Introducing the Hosts

01.14.2020  |  Season 1  |  Episode 1



SHOW NOTES

This is our very first episode. We kick off the podcast with some “high stakes” interviews—with our fellow hosts! Tune in to learn more about each of us as well as our hope for the future of this podcast.

Transcript
[THEME MUSIC BEGINS]
 
Intro
You’re listening to Foreword, a podcast from faculty at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, hosted by Michelle Knight, Josh Jipp, Madison Pierce, and James Arcadi. Foreword invites listeners into the mission of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School through conversations with faculty, staff, and guests.
 
James Arcadi
Welcome to Foreword, a podcast from faculty at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. I’m James Arcadi. We’re really excited that you’re joining us today for this, our very first episode. Our hope for the podcast, overall, is to be introducing you to some of the excellent faculty here at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School—some of the things that our faculty are working on in terms of their research, some of the ways in which they’re engaging with the church, some of the ways in which they are excited about the students they are interacting with. And so, most of our episodes on a regular basis are going to be a couple of us hosts of this podcast interviewing and having a conversation with other faculty members here from the school.  

This episode, however, is a little bit different in that we thought it would be helpful for us to take an opportunity to introduce each other. We are going to kind of interview one another around…roughly around a circle, getting to know all of the various hosts of this podcast, who we are, kind of where we’re coming from, what drew us to teaching…what drew us to teaching in a theological environment like TEDS, maybe some of the research we are engaged in, and maybe some witty banter as the case may arise. So we hope you enjoy getting to know us a little bit better, as we got to know each other better as well.[THEME MUSIC ENDS]

Arcadi
[00:01:40] We’re really excited about our conversation today, where we first off, get to introduce each other, uh, to the listeners of this podcast. I’m Dr. James Arcadi. I teach Systematic Theology here at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. And, I’m going to pass it around to some other folks who are on the mic today.

Madison Pierce
[00:01:58] Hey, I’m Madison Pierce. I teach New Testament. 

Josh Jipp 
[00:02:00] My name’s Joshua Jipp. I also teach New Testament. 

Michelle Knight 
[00:02:03] My name is Michelle Knight, and I teach Old Testament. 

Arcadi
[00:02:06] So those are some of the voices you’re going to hear today. Today’s episode—we’re going to be introducing ourselves and one another by interviewing each other. So we’re going to start off with Madison Pierce, who is assistant professor of New Testament. And, um, I’m just kinda curious, Madison, as to how you got into studying New Testament. What…what led you into that field?

Pierce 
[00:02:24] When I was relatively young, I really got into theology, and from there, I mean, I really—I would think I was like 14 whenever I first articulated that I wanted to be a teacher or a theologian—and there was a little bit of a windy road that led me to actually studying it in university. But, one of the very first classes I took was actually Theology of Paul the Apostle. We’ll talk a lot about Paul on here—

Jipp 
[00:02:45] Wonderful!
 
Pierce
[00:02:46] —I’m sure. Um, but you know, reading…reading that and just getting my feet wet, I don’t think I ever thought about doing anything else. Um, eventually turned toward, um, some non-Pauline texts, but, um, but I’m…yeah.

Arcadi 
[00:03:01] You mentioned non-Pauline texts, so the book of Hebrews is what you worked on for your…your PhD. How did you get drawn to that particular book? 

Pierce 
[00:03:08] Um, in a similar vein, when I was in undergrad, I started just kind of exploring a little bit. One of the courses that I signed up for was Hebrews and General Epistles.
And, uh, traditionally my background—you know, I had been in a church where maybe the Old Testament wasn’t privileged in the way that I think it might should have been. The law was talked about in a really negative way—but, as soon as I started digging into Hebrews, I saw that the Old Testament is essential to our understanding of Christ, and Christ is essential, of course, to our understanding of the Old Testament, and that, plus the way that the author argues, and just different things just really pulled me into the text. And so, I guess I’ve been formally studying Hebrews for the better part of a decade now. 

Arcadi 
[00:03:51] Wow, fantastic! Um, now I know just a little bit about your research, and I know the phrase “prosopological exegesis.”

Knight 
[00:03:58] [LAUGHS]

Arcadi 
[00:03:58]—It’s a super fun one to say, but can you say a little bit more about what that is and how you utilize that in your…in your research? 

Pierce
[00:04:05] Sure! Um, so my thesis is looking at spoken quotations of Scripture in Hebrews, and I use prosopological exegesis as kind of a method for getting into that. And, um…and PE, or prosopological exegesis—let’s see how many times I can actually say that on the mic today without stumbling—

Arcadi 
[00:04:22] It’s fun the first time, then it gets tricky.

Pierce
[00:04:23] Yeah. I’m a little over it now. Um, basically, it’s a reading strategy where texts of Scripture are re-read in light of a new character. Um, so you have something like, uh, the quotation of Psalm 22—we find it all over the Gospels, but particularly it’s, you know, one of Jesus’ final words in Matthew and Mark where it’s, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” And so, rather than thinking of this as kind of a…a general righteous sufferer or something like that, the evangelists actually identify Jesus as the character within that Psalm.

Arcadi
[00:05:01] That’s fantastic. Yeah, that’s really fascinating. Um, uh, in…in other aspects of your work on, on Hebrews, like what was kind of like the…the angle of getting at that particular method for, you know, doing the exegesis that you do in that book? Like, why…why that?

