From Rocket Scientist to Biblical Ethicist
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to publish articles on ethics in what could be one of the most popular study Bibles of the year, but sometimes it helps. Former ‘rocket scientist’ Craig Mitchell, assistant professor of ethics at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, contributed articles to Crossway’s soon-to-be released ESV Study Bible.
Mitchell, who tested and developed ballistic missile systems, aircraft and spacecraft before surrendering to vocational ministry in 1994, collaborated with three well-known scholars to write articles on Christian ethics for the study Bible: Wayne Grudem, research professor of Bible and theology at Phoenix Seminary; Daniel R. Heimbach, professor of Christian ethics at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary; and C. Ben Mitchell, associate professor of bioethics and contemporary culture at Trinity International University. Mitchell contributed articles on “Government,” “War,” “Racial Discrimination,” “Stewardship” and “Biblical Ethics.”
“The fact that the ESV Study Bible has a section on Christian ethics reflects their commitment to be the most comprehensive and the most useful tool available for people who desire to learn more about how the Bible should influence their life and thinking,” Mitchell said. “The topics that this section includes are the kinds of things that many Christians wonder about and would like to have a better grasp of. The person who owns a copy of the ESV Study Bible will find that they have a resource that can help them to understand what a biblical Christian worldview is and how it influences the way that they should live.”
The ESV Study Bible is set for release on Oct. 15, 2008. Nearly 3,000 pages in length, it features 20,000 notes, hundreds of maps and charts, and 50 articles on various subjects including biblical authority, theology, archaeology and worship.
As a Master of Divinity Student at Southwestern, Mitchell began to pursue Christian ethics with the encouragement of Ebbie Smith, former professor of ethics, missions and evangelism at the seminary. Since he had been trained as an aeronautical engineer to seek systematic formulas, he quickly became aware that the available research in Christian ethics did not provide a coherent, systematic treatment of the topic. For this reason, he researched ethical theory during his Ph.D., offering a systematic framework for ethics in his doctoral dissertation, Alvin Plantinga’s Proper Functionalist Epistemology As a Model for Christian Ethics. He completed his Ph.D. in Christian Ethics at Southwestern Seminary in 2005.
Mitchell has taught Christian ethics at Southwestern Seminary since 2002. Earlier he served as a teaching fellow and graduate teaching assistant at the seminary, as well as teaching adjunctively in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex at Tarrant County College and Weatherford College. He also served as an associate pastor at Discovery Church in Fort Worth from 1999 to 2003.
Mitchell has presented and published several articles and book reviews on Christian ethics, as well as authoring two books for Zondervan: Charts for Philosophies and Philosophers and Charts of Christian Ethics. He is currently writing a work on Christian ethical theory and is continuing his education by pursuing an M.A. in economics at the University of Texas at Arlington.