Synod 2015 approved the appointment of Cory Willson as assistant professor of missiology and missional ministry following a successful interview with delegates. Synod is the annual leadership meeting of the Christian Reformed Church.
Willson grew up in a family that was active in a nondenominational church. As a young adult he studied and taught business administration and became a leader in college-age ministry. After he studied under Richard Mouw at Fuller Theological Seminary, he became immersed in Reformed theology. “The Reformed tradition has the best resources for being a faithful witness in Word and deed,” he said.
Willson showed his relational side when he unabashedly shared his despair at finding himself single in his mid-30s and his joy at recently marrying the “love of [his] life.” He wept as he told a story about his father being willing to ask his forgiveness after speaking harshly.
Willson’s doctoral thesis—which he will defend this summer—is based on the theology of work espoused by Dutch Reformed theologian Herman Bavinck. “Intimacy with God can only come through doing what he created you to do,” Willson said. “Your humanity comes through what you receive. This keeps us from a gospel that tells us how to be a Christian and brings us to a gospel that tells us how to be fully human.”
Willson stressed the importance of learning from other cultural contexts. “Sometimes that involves receiving hospitality. One of the best things we do is receive hospitality from others,” he said.
What does Willson want students to gain from his classes? “The best student evaluation would be ‘I came with questions but I ended with a more resolute commitment to Jesus and to his word.’ I want students to think biblically and theologically but also to have a passion for Jesus.”
Synod 2015 is meeting at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, from June 12-18. For continuous Banner coverage, please follow The Banner Magazine on Facebook or @crcbanner on Twitter. You can find more tweeting by following hashtag #crcsynod. News stories will be posted at thebanner.org several times daily. For CRC Communications releases, webcast, and live blogging, please visit crcna.org. Unless noted otherwise, all photographs are by Karen Huttenga.