Pierce 
[00:05:14] It was a little bit of a long road. Um, so my professor for the Hebrews and General Epistles class knew that this was where I was going—this is a shout-out to Joey Dodson. Um, he asked me at some point, you know, “What does Hebrew say about the Spirit?” And so I thought, “I don’t know.” Um, so I started to dig in and found that typically scholars really minimize the role of the Spirit in particular in Hebrews scholarship. I mean, there are quotations of, um, people like Barnabas Lindars who say, “There is no Theology of the Spirit in Hebrews, ”and that seemed woefully inadequate for me. So I started to look at a couple of, um…or, a couple of mentions of the Spirit in particular. And one of the ones that really jumped out at me was the quotation of scripture of Psalm 95 in Hebrews 3:7 and following, and there it’s the Spirit. Just the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts…” But then as I continue to look at that, um, in English translations, after that first, um, the first long quotation, the word “God” is inserted at various points, but the speaker is never clarified. Um, and so I thought, “Given the way that Scripture is quoted elsewhere in Hebrews, is it not possible that the Spirit is actually a consistent speaker all throughout Hebrews 3 and 4?” And so, you know, looking at the Spirit actually led me to looking at speech more, um, more broadly. And so, I went to Durham, um, and started in on kind of a, basically an MA at Durham and wrote a dissertation there on, um..on the Spirit speaking in Hebrews 3 and 4 and made a big case for that linguistically, um, and then, you know, looking at some intertextual links and stuff. And then, um, uh…typically when you study with Francis Watson, your project does not get more narrow—it gets more broad, and that was the case for me as well. And so rather than just looking at the Spirit, we ended up looking at Father, Son, and Spirit.

Arcadi 
[00:07:10] All three, huh?

Pierce 
[00:07:11] Yeah. 

Arcadi 
[00:07:12] How was that transition going from—you did your M.Div here at TEDS. Uh, how was the transition going to the British PhD after your degree here? 

Pierce 
[00:07:20] The…I ended up doing something that Durham calls an “Integrated PhD,” which is why I did that kind of taught year where I did the equivalent of an MA, and that actually allowed me to get my feet wet a little bit and to acclimate to the British system to begin working with Francis, and so that was really valuable for me. Um…it was in that time that, you know, I’d been at a Southern Baptist university. Um…I came here, and then I was all of a sudden at a public university in Britain. And so the transition to the opportunity to actually have some like, re–…um…some conversations about critical methods and all of that—um…it was a really new thing for me. So, in Walter Moberly’s course on Theological Interpretation of Scripture, for example, we really got into the question of how our faith—or if our faith contributes to our scholarship, and what it contributes, and if that was a positive or negative contribution. So, I think that’s one of the ways that I had a little bit of a shock to my system, but in the…in the long run, I consider that to be one of the most formative experiences that I’ve had. 

Arcadi 
[00:08:23] Cool. That’s awesome. So, um, originally from the Texas area, right? Texas?

Pierce 
[00:08:27] The Texas area, yes. [LAUGHS]

Arcadi 
[00:08:28] Yeah, ok. And then time here in this Chicagoland area, the UK, Canada…

Pierce
[00:08:34] Yeah. 

Arcadi
[00:08:35] What are some of your favorite places that you’ve lived? 

Pierce 
[00:08:36] Durham is the top place—

Arcadi
[00:08:39] Easily, yeah?

Pierce 
[00:08:40] —on the list for me easily, yes. We loved—Durham is a really special place for my husband and me, Curtis, and we’re really excited to be back in the Midwest because there are a lot of people here that are really special to us. But, um, we’re…I think we’re, um…as British as the Brits will allow us to be. 

Arcadi 
[00:08:57] How about that? Um, another…another fun question, if you don’t mind. 

Pierce
[00:09:00] [LAUGHS] Sure, James! 

Arcadi 
[00:09:02] What, um…favorite ice cream flavor, and why? 

Pierce
[00:09:06] [LAUGHS] It’s so funny because I actually thought about this as a weird question that one of you might ask me, and I just thought, “I won’t be able to come up with anything except mint chocolate chip.”

Arcadi 
[00:09:16] That, in my mind, is the best flavor of ice cream. 

Pierce
[00:09:19] It is very good!

Jipp 
[00:09:21] Wait, it’s your favorite?

Pierce 
[00:09:22] I think so, but for two reasons, because I think it’s delicious, but also because, um…my husband will not eat it

Jipp 
[00:09:27] Mmhmm.

Pierce 
[00:09:28]—And so, if it’s in the house, it’s mine. 

Jipp 
[00:09:31] It’s yours. I’m like Curtis. It’s my least favorite.

Knight
[00:09:33] It’s my least favorite as well.—

Pierce
[00:09:33] He won’t eat anything mint.—

Arcadi
[00:09:35] My wife will not touch it with like, a 10-foot spoon.
 
Jipp 
[00:09:37] So it sounds like it’s pretty controversial—

Knight
[00:09:40] She’s a wise and discerning woman.—

Arcadi 
[00:09:40] It’s very controversial. [LAUGHS] I love it, though. I think it’s fantastic. Um…just briefly to the—on the horizon here, uh…what kind of research products do you have coming up down the pike?

Pierce 
[00:09:51] I am currently working on—I mean, some smaller stuff here and there, but longer projects—I’m working on a book on Messiah language in Hebrews and then working on a textbook with Ruth Anne Reese on Hebrews to Revelation, with Baker. I’m really excited. 

Arcadi 
[00:10:03] Fantastic. That sounds great! I’m going to hand it on to Madison now, who’s going to take us into our next, um…uh, interview.

