Public focus on theology and culture scheduled at Houghton University

An Old Testament Bible scholar will be the presenter for this year’s public Woolsey Lecture Series in Theology and Culture next month at Houghton University.

John H. Walton, Ph.D.

John H. Walton, Ph.D., professor emeritus of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School in Illinois, will discuss Listening Ears and Teachable Minds: Letting the Text Speak on Its Own Terms at 7PM, Thursday, April 4, in the Center for the Arts Recital Hall, 1 Willard Avenue, with a reception afterward.

This will be followed by an address on Immanuel Theology: What God Has Always Wanted, at 11:10AM on Friday, April 5, during the University’s Wesley Chapel worship time.

Walton, who has authored or edited over 50 books, including commentaries, reference works, textbooks, scholarly monographs, and popular academic works, received his doctorate from Hebrew Union College.

He taught for 22 years at Wheaton after 20 years of providing student instruction at Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, IL.

He was the Old Testament general editor for the Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible (NIV, NKJV, NRSV), and is widely known for his “Lost World” books, including The Lost World of Genesis One, The Lost World of Adam and Eve, and The Lost World of the Prophets.

His areas of expertise include the importance of the ancient Near East for interpreting the Old Testament, as well as the dialogue between science and faith.

Among his most recent publications is Wisdom for Faithful Reading: Principles and Practices for Old Testament Interpretation.

Walton says he is “saddened by how little exposure to and understanding of the Old Testament many Christians have, but I am passionate in doing whatever I can do to remedy this spiritual and theological loss.

“As I have taught high school Bible studies, adult education classes, introduction to doctrine for sixth graders, or Bible stories to four-year olds, I have been driven by the desire to offer people a greater familiarity with God’s Word and a greater confidence in understanding God’s revelation of himself in its pages,” he relates.

Origin of lecture series
The annual lecture series is named after Warren M. Woolsey, a professor of New Testament and missiology, the study of religious missions and their methods and purposes, at Houghton for more than 25 years.

Following retirement in 1992, Woolsey taught for a year at Kingsley College in Melbourne, Australia. He died in Houghton in 2017 at the age of 95.

A Houghton native, the professor attended Houghton College and became an Air Cadet in 1942, graduating in absentia in 1943 after he was called into training for active service in the Army Air Force in World War II.

As a bombadier, he and his crew flew in large formations of four-engine B-24 heavy bombers on 30 missions in southern Germany and German-occupied Austria, as well as the Po River valley in northern Italy.

Woolsey missionary service
Following his discharge from service in October 1945 he briefly attended Columbia University, then Princeton and Biblical Seminaries, before accepting a call with his wife, Ella, to minister in the Appalachian mountains of eastern Kentucky.

In 1950 they accepted a call to missionary service in Sierra Leone, West Africa, where they devoted themselves to evangelism and Biblical education, including Woolsey’s service as the first president of Sierra Leone Bible College, now the Evangelical College of Theology, near Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The professor joined the faculty of Houghton College in 1966 and was the author of Bible commentaries on the First and Second Thessalonians books of the New Testament of the Bible, published by the Wesleyan Publishing House.

The Houghton College Department of Religion and Philosophy honored the professor with establishment of the Woolsey Lecture Series in Theology and Culture, an annual event featuring leading scholars exploring multiple connections between theology, mission, and global Christianity.

Further information is available at or (585) 567-9634.