In this post I want to continue my expression of thankfulness to God for his blessings in my life. Chief among these have been the faculty of Southern Seminary.
I completed my Master of Divinity while serving as a pastor in East Tennessee. While as a student at the extension center in Maryville, TN, I was encouraged especially by professors Chad Owen Brand and M. David Sills. These men enabled me to believe that PhD work was a possibility for me in the future. I remain grateful for their encouragement then, and their friendship now. Although my love for history dates back to my reading of baseball history books as a child, I first remember a desire to do historical research while taking a course on the history of Baptists with Gregory A. Wills in the summer of 2003. His combination of meticulous historical research and impeccable Christian piety is one which I hope to emulate. As a PhD student at Southern, I have been challenged and encouraged by what seems like the entire faculty, but especially professors Gregg R. Allison, Michael A. G. Haykin, Thomas J. Nettles, David L. Puckett, Gregory A. Wills, and Shawn D. Wright.
While at Southern, I have been afforded the opportunity to work closely with two of the premier Baptist historians alive today. I will forever be grateful for the privilege of having Thomas J. Nettles as my doctoral supervisor. His trust of my instincts and confidence in my ability has been both inspiring and intimidating. To know Dr. Nettles is to know a Christian gentleman whose very demeanor makes you want to be a more devoted follower of Christ. Words will never repay the debt that I owe to Michael A. G. Haykin. Without him I likely would never have had the opportunity to pursue PhD studies. God, in his providence, used this man to open the door for me to study at Southern. Dr. Haykin has been my teacher, boss, mentor, and friend. In every relationship, he has been a model of Christian piety. His investment in me is such that every academic opportunity that I have heretofore, or ever shall be given, can be credited in some way to his influence and support. I must also express gratitude to Russell D. Moore who has always encouraged me and whose hiring of Michael A. G. Haykin in 2007 paved the way for me to serve as his research assistant for the past five years.