Writer and editor Justin Taylor started at Crossway in 2006, and ten years later became the Executive Vice President of Book Publishing and Book Publisher.
Justin blogs at “Between Two Worlds” and helps to run the “Evangelical History” blog wth historian Thomas Kidd at The Gospel Coalition. Along with Kelly Kapic, a fellow RTS alumnus, he co-edited two editions of the works of John Owen: Overcoming Sin and Temptation and Communion with the Triune God.
Editor-in-Chief Phillip Holmes interviewed Justin about his time at RTS, his work, and his advice to those considering theological education.
What is your connection to RTS?
I am an RTS grad and an appreciative alum. In my current role as book publisher at Crossway, we work with several RTS professors and graduates.
What year did you graduate from RTS? Which degree did you earn?
I received a MAR [Masters of Arts (Religion)] through RTS in December of 2012.
What influenced your decision to pursue a degree at RTS?
I had begun my seminary education in the late 90s at a program that did not, at the time, have a completion program. I loved theology and wanted to be equipped for ministry, whether as a pastor or a professor (a third “P”—publisher—only emerged later as an option).
RTS was an amazing way for me to transfer in some credits and to complete my degree with a world-class faculty.
Why did you choose Global Education?
The degree program from a Reformed confessional institution offered flexibility that wasn’t available elsewhere. I had just taken a full-time job, so I wasn’t in a position to make the move for residency. It allowed me to go at my own pace.
What was your experience with the Global program?
It was a great experience. I felt personally invested in, and not just a number. I actually had a hiatus of several years between when I started the program and completed it, as I was working full time with a young family. But the program was gracious to me in so many ways.
What course or professor at RTS most influenced you?
Three come to mind: John Frame (for theological breadth and depth), Sinclair Ferguson (for pastoral and historical insight), and James Anderson (for philosophical application).
How have you used your degree since graduation?
I’m tempted to respond: “How have I not used the degree?” Theological education through RTS influences virtually everything I do. What could be more applicable to Christian ministry—especially Christian publishing—than studying the Bible, theology, and church history?
When I open up the Word, or when I talk about the church, or when I talk about history, it’s not as if seminary gave me all of the answers. But it did give me all of the tools I need to go deeper with the Lord and with the church in a more informed and careful way.
How has your theological education impacted your writing?
What I learned is always in the background of what I write. Obviously, I don’t do it perfectly. But, hopefully, it is more careful and fair and informed because of the theological education I have received.
Has your theological education opened doors for you vocationally?
I went on to get a Ph.D., which would not have been possible without my RTS degree. In addition, theological education is required for my job as a publisher.
Have you used RTS’ resources since graduating?
I enjoy watching the Wisdom Wednesday videos, along with various lectures. I also follow the campus presidents and many professors on Twitter.
What are you currently studying?
Devotionally, I’m immersing myself in the book of Genesis at the beginning of the new year. Our church is preaching through Acts. And I am continuing to think about issues like Paul and the law and the imago Dei.
Do you have any projects that you’re currently working on?
One ongoing project that I am involved with is co-editing, with Steve Nichols, the “Theologians on the Christian Life” series for Crossway. We hope to help Christians today learn from the past through our theological forebears.
What does your role at Crossway involve?
It involves many things, but at the heart of my responsibility is to bring in new books to Crossway that fit with our mission of gospel-centered publishing for the good of God’s people.We hope to help Christians today from the past through our theological forebears.
What are some of the challenges that Christian publishing companies are facing?
There are always challenges, but until Christ returns, the spirit of the age will always be our greatest challenge. Faithful Christian publishing will, by definition, swim upstream against the current. Satan, our sin, and the world will always conspire to make us unfaithful. So the biggest challenge is perpetually to keep our eyes on Jesus and to walk in a manner worthy of his name and pleasing to him.
What would you say to someone who does not plan to go into full-time vocational ministry and wants to study theology but is hesitant to attend seminary?
Maybe your hesitation is warranted. Don’t dismiss it. Seminary is not a requirement for everyone interested in theology. But consider the possibility that God may indeed be opening doors for you to go to seminary. It is an incredible opportunity—one that many do not have. It will shape you in profound ways. It is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to spend concentrated time studying the deep things of God with some of the most godly and proven teachers in the world.