President Randy Roberts gave the commencement speak at our recent San Jose campus graduation ceremony. It is titled “Watching Over Yourself and Your Teaching” with an introduction from Dr. Jeff Louie. You can listen to it here.
Today’s notable faculty member also happens to serve in the role of President of our seminary:
Randy Roberts, D.Min
I was born in Stockton, California but raised in Sacramento. My wife, Susan, and I have been married for the past 31 years. My youngest sister is also a Western graduate.
What brought you to Western Seminary?:
I came as a transfer student in 1980, finishing the M.Div. in 1982 and the Th.M. in 1984. After graduating, I combined some part time roles at the seminary with serving as an associate pastor before joining Western full-time in 1987.
Affiliations and Memberships:
Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), Fellowship of Evangelical Seminary Presidents
Awards and honors:
Church History award winner, 1982; Th.M. degree was awarded with highest honors, 1984
Spiritual formation, church history/biography, leadership and organizational dynamics
John Stott; J.I. Packer; D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones; J. C. Ryle; C. H. Spurgeon; Gary Thomas
Holiness by J. C. Ryle
Favorite book from which to preach:
C.H. Spurgeon; J.C. Ryle
By Randy Roberts with Brian LePort
One thing that most people at Western Seminary know about President Randy Roberts is that he consumes books faster than most of us can browse through the descriptions on the back cover. I decided to write him to see what he has been currently reading. If I would have asked what he has recently read this blog post would be much too long! Here is his current five recommendations:
When asked to choose five books to recommend, I decided to select a group of titles that may be a bit below most people’s radar screens and therefore could be easily overlooked. Here they are (in random order):
Teaching the Faith, Forming the Faithful: A Biblical Vision for Education in the Church by Gary Parrett and S. Steve Kang (IVP, 2009) is an especially timely book for a season in which many are lamenting just how little spiritual transformation seems to be occurring in their congregations. The authors provide a gospel-centered, interdisciplinary, profound and thorough (460 pages!) analysis of the components and dynamics of biblical faith formation.
The Trellis and the Vine: The Ministry Mind-Shift that Changes Everything by Colin Marshall and Tony Payne (Matthias Media, 2009) is a provocative assessment of church ministry, arguing that it is too easy for church structure and practice (the “trellis”) to hinder—rather than support—the heart of biblical ministry (the “vine”). While you may not agree with every assertion, you will emerge better off for re-thinking why you do what you do. Mark Dever calls this the best book he has ever read on the nature of church ministry.
Why We Love the Church: In Praise of Institutions and Organized Religion by Kevin DeYoung and Ted Kluck (Moody, 2009) is a great read in an era where some (many?) seem to reject either the importance of congregational involvement (and espouse instead a “churchless Christianity”). Addressing four types of readers—the committed, the disgruntled, the waffling, and the disconnected—the authors hope to “have some small effect in helping people truly love their local church no matter how imperfect it may be and serve it faithfully for the long haul.”
Helpful Truth in Past Places: The Puritan Practice of Biblical Counseling by Mark Deckard (Mentor/Christian Focus, 2009) provides, in the words of one reviewer, “17th century wisdom for 21st century counselors in such areas as God’s providence, personal contentment, repentance and depression.” Deckard chooses seven Puritan classics (including Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress and Edwards’ The Religious Affections) and illustrates how their insights continue to speak with penetrating relevance to our spiritual experience. The reader will discover that the Puritans were more “holistic” in their pastoral diagnoses and prescriptions than both their friends and critics often suppose.
Basic Christian: The Inside Story of John Stott by Roger Steer (IVP, 2009) offers an updated and more accessible study than the prior two-volume biography written by Timothy Dudley-Smith. Stott is one of my favorite authors, and I greatly enjoyed learning even more about his global ministry, involvement in various theological controversies, and preferred practices. Incidentally, The Radical Disciple: Some Neglected Aspects of Our Calling (IVP, 2010) has been released by Stott as his final publication. His The Last Word: Reflections on a Lifetime of Teaching (Authentic, 2008) may also be of interest for those desiring to profit from the mature thoughts of this evangelical statesman.
Dr. Randy Roberts, the president of Western Seminary, shares his vision for all our graduates: