ABILENE—The new T.B. Maston Chair of Christian Ethics at Hardin-Simmons University’s Logsdon Seminary hopes to honor the legacy of the pioneering 20th century Baptist ethicist by introducing students to the subject and making it applicable to ministry in Texas churches.
Develop new courses
“I do hope to design a number of courses that aren’t currently on the books in the semesters to come,” Myles Werntz said.
“In the fall, I believe that I’ll be teaching introduction to biblical ethics, which is very much at the heart of T.B. Maston’s own legacy. Beyond that, I hope to possibly develop courses in the ethics of violence, which is where much of my own writing has taken me the last few years.
“But primarily, I want to develop courses that will be not only of interest, but of service to students ministering in this part of the country, courses which will address issues of immigration, end of life issues and creation care.”
Werntz joined the Logsdon faculty Jan. 1 and already is busy teaching three classes and working on the next edition of The Window, a semi-annual publication designed to provide ministers with a practical, creative and substantive tool that will aid them in sermon preparation, research and ministry to the local church.
“I’m very happy to be a part of a seminary which is committed to being Christian witnesses in a way which is deeply committed to the Scriptures, but also deeply engaged with the issues of society, as well,” he said.
This semester, Werntz is teaching a doctor of ministry seminar in church and culture, a New Testament survey for undergraduates and introduction to Christian ethics for master of divinity students. He hopes to offer a May term course related to German pastor-theologian Dietrich Bonhoeffer.
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Emphasis on discipleship
“The main thing I hope that students take away is that, before ethics is about hard questions or issues, ethics is about discipleship,” Werntz said.
“As one contemporary writer has put it, ethics is about our seeking and finding of God. This means, among other things, that ethics should be interwoven into our discipleship, such that all of our lives are about what it means to live well before God—not just when the hard cases come up,
“We’re reading a book in my intro class right now by Samuel Wells called Improvisation, which makes the case that first and foremost, ethics is about a vision for approaching a world in which Christians have been called to be faithful witnesses to Christ, while also recognizing that the world’s fate is ultimately in God’s hands. That seems about right to me.”
Before he arrived at Logsdon, Werntz was assistant professor of biblical and theological studies for the School of Ministry at Palm Beach Atlantic University in West Palm Beach, Fla.
He earned his bachelor’s degree in English literature from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, Ark., his master of divinity degree from Baylor University’s Truett Seminary and his doctorate in religion from Baylor. He is married to Sarah Martin-Werntz, and they have a son, Eliot, age 20 months.
“I lived in Waco for 14 years before leaving Texas, so returning to Texas is very much a kind of homecoming,” Werntz said. “Being at Logsdon means not only returning to teach in a seminary context, but returning to contribute to the future of Baptist life in Texas as well.”