Many would agree with D. A. Carson's response to the appointment: "I am delighted with this appointment. Not many scholars can speak competently across as many technical fields as can Pete. His resolute commitment to Christ and to his Gospel, combined with his administrative and people skills, make his appointment a cause for celebration. I anticipate that the best days of Tyndale House are still ahead."
JT: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself—how God brought you to himself, your education, family, etc?
PW: I was born to Christian parents in
In 1996 I married Kathryn, whom I had met on mission in
JT: What are your current research interests?
PW: I’m currently researching Tatian’s Diatessaron and the structure of the opening of John’s Gospel (whatever you do, don’t talk about it having a prologue!). I should be giving papers on both at this November’s Society of Biblical Literature congress.
JT: You’ve taught both OT at
Well, I came to the Testaments in canonical order, but I find it impossible to say which I love more. I am fascinated by anything to do with the Bible, but think that within a few years I may well be doing more in OT than in NT (however, I’ve been wrong before now about my future).
JT: Why did you want to leave teaching in order to be the warden of Tyndale House?
PW: Giving up regular teaching was the hardest part of leaving
JT: Tell us a bit about Tyndale House—how it started and what it has accomplished?
PW: Tyndale House was started in 1944 when a number of leading Christians in
What has it achieved?—this is more a question for Judgment Day, but what we can say is that if you look at serious publications on the Bible (dictionaries, commentaries, translations, books) you will find that a large number of the authors have spent time at Tyndale House. I seem to remember the ESV translators working together at Tyndale! Moreover, it is clear that the number of evangelicals in University positions in the
JT: What is your vision for Tyndale House?
PW: I believe that Tyndale House exists to develop evangelical biblical scholars and evangelical biblical scholarship. I would like, quite simply, for Tyndale to play its part in increasing the number of bright, humble, sane, passionate, evangelical scholars who are deeply learned and contribute to the church and to the articulation of the faith in a wider culture.
More specifically, I’d like to see confessional scholarship clearly outstripping non-confessional scholarship in its quality and rigor. We should want evangelical scholars to be trained to a higher standard than other scholars. If others decide that one Masters degree is enough before the PhD, maybe we should require two (for instance, one in each Testament). It would be great to have the resources to be able to fund young scholars to study to a higher standard. I would also love to be in a position for us to have more post-doctoral research fellows (we currently have three) and to take on major publication projects such as a large-scale treatment of the NT canon, which is proving such fertile ground for contemporary myth-makers. Perhaps we could be involved in setting up more University appointments, not just in
JT: How does the church fit into this vision? Or more broadly, what do you see as the proper relationship between the church and the academy?
PW: All Christians in the academy must see themselves as serving the church and must make themselves accountable to the church. I don’t think this means that all their writing should be aimed at typical church audiences. Ultimately we should aim for all the academy to become church!
JT: Evangelicals are used to receiving financial appeals for ministries and missions? Why would—or should—they want to support an institution where dissertations are written that most of them will never read?
PW: It may be disheartening for PhD students to learn, but it is not particularly likely nowadays that many people will read their dissertation. Their dissertation, I think, is primarily a chance for them to develop personally, to become learned, and then to put their learning at the disposal of others. Even a well-published scholar is generally more likely to influence people through their speaking and personal interaction than through their writing. However, in our information-overloaded society there is simply no way that we can afford not to have well-trained guides for the church in all areas of knowledge and especially in Biblical Studies. As thousands of people excavate in the
JT: If people wanted to support Tyndale House financially or otherwise, how could they do so?
PW: We need people—the right people—to be coming forward as biblical scholars. Perhaps some people even need to be pushed! It is easier to give someone with the right character the education than someone with the education the right character. However, we also need donations if we are to be able to support students and to create post-doctoral positions. At Tyndale House we also have the enormous challenge of needing to expand the library in the next couple of years (lack of space for new books is reaching a critical level) and to raise money for that. If anyone does feel led to give even a small sum then donations can be sent to
Cambridge, CB3 9BA, UK.
However, above all this we need prayer, especially for wisdom as we consider what publication projects might be taken on in the future. If the Lord is not building Tyndale House then ’tis all in vain.
Wayne Grudem also points out that Americans can send tax-deductible donations in dollars to:
American Friends of Tyndale House, Cambridge
PO Box 4920
Orlando, FL 32802-4920