TH569 Calvin on Piety: Faith and the Decision Between Good and Evil
Gordon A. Govens
Faculty Fellow of Theology
Gordon A. Govens is Western Theological Seminary’s Faculty Fellow for the 2017-18 academic year. He is currently finishing his dissertation entitled, Testimony in John Calvin’s Doctrine of God: The Convergence of Law and Biblical Theology in his Religious Epistemology and His Work As Pastor and Jurist. Professor Govens’ research focuses on the history and theology of the Reformation, its continuing legacy and its medieval Roman Catholic ancestry. As a former practicing attorney and business person, he draws on his corporate and legal training and his theological education to craft a unique perspective on the Reformation. Principal interests are the intersection of law, theology and social culture across the span of history, the church’s impact on the development of secular laws and jurisprudence, the interrelationship between church and state, and the use of philosophy as a methodology for historical analysis.
As a teacher, Professor Govens aims to inspire students to examine historical events and people with a balance of self-reflection, critique and empathy. He encourages students to draw on their distinct experiences as they commit to analyzing history objectively. He is committed to developing strategies for promoting the value of history amongst a broader audience beyond the academy.
“I want students to view history, like theology, as having practical value. Knowlege gained in both disciplines should be essential components of a ministry’s structure that is built on the foundation of Scripture. I want students to take inspiration from the variety of reformers throughout Christian history, Erasmus, Martin Luther, John Calvin, Katharina Schütz Zell and William J. Seymour, to name a diverse few. They were not only theologians and pastors. With their ministries, they changed lives and influenced ecclesiastical, social and political change. Mahatma Gandhi once said, You Christians look after a document containing enough dynamite to blow all civilization to pieces, turn the world upside down and bring peace to a battle-torn planet. But you treat it as though it is nothing more than a piece of literature. I am excited to join a faculty that is preparing its students to ‘turn the world upside down’ by leading the church in its mission.”