James Gordon, Ph.D. 2015
Recipient of the Donald L. King Fellowship
Guest Professor of Philosophy and Biblical and Theological Studies
Lecturer in Philosophy
North Central College
One of the main reasons I decided to do my doctoral work at Wheaton College was that few programs offered the kind of interdisciplinary work in which I was interested. Trying to cross the boundaries between theology and biblical studies––not to mention philosophy!––can be an occupational hazard, but the faculty at Wheaton helped me navigate the accompanying challenges carefully.
The title of my dissertation was “The Holy One in Our Midst: A Dogmatic Defense of the extra Calvinisticum," which I completed under the supervision of Drs. Kevin J. Vanhoozer and Daniel J. Treier. The project was a case study of a particular doctrine frequently associated with so-called “Classical Theism,” namely, the extra Calvinisticum––the idea that the second person of the Trinity maintained omnipresence beyond the physical body of Jesus during the incarnation. I tried to show that, despite the numerous theological and philosophical objections to the extra, it was not as reliant upon perfect being theism as was often assumed and that there are in fact good biblical, theological, traditional, and philosophical reasons for affirming the doctrine. Ultimately, I wanted to show that there was more congruence between the theological and philosophical tradition of reading Christian Scripture than was often assumed.
Wheaton’s program has many other virtues: the opportunity to rub shoulders with students in different disciplines, exceedingly helpful and encouraging supervisors, faculty leading their disciplines in serious research, fantastic library resources, funded academic study, and access to the theological resources of the greater Chicagoland area. For these reasons and more, Wheaton was the perfect place for me to complete my PhD.