Published on February 7, 2019 by Kristen Padilla and Andrew Russell  
Divinity Opening Convocation

“Michael Pasquarello has given his entire intellectual life to encourage us preachers to talk about the God who has talked to us in Jesus Christ,” said William H. Willimon, professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry at Duke Divinity School, about his former student. 

Pasquarello III was installed as Beeson Divinity School’s first Methodist Chair of Divinity during the school’s Opening Convocation, Feb. 5, with Willimon, who formerly served as the bishop of the North Alabama Methodist Conference (2004-2012), delivering a message entitled, “Talkative God.” 

“A sermon is what God wants to say, not what we would like to hear,” Willimon said. “That’s why we have preaching—because of the God we’ve got. If God was not loquacious, then we would have nothing to preach.”

In an age when sermons increasingly consist of reflections, musings or advice, Willimon said Pasquarello, in his book, Christian Preaching: A Trinitarian Theology of Proclamation, “says that the greatest temptation that we preachers face is the temptation to be inattentive to the God who has attended to us.”

Rather, Pasquarello “teaches us to love the God we got rather than the God we thought we had to have–the God who comes to us in Jesus Christ and who preaches.”

Following his installation, Pasquarello gave a few remarks of thanksgiving and reflection on his new role at Samford’s divinity school.

 “My hope is to contribute to recovering the Wesleyan vision of practical divinity, uniting theological integrity and faithful ministry for building up the church as the body of Christ in the world,” he said. “Theology is never an end but is always a means for understanding and building transformed lives.” 

As the Methodist chair, Pasquarello teaches Christian Preaching courses at the divinity school and has already begun a Wesleyan Fellowship with Samford undergraduate students, making it the first Methodist student ministry on Samford’s campus.

In addition to this role, Pasquarello serves as director of the Robert Smith Jr. Preaching Institute, a newly created center to advance the mission of Beeson Divinity School and to strengthen the preaching of the gospel throughout the world.

“Mike Pasquarello is a remarkably prolific and effective scholar of homiletics, as well as a recognized leader in the practice of ministry,” said Timothy George, Beeson Divinity dean. “Beeson is named for both Ralph Waldo Beeson and John Wesley Beeson, and the coming of Mike Pasquarello helps fulfill Ralph Beeson’s intention to include a robust Wesleyan witness in the faculty of Beeson Divinity School. I am personally delighted by Mike’s joining our Beeson faculty and staff.”

Listen to Willimon’s sermon and Pasquarello’s remarks here

Read the press release about Pasquarello here.

Read about the new Smith Institute here.

 
About Samford UniversitySamford is a premier nationally ranked Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts and a distinct blend of graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 3rd nationally for student engagement and Kiplinger’s Personal Finance ranks Samford 34th among private universities in the U.S. for value and affordability. Samford enrolls 5,692 students from 46 states and 28 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 NCAA Division I teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference.