Bennett and Turner Approved as Emeritus Professors
by Kristina Garvelink (M.S. ’15)
During the spring meeting of the board of trustees, Dr. David Turner and Dr. Byard Bennett received recognition for their years of service and approval for promotion to the rank of emeritus professor.
One of the institution's highest academic honors, emeritus status requires a minimum of 10 years of service at Cornerstone University; takes into account the character, scholarship and ministry contributions of an honoree; and considers an individual's ability to empower students as leaders. Emeritus status invites a retired professor's continued involvement in the university, including benefits such as library and research privileges and invitations to faculty events, meetings and processions.
"It's a great honor to receive emeritus recognition, especially alongside my colleague Dr. Bennett," Turner expressed. "I'm especially thankful for the students I've had the privilege to teach. Their commitment to Christ and enthusiasm for learning got me out of bed in the morning. It's a joy to stay in contact with GRTS graduates and talk with them about their ministries."
Since 2005, Bennett and Turner have collectively taught a total of 325 courses and mentored hundreds of seminarians. Bennett retired from his role as professor of historical and philosophical theology in May 2017, having served the university for 15 years. After 32 years, Turner retired as professor of New Testament in May 2018.
"In developing seminary courses, I often asked local pastors for suggestions about what I should teach, in other words, what would make for more holistic formation for ministry," Bennett said, reflecting on how his career as a professor impacted his personal faith journey. "They suggested giving more emphasis on how to pray, how to respond to temptation and how to understand one's identity as a person deeply loved by God. This was not only excellent advice but was also good for my own soul. The fact that I was discussing these issues with students who were seeking a more integrated spiritual life also helped me."
In retirement, Bennett and Turner, both prolific writers and conference presenters, remain active in contributing to their respective areas of scholarship. Kregel Publications recently released "Interpreting the Gospels and Acts," Turner's latest book. Bennett looks forward to the publication of two chapters in "A Legacy of Apologetics," a forthcoming book from Zondervan.
"When I came to GRTS in 2002, what impressed me was the interest both students and faculty had in engaging important historical and theological issues," Bennett shared. "It's a great honor to be granted this distinction and to continue to be part of the seminary community."