Michael White, Ph.D. 2012
Recipient of the Ken and Margaret Taylor Fellowship
Associate Pastor for Family Ministry
Gainesville Baptist Church, Lincolnton, NC
My dissertation, entitled “Word and Spirit in the Theological Method of Carl Henry,” argues that evangelical theological method should attend closely to its material principle—the triune God. The study examines Carl Henry’s methodology as representative of evangelical approaches and argues that Henry implicitly separates Word and Spirit, which though distinct, are nevertheless inseparable in terms of their ad extra mission. I appeal to Trinitarian theology and theories of communicative action in developing divine revelation and its reception in Trinitarian terms, and on this basis argue for the necessity of theological method that is truly theological, that is, robustly Trinitarian. Such an approach is consistent with Henry’s Trinitarian instincts, incorporates his best insights, and remains faithful to his theological vision.
It has been a gracious providence to study at Wheaton and work under scholar-churchmen such as Drs. Henri Blocher, Stephen Spencer, Daniel Treier, and Kevin Vanhoozer. I found Wheaton to be committed to scholarship that serves the church in both its local and global manifestations. As a result, I was nurtured both as a scholar and as a follower of Christ and prepared to minister effectively to Christ’s church. Faculty gave sacrificially of their time for my growth. The cohort of students sharpened my scholarship and my life, serving as a community that was collegial, not competitive. I am especially grateful for the conscious effort to integrate biblical studies and systematic theology and for the thoughtful biblical theology that pervades the program. Most significantly, the ethos and mission of the school, with its deep love for Christ and his church, have made an abiding impact on my life and ministry. Wheaton has been a special place to complete doctoral studies and a blessing for which I give sincere gratitude.