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Faculty Profile: Mark Husbands
The Leonard and Marjorie Maas Associate Professor of Reformed Theology

In 2007, Dr. Mark Husbands chose to take on a professorship at Hope, leaving a position at Wheaton College to occupy Hope’s new “Leonard and Marjorie Maas Endowed Professorship” created specifically for scholarly emphasis on Reformed theology.

In accepting the position, Dr. Husbands knew that there was a lot expected of him, but he was willing and ready to take on the challenge.

“Leonard and Marjorie Maas wanted to secure a means by which Hope could more fully engage with the riches of Reformed theology, its tradition and dogged cheerfulness in understanding critical issues of Christian faith and the liberal arts. This was a great fit with my own commitments and scholarship.”

As with any big change, there were unknowns. However, Dr. Husbands found Hope students to be entirely capable of taking on the intellectual challenges raised in the classroom.

“Students here are known, rightly so, for caring and for giving back to the community,” says Dr. Husbands. “What I want them to ask is, ‘How are these connected to the deep contours of faith?’” As a theologian, Dr. Husbands admits that a theology class presents a particular challenge for students, because many do not know what to expect walking into class.

“Students who like to know where they’ll end up in a class are in trouble in a theology class. Theology helps us to ask and answer the quiet questions that one may not have been able to articulate.” A large part of Dr. Husband’s desire involves international education and issues of social justice. He believes that building an understanding of faith is a way to reach out, not just to the Holland community but on a global scale as well.

“Hope is very, very good at sending students out to study abroad. It is a tremendously powerful aspect of education. The opportunity to think deeply about faith in a new setting, especially among the poor, informs a more truthful understanding of creation and God’s calling to act justly and seek mercy.”

Each day, Dr. Husbands finds himself asking: “How is what I’m teaching influenced by and contributing to the historic Christian faith?”

With every class and every hand raised, he seeks to help shape Hope students’ understanding of what it means to live with integrity in both faith and academics.

“It’s not just about being a faithful Christian, and it’s not just being a good scholar. ‘How do those two things fit together, and how do they mutually reinforce each other?’ That’s what I want students to ask.”

This profile was written by Charlie A. Walter, a Hope College senior from Grand Rapids, Mich., for the 2010-11 Hope College Catalog.

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