Pierce
[00:010:11] I have the distinct privilege of interviewing Josh Jipp. Josh—

Jipp 
[00:010:15] You…that sounds like a little tongue in cheek. 

Pierce 
[00:10:19] It’s absolutely tongue in cheek.

Jipp 
[00:10:20] Okay.—

Pierce 
[00:10:21] Yeah. I’m glad that—
Jipp 
[00:10:22] Alright. Just wanted to make sure I could pick up on that.

Pierce 
[00:010:23] I hope that you at home are picking up on that as well.

Jipp 
[00:10:25] Yeah. Okay, let’s go! 

Pierce 
[00:10:27] [LAUGHS] Josh, can you tell us a little bit about how you ended up back here at TEDS? 

Jipp 
[00:10:32] So I also did my Masters of Divinity here—uh, 2002 to 2005. Um, had a year of teaching adjunct at Northwestern College, did a ThM at Duke, PhD at Emory in Atlanta, and was very surprised when, uh…the head of the New Testament department, David Pao, asked if I would be interested in teaching at TEDS. And I was! I love TEDS. I had a great experience here. The students were great. So, to make a long story short, started the interview process and came back here in the spring of 2012. 

Pierce
[00:11:06] Very cool. Can you tell us a little bit about your family? 

Jipp 
[00:11:09] So I met my wife here. We’ve been married now almost 14 years—Amber. We were Greek teaching fellows at the same time, and yeah, we both did Masters of Divinity. We started to date my very last semester here. So Amber, she has worked in college ministry now for 13 or 14 years. Uh, I guess it’d be about 11 years with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Northwestern in Evanston, Emory in Atlanta, a few years here in Chicago, and now she works at North Park University as, um…basically spiritual formation director. We have two boys—Josiah is eight and Lukas is seven—and we just adopted a five-year-old girl from India, and her name’s Sapna. 

Pierce 
[00:12:00] Fantastic. And, can you tell us a little bit about your research? What are you doing right now? What have you done previously? What’s your area?

Jipp 
[00:12:07] Yeah. So I think I could probably say in some ways, my research has been focused on two broad themes in the New Testament. One would be hospitality to strangers, and while I still speak in churches at times, not doing any more writing for the most part on that topic. The other topic has been Messianism in the New Testament. So, I wrote a book about Paul’s Christology called, Christ Is King, and then I have a book coming out with Eerdmans next year called, A Messianic Theology of the New Testament. At this point now, I have a couple of different projects I’m interested in as well, but just on the cusp of starting research for them. One of them—maybe that I’m most interested right now—has a tentative title, something like, Pauline Theology as a Way of Life, and it’s really looking at putting Paul in conversation with Hellenistic philosophy, not just in terms of sources and similarities and analogies, sort of the— well, in my—in our—field, the classic Abraham Malherbe approach. But, more thinking about, “What does Paul have to say, and does he have something to say about what the goal of human existence is?” And, if he has something to say about the goal of human existence, what are practical strategies and topics he addresses in terms of, how to face adversity, suffering, grief, joy, emotions…things along those lines. 

Pierce 
[00:13:35] Is there a particular reason that you’ve gotten into that in particular? 

Josh Jipp 
[00:13:37] Uh…I mean, I do love…I love the whole New Testament. I certainly have always been fascinated by Paul, but I’m also interested in ways that we can, in our fields—how do I say it? Not…not only in talk about theology under sort of classical, doctrinal loci—God, humankind, sin and salvation. I think those are really, really important. But also, how can we talk about New Testament texts in a bit more of a self-involving way, that’s not…not abstracted, not only sort of dogmatic, but is really saying, “Here’s what Paul says friendship looks like,” “Here’s what Paul says…”—as I already mentioned— “…how to face adversity well—looks like for the Christian…” 

Pierce 
[00:14:27] But you’re not calling that a theological reading.

Jipp 
[00:14:31] Am I calling it a theological reading? Not at this point, no. 

Pierce 
[00:14:34] Okay.

Jipp 
[00:14:34] Why?

Pierce
[00:14:35] I’m just wondering why you wouldn’t call it a theological reading.

Jipp 
[00:14:40] I’ll have to think about it. 

Pierce 
[00:14:41] Okay

Jipp 
[00:14:42] Yeah 

Pierce 
[00:14:45] Cool. Have you ever won any contests that you’re particularly proud of? 

Jipp 
[00:14:50] Uh, let’s see. I assume this is a leading question, and I did win $325 karaoke money when I was an MDiv student here. 

Arcadi
[00:15:02] Fantastic.
Jipp 
[00:15:03] Yeah!

Pierce 
[00:15:04] And you have a go-to karaoke song—Josh actually talks about this constantly. 

Jipp
[00:15:08] No, I just…Okay. Yeah, maybe constantly, it’s—that might be true. But I’m now… I’m turning 40 in a few days, and uh, I feel as though it’s time to put away some of these childish and foolish things that I pursued in the past. So, dance moves—

Pierce 
[00:15:20] Josh jumped out of my office yesterday, but go ahead—

Jipp
[00:15:22] —Dance moves…dance moves like Copa for Copacabana—I’m not going to do those anymore, probably. 

Pierce 
[00:15:27] Okay.

Jipp
[00:15:28] Yeah. So you—

Knight 
[00:15:29] I’m so sorry—you’re going to continue to sing the song, just without the dance moves?

Jipp 
[00:15:35] I just feel like I need to pursue dignity a little bit—

Knight 
[00:15:40] Sure.

Jipp 
[00:15:40] —better than what I’ve done in the past. 

