Carl Beckwith joined the faculty of Beeson Divinity School in 2007 and teaches church history and doctrine.
Why do you teach?
I teach because I love to learn. I often joke that I liked being a student so much I never left college. The only way they would let me stay is if I started teaching. Turns out, to my surprise and my family’s delight, they will even pay you to do this.
What is your favorite activity outside of Samford?
I’m a man with too many hobbies. I’m an avid gardener, bread baker and woodworker. My favorite activity, though, would be birding with my family. Whether we are hiking in Birmingham, the Bon Secour or the foothills of Boise, the Beckwith bird nerds are always listening and looking for our feathered friends.
How did your background prepare you for your current role?
When I was in seventh grade, I declared that I would be a lawyer. I never wavered from that conviction until the January interim of my first year of college. At 7:45 in the morning, in the bitter cold of a Minnesota January, I trudged through heavy snow to take a history class on the Great Depression. I never missed a class. The professor, Erling Jorstad, was my great joy. A master teacher, he kindled an enthusiasm for learning and teaching within me that remains to this day. I teach the way I do because of a long line of great teachers.
What research have you been conducting lately and why?
A recent book of mine, The Holy Trinity, explores what it means to think and talk about God, how the Old and New Testaments present the Trinity, and how the Fathers, medieval schoolmen and Reformers guarded and clarified the trinitarian witness of Scripture. It was a long book, and I’m confident five or six people read it. I’m now working on a shorter book on the Trinity with the hope of doubling my readership.
What is a favorite project you have worked on recently?
When I teach, I am always in search of the best books for my students. It turns out these books don’t always exist. Since coming to Beeson, I’ve published two books to fill needs in the classroom. Most recently, I edited Martin Luther’s Basic Exegetical Writings, an anthology of his sermons, commentaries and lectures. This book shows students how Luther taught the deep truths of the Reformation to everyday people in the ordinary places of life—the church and the classroom. The very places my students inhabit.
This interview originally appeared in the Spring 2019 edition of Inside Samford.