March 31, 2012
An update from Westminster alumnus, Dr. Ben Dunson (M.A.R. '07, Th.M. '08)
I have an M.A.R. in Biblical Studies (2007) and Th.M. in New Testament (2008) from Westminster. During my studies at Westminster, my wife Martha worked in the Academic Affairs office, and our first son was born. We subsequently had two more boys and Martha became a stay-at-home mom.
After finishing at Westminster, we moved to Durham, England where I began Ph.D. studies in New Testament under the supervision of Professor Francis Watson. My doctoral research was on the relationship between individuals and community in Pauline theology. I finished my Ph.D. dissertation in the summer of 2011, and successfully defended it in the fall of the same year. I also began teaching at Redeemer University College in Ancaster, Ontario as sessional assistant professor of Religion and Theology. I teach Greek, New Testament, biblical theology and biblical interpretation courses at Redeemer.
My time at Westminster was critical in preparing me to go on for further academic study of the Bible. Among other important things, I learned how to appreciate the insights of modern biblical scholarship, but also how to engage such scholarship critically from a distinctively Christian vantage point. Cornelius Van Til may not have been a biblical scholar by vocation, but his approach to apologetics helped me see the multitude of ways in which philosophical commitments (both stated and unstated) affect the practice of biblical scholarship.
I also learned from my time at Westminster how important it is to look at how the Bible has been dealt with in the previous centuries of the church (there is nothing new under the sun), as well as the importance of moving from exegesis to doctrine, two emphases that are not always valued among biblical scholars. My wife and I also found that our time at Westminster was hugely influential for how we viewed the church and the Christian life. We have many fond memories of our time at Westminster and are thankful for the time we had there.
Please continue to pray for Dr. Dunson and his academic work in Canada.