Knight 
[00:15:41] Yeah, thank you so much.

Jipp 
[00:15:41] So…so, yeah, you—none of you here have seen it. Many other faculty, other students have seen it, so I’m sorry to say you’re all missing out. 

Pierce
[00:15:54] Yeah…[JIPP LAUGHS] Okay. Thanks, Josh. I’m going to turn it over to you…

Jipp
[00:15:59] All right, well, that was fun. Um…now it’s time to talk to Dr. Michelle Knight, Assistant Professor of Old Testament. Uh…Michelle, you also did your MDiv here, correct? 
Knight 
[00:16:09] I did.

Jipp 
[00:16:10] Um, tell us a little bit about what led you to pursue an MDiv here at TEDS. 

Knight
[00:16:16] Oh, yeah. Uh, well during my undergrad, I got super excited about studying the text—about studying Scripture—and about helping other people to read it well, particularly those who are preparing to preach or something like that. Uh, and so, I was looking for a place where I would learn how to read texts really well, but that it would have a ministry focus and would be focused on, uh, strengthening the church. Uh, and so TEDS was obvious, especially because of its concentration on languages, which was something I was super excited about.

Pierce
[00:16:49] Did you meet anyone interesting while you were at TEDS? 

Knight 
[00:16:51] Uh, I mean, nobody is super significant. Uh, no, but when I was a TEDS, actually, I started with a bright young scholar, uh, who was named Madison Pierce, and we actually did our whole TEDS thing together. 

Jipp 
[00:17:01] I re—I remember that. I remember…I’m old enough that I remember seeing the two of you roaming the halls together.

Knight 
[00:17:07] That’s true. 

Pierce 
[00:17:08] I actually was talking about Tom McCall, but anyway. 

Knight 
[00:17:10] Yeah. 

[LAUGHTER]

Jipp 
[00:17:11] Tom! How’d he make it into this conversation? So anybody that knows you, Michelle, knows that you…you love Judges. 

Knight 
[00:17:19] Sure. 

Jipp 
[00:17:20] Right? 

Knight 
[00:17:21] Particularly the book in the Bible.

Jipp 
[00:17:25] Yes. That’s what I meant, right? 

Knight 
[00:17:27] Okay, sure.

Jipp 
[00:17:28] Um, yeah. Listener, I hope that you picked up “the book in the Bible.” Um…why— give us…give us the most compelling reason why a pastor—a student—should care about the book of Judges.

Knight 
[00:17:41] The book of Judges is utterly preachable. 

Jipp 
[00:17:43] Okay. 

Knight
[00:17:44] It engages, uh, kind of, our current—our contemporary cultural situation with very little hurdles to…to kind of move through. I find students really frequently saying, “I feel like the world’s just getting worse, things are…are so horrific,” talking about, uh, just…you know, the terrible crimes we’re hearing about—what they see on the news—and just not sure how to process that. And every now and again, I can pull out Judges and be like—

Jipp 
[00:18:05] Hmm, yeah.

Knight
[00:18:05]—actually, it turns out this kind of depravity is sort of standard in the world, and it’s nothing that stopped God before. We shouldn’t expect it to stop him now. Uh, and so I think that we can turn there and say, “What does it look like for a group of people fighting to remain faithful in a world that has abandoned God?” And, Judges does that exactly, and that’s the question the church is asking. 

Jipp 
[00:18:27] That’s great. And were you interested in that when you came here to TEDS to do your MDiv, or is that something that developed later?

Knight 
[00:18:33] Yeah, it definitely developed later. I took an excellent class on Judges with Lawson Younger while I was here, and the paper I wrote for that class actually became the basis of my dissertation. 

Jipp 
[00:18:46] Okay.

Knight 
[00:18:47] So it was…it was a class here where I kind of became aware of the depth of the book and its applicability for the church and that sort of thing.

Jipp
[00:18:52] Okay, so that’s what you worked on. Can you tell us just a little bit about your graduate school and what you, what you worked on? It was Judges, it sounds like, right? 

Knight
[00:18:59] For my doctoral work?

Jipp 
[00:19:00] Sorry. For your doctoral work, yeah. 

Michelle Knight 
[00:19:02] Yeah, yeah! Uh…my doctoral work was in Judges. I looked at the song of Deborah specifically, and its narrative function within the book of Judges. So my question was sort of, “Why is there a song in the middle of the book?”—assuming that there’s an editorial choice happening where the author, the editor, the composer of the book, put it there for a purpose. And so I…the dissertation explored why that was the case. And I concluded that it had kind of a structural function—it sort of summarized the first half of the book and prepared us for the second half, so it had kind of a hermeneutical guidance for the reader. It helped the reader realize that ultimately what the Israelites were struggling with was the theological understanding—their theological knowledge, their…the way that they interpreted God’s action in history was deficient, and it kept them from being faithful. And so they needed to reimagine their history with God being a more active character. 

Jipp 
[00:19:56] Great. 

Knight
[00:19:57] Yeah.

Jipp 
[00:19:58] Um, one time I was walking through the TEDS parking lot and I think I saw your car that had an Apple sticker on the back of it. Is that correct? 

Knight 
[00:20:05] That’s correct, yes.

Jipp 
[00:20:06] Can you just tell us, do you work for Apple or what’s…why was the sticker on your car? 

Knight
[00:20:12] I…I do not work for Apple. I…um…I suppose that I’m sort of an aficionado—

Jipp 
[00:20:21] Okay.

