Faculty Q&A with Mark Liederbach
January 19, 2017
Mark Liederbach is the vice president for student services and dean of students at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He also serves as professor of theology, ethics and culture. Liederbach shares about growing up in a Catholic family, how he ended up teaching at a Baptist seminary and what projects he is currently working on.
1. Tell us about yourself.
I grew up in Rockville, Maryland, near Washington, D.C. My dad worked for the government as a nuclear engineer. I’m the youngest of seven kids from a Catholic family. I went to college at James Madison University, did my master’s degree at Denver Seminary and completed my Ph.D. at the University of Virginia.
I’ve been married for just over 25 years to Harriette. We have three kids: Daniel, Hannah and Katherine.
2. How did you come to SEBTS?
I grew up in a Catholic home, and when you grow up Catholic it is hard to imagine being Baptist—much like growing up Baptist would make it hard to imagine being Catholic. After my personal conversion to faith in Jesus Christ, God in His providence orchestrated a long series of events and wanderings through different churches and parachurch organizations that eventually led to a particular day when I realized that my theological convictions where completely aligned with Baptist thought. In God’s providence three days after coming to that realization I received an invitation to interview for a job at Southeastern.
3. When people ask you, “What do you do at Southeastern,” what is your response?
I serve as the vice president of student services, the dean of students, a professor of theology, ethics, and culture and a fellow for the Center of Faith and Culture.
At Southeastern, we are building a special place where men and women can come to be trained to be disciple makers who seek to maximize the worship and glory of God throughout the earth.
4. On what are you currently working?
Southeastern is part of an initiative on creation care and environmental ethics called the Seminary Stewardship Alliance, which works to build a consortium of colleges and seminaries trying to have a conservative voice that cares about God’s created order. I am also working on a basic theology of discipleship and disciple making with Dr. Chuck Lawless as well as an ethics textbook called “Ethics as Worship” with Dr. Evan Lenow at Southwestern Seminary.
5. What have you been reading recently?
This summer, I plowed through about 20 books on discipleship as I work toward my own book on the subject. I also just read a fabulous book by Peter Kreeft called “The Philosophy of Tolkien.”
6. When you get home from work, what do you look forward to doing? (What are your other passions?)
I love to go on walks with my wife every night. I also really enjoy sitting around the dinner table with my wife and kids discussing many and varied topics or ideas. I love listening to music and occasionally catching a movie. I also love mountain biking and playing guitar. I only wish I had more time for some jam sessions.
7. Who are your role models?
I’ve been blessed with a number of mentors since I was in middle school. Men like Kerry Hoobler, Ray Boss and John Ellis were very influential in my life. Other people who are influential in my life right now are my pastor, Larry Trotter, and the elders at North Wake Church. A few key faculty members here at Southeastern have shaped me deeply, and I love the men I work with on the cabinet at Southeastern.
8. What has God been teaching you lately?
He’s been teaching me about how his goodness and kindness should overwhelm me in spite of my sinfulness. One place that shows up is in my career, and reminding me to get out of the way of what he’s doing.
9. When a student completes your class, what do you want him or her to walk away with at the end of the semester?
I want students to leave with a clearer view of God because what they believe about God is the most important thing about them. I want students to leave with a passion to live their life for the glory of God.
10. We always say that every classroom at SEBTS is a Great Commission classroom. What does that look like for your class?
I work hard to connect every lecture point and every assignment to the glory of God and his mission for the Church.