Faculty Q and A with Walter Strickland
CHRIS MARTIN | January 19, 2017
Q: Tell us about yourself
A: I was born in Chicago and raised in California. I went to Cedarville University for my Bachelor of Arts in Biblical and Theological Studies, Southeastern for my Master of Divinity and Master of Theology and I’m a doctoral candidate at the Aberdeen University.
I am married to Stephanie and we have two daughters, Hope Eyanna and Kendra Keziah. Hope went to be with the Lord in June of 2012. Kendra’s middle name Keziah is significant because Job named his second daughter Keziah when everything had been restored to him.
Q: How did you come to SEBTS?
A: I came to Southeastern as a student because my pastor in California, Phil Neighbors, always talked about how Southeastern shaped him as a Doctor of Ministry student.
When I was graduating from Southeastern, I spoke with a vice president about how I would love for different types of people to have access to the education I had at Southeastern. He ended up talking to the president, Dr. Akin, and eventually they asked if I would come back and assist the school in becoming more diverse like the Kingdom of heaven.
Q: When people ask you, “What do you do at Southeastern,” what is your response?
A: I teach theology, and I advise the president on a regular basis in an effort to help Southeastern seek and equip students from every corner of the Kingdom to serve in every context of the Kingdom.
Q: On what are you currently working?
A: I am working on a course that I will teach in the fall with Benjamin Quinn. It will be made into a massive open online course (MOOC) on the doctrine of vocation. I am also finishing my Ph.D. dissertation, which is on J. Deotis Roberts, an underappreciated African-American theologian.
Q: What have you been reading recently?
A: Because of my dissertation, I’ve been reading a lot of J. Deotis Roberts. He is still alive, but he primarily wrote in the 1970s and 1980s. He writes about a number of topics, everything from philosophical theology to popular culture.
Yesterday I read “Plain Theology for Plain People” by Charles Octavius Booth, a systematic theology by an African-American written in 1890.
Q: When you get home from work, what do you look forward to doing?
A: I love spending time with my wife and my daughter. My wife is a gifted counselor. We enjoy doing premarital or couples counseling together. I also love playing the drums, so you’ll sometimes see me banging on a drum pad. Stephanie and I like to go see live music whenever we can.
Q: Who are your role models?
A: The first person that comes to mind is my father. He taught me how to be a man without ever saying, “This is how you become a man.” He just lived it out before me. My father learned about biblical manhood by watching the examples of others and reading scripture, then I learned from him.
J. Deotis Roberts is also a role model. The way in which he applies theology to culture is incredibly helpful.
Q: What has God been teaching you lately?
A: I’ve been in Deuteronomy lately. I’m sensing that God wants to do something great through his people, but they are so spiritually blind that they can’t see what God desires to do through them. As the people of God face various moral and cultural issues, we have to trust that the Lord’s strength will be made perfect in us.
Q: Where are some of your fellow alumni?
A: A number of my friends are overseas, some are pastors, and several are bi-vocational pastors who work in the business world during the day and pastor.
Q: When a student completes your class, what do you want him or her to walk away with at the end of the semester?
A: I want them to know that God cares about everything and to understand how a particular subject matter helps us understand that.
Q: We always say that SEBTS is a Great Commission seminary. What does that look like for your work?
A: The people of God point the world to His future kingdom, and as special advisor to the president for diversity, I want our school to be an accurate signpost that points people to a time when people from every tribe, tongue and nation will be united worshiping our Lord at the throne.