Knight
[00:20:22]—When it comes to Apple products. I…do, in fact, appreciate a certain—[LAUGHS]—I don’t even know how to answer this question, Josh.

[JIPP LAUGHS]

I like Apple stuff, man—

Jipp 
[00:20:35] Okay, okay!

Knight
[00:20:36]—I’m one of those people.—
Jipp 
[00:20:37] No, that’s fine! Yeah.

Pierce
[00:20:39] Can I jump in a little bit? 

Jipp 
[00:20:39] Sure.

Pierce
[00:20:40] So, Josh once told me that he thought that Apple was a huge part of Michelle’s identity—

Knight
[00:20:47] It’s not—
Pierce
[00:20:47] Which, this brings us back to the question—

Jipp 
[00:20:48] The sticker’s on the car—

Pierce
[00:20:50] Okay.—

Jipp 
[00:20:50] So…that seems like a plausible endorsement, yeah.—
 
Pierce
[00:20:52] I know, I’m not questioning that. This is a segue. This is a segue because I realized that—I’m so sorry, I forgot to ask you a really important question. Is there anything that you would classify as an important part of your identity? 

Jipp 
[00:21:01] Lots of things!

Pierce
[00:21:02] Okay. Apart from your relationship with Christ, what’s like, the next thing?

Jipp 
[00:21:06] It’s not that I don’t have a smartphone, and I know that’s what you’re getting at. 

Pierce
[00:21:08] You’ve told me that at least six times since I got here in the autumn.

Jipp 
[00:21:11] Yeah, it is…it’s an attempt to try to…probably prove my moral superiority, but let’s—

[ARCADI LAUGHS]

—should…should we get back to Michelle?

Knight 
[00:21:22] Is that maybe why you’re so concerned with my love for Apple?

Jipp 
[00:21:28] No, I’m not concerned! I just thought…no, it’s interesting. Like, I don’t have a sticker of Iowa State Cyclones or Minnesota Twins or Chicago Bears—

Knight 
[00:21:36] Mmm. Sure.

Jipp 
[00:21:36] —But that’s what I would put on my car if I did put a sticker on my car.
 
Knight 
[00:21:36] First of all, uh, Madison, didn’t you guys have an Apple sticker on your car?

Pierce
[00:21:42] We did.

Knight 
[00:21:43] Okay, just want to clarify—

Pierce
[00:21:44] But we do not…it’s been the better part of a decade since we have, if you want to throw stones. 

Knight 
[00:21:50][LAUGHS] I think my only point is there was a time, I mean—Apple gives you stickers with every product—

Pierce
[00:21:55] Every product.

Knight 
[00:21:55] —and I was like, where should I put this? I guess on my car—

Jipp 
[00:21:57] On your car, yeah.

Knight 
[00:21:58] —and now, my toddler can recognize our car and by saying, “Mama! Apple!”

Jipp 
[00:22:01] Yeah. Yeah, that’s great.—

Knight 
[00:22:03] —and so, now it’s just—

Jipp 
[00:21:04] He probably was one of those kids that learned how to use a smartphone, like so advanced when he was 18 months, I bet. 

Knight 
[00:22:08] I’d like to pretend that that’s not the case and that I’m a better parent than that, but it turns out I’m not, and that is, in fact, true.

Jipp 
[00:22:12] [LAUGHS] All right. Let’s move to more important conversations, can I—do I have time for one more? 

Arcadi
[00:22:15] Yup!

Pierce
[00:22:15] Yeah!

Jipp 
[00:22:16] All right. Uh, what are you most excited about teaching this upcoming year?
 
Knight 
[00:22:24] This upcoming year, I’m teaching Old Testament Theology for the very first time, and that’s by far my passion.

Jipp 
[00:22:32] Ok, cool.

Knight 
[00:22:32] —I’m super excited to talk about it. Uh..one of the things we need to do when we engage the Old Testament is to make sure that we don’t only study it in its textual kind of form or its historical context, but we also make sure that we are considering what it contributes to our understanding of God, what its thematic content is, and hermeneutically how we deal with those sorts of things within the broad scope of scripture.

Jipp 
[00:22:56] That sounds great. I never had a class like that. I would love to take it. 

Knight 
[00:23:00] Yeah…well, you probably should. It’s full, though. Sorry, Josh.
 
Jipp 
[00:23:02] Alright, okay. Your turn, Michelle. 

Knight
[00:23:04] All right. Uh, it is my distinct pleasure to interview the assistant professor of—is it systematic theology or biblical and—

Arcadi 
[00:23:13] Biblical and Systematic Theology is the name of the department.

Knight 
[00:23:17] Okay, well I’ll be talking to Dr. James Arcadi, who will be apparently educating me about departments at my own school.— 

[ARCADI LAUGHS]

James, can you tell me a little bit about the distinctives of this department, especially in so far as we’re pretty passionate about talking about biblical and systematic theology?

Arcadi 
[00:23:35] Well, I love two things about our department. One is the way in which, um…the Bible and systematic theology aren’t at all in competition with one another, as you might see in some institutions or some departments. But rather, we see these as…as mutually edifying and encouraging of one another. And so, you know, we think it’s important to do hardcore exegesis, but also be in dialogue with the tradition of the Church and have good, um, sort of philosophical engagement with the…the doctrines that are in play when we’re thinking about theology. And so, um, I love that about our department. Um, we’re also fairly ecumenical within a broadly Evangelical spectrum, so we’ve got myself—I come from the Anglican tradition—we’ve got a Methodist, Lutheran…you know, Evangelical Free representatives in the…in the department, and we all get along really well, even amidst some, you know, theological differences. So, those are two great things I think about our ST department here. 

