Meet the NEW Testament Instructor: Benjamin G. White
Former President of The King’s College, Gregory Thornbury, in his inaugural address quoted Carl Henry saying, “The early church did not say, ‘Look at what the world has come to.’ But, ‘Look at who has come into the world.’”
Professor Benjamin White, Assistant Instructor of Biblical Studies, believes that this quote captures the essence of the mission at The King’s College and describes exactly what he is so excited about within his new role as Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies. The New Testament, he said, “undergirds all the stuff that we’re really passionate about here.”
White wants students to delve deeper than they’re used to. He hopes through his classes that he can help students see how the Christian Gospel shaped first-century people historically and how it continues to shapes us today.
“That’s what I’m interested in doing, that’s what I think the New Testament helps us see,” White said.
Born in a small blue-collar city on the outskirts of Toronto, Canada, White was raised in a Canadian Baptist Church which he claims are “less political.” Though he comes from a Canadian Baptist background, White describes himself “first and foremost” as a Christian.
White never planned on studying theology or dreamed of standing in front of a classroom.
Coming from a long line of industrial men, White went off to college to do the something of the same trade. Declaring a Bachelor’s degree in City Planning and a minor in Religious Studies at the University of Waterloo,
White didn’t recognize until a year or two into his college experience that he would never become a city planner. Instead, White would go on to earn his Masters in Theology at Regent University in Canada and then pursue his PhD., at England’s top-tiered Theology School at Durham University.
With experience both from a church position where he was on as pastoral staff and from tutoring students at St. John’s College, White understands that during college, students are developing both academically and personally which is something he is very invested in. “I want students to know that I’m here not just to form their minds, but their hearts as well.”
“What drew me to King’s--I guess is more so talking in terms of its goals and its culture--is that I think it’s probably one of the most strategic Christian institutions in the world.” White said. “It has this awesome vision for engaging culture and training up people to be leaders in society which I think is unique. A lot of Christian institutions run away from the world. King’s isn’t in retreat mode, it’s in full on engagement mode and I find that really compelling.”
Around the age of 18, White had his own life-changing experience.
“I think I was--like a lot of 18 or 19 year old’s--going through a lot of upheaval in my life, asking a lot of questions about myself for the first time…” White said, explaining why he ended up choosing a vocation in Theological Studies. “I was really drawn to C.S. Lewis and G.K. Chesterton. I just wanted to learn more about that, to know why Christianity is so transformative.”
"King’s isn’t in retreat mode, it’s in full on engagement mode and I find that really compelling"
After months of placing God in the backseat, near the end of his senior year of high school, White was reminded of God’s grace by one of his friends’ mothers.
“She basically just said God is a gracious God and welcomes back people who have run away from Him.” White said. “And, the whole time I was just freaking out ‘cause, I was like, this is totally for me. Ever since then I’ve been trying to follow up on this transformative experience of grace. What is that? What happened? That excites me.”
When White was 10 years old, his family lived in a small suburb of New Jersey for a span of 4 years (1999-2002) for his dad’s job. Shortly after the terrorist attack that took place on September 11, 2001, in the Financial District of Manhattan, the White family moved back to Canada. Now he returns, 29 years old, with his wife and 8-month-old son.
“I didn’t come back to this area until I was interviewing for a job at King’s in November of last year.” White said. “It’s weird coming full circle. We popped all over the place and God brought us back here.”
Grace is necessary everyday believes White. People give grace to their peers and superiors, friends and family members, and strangers they see on the street. White shares that grace not only plays a role in individual day-to-day lives but; also, a fundamental part in the story of the New Testament.
“I guess that’s what I find compelling with the New Testament,” White said. “It’s constantly working out what grace is, what the Gospel is and why that matters for us.”