Faculty Q and A with Bruce Ashford

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Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I am married to Lauren and we have three children. Riley Noelle is four years old, Anna Katherine is three years old, and John Paul Kuyper is eight months old. In addition to working as Provost, Dean of the Faculty and a theology professor at Southeastern, I am an elder at The Summit Church and a fellow at the Paideia Centre for Public Theology.

Q: How did you come to SEBTS?

A: When I was a student at Campbell University, I heard of great things going on at Southeastern, so I came to do my M.Div. here. After a couple of years on the mission field, I came back and did my Ph.D. under Paige Patterson, who eventually hired me to be on staff here.

Q: When people ask you, “What do you do at Southeastern,” what is your response?

A: I have two primary roles here, provost and dean of the faculty and associate professor of theology and culture. As provost and dean of the faculty I act as the chief academic officer and support the faculty. As a professor of theology, I teach various theology-based classes.

Q: On what are you currently working?

A: A book with Heath Thomas tentatively entitled “Gospel and Mission.” Also a volume on the doctrine of creation, co-authored with Craig Bartholomew, and a book on the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, also co-authored with Craig Bartholomew.

Q: What have you been reading recently?

A: “Christian Philosophy” by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen and “A Passion for Prayer” by Tom Elliff. The philosophy text shows how the discipline of philosophy has been corrupted by intellectual idolatry, and how it can be redirected toward Christ.

Q: When you get home from work, what do you look forward to doing?

A: I love hanging out with my kids—that is my hobby. I come home and play with my kids and spend time with my wife. When I come home there’s not a whole lot else that I do.

Q: Who are your role models?

A: As I was growing up, I would definitely have to say my parents. Once I was in college I really looked up to Adrian Rogers. I saw in him a man who stood on his convictions and could preach the Scriptures with passion. Since then I could name so many but two are J. L. Dagg, a Baptist theologian who did theology for the church, and Abraham Kuyper with his paradigm for public theology.

Q: What has God been teaching you lately?

A: God has been teaching me to be faithful to multiple callings of family, church, workplace and community. I pray that I can honor God in each of those dimensions of life.

Q: Where are some of your former students?

A: Many of them are missionaries with the International Mission Board, church planters with the North American Mission Board and professors and scholars.

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 hope that I will have strengthened their heads, hearts and hands. I hope that I have helped them to think Christianly, to love God wholeheartedly, to be active proclaiming the gospel with their lips and promoting Christ with their lives.

Q: We always say that every classroom at SEBTS is a Great Commission classroom. What does that look like for your class?

A: I teach my systematic theology class as a missional theology class. I locate mission in all of the eight major doctrines we study. Christian mission is a thread that I try to weave through each major head of doctrine. We have a discussion at the end of each section about how this part of theology works itself out practically in the Great Commission.

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