Knight
[00:24:30] Absolutely. Now, James, you mentioned that, uh…you are an Anglican. You’re ordained with the ACNA, is that right?

Arcadi
[00:24:33] That’s right! Anglican church in North America. 

Knight 
[00:24:34] How long have you been ordained, and are you serving now, and, kind of, how does that intersect with your role here on campus and what you teach? Just tell us a little bit about…

Arcadi 
[00:24:44] Yeah, great. Yeah, so I’ve always had a bit of a vision to serve both the local church as well as the academy. And so, I kind of progressed along through my discerning a call to ordination while I was doing my…my ThM—uh, not at TEDS, so I’m the lone non-TEDS graduate here on this panel, apparently—went to Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary for my MDiv—

[LAUGHTER]

Jipp 
[00:25:05] Just get that in there.

Arcadi 
[00:25:06] —and my ThM, just for the record—um, at any rate, but, uh…so yeah, so trying to see my work in the church, for the church as well as in the Academy as, I don’t know, encouraging one another. So I was ordained a deacon in 2009, and then a priest in 2010 in the Anglican Church in North America, so just about a little over a decade of ordained ministry. And, I’ve just always tried to do something in the local church, and depending upon what I’ve been doing academically, that’s been more or less—at one point, I was like…I was leading the college group for the church that we were at when we were in the Boston area. Uh, now the last year, just being relatively new here at TEDS, I kind of preach a couple of times a semester, um, at All Souls Anglican Church down in Wheaton, Illinois, which is where my family and I live and where I’ve been able to serve for the last year or so. Um, so…so for me, they really inform one another. What I kind of work on academically is…is drawn from the issues I see as still facing the church in the local church environment as well as, you know, on the national and global scale as well. And likewise for me, it helps me to kind of be grounded when I’m doing my academic work that’s not just, I don’t know, highfalutin, ivory tower stuff. It actually, you know, matters for what I might be preaching in the next…in the next Sunday. 

Knight 
[00:26:25] Good. Uh, James, now you mentioned that you are new and that you’re living here in Wheaton, Illinois. You and I both started here at TEDS last year. Uh, where were you previously and where…where’s home, like, where would you call that?

Arcadi 
[00:26:39] Uh, where is home when one’s an academic? Uh, born and raised in Southern California—suburbs, Los Angeles—spent the first 22 years of my life there. Went to Biola University, which was not too far where I grew up, but then it was 10 years in the Boston area for Gordon Conwell and doing my PhD and the like as well out there. So that was a significant decade. All three of my kids were born there—

Knight 
[00:27:04] It’s a big decade.

Arcadi 
[00:27:04]—on the north shore of Boston and do have a…a lot of affinity still for that area. It was back to LA, so three years I was at—after I finished my PhD, I was a…a postdoctoral research fellow at Fuller Theological Seminary. So there in Pasadena area, north of LA, for three years before coming out to Chicagoland and started here in the fall of 2018 when we started together. So, and here in Chicagoland, in the Midwest, for a year and a half, still getting used to not having an ocean. All of that big lake to the east is, is close.

Knight 
[00:27:39] It’s ocean-y. 

Arcadi 
[00:27:40]—Ocean-y. I like that. 

Knight 
[00:27:41] Mmhmm. Uh, tell me this, what is the best and worst part about living in the Midwest? 

Arcadi 
[00:27:46] The best and worst part? I am not a big fan of the cold. You might imagine someone having been born in LA, um, gets a little bit tired of when the…the thermostat doesn’t get above, well, 50, but, um…we don’t see much of that. What do I love about being here? I do think that there’s really great people out in the Midwest, no denigration of people in LA or Boston, but there’s a certain family orientation to the Midwest that I think is really refreshing, and we still have a little bit of that, I don’t know, sort of, “small town” feel at times within this part of the country.

Pierce
[00:28:17] Can you say something about Midwestern food? 

Arcadi 
[00:28:19] I can say that, um, it’s the kind of food you might want when you’re trying to get warm for the cold, long months— 

[LAUGHTER]

Jipp 
[00:28:27] Mmm. A good tuna casserole.

Pierce 
[00:28:28] Or build some, uh, fat?

Arcadi 
[00:28:29] You know, if you need some extra insulation, these people know what to do. 

Jipp 
[00:28:35] Mmhmm. We should take a field trip to my home in Iowa.

Knight 
[00:28:40] For what reason?

Pierce 
[00:28:41] Thanks for that, Josh.

Knight 
[00:28:42] [LAUGHS] That’s a great idea, Josh. Thank you for that!

[LAUGHTER]

Arcadi 
[00:28:44] And what will we be eating there? 

Jipp
[00:28:47] Midwestern food. 

Arcadi 
[00:28:48] Yeah.

Jipp
[00:28:49] Yeah. 

Knight 
[00:28:50] Of the highest caliber, I can imagine.

Jipp
[00:28:51] Pork chops, baked potatoes, tuna casserole, jello salad. 

Knight 
[00:28:54] Y’all, Midwestern food is my jam, but James constantly looks uncomfortable at gatherings because we’re feeding him this sort of terrible food. Uh, have you acclimated?

Arcadi 
[00:29:02] [LAUGHS] I mean, it wouldn’t hurt to have…It wouldn’t hurt to have a vegetable without sauce on it.

[PIERCE LAUGHS]

Knight 
[00:29:05] I’m not sure about that. I have some questions.

Jipp
[00:29:08] That sounds disgusting! Why?!

