Meet the Expert: Dr. Kevin Anderson
August 1, 2015
When Asbury University alumni return to campus for Reunion, one of the things they say goes something like, “When I came to class, I knew I wasn’t just another student to my professor. He knew me, he challenged me, and I’m better at what I do now because he knew what he was talking about.” In an ongoing Web series, Asbury will feature just a few of the faculty at Asbury who are making a difference in both their subject areas and their classrooms.
Pop quiz: What’s the best way for a professor to research and teach on topics with both academic applications and profoundly personal spiritual ramifications?
Answer: Carefully. Very carefully.
From the beginning of his professional academic career, Dr. Kevin Anderson, an associate professor in Asbury University’s Christian Studies and Philosophy Department, has balanced intellectual inquiry with a sensitive awareness of his students’ personal experiences concerning the Biblical concepts on which he teaches.
“I am keenly aware of the pastoral implications of what we do in the area of Bible and Theology,” Anderson said. “When you’re a newly minted Ph.D., you think you’re going to change the world and disabuse people of all the bad ideas they hold. Some of that debugging you do have to do, but I try to be careful not to trample on people’s cherished beliefs, even when they’re misguided. The Lord has to work in their hearts, and these are young people who have to grow up intellectually and emotionally, too. Sometimes, they need to work through things on their own. Hopefully we can give them the tools to work through different issues, both theological and personally spiritual, as well.”
“I have two chief passions with regard to my academic life. One is studying the Scriptures. The other is teaching undergraduate students. The ultimate goal of both of these is to bring others and myself closer to God.”
|Dr. Kevin Anderson|
It’s a role for which he has been prepared by his own experiences. In graduate school, a professor asked him to complete a research assignment that required looking for published material about the resurrection account in Luke and Acts. There wasn’t much to find, and Anderson realized he’d stumbled on a worthwhile dissertation topic. The dissertation, which was eventually published, led to an article in the 2013 edition of “The Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels.”
Similarly, Anderson was asked to tackle the book of Hebrews for the New Beacon Bible Commentary series and, in the course of his research, was challenged and encouraged by the text’s implications for personal and corporate holiness. For example, the ideas in Chapter 4 of the Sabbath rest in creation and the eschatological rest to come; the providential and fatherly hand of God in Chapter 12; and the intercession of Christ in his high priestly role each speak to the Wesleyan tradition of holiness in different ways.
“In every case I’ve been able to do research that really is personally satisfying and impactful,” Anderson said. “What more important topic could you research in Christianity than the resurrection of Jesus from the dead by the most prodigious author in the New Testament? And even after writing a commentary on Hebrews, there are still so many fascinating questions about this book that I will be able to pursue for the rest of my life.”
In his 12 years at Asbury, the thrill of discovering fresh truth in the Scriptures — and sharing that discovering with students and the wider world — has yet to wear off.
“I have two chief passions with regard to my academic life,” he said. “One is studying the Scriptures. The other is teaching undergraduate students. The ultimate goal of both of these is to bring others and myself closer to God.”
Dr. Kevin L. Anderson is Associate Professor of Bible and Theology at Asbury. He holds an M.Div. from Nazarene Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in New Testament from London School of Theology, London, England. His publications include “Hebrews: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition,” notes on 1 Corinthians in the Wesley Study Bible, numerous articles, and contributions to the adult Sunday School resource Illustrated Bible Life. Dr. Anderson was born and raised in North Dakota and resides in Nicholasville, Ky., with his wife, Sandi.
Originally published on October 8, 2014
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