Dr. Jay Phelan finds it is easy to divide seminaries into the categories of “academic” or “practical.” One prepares for ministry through a rigorously intellectual process without the life of the church. The other is a training program that teaches “how,” but not “why.” As a pastor in the Evangelical Covenant Church, Dr. Phelan knows the value of theological education, particularly in the serious study of the biblical text. He came to North Park because he believes their Theological Seminary has found a way to combine both. According to Dr. Phelan, “The intellectual, the practical, and the spiritual come together here. And I wanted to be a part of this process of engaging text and culture.”
Having served as the Seminary’s dean of students from 1981 to 1986, Dr. Phelan then returned in 1996. He served as the seminary’s president and dean until 2010, when he became a full-time faculty member. Dr. Phelan now oversees the Seminary’s chapel program. “Worshiping together is critical,” says Dr. Phelan. “This is a place where we come to pray, sing, break bread, and celebrate.”
Dr. Phelan has served as a pastor to congregations in Florida and Kansas, and in the denomination as executive director of Covenant Publications. He is passionate about engaging Evangelical-Jewish dialogue, a conversation that continues to reward his life and ministry.
John E. Phelan, Jr. Essential Eschatology: Our Present and Future Hope. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2013.
John E. Phelan, Jr. Regular column for The Covenant Companion. 1994–present.
John E. Phelan, Jr. Ex Auditu, The Covenant Quarterly.