Turner Celebrates 32 Years of Service At GRTS
by Kristina Garvelink (M.S. ’15)
For Dr. David Turner, professor of New Testament, the 2017-18 academic year marks 32 years of service at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. This notable milestone also signals the prospect of a new ministry season for him and his wife Beverly; Turner plans to transition to an adjunct faculty role in May 2018.
"For over 32 years, Dr. David Turner fostered the exegetical and theological development of generations of GRTS students," Dr. John VerBerkmoes, executive vice president for academics dean of GRTS, said. "David's disciplinary commitments, philosophy of education and approach to teaching routinely cultivated deep respect for the authority of Scripture, an openness to think critically about one's beliefs and assumptions, competency for lifelong learning and fidelity to Christ, the gospel and the Church. Beyond his impact at GRTS, Dr. Turner made very important contributions to New Testament scholarship, particularly in relation to the Gospel of Matthew."
Interview with Dr. Turner
Having faithfully invested in the GRTS learning community for more than three decades, Turner reflected on his experience as a professor.
How did you come to teach at GRTS?
Turner: "I came to GRTS in 1986 after teaching at Baptist Bible College (Pa.) and Grace Theological Seminary (Ind.).
"My first tour at GRTS lasted nine years. I left to pursue doctoral studies in intertestamental Judaism at Hebrew Union College. In 1998, John Lillis asked me to come back for a second tour to teach New Testament with Carl Hoch and Dr. Gary Meadors."
What are a few key memories from your experience as a professor?
Turner: "This is a hard one—there are so many great memories of students and colleagues. To have a part in the formation of students who are called to serve Christ and His church is an unspeakable privilege. Some of these students, like the GRTS alumni who formed the Dead Theologians Society, are among my closest friends."
How has being at GRTS shaped you?
Turner: "When I came to GRTS, I soon realized I was among faculty whose intellectual and professional acumen exceeded my own. That encouraged me to grow and hone my craft.
"More importantly, GRTS faculty modeled interpersonal integrity. There was often vigorous debate as the faculty discussed curriculum and such matters, but once a decision had been reached, there was harmony in carrying it out. That signaled to me that GRTS was a place to grow, to think and to speak one's mind among friends in a learning community where Christ was Lord and serving students well was the goal."
What are your future plans?
Turner: "Grand Rapids is home, and we don't plan to move away. Beverly and I have a couple of trips in mind. And maybe I'll take some time to practice and try to become a better guitar player.
"I will continue to teach in an adjunct capacity at GRTS and Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary. I also have a couple current writing projects to finish and a couple more in mind.
"Beverly and I are waiting to see how this next chapter will unfold."
To read a parting call to students and alumni written by Turner, follow the Talking Points blog for a special guest post.