Faculty, College of Theology
James Waddell is an avid baseball fan with a B.A. in English Literature from Union University and a Master of Divinity from Phoenix Seminary. He is working toward his Ph.D. in historical theology. James also preaches at his church.
“I believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection have forgiven every sin and given new life to all who trust him. Because the gospel transformed my life, I deeply enjoy helping others see, understand and feel the love of God.”
Who am I and how did God lead me here?
I love my family, baseball and God. My beautiful bride, Jerilyn, and I have five wonderful children. They throw tantrums, fight, and disobey as children are. But they love each other and they are bright and they love Jesus.
I have been a Kansas City Royals fan since birth and I try to catch a local baseball game or two a year in the midst of vocation, family and spiritual life. Throughout my life, my relationship with God serves as an overarching theme.
I grew up knowing Jesus. My dad was a Southern Baptist pastor, and so I was in church nearly every time the doors were open. As a kid, I loved the Bible stories – Abraham & Isaac, David & Goliath, Samuel hearing God’s voice, Jesus feeding the 5,000. The stories always rung true for me and so I believed, whenever my parents explained the essentials of the gospel message: God is good, I have sinned, Jesus died in my place, and he would save me if I believed in him.
I was baptized at the age of eight and I grew up knowing church, too. Each Sunday was a beautiful expression of worship, and the fellowship of a Christian community blessed my life. I also unfortunately got several glimpses into the hypocrisy, pettiness, and judgment of some fellow church members. Because of my experience, I began to seek more from Christian life, and yet I was constantly left disappointed when I struggled with the same sin and shame that had plagued me before.
How has the Gospel shaped my life?
I eventually had to rediscover the gospel. I had lived my entire adolescence as a Christian, and each year saw me trying harder and harder to control my life and my sin. When I reached a breaking point, God brought me back to the gospel by reminding me that it is his perfect love that has saved me, not my strivings for perfection.
This emphasis on God’s love and grace as foundational for the Christian life has therefore become a great passion. I believe that Jesus’ death and resurrection have forgiven every sin and given new life to all who trust him. Because the gospel transformed my life, I deeply enjoy helping others see, understand, and feel the love of God. I love the moments when it strikes others that God has loved and acted, and his work is enough not just for salvation, but for the entire Christian life.
What is my role at GCU?
Currently, I teach Christian Worldview, a general education course that explores worldview and Christianity. The class provides the opportunity to engage students of all worldviews from the center ground of Christian belief and discipleship. I view the class as a formational course more than an informational one. If students take away some knowledge about Christianity, it is a small victory. Yet the greater hope is that students will take away some wisdom about life, stemming from the truths of Christianity. It is toward this goal that I work.