Lancaster Bible College | Capital Seminary & Graduate School is committed to biblical integration at every level along students’ educational journey. As many of our professors have continued their own education, some at LBC | Capital, we asked them how their own education has equipped them to prepare students for their future and how they integrate the Bible into their classrooms. Here are their answers:
Dr. Ling Dinse: The social work profession strives to use the most effective and current interventions. My doctoral education has sharpened my research skills and increased my competence as an evidence-based practitioner. The expanded knowledge of current research and practice enriched my role as an educator, preparing the next generation of social workers striving for excellence. Many of the social work practice theories have strong humanistic roots. It is vital to utilize biblical truth to examine the validity of these practice theories. I often challenge the students to critically evaluate social work theories and assess their compatibility with God’s principles.
Dr. Justin Harbin: I undertook a doctorate for the sole reason of best stewarding the gifts God has given me so that I can invest in the teaching of others. The process grew my own scholarly work and equipped me to invest in the teaching careers of students and faculty in ways that I could never have accomplished on my own. As far as integrating the Bible, I draw heavily upon the work of Abraham Kuyper, who encourages us to consider that there is not “one square inch” of creation over which Christ is not Lord. Therefore, anything I teach, regardless of my academic discipline, can and ought to be taught in a distinctively Christian manner that displays the Lordship of Christ. As I invest in future educators and fellow faculty members, my goal is to teach in ways reflective of God’s redemptive and restorative purposes in the world.
Dr. Debra Johnson-Cortesi (’11 & ’17): I believe that a teacher should be a life-long learner. Because of this deeply held belief, I obtained a PhD in Leadership. I feel that when a teacher continues to place themselves in the role of the learner, it allows them to understand the student experience more clearly. From this understanding, the teacher is then able to create learning environments that will best meet the needs of their students. Additionally, as the teacher learns new ideas and makes new connections within their own learning, they can better aid students to do the same. As a Christian, I believe that everything I do should be firmly rooted in the Word of God. As a Christian teacher, this means that all of my instruction should be biblically sound and additionally, students should be asked regularly to think biblically about all that we are learning. The specific activities that are utilized within my courses vary depending on the overall content, but the goal is to constantly push the students back into the Word to learn and discern the truth.
Dr. Stacey Martin: My continued education has equipped me to prepare students for their future through expanded knowledge of the education field, research and writing. This has prepared me to more effectively teach future teachers through knowledge of best practices and current trends in the field. In “Teaching to Change Lives,” Dr. Howard Hendricks tells us that in order to be effective teachers, we too must continue to learn. He says, “By becoming a student again, I as a teacher will look at the education process through a radically new – and uniquely personal – set of eyes.” Learning won’t stop now that my degree has been conferred. In fact, it is only the beginning. I integrate the Bible into my classroom both implicitly and explicitly. Biblical principles guide all of my interactions with students and they provide the foundation of everything I teach them as future teachers. The Bible informs who we are, how we interact with each other and, most importantly, who God is and what He means to us.
Dr. Kurt Miller: My doctoral journey has motivated me to set high standards for the scholarly work of social workers, encouraging excellence in writing. As a result, I’ve developed a course titled Professional Writing for Social Workers, a required elective for all social work students. People judge us by our writing, therefore as representatives of Christ in the professional and academic world, we must strive for excellence. The Bible sets standards for being set apart in a world that is seeking avenues of hope. Being an excellent student, social worker and lifelong learner models the character of Christ to others.
Ryan Shenk (’97): I found the experience of continuing my education while teaching to be humbling and invigorating. Gaining the perspective of a student and finding myself on the user side of assignments and online platforms has been invaluable for creating more relevant and appropriate coursework. Studying a discipline such as anthropology has deepened my inquisitive approach to people and their stories, while also facilitating the ability to articulate the biblical narrative as one that both defines and parallels my own and that of my students. Additionally, the disciplined writing of continuing education has sharpened my own communication skills, which improves my own presentation while also helping me develop the same in others.
Dr. Tony Shetter (‘98): Sadly, biblical illiteracy is increasing, not only among those outside the Christian community but also among those inside the church. Furthermore, the value ascribed to the Old Testament is in decline, even among prominent evangelical leaders. Our mission at LBC addresses this trend by educating Christian students to think and live a biblical worldview and to proclaim Christ by serving Him in the Church and society. Earning my PhD in Old Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary has equipped me with the knowledge and skills necessary to train our students in how to study God’s Word. While life transformation is impossible apart from the Spirit, Christians are responsible to study God’s Word well (2 Timothy 2:15).
Dr. Daniel Spanjer: Continuing education has connected me with the scholarship in my field. My education has allowed me to frame my teaching inside the scholarship of my discipline. It has kept my mind sharp and pointed me to the research/reading that is most relevant to my subject. I do not integrate the Bible into my classroom; I teach my material out of a position of faith in Christ and dedication to His Kingship. Rather than look for ways to present my material in a way that does not offend my faith in Christ, I allow the Truth of Scripture to shape the way that I gather, synthesize and present information.