For Rev. Amanda Benckhuysen, being hired to teach at Calvin Theological Seminary is a homecoming.
She thought she had landed for good at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary, Benckhuysen told delegates of Synod 2013. But when she learned of an opening at Calvin Seminary, she wanted to come back to the denomination in which she was raised.
“The CRC is my theological home,” Benckhuysen said in her interview with synod. “This is an exciting time in the CRC. To be able to contribute to that in some small way, that’s an exciting opportunity to me.”
The Canada native will have that opportunity, as synod approved her three-year appointment as associate professor of Old Testament beginning in 2014. She will succeed longtime professor Carl Bosma.
A CTS graduate, Benckhuysen is an assistant professor at Dubuque seminary. Ordained in the CRC, she was campus minister at the University of Michigan from 1998 to 2001 and also taught at Wycliffe College.
Her approval followed a 45-minute exam and sometimes pointed questioning from delegates, particularly regarding her beliefs about the creation story in Genesis and the historicity of Adam. She won praise with honest, candid, and sometimes humorous answers.
Benckhuysen said Genesis contains “symbolic and literary elements with a historical core,” adding, “I think there was a human being who the Bible has named Adam who fell into sin.”
When asked for the central message of Job, she said simply, “I am God, and you are not.” Delegates applauded loudly.
Benckhuysen also was asked about her views on feminist theology and whether she would have been a Vietnam War protestor in the 1960s. Delegates laughed loudly at her blunt retort: “I’m Canadian.”
Benckhuysen told of deepening her faith in high school. She felt called to ministry as an undergraduate and came to seminary along with her future husband, Martin, a pastor. They have two daughters.
Benckhuysen said she loves studying Hebrew and the narratives of the Old Testament, and wants to inculcate that love in her students.
“I’m passionate about the Scriptures, and I’m passionate about them learning to dwell in the Scriptures,” she said. “I’m also expectant of the Holy Spirit to be present in the classroom when we are studying Scriptures together.”
Synod 2013 is meeting at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Mich. from June 7-14. For continuous Banner coverage of Synod 2013, please follow The Banner on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at www.thebanner.org several times daily. For CRC Communications releases, webcast, and live blogging, please visit www.crcna.org/synod. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.