Faculty Spotlight | Dr. John Johnson

This semester, we continue to spotlight Western Seminary’s faculty members. Today, we feature Dr. John Johnson, Associate Professor of Pastoral Theology. Dr. Johnson also serves as Lead Pastor at Village.


Transformed: Where did you grow up?

Dr. Johnson: In San Diego.


Transformed: What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Dr. Johnson: I set my sights on being a career officer in the Air Force


Transformed: What led you to your current position?

Dr. Johnson: God’s grace, relentless prayer, disciplined study to pursue master’s level and doctoral work, and the models of key men and their counsel.


Transformed: What is your favorite thing about teaching at Western?

Dr. Johnson: The ethos. There is a sense of mutual respect and encouragement.


Transformed: What is something that we would be surprised to know about you?

Dr. Johnson: I have played competitive tennis most of my life, and still play on teams that compete in the city.


Transformed: Tell us some of your favorites.

Dr. Johnson:

Movie: The Judge

Book: The Pastor, by Eugene Peterson

Food: Lebanese, in Portland at Ya Hala


Transformed: What are you reading right now?

Dr. Johnson: H3 Leadership: Be Humble. Stay Hungry. Always Hustle, by Brad Lomenick; Being Nixon: A Man Divided, by Evan Thomas; The Righteous Mind: Why Good People are Divided by Politics and Religion, by Jonathan Haidt; and The Speechwriter: A Brief Education in Politics, by Barton Swaim.


Transformed: If you could meet one person, dead or living, who would it be (not someone from the Bible)?

Dr. Johnson: Ernest Shackleton


Transformed: Is there a verse or passage of Scripture that has had a particularly strong impact on your life?

Dr. Johnson: Philippians 3:12. Life is about pressing on to grasp why God has grasped us.


Transformed: What, ideally, should be the relationship between the seminary and the church?

Dr. Johnson: Mutual need of one another – supporting one another – partnering in ministry with the conviction that both are absolutely essential.


Transformed: What does the church need more of?

Dr. Johnson: More people committed to truly being a sacrificial community going deep with God together.


Transformed: Do you have a favorite scholar, or someone whose work has inspired you?

Dr. Johnson: N.T. Wright.


Transformed: What theological topics need more attention? Are there any doctrines that have been ignored in the recent past, and could benefit from more exposure or exploration?

Dr. Johnson: Church history. The further into the past we can see, the greater our ability to see into the future.


Transformed: What is one thing you wish people knew about the life of a seminary faculty member?

Dr. Johnson: That investing in seminary education is one of the greatest investments in the world. The average congregant does not think about this.


Transformed: What makes for an ideal student?

Dr. Johnson: He or she is inquisitive, hungry for learning, and disciplined.


Transformed: What is one piece of advice that you would give to incoming seminarians?

Dr. Johnson: See each day as a privilege to study in a theological institution, and give your best self to this while the opportunity remains open.


Transformed: Do you have any forthcoming books?

Dr. Johnson: Life Under an Open Heaven should be published this year by Kregel.


Transformed: Is there anything else that we should know about you, or projects that you are currently involved in?

Dr. Johnson: I am hoping to write Lights Out with Solomon this year, which is a series of readings in wisdom literature. I am an avid kayaker, and have a cabin on the Pend Oreille River near the Canadian border, where I kayak and recharge. I have two kids, and a great wife.