I have just returned from the annual Talbot Awards Chapel. Mind you, I knew I was receiving an award (and I knew which one guided my thesis writing), but I had no clue about the other one.

When I began the Th.M. program, I decided to focus my efforts on the Zondervan Outstanding Master's Thesis Award. Not merely for the recognition, but also for what the award recognizes: a thesis with implications for the life of the church. That notion--that good theological research has implications for the church--is and ought to be the evaluative criteria for theological study. Otherwise, what is the point?

Regarding this one, I am pleased.

Then there is the surprise: The Robert N. Oliver Award in Systematic Theology. I must say, not only did I have no idea and am literally shocked. You see, in every systematics (especially Th.M.) course at Talbot, I have felt like the proverbial fish out of water. I'd say 99% of the Th.M. students are detail-analytics. I, on the other hand, am a global-analytic, tending decisively toward integrated-systems thinking (I started out my academic career studying environmental systems). My blood pulses for seeing how things function (especially creatively) on the stable framework of truth.

Regarding this one, I am surprised (though, honestly, pleased :-).

But in big picture, these temporal recognitions, though important, pale in comparison to the truth: everything good thing I am, every good thing I have, every good thing I have done (feel free to replace the "I" with "we") is made possible by the grace revealed most remarkably in Jesus Christ--Creator, Savior, Lord.

So I end the way Awards Chapel began: Colossians 1:13-18.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
The Preeminence of Christ

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent.
God, let worship not be mere duty, but the deepest cry of my heart.

NOTE: For the curious, there is a list of Talbot student awards on pp 97-98 of Talbot Catalog pdf.
List of all awardees.


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“Unless otherwise noted Scripture quotations are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”


  1. Mark H1:05 AM

    Congratulations :-)

  2. I blurted some congratulations over on Flickr:

    Will your thesis be available as a publication somewhere?

  3. Thanks!

    The thesis will probably go up on, once the graduation festivities are over (it's 5/23) and I figure out the self-publishing dealeo (including any ramifications if I want to publish a "professional" version with an actual publisher).

    I have posted some excerpts on