I was interviewed last year by Joshua Mann, a former student of mine at Midwestern Seminary, who is now studying for the PhD at Edinburgh University. The interview was on the subject of "The Church, Academy and Calling" and originally appeared at http://www.joshualmann.com/the-church-academy-and-calling-interview-with-terry-wilder/. Below are the questions that were asked of me along with my answers. I am asked such questions from time to time by students so I thought it prudent to run the interview again here. For Josh's full blog post (and others like it), please visit the Web site mentioned above.
1. How would you describe the relationship between your “scholarly” endeavors and your involvement in the ministry of the local church?
First of all, let me say that I do not think that scholarship should be divorced from local church ministry. I teach New Testament, so most of my involvement in ministry is in teaching or preaching. I also visit people to share the gospel and try to be an encourager and help for my pastor. Further, since much of my academic work is on pseudonymity, the NT, and ancient authorship, I have spoken in ministry venues on ethical issues and the trustworthiness of Scripture.
2. What led you to decide on the vocation (of pastor, scholar, or scholar/pastor) you now find yourself in?
I think God decided for me. After he called me into ministry, I went to university first planning on becoming a vocational evangelist, and then a pastor, but as time went on realized that my spiritual giftedness was in teaching. So, following the Lord’s leading, I began preparing for that vocation.
3. How would you describe any sense of “calling” you feel to do what you do?
Any sense of calling I have stems from Christ’s Great Commission to “go and make disciples” (Matt 28:19-20). I am concerned that the word of God be properly interpreted and faithfully taught to future generations (cf. 2 Tim 2:2). So, given that, I am particularly burdened for the training of pastors and others, especially in the biblical languages and in hermeneutics.
4. How might the chasm often present between the church and academy be more effectively bridged?
Academicians need to make it a point to get involved in the ministry of the local church, perhaps teaching Sunday School or something. Also, they should never forget their roots and learn to communicate difficult concepts in simpler terms. On the flip side, pastors and churches need to realize that eventually academic trends and challenges filter down to the churches, and thus it is important to take advantage of any help the academy may have to offer.