Plans & Purposes for PhD Work

A dear friend of mine, Jon, made a motion that I should write a post regarding my future plans and purposes in PhD work. My brother has now seconded that motion, and so, below you will find five answers to the questions Jon asked me to share. Having known Jon, and his thoughtfulness and persistent prayerfulness, I am sure this motion has a far wider purpose than just to inform one person of our plans, but to unite a body of brothers and sisters around us in prayer and encouragement to bring about the Lord’s purposes in us all for his church and the world.

Where will you be living for the next couple of years and why? (i.e. Where are you studying your Ph.D.?)

Starting in August, I will be pursuing a Ph.D. in New Testament studies with a minor in Old Testament. According to Southwestern’s recommended course of study, this degree will take me another 4 ½ years to complete. Rachel and I are both excited about remaining at this institution and humbled by what the Lord has placed before us. 

What would you like to study in the Ph.D. program and why?

I wish to pursue the Ph.D. in New Testament because I am deeply interested in research of the New Testament documents, biblical Greek, and issues surrounding New Testament theology. In accomplishing my M.Div. at Southwestern, I spent all of my electives on courses in or related to the New Testament. Each semester I grew not only in my knowledge of the field, but in my love for God’s new-covenant revelation in Christ, the authority of the apostolic witness and hermeneutic, and the fascinating continuity of the Bible’s complete narrative beginning with and carried throughout the “Old” Testament into the New. Pursuing the Ph.D. will increase my critical and analytical capabilities, so that I might better specialize in the areas of my interest, and so that I might be more qualified to teach at the seminary or university level. 

Lord willing, how do you plan on serving the church with this Ph.D.?

My future goals in respect to this education consist of equipping myself with the available training to be a professor of New Testament, who then equips pastors, teachers, and laymen/women in both the academic and local church settings, that they might do the work of the ministry truthfully and with great zeal.

Lord willing, after finishing my doctorate, I plan to become a professor in an academic context whereby I will be able to influence the Christian and secular academies at both local and continental levels through lecturing and writing. I also have a strong desire to impact local church bodies in at least three ways: (1) by protecting the church from various interpretive and/or theological issues in scholarship that may cause harm to confessional Christianity; (2) by not only teaching church members the Scriptures, but also teaching them to read the Scriptures well for themselves on coherent biblical and systematic grounds; and (3) by encouraging and strengthening their faith through the occasional opportunities to preach in various church meetings and broader conference settings.

As of now, I hope that the results my research interests will serve as a corrective to the decades of scholarship that have, in a sense, taken the discipline of New Testament Theology out of the hands of the church and placed it into the hands of (unbelieving) critical scholars. In addition, hopefully my interests in the New Testament’s use of the Old–or perhaps the hearing of the Old Testament in the New–will also encourage members of the body of Christ (esp. pastors and teachers) to enjoy the first two-thirds of their Christian Bible as much as they do the last. It would be a delight to see members of all ages in the church grounded in and guided by a “whole-Bible” biblical theology, in and by which they might behold Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham, all the more clearly.

What are your prayer requests in balancing family, work, studies, and serving the local body at Redeemer?

Partnering with us in prayer, beseeching the Lord of glory on our behalf, is probably the most important thing you can do in coming along side of us in this ministry. The task is very demanding of both time and energy. At times this can also become spiritually draining, especially since I will be interacting with other scholars, whose worldviews often contradict that of the Gospel’s. You can pray these things for me: (1) that I remain discerning in all the Lord sets before me in the program; (2) that I do not grow weary but do grow in thanksgiving for the strength God daily gives; (3) that the Lord be magnified in how and what I write; and (4) that the Lord would daily humble me before himself in prayer and devotion to his word. More importantly, pray (4) that I remain faithful to my responsibilities as a husband to Rachel; (5) that I grow in an understanding and application of what it means to love Rachel as Christ loves the church; (6) that our sights might be fixed upon Christ daily so that he remains the center of our marriage; (7) that the Lord would grant us wisdom in raising a child starting in June; (8 ) that we would both devote ourselves to instructing him with the Gospel, teaching him to love righteousness and hate sin; and (9) that we might remain faithful to the needs, goals, desires, and ministries of the Redeemer Church body.

What will you buy your wife and kid(s) when you have your Ph.D. diploma in hand to serve as their “diploma” for “their half of the Ph.D.”?

This was a good one, and a hard one. I did not know how to answer it being it is so far away. I asked Rachel what she would like to do. Here is her answer: “I would like a month vacation with no reading and writing (except reading for fun), at the beach or out in the country, with perhaps provided house-cleaning.” Hmmm…If this were to take place, I may go through scholastic withdrawals. 🙂

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5 Responses to “Plans & Purposes for PhD Work”

  1. Jon Says:

    Bret,

    Thanks for writing this post. I appreciated the answers. Now I know specific ways to pray for you guys. Lord willing we will one day have a post reflecting on what God did through your time in the PhD program.

    We celebrate God’s providence in this opportunity to honor him through your studies. We also celebrate the growing family in your home. We will remember to pray for this team, Rachel and Baby Rogers, who will be a significant part of your PhD studies. May your household be a place to practice what you learn in school as you lead them!

    Jon

  2. willlovesvanessa Says:

    “In addition, hopefully my interests in the New Testament’s use of the Old–or perhaps the hearing of the Old Testament in the New–will also encourage members of the body of Christ (esp. pastors and teachers) to enjoy the first two-thirds of their Christian Bible as much as they do the last. It would be a delight to see members of all ages in the church grounded in and guided by a “whole-Bible” biblical theology, in and by which they might behold Christ, the Son of David, the son of Abraham, all the more clearly.”

    Amen to that!
    Will

  3. Gary Says:

    God bless you and your plans brother.

  4. Bret Rogers Says:

    Jon, you are very welcome! May the Lord richly bless you and grant you perseverance according to his promises.

    Will, your comment brought a smile to my face, especially knowing your own pursuits in Old Testament studies and your heart for the church to be ever sanctified by the entire word of God. May we press on together in these endeavors!

    Gary, thank you for your blessing. I am always encouraged by you and your ministry. Without question, I will be needing your giftedness in song to continue to aid and encourage my heart to always be singing new songs that help me to behold our joyful Christ!

  5. Celucien Joseph Says:

    Bret,

    It is good to hear you’ll begin doctoral work in the Fall. I’m happy for you. Congratulations! I was very encouraged by your words of wisdom that truly expressed a passion for God’s glory.

    Blessings,
    Lou

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