[LAUGHTER]

Knight 
[00:29:10] Yeah, that’s silly, James. 
Arcadi 
[00:29:11] That is the way, maybe, God made it!

Josh Jipp 
[00:29:15] Last night I was cooking up broccoli. Lukas right away was like, “There’s oyster sauce going in that, right Dad?” 

[LAUGHTER]

Like, “Yes. This is not going to be just like—

Knight 
[00:29:23] What a great kid. 

Josh Jipp 
[00:29:23] —plain broccoli.”

Knight 
[00:29:26] What a great kid. I like him so much.

Arcadi 
[00:29:27] [LAUGHS] Ugh, man. 

Knight 
[00:29:28] So James, let me tell you that—or, let me ask you this. I mean, you moved to this desolate country, uh, I presume because you wanted to be at TEDS and something about TEDS felt right to you. So why did you choose TEDS? Why is this a good institution for you to be working and teaching?

Arcadi 
[00:29:41] Oh, absolutely. I mean, I…I do tell people I’m not here for the weather. I am here for the job. And TEDS is…is a fantastic place to be, and I think just as I mentioned earlier with my own call to both the church and to the academy, TEDS was on my radar before, as, you know, a well-known Evangelical seminary. And the reputation that I had prior to coming here was that it did a good job of balancing out the academic and the pastoral. When I came here, I just didn’t realize how deep that actually ran. This place is both more academic and more pastorally engaged, or engaged with…with the ministry of the church than I had even anticipated. And so, to see students who are really just working hard on theology, and they’re working hard on their languages, and they’re working hard to understand what…what the Bible says, and yet they have—they do so for…with an eye to the church, with an eye to the ministry, with an eye to evangelism, to missions, and the practical ways that they’re going to go out and live out what they’re learning here. It’s just like, super refreshing, and I…and I just—it feels very comfortable for me to be in a place where those…those two sides—which in other places maybe are kind of pitted against one another, but for here, they just…they really encourage one another, and I think that’s fantastic.

Knight 
[00:30:50] Excellent. 

Arcadi 
[00:30:51] [LAUGHS] It’s worth…It’s worth -5°.

Knight 
[00:30:53] Yeah, well thank you.

Jipp 
[00:30:54] There’s only four months left of winter, so…

[ARCADI LAUGHS]

Knight 
[00:30:56] That’s a dirty lie. It can go—I mean, think about it. It really can go longer. 

Pierce
[00:31:00] I mean, four more months is like April or… 

Knight 
[00:31:04] I mean, it snowed in May last year. 

Jipp 
[00:31:05] It’s going to be like, April…April, yeah.

Knight 
[00:31:06] Okay. All right. That’s fair. That’s fair.

Arcadi 
[00:31:10] I like…I like two weeks of winter. That’s about my tolerance level. 

Knight 
[00:31:12] [LAUGHS] Oh, that’s nice. Well, I’m so glad that you’ve made it thus far.

[ARCADI LAUGHS]

One final question, James.— 

Arcadi 
[00:31:18] Sure.

Knight 
[00:31:19] I know that you’ve been writing up a storm. Is there anything we should watch for from you in the next year or so? 

Arcadi 
[00:31:25] Well, I mean, just released, my former doctoral advisor, Oliver Crisp, and one of his other students, Jordan Westling, just had written a bit in the Brill Research Perspectives and Theology series, on The Nature and Promise of Analytic Theology. So that’s just out, and we also the…the three of us have just edited a volume on philosophical and theological essays on love, which is out from T&T Clark, so that’s what has just recently come out, like within the last month or so. On the horizon, I’m working—I’ve been on some other editing projects. So another colleague of mine, J.T. Turner of Anderson University—we’re editing the T&T Clark Handbook of Analytic Theology, which is going to go through various loci of systematic theology—I think we have about 38 or so essays on these various topics in theology, but from a…sort of a philosophical perspective. So, that’s one of the major projects I have coming up down the pike. 

Knight 
[00:32:15] Excellent. Well, we’ll watch for that. So James, you’re one of the founding members of this podcast. What is it that you’re excited about in terms of what we’re going to do here? 

Arcadi 
[00:32:24] Well, I’m really excited…one of the visions we have for this podcast is to be talking with other TEDS faculty members about the research that they’re working on. And I think there’s just like, so much really exciting stuff going on—books being published and edited, articles being written, research projects being engaged, and…and so I’m just delighted and excited to be able to talk with some of my colleagues about the things that they’re working on.
And, especially those things in areas that I don’t know much about, and so we want to make sure that we have a wide diversity of folks from biblical studies and counseling and…and theology as well, and so just to kind of learn from my colleagues the things that they are…they’re interested in.

Knight 
[00:32:57] Yeah. That’s what I get super excited about, because it’s really easy for us to sort of do our academic research in a vacuum, and this format—among others—allows us to have conversations with those outside of our disciplines, but also to invite people, you know, outside of the room into conversations about like, our specific research and hopefully to become, you know, more rounded scholars and church people.

Jipp 
[00:33:19] Mmhmm. I think, too, it’s fun to hear how much our colleagues have a passion for the church and how they all have really interesting, thoughtful answers for how their research and their teaching connects with the life of the local church, so I’m looking forward to hearing some of those conversations from our faculty as well.

Pierce 
[00:33:42] This is probably like the least pious answer, but I also think we have a lot of fun together and so it’ll be a good opportunity for us to kind of let people in on that, but also to get to know some of our colleagues more and just…yeah.

