Australian Veterinarian Applies Biblical Justice as a Church Elder
By Kelly Dippolito
Becoming an elder prompted Peter Green to pursue formal theological education. After studying for a Graduate Diploma of Divinity at a local Bible College in Melbourne left him hungry for more, his journey to Northern began. A veterinarian by vocation, Peter’s initial expectations centered around helping him address theological issues inherent in the elder duties at his multi-site nondenominational church and develop into a member of its teaching team. As a global marketplace leader, his seminary education has helped him make theological education accessible to laity in his context.
Scot McKnight’s The Blue Parakeet was instrumental and served as his introduction to Northern. Through Scot’s blog, The Jesus Creed, Peter learned about Northern’s Master of Arts in New Testament (MANT) program. When Peter visited a class lecture remotely, he was delighted that the internet was reliable enough to allow him the flexibility to pursue the degree from Australia through Northern’s live streaming platform Northern Live.
“Seminary changed my outlook on a whole range of things.” Lectures at Northern were more than just information transfer for him; they were sermons that formed him spiritually. As an international student, Peter connected deeply with his cohort each year through the in-person intensives. As a member of a tightly knit cohort, Peter is grateful to have developed strong connections with his colleagues many of whom were “refugees from complementarian, fundamentalist churches.” Their perspectives facilitated his own theological reconstruction and provided a community of safety and encouragement.
Studying women in the New Testament with Dr. Nijay Gupta and in the early church with Dr. Lynn Cohick were eye-openers for Peter. These courses raised his awareness of how diminishing or erasing the women in our faith legacy has implications for today, even in his egalitarian environment.
Pursuing his MANT was another step in his journey into ministries of biblical justice, one that is shaped by a fresh reading of Scripture and engagement in theological wrestling.
Today as an elder in his church and a veterinarian, Peter is motivated to make theology accessible for the members of his congregation through the development of teaching programs that combine depth and relevance. Currently he is working on converting his MA thesis on “good works” into a Bible study curriculum. “We are a good people, meant to do good work, for the good of society.” Passionate about defining biblical justice through the framework of serving refugees, the poor, and the marginalized, Peter carries a message that our faith “is not just about evangelism and getting someone saved, it’s about demonstrating the kingdom of God.” As he moves forward the conversation in his church, Peter wants everyday Christians to embrace that biblical justice is “what we do.”
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