Dr. Douglas Low
Professor of New Testament
Chapman School of Religious Studies
At the foundation of our faith are these wonderfully complex, multi-layered, and very old biblical texts. I am professor of New Testament at OCU. OCU has allowed me to pursue my reading and reflecting on texts in the context of a faith-based seminary and university. My personal story is that I was raised in a General Baptist home with every Sunday morning and evening being spent in our local General Baptist church. Many of my extended family were members, including my grandfather and father who served as deacons. OCU has allowed me to continue this General Baptist experience of faith and learning.
I teach New Testament and related subjects (The Parables of Jesus, Greek, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, and others). The picture included with this bio is me at Masada, Herod’s fortress on the Dead Sea and the place where the last Jewish freedom fighters took their stand and then their lives instead of surrendering to the Roman soldiers whose attack ramp is still near to the top of the wall. Near here are the caves where the Dead Sea Scrolls were found. These texts have revolutionized our understanding of first century Judaism and the world of Jesus, Peter, and Paul. Thanks to the scrolls we understand the diversity of our sacred texts more clearly. We know, for example, that the Book of Jeremiah circulated in two Hebrew forms at the time of Jesus. We know that some Jews were reading 1 Enoch as much as anything else (Jude in the NT quotes 1 Enoch), and that the wondrous Book of Psalms was still developing—the final section was not yet like what we use today. All of this is exciting. From my college level OT introduction to my Doctor of Ministry seminar on hermeneutics, I and my students affirm our identity as those task is to read, interpret, and pass on sacred texts.
My General Baptist experience comes into play with the General Baptist Heritage course for GB religion majors on the undergraduate level. Here we explore the history of our movement, the development of our faith statements, and our current affirmations of social justice and public morality. The GB website has my Leader’s Guide (2011) for a collection of my essays on the GB Statements of Faith (2003). I am pleased that the denomination has found my work helpful.
I am very pleased that Chapman Seminary exists to be helpful to those who wish to lead God’s people today. I am honored to lecture on and engage students with the texts that are our ancient foundation, our present task, and one day our legacy as we pass them to those who take our place. After our lifetime of ministry, these texts will remain God’s word for God’s people until our Lord comes. But now, right now, it is our turn (and our joy) to read well these ancient, lively words.
My wife, Emily, and I have two grown children. We are both active in local church ministries--passing on the faith to children and adults, with our words and lives. Emily has lots of hobbies and a couple of clubs; I’m afraid I’m a little bookish and private—if you couldn’t guess. I keep my membership up in the Society of Biblical Literature and the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion. I am ordained by the General Baptists; I serve a local United Methodist Church as part-time pastor—I carry both kinds of ministerial cards of standing and find it interesting how these groups “play their cards” differently. I encourage you to come to Oakland City and learn skills so that you can play your cards to the best of your ability.