigan. 

Plenary I: God’s Stories as Literary Artistry
Do you enjoy reading the Bible?  One recent survey reported that although many Christians revere and respect the Bible, most do not read the Bible regularly. Even for those who believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God and are convinced of its central place in faith and life, the Bible seems too big and distant.  In this conference and this particular lecture, we explore not only what the Bible says, but how the Bible says it, focusing on the narratives of the Bible.  Each narrative is a carefully-crafted historical story of Jesus Christ, a story that employs the artistic and literary conventions of the time and told by authors who offer their unique and personal perspectives.  Reading the narratives more carefully can help us to better read and enjoy the Word of God. 


Joshua J. VanEe

Joshua J. Van Ee

Associate Professor of Hebrew and Old Testament

Dr. Van Ee has taught various language and biblical studies classes at Westminster Seminary California since 2002. He is an ordained minister in the United Reformed Churches in North America and has enjoyed various opportunities to preach and teach. He is the co-author of an essay in Birkat Shalom: Studies in the Bible, Ancient Near Eastern Literature, and Postbiblical Judaism Presented to Shalom M. Paul on the Occasion of His Seventieth Birthday.

Plenary II: God’s Stories as History
It is essential to the Christian faith that we affirm the historical nature of God’s stories in the Bible. They are testimonies and witnesses to real people and events. God has acted in history! Nevertheless, the Bible’s stories do not read like a newspaper account or a modern history book. The way the authors of scripture wrote history is different in many ways from what we expect. Thus we need to carefully examine how the Bible writes history lest we misinterpret it as we bring our assumptions to the text. 

David VanDrunen

David VanDrunen

Robert B. Strimple Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics

Dr. VanDrunen, a minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, began teaching at Westminster Seminary California in 2001. He formerly served as a pastor of Grace Orthodox Presbyterian Church in Hanover Park, IL, and currently serves on the Orthodox Presbyterian Church’s Committee on Christian Education and Subcommittee on Ministerial Training. Dr. VanDrunen’s publications include God’s Glory Alone: The Majestic Heart of Christian Faith and Life, Divine Covenants and Moral Order: A Biblical Theology of Natural Law, Living in God’s Two Kingdoms, and Natural Law and the Two Kingdoms: A Study in the Development of Reformed Social Thought.

Plenary III: God's Stories as Theology
The stories of Scripture provide more than just information or a broad background for understanding biblical truth. These stories not only allow us to see our doctrine in action but in many cases they actually become part of our doctrine itself.

Bryan D. Estelle

Bryan D. Estelle

Professor of Old Testament

Dr. Estelle has taught at Westminster Seminary California since 2000. He is a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Prior to taking his position at WSC, he was a pastor in an Orthodox Presbyterian congregation in Maryland and was involved in planting a church in Oregon for the Presbyterian Church in America. He taught Hebrew at The Catholic University between 1997 and 2000, and is the author of Salvation Through Judgment and Mercy: The Gospel According to Jonah (P&R, 2005).

Plenary IV: Allusion: The Interaction Among God’s Stories
How does the Bible relate to itself in its own system of cross-referencing? Now that is a BIG topic! Biblical writers frequently refer to other biblical books in a wide variety of ways: direct quote, subtle citation, allusion, or ‘echo’ or ‘reminiscence’. How allusions work in literature and biblical literature especially have not been well understood until recently. This talk will engage some of the latest theoretical work on understanding how allusions function. The first part of this talk will cover how one can develop ‘allusion competence’ when reading biblical narratives. The second part of the talk will illustrate through specific biblical examples how the archeology of allusion hunting can result in a richer understanding of biblical narratives from both Old Testament and New Testament.

W. Robert Godfrey

W. Robert Godfrey

President Emeritus and Professor Emeritus of Church History

Dr. Godfrey has taught church history at Westminster Seminary California since 1981, having previously taught at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, Stanford University, and Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia. He is an ordained minister in the United Reformed Churches in North America. He is the author of several books, including Learning to Love the Psalms, An Unexpected Journey: Discovering Reformed Christianity (P&R, 2004), John Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor (Crossway, 2010) and co-author of Westminster Seminary California: A New Old School (WSC, 2012). In 2010, a festschrift was published in his honor entitled Always Reformed: Essays in Honor of W. Robert Godfrey, edited by R. Scott Clark and Joel E. Kim.

PLENARY I: God's Stories and Other Stories
Good stories are never just stories.  Authors by what they include and what they exclude and by how they structure their stories are doing more than developing a plot; they are making a point. Reflecting on the narratives of great literature can help us learn more from the narratives of the Bible.

Dennis E. Johnson

Dennis E. Johnson

Professor of Practical Theology

Dr. Johnson has taught at Westminster Seminary California since 1982. He is an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and is currently an Associate Pastor of New Life Presbyterian Church in Escondido. He has served as moderator of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church’s General Assembly and Presbytery of Southern California, as moderator of the Presbyterian Church in America’s South Coast Presbytery, as member of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church’s Committee on Christian Education, and as trustee of Covenant College. He is the author of several books, including Him We Proclaim: Preaching Christ from All the Scriptures (P&R, 2007), Philippians (Reformed Expository Commentary Series, P&R, 2013), and Walking with Jesus Through His Word: Discovering Christ in All the Scriptures (P&R, 2015). 

Plenary VI: Preaching God's Stories
The Bible’s historical narratives present preachers with pitfalls and with glorious opportunities to introduce our listeners to the great Hero, Jesus Christ. Pitfalls include: (1) abstracting timeless truths and life-lessons from the real drama experienced by flesh-and-blood people; (2) letting imagination run amok to add color and flavor to familiar plotlines; and (3) casting ourselves as stars in the spotlight, leaving Christ in the shadow as our supporting actor. Yet preaching biblical narratives well means seizing the opportunity to introduce multidimensional, broken people to the multidimensional, all-sufficient Lord and Savior, setting the every event into its proper context in the big Story of God’s redemptive enterprise.