Who Am I?
I am the 10th president of Mars Hill Bible School, a 150-year old Christian preparatory academy in Florence, Alabama, begun by T. B. Larimore in 1871. I am also a minister within the Christian fellowship known as the Churches of Christ, a group of independent and autonomous churches historically tied to the American Restoration Movement–a movement emphasizing Biblical precedent, ecumenical unity and simplicity of worship. Among the early influences within this Christian tradition, those most significant to my own thinking include Alexander Campbell, T. B. Larimore, David Lipscomb, and G. C. Brewer. The university where I served for over a decade offers a spiritual statement intended to describe the tenor of its contextual mission, with which I am in sympathy.
My theological influences are diverse and eclectic, though I endeavor to live out of a coherent worldview. Eschewing labels (don’t we all!), and seeking independence of thought, I would define myself as holding a soft-foundationalist Christian philosophy in the analytic tradition, an orthodox theology and a critical-realist virtue-based political perspective of cultural engagement. My theological leanings are sacramental yet broadly evangelical, more Armenian than Calvinist. My doctrinal beliefs and worship practices are situated comfortably within the heritage of the churches of Christ.
In my PhD program in the Divinity faculty at Cambridge, I drank deeply from spiritual wells dug by intellectual giants such as Janet Martin Soskice, Sarah Coakley, Andrew Davison, Catherine Pickstock, Douglas Hedley, and the late and lamented John Hughes. Their influence is immense, and only time will tell how my own theology will reflect the fruit of paths taken at their wise direction.
I am the author of Finding Locke’s God: The Theological Basis of Locke’s Political Thought (Bloomsbury, 2019).
Of course, I am largely a product of my environment. My greatest influences are those who have walked beside me throughout my life. I have been thoroughly shaped by my loving parents (who have been partners in ministry for four decades), church communities with which I have labored, and numerous teachers, classmates, friends, and students from whom I have learned much along the way.
Where Am I Coming From?
I received my PhD from the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge University, specializing in philosophy of religion and philosophical theology. Under the supervision of Janet Martin Soskice (and with the early collaboration of John Hughes), I worked on the theological basis of John Locke’s moral and political theory. This historical work was situated within my wider interests in the ongoing ethical debates concerning equality, human rights, the origins of morality, and the role of religion in the public square. In 2006, I obtained the MPhil in Theology from Oxford University, writing on the nature of revelation in the Gospel of John. In 2011, I completed the MSc in Philosophy and Public Policy at The London School of Economics and Political Science, writing on the philosophical challenge—posed by Peter Singer and the Great Ape Project—to intuitions regarding human dignity and equality, absent some transcendent principle. Before my adventures in England, I earned a BA from Freed Hardeman University, and an MA from Harding School of Theology. An American originally from Southern California, I served for over a decade as part of the Bible & Ministry faculty at Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas, where, from 2006-2019, I taught courses in philosophy, ethics, theology and biblical studies. I am a minister within the Christian fellowship known as the Churches of Christ. I have partnered in ministry with American churches in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Hawaii, Mississippi, and Tennessee, and with UK churches in Oxford, London, and Cambridge. When not teaching or writing for this website, I love spending time with my wife and friends.
What is the Purpose of this Website?
This site is intended to provide helpful resources for anyone interested in theological reflection. Here you can find everything from short devotional thoughts intended to lift your spirit to reflective philosophical and theological articles designed to challenge your mind. I write out of my own experiences and interests, but hope the material on this site will encourage and foster dialogue as we seek to develop a healthier theology day by day. My hope is that a wide-ranging audience might find something valuable here–for sermon design ideas, motivation for daily living, academic reflection, and ideas for Christian social engagement. I also provide resource links to audio, video, and articles that have stirred my soul or challenged my thinking. I would like to include podcasts and guest articles from others down the road. Ultimately, I hope to share ideas that have helped me develop a deeper appreciation for connecting theology to every area of life, and I hope to promote interest and active engagement in the pursuit of truth, beauty, holiness, and community. Everything done here is intended as ministry, so drop me a line and let me know how this site can best benefit you!
Where Is My Picture?
You can find my smiling face on the contact page.