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Samuel Parkison to serve as the Director of Publishing at Credo and editor of a new Crossway series

It is with great joy that we announce Dr. Samuel G. Parkison as the Director of Publishing for Credo!

Parkison’s first project will be a new series with Crossway publishing called the Credo Contemplating God series (edited by Parkison and Matthew Barrett). Written in the contemplative style of C.S. Lewis, this series will include many small books in which each author will help the average Christian gaze at the beauty of our Lord (more on this series below).

Samuel G. Parkison is married to Shannon and a father of four. He graduated from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with an MDiv and PhD. He currently serves as the Director of the Abu Dhabi Extension Site and is the Assistant Professor of Theology at Gulf Theological Seminary in the United Arab Emirates. Before his position at Gulf Theological Seminary, he served as Associate Professor of Christian Studies at Spurgeon College and MBTS during. Additionally, he served as an Editor with Credo Magazine for several years. Two of his new books will release this year: To Gaze Upon God: The Beatific Vision in Doctrine, Tradition, and Practice (IVP Academic) and Proclaiming the Triune God: The Doctrine of the Trinity and the Life of the Church (B&H Academic). He has several other forthcoming books as well. In fact, Sam is even a poet and has written a number of sonnets.

Editor-in-Chief of Credo, Matthew Barrett, says, “I could not be more happy that Sam is joining our team. I do not exaggerate when I say that Sam is one of today’s best young theologians. But I’ve also pastored with Sam for a time and I can say from experience that the retrieval of classical theology is no intellectual game for him. He truly cares about the future of the church. Like so many in the Great Tradition, theology is a spiritual exercise for Sam and he has great ideas on how to help those in the church grow in their love for classical Christianity. What a blessing to have Sam serve our Credo readers in this unique role.”

We had the opportunity to ask Sam a few questions about this new role and his plans:

What is it about the Director of Publishing role at Credo that excited you most?

First and foremost, I’m excited about getting to further advance our mission, which is to retrieve classical Christianity for the sake of creating and cultivating reformation in the church today. This mission is something I am eager to stand behind. In fact, I would be hard-pressed to find a more accurate summary of what I feel my own personal mission-statement in academic ministry would look like! So, I’m eager to get to see that mission advanced through the various publishing ventures in which Credo will, Lord willing, be involved in the years to come.I’m excited about Credo's mission, which is to retrieve classical Christianity for the sake of creating and cultivating reformation in the church today. Click To Tweet

What are your goals for Credo now in this new position?

Something I have been meditating on as of late is how crucial literary output is for seasons of rejuvenation and reformation in the history of the church. There is something of a chicken-egg dilemma when we look back at various high points in the history of the church: was it literary explosions (wherein old works were translated and republished and new works were written) that led to spiritual and theological vitality in the church, or was it the other way around? Probably it has always been a little of both, wherein the Holy Spirit’s fire set the kindling of works of literature in the bonfires of reformation, and revivals blazed higher as more kindling was added. This, of course, is all something of a preamble to your question to explain my answer. What are my goals for Credo related to this new position? To add as much kindling, as humanly possible, to the bonfire of reformation in the church today.

You are editing a new series with Crossway alongside of Matthew Barrett. What is that series and what will it be focused on?

This is the first official responsibility associated with my new role at Credo, so it’s fitting you would ask about this. We’re calling it the Credo Contemplating God Series, it will consist of at least sixteen short books introducing Classical theology to a lay audience. This is a unique opportunity for Credo because much of the work we do through the Center for Classical Theology and other series with Crossway (the New Studies in Classical Theology Series, and the Thomas Aquinas for Protestants Series) are more on the academic side. Even our quarterly Magazine is very often a bit more advanced than most lay-readers could follow confidently, and is therefore mostly consumed by students and pastors. So, the Credo Contemplating God Series is venturing into new territory—we are aiming straight for the pew with these books.

We want to equip the lay Christian with classical Christian doctrine that is readable and approachable (for more on what we mean by Classical theology, see below). Yet rather than writing small introductions on topics, this series will be written in a style that models the ancient, biblical practice of contemplating God. Instead of presenting little textbooks, the authors will seek to imitate C.S. Lewis and his bestselling work, Mere Christianity, which has taught generations of Christians classical Christianity in a contemplative vein. Like Lewis, authors will spark the Christian imagination through the beauty of language that leaves the reader in awe, full of wonder at the mystery of God. Classical Theology should be retrieved not in spite of our present realities, but precisely because it resources us with timeless Christian wisdom within our present realities. Click To Tweet

Unfortunately, books written for the express purpose of contemplating God and his glory are now all but foreign. A domesticated and therapeuticized vision of God pervades the imaginations of many today—a God who exists in mutual relationship with his creation, and the study of whom is worthwhile only to the degree of its “utility” in “practical” daily living. Over and against a utilitarian approach to God, these essays move beyond pragmatism to commend contemplation of God as an end in itself, the true telos of lasting happiness.

Yet the creation and cultivation of reformation in the church today is a work that requires a retrieval of Classical Christianity at every level. Classical theology is not simply for the theologian and the scholar, nor strictly for the pastor and church leader, but rather for the average Christian in the pew. Theological contemplation should not be the preoccupation of a select class of people; it is the goal of every pilgrim soul on its way to heaven to see God.

