Meet a Student
December 10, 2010
Rev. Carlton Wynne is an ordained pastor in the Presbyterian Church in America, and a PhD student in Systematic Theology
Rev. Wynne had been the Assistant Pastor at Providence Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Dallas, TX for three years before coming to Westminster. He also is a regular contributor to the Reformation21 blog. Recently, he spoke at a Westminster Chapel service on Revelation 3:14-22.
How did you first hear of Westminster?
Westminster's previous President met my parents at a dinner in Houston, my home town, and discovered my interest in seminary. I think he passed my name along to Steve Cairns, a Westminster representative in Texas, and Rev. Cairns invited me to lunch to talk about the Seminary. After our lunch, he graciously mailed me some books on Reformed theology, which, after my college mailroom misplaced them for several months, finally made their way into my hands. Mangled and worn though they were, their theology was biblically sound and compelling and they brought home to me the direction of Westminster's theological convictions.
What made you decide to come to Westminster?
As my wife and I decided to explore the possibility of my pursuing a PhD degree, I became increasingly convinced that I could justify such a family commitment only by enrolling at a school that went deeply into the historic Reformed tradition. I wanted to come away from my student years having plunged as far as possible into the theology not only that honors God, but, because it honors God, would prove useful for a lifetime of ministry to the church.
Was there someone (faculty member, alumni, staff, etc) who was particularly influential in your decision to come here?
Before I applied to Westminster, I was working as an assistant pastor at a PCA church in Dallas, TX. We invited Dr. Scott Oliphint to speak at a men’s retreat, and the senior pastor and I rode with him for hours to the retreat center, asking him questions ranging from Van Til to preaching. During that drive, let’s just say I listened and learned. I grabbed an application shortly after we got home.
At the start of seminary, how did you adjust to the work, as well as life in a new location?
Any transition brings challenges. In my case, they began with the drive from Dallas to Pennsylvania with a wife and two small children. From there, though, we found a church home, falling leaves, good food, and friendly neighbors. As far as the seminary work load goes, ask me at the end of the semester! The classroom content can be both disorienting and profoundly stimulating all at once. Most importantly, though, everything is grounded in the authority of the Word of God. The professors are enormously encouraging to students, for which I am thankful.
What have been some highlights in your education?
I have enjoyed traveling to the outer reaches of the church’s reflection on the Trinity, attending a conference on preaching Christ from all of Scripture, engaging with other students, getting to know a few professors outside the classroom, and speaking to Dr. Gaffin at a church picnic about my broken oven (and later about union with Christ).
How has God used Westminster thus far to grow you in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ?
Westminster has revealed to me more of the depth of truth and power of the Word of God, the importance of the local church, and the need to fuel academic study with a vital devotion to the Lord.
What are your hopes following graduation?
I hope to use what I have gained at Westminster in service to the local church in some capacity, either through academia, or, more likely, in a pastoral role.