September 25, 2019
Wheaton College welcomes the Rev. Dr. David McNutt, who is serving the College as an Associate Lecturer of Core Studies.
Name: The Rev. Dr. David McNutt
Ph.D., University of Cambridge, Divinity, 2013
M.Litt., University of St. Andrews, Theology (Institute for Theology, Imagination, and the Arts), 2005
M.Div., Princeton Theological Seminary, 2001
B.A., Pepperdine University, Religion, 1997
What was your favorite class in college? Why?
I enjoyed a lot of my undergraduate classes in college, but my favorite was probably "Understanding the World of the New Testament," which focused on how a better understanding of the first-century context can enable a more faithful reading of Scripture. My particular field of study has shifted since then, but I've carried with me an interest in the relationship between our faith and the surrounding culture. You didn't ask, but my only regret about my undergraduate studies is that I didn't take the surfing class that was offered at Pepperdine.
Before Wheaton, what were you doing?
We had been living the U.K. for five years doing our doctoral degrees before moving to Wheaton more than 10 years ago. My wife Jennifer, who teaches church history at the college, completed her work at St. Andrews, and I did my doctoral work at Cambridge. Our oldest daughter, Priscilla (Wheaton Class of 2030?), was only six weeks old when we moved, so imagine getting a passport for a one-month-old baby and then flying across the ocean. Wheaton has been a great community for our family. I've actually been teaching at the college since 2009, but I'm very pleased to take on this new role in Core Studies.
What big question are you trying to answer through your work?
In my work, I'm particularly interested in the relationship between the Christian faith and humanity's artistic expression and creativity. How do our reading of Scripture and our theology guide our understanding of the arts? How do the arts and our artistic creativity both express and inform our faith? Wheaton is a great place to engage in that kind of interdisciplinary discussion. I was very pleased to offer a course in "Theology and the Arts" for the first time at the college last spring, and I'm looking forward to engaging in that conversation in Core Studies.
What’s one interesting or intriguing thing that you have learned recently?
I'm also an academic editor at InterVarsity Press, so I'm reading (and yes, still learning) all kinds of interesting things all the time from our authors, several of whom are Wheaton professors. But a recent development that I'm excited about is that Jennifer and I have been contracted to write a book together (for a different press), which is related to McNuttshell Ministries, our teaching, preaching, and writing ministry. We're grateful for the chance to serve the church and the academy together.
Do you get butterflies the night before the first day of school?
Perhaps a bit, but I think that's a good thing. I'm very much aware that for many of my students, I will likely be their only theology professor for their entire lives, so that's a responsibility that I take seriously. Those butterflies are different than what I feel before I step into the pulpit as an ordained minister, but I think that in both cases an awareness of one's vocational calling and our dependence upon God's grace as we seek to fulfill that calling are incredibly important.
What would you have liked to tell the freshman version of yourself about going to college?
I would tell myself to remember that college is more about forming the person you are and will be than it is about conjugating verbs and knowing theological terms (as important as those things are). Also, don't worry; you're going to meet a girl in seminary.
When you’re not teaching or researching, what do you like to do?
I love spending time with my wife and our three children, who keep things pretty busy and fun around our household. You might also find me golfing (when my schedule and the weather permit) or a watching a film. Now if we could just get our two-year-old to sleep better...