*The* Final Exam

12 April 2010 by Wes Bredenhof

There’s an old story about a famous world leader who, having conquered the known world, was found weeping in his tent because there were no more peoples to conquer.  I’m no world leader, but by grace alone I have conquered an educational pinnacle and there really are no more to climb.  But I’m not weeping because there’s still plenty of books to write and projects to research.  A doctorate is just the beginning…

As a high school student, I never would have dreamed that I would one day have this degree.  In fact, even when I graduated from seminary nearly ten years ago, further academic studies were not on the horizon.  I was just glad to be done.  However, circumstances conspired under God’s providence and here we are.

The defence was a rigorous affair and for that I’m glad.  Sometimes one hears about defences that are just formalities.  The questions that I was asked were serious and demonstrated a thoughtful and critical reading of my dissertation.  Most of the time I was able to give intelligent answers.  Nevertheless, the questions did identify some areas that I can sharpen yet before it goes to print with a publisher.

Examining me were:  Dr. Stephen Westcott (Weston-Super-Mare, England), Dr. Richard Knodel (Airdrie, Scotland), Dr. Jeffrey Boer (Hialeah, Florida) and my advisor, Dr. Leen Joosse (Groningen, the Netherlands).  Since this group is spread far and wide, and the cost of getting them all together in one place would be prohibitive, we did the defence over a conference call.  It lasted nearly two hours.  Deliberations took a half hour or so and then I was informed that I had sustained the exam and granted the degree of Doctor of Theology (Th.D.).  It took seven years, but the end had finally been reached.

So, what’s next?  My dissertation needs to be revised for publication.  Then I’m also working on a book about our experiences in Fort Babine.  I also hope to do some further work on the life and writings of Guido de Bres.  There’s also a book on Reformed worship that needs to be written.  Indeed, the dissertation is just the beginning.

3 responses to “*The* Final Exam”

  1. Michael says:

    Congratulations! I’m curious to know why you chose the Th.D., as I myself am considering it? I’m considering it mostly for mostly for teaching (in the local church) and writing, although I’m not in a pastoral role or see myself called to that.

    • Hi Michael,

      I chose the Th.D. because I wanted a rigorous program and I wanted to make a significant contribution to the study of missiology from a Reformed perspective. I chose to do it with RITS because their program was flexible enough for somebody to follow while still carrying out full time ministry either on the mission field or in a regular pastorate.

  2. Coosje says:

    Actually, I was wondering what would be next since you had, as you say, reached that final educational pinnacle. Thanks for sharing your future plans. Lifelong learners are just that. Degrees don’t stop them. Congratulations, and blessings!

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