Jipp 
[00:33:56] Yeah. I hope they’re all as fun as we are. 

Pierce 
[00:33:58] [LAUGHS] There’s no way they’re as fun as you, Josh.

[LAUGHTER]

Arcadi 
[00:33:59] A high bar’s been set. A high bar’s been set.

Knight
[00:34:00] Wow, wow, wow. 

[THEME MUSIC BEGINS]

Arcadi 
[00:34:04] We hope you enjoyed getting to know us a little bit better. We enjoyed getting to know each other a little bit better, even though we’ve known each other—some of us for awhile. It’s always fun to get some insight into the personalities and experiences of our colleagues here at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. As I mentioned before, typically our episodes are going to consist of us interacting with a fair amount of other faculty members here at the seminary—what they are researching, what they’re excited about teaching, the ways in which they engage their work for the church, and so we hope you’ll stick with us and check out those episodes as they come up.

Outro
Foreword is a podcast hosted by faculty at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. You can subscribe to our newest episodes on your preferred podcast app or at forewordpodcast.com. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and Facebook @forewordpodcast to get updates and additional links to content. Trinity Evangelical Divinity School is located 25 miles north of Chicago, with extension sites across the country and online. Trinity educates men and women to engage in God’s redemptive work in the world by cultivating academic excellence, Christian faithfulness, and lifelong learning. You can find more information at teds.edu.
 
[THEME MUSIC ENDS]

Jipp 
[00:35:21] So one of my favorite things about doing this podcast is we get to see Madison’s humor on display. She just makes us all laugh so much, and I’ve…I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her husband, Curtis. He’s also very funny, but he’s—

Knight 
[00:35:36] He might be funnier.

Jipp 
[00:35:38] —I don’t think he’s really…eh, I don’t know. You think so?

Knight 
[00:35:40] I mean, I feel like there’s a discussion to be had here. There’s different types of humor in each case. Madison’s is admittedly a lot wittier. 

Jipp 
[00:35:46] Yeah, ok. Yeah, I would agree with that.—

Pierce 
[00:35:48] Michelle actually—

Jipp 
[00:35:48] Curtis is more athletic. I’ve seen that. I know—

Arcadi 
[00:35:51] Athletic humor?

[KNIGHT LAUGHS]

Pierce 
[00:35:52] You’ve never seen me in action!

Jipp
[00:35:54] Yeah, but I’ve seen him. There’s no way. 

Knight 
[00:35:55] She has like, 80 knee surgeries because she’s such an athlete.

Jipp
[00:35:57] Is that true?
 
Pierce
[00:35:58] Six, but yes.

Jipp
[00:36:00] What…what was your sport?

Pierce
[00:36:02] Soccer.

Jipp
[00:36:02] Really? I didn’t know that!

Pierce
[00:36:03] Yeah! I lettered in soccer.

Jipp
[00:36:05] No way!—

Arcadi 
[00:36:08] Fantastic!

Jipp
[00:36:08] —And you actually had knee surgery?

Pierce
[00:36:08] Six.

Knight
[00:36:09] Did you know James is like, a soccer guru?
 
Pierce 
[00:36:11] I did.—

Arcadi 
[00:36:12] I’m a fan.

Pierce 
[00:36:12] Yeah, I did know that.

Arcadi 
[00:36:13] I played high school soccer as well, and intramural soccer at Biola.
 
Knight 
[00:36:18] I mean, wow. Yeah.

[ARCADI LAUGHS]
 
Pierce 
[00:36:20] Um, so Michelle actually one time told me that she clearly thought that Curtis was funnier than I am—

Jipp
[00:36:26] Ouch! [LAUGHS]

Pierce 
[00:36:26] —and it hurt me so much, which is why I’m talking about this now because I need to get this out there.

Jipp 
[00:36:30] The…the only reason I said you’re funnier than Curtis is because you told me that this was like us, a painful sore subject and…

Pierce 
[00:36:36] Yeah, that’s why I don’t talk about how old you are anymore.
 
Jipp 
[00:36:40] No, I’m…I’m…I’m—

Pierce 
[00:36:40] Very old, yes. 

Jipp 
[00:36:42] —I’m totally embracing this. 

Pierce 
[00:36:43] Yeah.

Jipp 
[00:36:44] I’m 40. 

Pierce 
[00:36:45] No, well… yeah, you will be by the time this airs. 

Jipp 
[00:36:46] Yeah.

Pierce 
[00:36:47] Yeah.

Knight 
[00:36:48] Yeah.

Pierce 
[00:36:48] Wednesday.

Knight 
[00:36:49] Cool. Everybody, when you see Josh Jipp around campus, congratulate him.
He’s now so old. 

Jipp 
[00:36:55] There’s this famous video clip of the still current Oklahoma State football coach that—I don’t know if…it was…it would’ve been like 12 or 13 years ago, Mike Gundy—are you guys familiar with this? 

Arcadi 
[00:37:07] With his mullet?

Jipp 
[00:37:09] He didn’t have a mullet back then, but like, he’s in the, uh…taking questions and whatever—the press room—and one of the…the journalist is really going hard at his quarterback, criticizing him, and he just goes on this tirade about how inappropriate it is to throw this kid under the bus, how hard he works, and then he yells, you know, um, “You want to come after anybody, come after me! I’m a man! I’m 40!”
[LAUGHTER]
 
So for me, it’s like, hard not to…

Pierce 
[00:37:43] That’s wonderful. 

Josh Jipp 
[00:37:44] Yeah. Look it up. It’s a pretty funny clip.

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