“Scholarship with a Shepherd’s Heart”
This is the motto of Phoenix Seminary. For those of you who know Clark Bates or have sat under his teaching, you would probably agree that this motto could equally apply to his life. Around the end of June, this year, Clark was notified that he had been accepted, not only to a fine Seminary, but into a very special program.
The Text & Canon Institute, established by professors Peter Gurry and John Meade at Phoenix Seminary exists to encourage research and publication of scholarly work on the history of the canon and the text of the Bible. To accomplish this mission, the Institute seeks to foster and support scholarly research, academic colloquia, conferences, and professional presentations on biblical and related ancient texts, traditions, languages, methods of textual criticism, and the history of the canon. All this while serving the church through the provision of publications and public events that illuminate the integrity of the Bible’s textual history and canonization (More can be read about this Institute here).
The Institute was officially created earlier this year, and recently opened up requests for applications to be part of the first ever Text & Canon Institute Fellowship. The Fellowship is a one-year scholarship and mentoring program for a student in the Phoenix Seminary ThM program who intends to pursue doctoral studies in Old or New Testament textual criticism, canon studies, or ancillary disciplines. TCI Fellows work directly with the directors to implement the vision of the Text & Canon Institute and may participate with them in research, teaching, and other related duties. Fellows must have a previous Master of Divinity (MDiv) degree and must show a strong proficiency in the biblical languages.
Clark, was asked to apply and he did. At the close of the month of June, the Bates family was notified that Clark had been accepted to this prestigious honor! Trusting that this is God’s will, and after several days of prayer and conversation with his wife Jessie, Clark accepted the offer. What this means for the Bates family is an opportunity to take the next step in God’s orchestration of their lives, and for Clark specifically, it is the opportunity to teach, study and work alongside some of the brightest minds in his field. As exciting as this opportunity is for all the Bates family, it also means that they have to move the entire family to Arizona in a matter of weeks!
As God continues to open doors for them on this journey, this fundraiser has been established to allow members of their community to help as well. Many of you know that the cost of relocation is not easy, and while the education will be paid for, the other daily expenses will still exist. While Clark is diligently looking for work in the Phoenix area to supplement the family’s needs, any gift toward this journey will be gratefully received and go directly toward their moving expenses and the expenses of settling in the area.
As they look toward the coming weeks, Clark and Jessie have called to mind the words of Gen. 12:1-2:
"...Go from your country and your kindred and your father’s house to the land that I will show you. And I will make of you a great nation, and I will bless you and make your name great, so that you will be a blessing."