As such, these brief meditations are kindling for the fire of worship. Without sacrificing depth, these various authors will take their vast learning and condense their wisdom for the lay reader who lacks the language of specialization. In the spirit of C.S. Lewis, that great popularizer of profound truths, these essays are both informative and enjoyable. In the months ahead we will roll out a list of authors and what books they will be writing. So stay tuned!

What excites you most about the future of Credo?

If retrieval is confined to the academy, it will never be anything more than a scholarly fad. Classical Theology is not a mere intellectually stimulating game. The future health of the church depends on our faithfulness. Click To Tweet There is much talk right now in the academy of “theological retrieval.” In that sense, the “retrieval movement”—if you want to call it that—is comparable to other theological movements identifiable in scholarly history. The promise of theological retrieval, which poises to outlast temporary fads in scholarly circles, is that the truths we are retrieving are not dead truths of a dead faith, but are rather timeless and evergreen in their vitality. The vision of the Christian faith we hope to cast, in other words, is life-giving and joy-inducing—and, on this note, it is already time-tested! So, we have no interest in retrieving old doctrines simply because they are old, and repristinating them here irrespective of our own lives and present theological (and cultural and ethical and political) concerns. In fact, were we to try to do that, we would not, in fact, be retrieving Classical Theology—true Classical Theology will not stay content in a museum; it demands to be lived out. Which is all to say, Classical Theology should be retrieved not in spite of our present realities, but precisely because it resources us with timeless Christian wisdom within our present realities.

My point in highlighting “scholarly movements,” however, is simply to say that if theological retrieval is strictly confined to the academy, it will never be anything more than a scholarly fad. Such a fate is a genuinely, downright, depressing prospect. Classical Theology is not, for me, a mere intellectually stimulating game. These matters really are life and death, and the future health of the contemporary church really does depend on our faithfulness to receive the true faith once for all delivered to the saints. We should be sobered by the reminder that Christ’s promise to build his church, despite the opposition of the gates of hell, is not a promise that he would build contemporary, 21st century evangelicalism in such an indestructible way. Entire church movements and theological traditions can completely lose the plot without Christ’s promise being impacted. While that is a profound comfort as a member of the Church universal, it should also be a sobering wake-up call. The hard truth that I firmly believe is that for the past hundred years, so many of the theological resources that have shaped the imaginations of so many an evangelical church have marked serious departures of orthodox, Classical Christianity. Modernistic aberrations of Classical Christianity should be rejected primarily because Classical Christianity is so much more beautiful! Click To Tweet

Therefore, if we want to see reformation in the church today, there is a real sense in which we need to “bear fruit in keeping with [intellectual] repentance,” and not just criticize works that have steered the evangelical church unhelpfully off course, but to replace those works. This means that while our work may be polemical at times, it cannot be marked exclusively by polemics: modernistic aberrations of Classical Christianity should be rejected primarily because Classical Christianity is so much more beautiful!

So, what excites me about the future of Credo? I’m excited to put hand to plow in order to begin irrigating the evangelical garden which has, in some places, grown fallow and withered. And, I am fundamentally optimistic. Why? Because Christians today want to live in a lush garden—by virtue of being indwelled by the Holy Spirit, they are already primed and ready to flourish under the warm sunlight of wholesome, Classical Christian doctrine. I have seen this too much to doubt: faithful Christians have a bias for theological truth, and are ready to receive it, even if it’s initially a surprise. The people who want to do this work of cultivating and irrigating are my people, and I’m eager to lock arms with them to that end.

Credo is a burgeoning institution committed to that purpose, and I’m happy to lend my services accordingly, whatever they are worth!


Publications by Sam Parkison:

Revelation and Response: The Why and How of Leading Corporate Worship Through Song (Rainer, 2019)

Thinking Christianly: Bringing Sundry Thoughts Captive to Christ (H&E, 2022)

Irresistible Beauty: Beholding Triune Glory in the Face of Jesus Christ (Mentor, 2022)

To Gaze Upon God: The Beatific Vision in Doctrine, Tradition, and Practice (IVP Academic, 2024)

Proclaiming the Triune God: The Doctrine of the Trinity and the Life of the Church (B&H Academic, 2024) (co author with Matthew Barrett, Ronni Kurtz, and Joseph Lanier)

The Unvarnished Jesus: The Beauty of Christ, and His Ugly Rivals (Christian Focus, forthcoming)

The Aseity of God (tentatively titled), in Contemplating God series (Crossway and Credo, forthcoming)

Volume on Eschatology in the forthcoming B&H Academic series, Pillars in Christian Dogmatics, edited by Matthew Barrett and Craig A. Carter.

Contributing chapter entitled, “The Trinity is Still Not a Social Program: The Trinity and Gender Roles” in the forthcoming book On Classical Trinitarianismedited by Matthew Barrett.

Spencer McCorkel

Spencer McCorkel is an editor for Credo Magazine and a PhD student at MBTS. He is an elder and pastor at The Summit Church Saline County in Benton, AR where he lives with his wife, Jenna, and daughters, Karis and Heidi.

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