Dr. Mark A. Garcia, President and General Editor
I hail originally from Miami but have enjoyed living in many places and cultures over the years. A longtime sufferer of Miami football teams and longtime lover of literature and the arts, my interests in academic theology also cover an unwieldy range of questions in biblical studies, theology, and ethics, but have come to focus (loosely) in recent years on theological anthropology, the doctrine of Scripture, and the relationship of the so-called “theological virtues” (faith, hope, and love) to evil, suffering, and the nature of the atonement in the Bible’s ethical thought-world. I continue to have great interest in the history of exegesis and theology, particularly in the Reformed tradition. I value good, interesting, and thoughtful theology which plunges us into the riches of God’s Word as the most exciting and wonder-filled blessing known by his creatures, a blessing which touches all of life in one way or another, and I enjoy sharing that excitement and wonder with my students. Wince+Sing is one expression of a commitment I share with others, a commitment to a renewal of Reformed theology in our day carried out with the highest scholarly rigor and informed engagement with the enduring questions of faith and life.
After my seminary studies at Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia) I completed the Ph.D. in Systematic Theology at New College, University of Edinburgh. My thesis was examined by Prof. David F. Wright and Prof. Anthony N. S. Lane, and a revision of my thesis was published as Life in Christ: Union with Christ and Twofold Grace in Calvin’s Theology (Paternoster, 2008). (See the Publications page for links to this and other texts.) After two years of church labors and seminary teaching in Orlando, in 2006-2007 I was a Fellow of the Craig Center for the Study of the Westminster Standards and a Visiting Scholar in the Faculty of History at Cambridge University, and continue as a Senior Member of Wolfson College, Cambridge. While there, I worked full-time in research as an assistant editor for the five-volume project, The Minutes and Papers of the Westminster Assembly, 1643-1653, ed. by Chad Van Dixhoorn and published by Oxford University Press in 2012. This is a fully annotated, multivolume critical edition. My editorial responsibilities concerned the theology and exegesis in the texts, specifically my supplying most of the theological and textual notes for the substantial critical apparatus. My notes identify the titles, edition(s) used, and page numbers for the Latin, Hebrew, Greek, and occasionally Syriac texts to which the speakers referred in the course of debate on the floor of the Assembly, sometimes with explanations for the reader of the question at issue. These texts in ancient, medieval, and early modern philosophy, theology, biblical exegesis and interpretation are the backbone of the theological accomplishment of the Assembly. In addition, I created the Register of Citations, the Scripture Index, and much of the Bibliography.
I have been awarded research fellowships in Geneva and Grand Rapids, and have taught theology, history, and ethics in the USA and overseas, including serving presently as a regular adjunct at Westminster Theological Seminary (Philadelphia and London) and Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary (Pittsburgh). Presently I am hard at work on a series of publishing projects related to women and divorce. I am President and Fellow in Scripture and Theology at Greystone Theological Institute (in formation), a research fellow with the University of East Anglia in connection with a project on early modern theories of independence. I am also a minister currently in my eighth year as pastor of Immanuel Orthodox Presbyterian Church on the west side of Pittsburgh.
Dr. Jason M. Rampelt (Cambridge), Fellow, History and Philosophy of Science
I have an abiding interest in theology and epistemology, which has expressed itself in a variety of intellectual pursuits. In philosophy, I am most interested in the Early Modern period, which is known for the Scientific Revolution, that period when the study of nature took a turn towards experiment, mathematics, and mechanism. It was also a time when reformed Christianity began to look more and more at how the Christian faith applied to all of one’s life and thoughts, including one’s ideas about the physical world. My research in the history of science continues in this vein as I attempt to understand how thinkers (religious scientists in particular) have drawn on their theology, consciously or subconsciously, in the genesis of their ideas. Currently, I work as a lab technician in neurobiology. Taking a cue from those early modern natural philosophers who encouraged men not merely to think about nature, but to actually go and look at it, I consider my current work as a natural extension of what I have previously pursued, taking a look at the brain itself—the truest form of epistemological inquiry.
I have been blessed with a diverse education: BA, Philosophy (Case Western Reserve University); MAR and ThM (Westminster Theological Seminary, Philadelphia). In my ThM thesis, Three Persons in One Man: John Wallis on the Trinity, I examined the Trinitarian writings of John Wallis (1616–1703), a secretary to the Westminster Assembly and later Oxford professor of mathematics. MA, Philosophy (University of Pennsylvania); PhD, History and Philosophy of Science (Cambridge University). My doctoral dissertation, Distinctions of Reason and Reasonable Distinctions: The Academic Life of John Wallis, continued that research, extending it more broadly into his mathematical and natural philosophical writings, and his role in bringing Oxford into the new ideas of the Scientific Revolution. I continued in Cambridge at the newly formed Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, where I began a project on the role of religion in scientific creativity. This has formed the substance of a book near completion, which follows the lives of ten scientists stretching over the period from the 17th century to the present, from a variety of scientific disciplines and various confessional backgrounds.
Michael Sacasas (Central Florida), Fellow, Ethics and Technology
My research and writing are directed toward understanding the role of technology in shaping cultural assumptions, personal identity, and the life of the Church. Establishing a critical distance from our technologies enables us to more faithfully navigate our way through our world. This faithful navigation hardly ever entails complete immersion or total retreat. We navigate, we negotiate. We praise and enjoy the good, and we avoid and seek to redeem what is broken. This is, in large measure, just an application of the pilgrim ethic by which Christians live. Our hope and our desire is to live a faithful life in obedience to Christ. Our tools are not neutral with respect to this goal, and it is important that we become aware about their impact upon our lives and our society.
My graduate work began with a MA in Theological Studies from Reformed Theological Seminary. Currently I am working toward a PhD in “Texts and Technology” at the University of Central Florida. The program is focused on the intersections of technology, especially digital technology, and culture. My aim is to develop a liturgical critique of technology which approaches technology through the frame of embodied ritual and practice. Taking the body as the matrix through which technology exerts its formative influence embraces both the theological reality of our embodied status and the significance of material creation.
Jonathan Stark (Immanuel Presbyterian), Fellow, Scripture and Literature
- BA from Calvin College (English)
- MAR from Westminster, Philadelphia (biblical emphasis)
- Presbyterian elder for over 25 years
- junior high/high school teacher at Robinson Township (Pa.) Christian School for about the same length of time (Bible and English)
- special interest in poetry and classic fantasy literature (Lewis and Tolkien)