Throughout Lancaster Bible College’s 83-year history, our professors have dedicated themselves to educating men and women to proclaim Christ, regardless of the fads and trends of current culture. Seeing society’s great need for the gospel, Dr. Henry Heydt was called by God to start a Bible school with its foundation firmly rooted in the unchanging truth of scripture. As our President, Dr. Peter W. Teague, continuously reminds us, Bible is our middle name – just as it is at the core of everything we teach. For this very reason, the first floor of our new Charles Frey Academic Center houses our Bible & Theology department, designed to symbolically remind us of our foundation in the Word of God.
Recently, we spoke with two of our brightest alumni who joined the ranks of our faculty in the Bible & Theology department. They shared their journeys as students at LBC, the enormous influence professors had on their lives, and now, their passion for teaching God’s Word as they invest in the lives of our students.
DANIEL CARVER ‘09: Finding a Divine Purpose
Daniel Carver did not plan on attending a Bible college. After he graduated from high school, he felt like his life was “going nowhere.” With no definitive plans for his life, Carver took the logical next step and enrolled in a community college. He sat through his classes and completed the assignments, but struggled to find his niche academically.
Still unsure of what to do next, 19-year-old Carver took a summer job as a counselor at Camp Tohiglo in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. There, as Carver worked with students, he felt God pursuing him in a deeper, more intimate way than he had ever experienced. Though he had been a Christian for many years, it was this personal experience with Christ at camp that solidified Carver’s resolve to follow Him.
Finally, Carver was ready for the next step: getting a Christian education. He knew if he was truly committed to serving God, he would need to be surrounded by the support of other believers. With several personal connections to Lancaster Bible College, Carver decided to apply and was accepted. Shortly after he began his studies, he met Sarah Green ‘09, his future wife.
While pursuing his undergraduate degree, Carver developed a deep admiration for his soccer coach and mentor, Josh Beers. He shared how Beers intentionally poured into him, both as an athlete and a fellow Christian, noting how he emphasized “loving God and realizing it – as opposed to only acknowledging it.” Beers’ genuine care for his students impressed Carver deeply. “That was really defining for me,” he said.
In 2009, Carver graduated from LBC with a Bachelor of Science in Biblical Studies, and returned to earn his Master of Arts in Bible in 2011. It was during the course of his graduate studies that he began to nurture a deep love for the biblical languages. Carver credits his professors, Dr. Robert Spender, Dr. Harold Kime and Dr. John Soden as his inspiration for studying the original languages of the Bible on a much deeper level. “Dr. Spender even offered an undergraduate Hebrew course just because I’d asked him,” Carver explained, “And we spent an entire year, just Spender and I, delving into the language and its nuances together.”
Spurred on by the encouragement of his professors and his newfound passion, Carver went on to earn a second Masters of Arts in Semitic Languages and Literature from the Catholic University of America in 2013. Shortly thereafter, he began teaching Old Testament and ancient history as an adjunct professor at LBC. This fall, he will step into a full-time faculty position in the Bible & Theology department.
Carver calls his fellow faculty members in the department “top notch.” He also noted that in his experience, the best teachers – including some of our professors – have what he calls “a sense of untimeliness” about them. He described untimeliness as an idea that doesn’t fit comfortably with mainstream rhetoric and ideals, calling to mind images of the Old Testament prophets who gave their unpopular opinions – for better or for worse. As a professor teaching the Bible in a culture that is growing increasingly hostile toward Christian morality and truth, Carver said, “[I have a feeling that] there’s a lot more of this untimeliness to come.”
As a young professor who brings a fresh perspective to the biblical text, Carver holds in high regard the preceding generation’s contributions to our understanding of scripture, and represents what we hope the next generation of Bible teachers will look like. Carver’s journey from an aimless high school graduate to a college professor at his alma mater is truly something only God could have ordained.
TONY SHETTER ‘98: Following Plan B
For a young Tony Shetter, life after high school – if he even decided to finish his education – was going to be simple. As the son of a dairy farmer, Shetter worked on the farm alongside his parents, milking the cows and tending to the land. He planned to run the farm himself one day. But, as He often does, God had a different plan.
When he was a junior in high school, Shetter felt that God was calling him to do something more with his life – and that call from the Lord was confirmed through a series of unusual events. One Saturday night, Shetter was working on a paper with the assistance of his sister-in-law, who happened to be a non-believer. The two started chatting while they worked, and inevitably, she asked Shetter what he was going to do after high school. At the time, Shetter said he “didn’t want anything to do with college,” but his sister-in-law pushed back. “You should consider going to school to be a minister,” she said. Surprised but intrigued, Shetter continued working on his paper, deciding that her remarks must have been her way acknowledging his strong Christian character.
The confirmations continued. The very next day, Shetter sat in church as his pastor shared his own personal testimony about how God called him to ministry. He encouraged the congregation to consider what God might be calling them to do. In his heart, Shetter already was. More certain now than ever that his future held something for him beyond the daily labor of running the family farm, Shetter began considering applying to colleges. He was introduced to a small but growing Lancaster Bible College by Dan Thomas, a youth pastor and alumnus. After his high school graduation, Shetter decided to enroll at LBC.
During the course of his undergraduate career, Shetter learned many things in the classroom, including the importance of properly handling the scriptures. However, he cites the relationships he developed with the faculty as what impacted him the most. Shetter has a long list of faculty members who inspired him along the way, including Dr. Rick Fairman, his theology professor, who showed him that personal faith and daily life should be intimately intertwined – and who also eventually officiated his wedding ceremony to Michelle; Dr. Raymond Ide, whose class on C.S. Lewis equipped Shetter with the materials he needed to engage with unbelieving coworkers; Mr. Earl Osborn, who spotted Shetter’s gift for writing early on and saw he had the potential to excel in a graduate program; and Dr. Gordon Johnston, who influenced his undergraduate work and continues to be a force of influence in his life today. Through it all, the faculty of LBC poured into Shetter, mentored him and walked alongside him – from graduation and beyond.
Now, Shetter returns to LBC – not as a student, but as a professor. After earning his undergraduate degree, Shetter went on to earn his Master of Theology in academic ministries from Dallas Theological Seminary. Shetter is also a doctoral candidate at DTS, pursuing his Ph.D. in Old Testament studies. As he begins his first year as a fulltime faculty member, Shetter says he hopes his students will grow – not just in their knowledge about God, but in their knowledge of Him. “First, I hope that that their relationships with God would deepen,” he said, “And second, that they would be better students of God’s Word.” Most of all, he said, he hopes to instill in them “a heart for God.”
As he steps into his new role at the college, Shetter is eager to teach alongside his fellow faculty members, noting their impressive qualifications and their commitment to a truthful and steadfast teaching of scriptures. “Biblical higher education is important for the proper handling of God’s word, and it is essential for training the next generation,” explained Shetter, “And I’m thrilled to be a part of what’s happening at Lancaster Bible College.”
We’re equally thrilled to have these two alumni and outstanding men of God join our faculty and we trust that in turn, they’ll inspire the next generation of great Bible teachers.