Mark Begins PhD in Bible and Theology
By God's grace I have been given the opportunity to complete my theological education by pursuing a PhD in Bible and Theology at Calvary University. When I began exploring the possibility of a PhD, one of the primary challenges was the lack of accredited conservative PhD programs in Colorado. I considered temporarily relocating to another state, but I did not want to put the work of The Cell Church on hold for five years or more while I went to school. Moreover, gaining acceptance into doctoral programs proved to be a challenge. The first school to which I applied rejected my application, most likely as a result of my criminal history.
But, as always, the Lord provided in accordance with His perfect will. Calvary University, which has its main campus in Kansas City, MO, recently opened a new campus in Fort Morgan, CO. When I visited the campus after fully revealing my background, the staff was very welcoming and demonstrated the acceptance and love of Christ. There was even some discussion about teaching opportunities, and I was able to connect the school's administration with the leadership at TUMI to discuss a possible academic partnership offering credit for The Cell Church's TUMI students.
Calvary's PhD is uniquely well-suited for my intended area of study. Most traditional Christian PhD programs require students to specialize in New Testament, Old Testament, Church History / Historical Theology, or Systematic Theology. Calvary is one of a very few dual-discipline PhD programs which require you to study both the Old and New Testaments as well as systematic theology. The program is rigorous, with the first year consisting of intensive Hebrew and Greek study. The second year focuses on exegesis and hermeneutics, while the third emphasizes biblical-theological analysis of the entire canon. The fourth year covers systematic theology, and the fifth year is dedicated to writing the dissertation.
I am excited about the opportunities that this degree will provide for The Cell Church! A PhD will equip me more fully to teach our TUMI classes and other courses at a high level, which will honor God's calling on the lives of those current and former prisoners who we serve by preparing them for ministry. I will also have increased access to the Christian academic community, where I will be privileged to represent the scholarship which the prison church is capable of producing. I continue to be extremely grateful for your prayers as I undertake this final stage of my education!