Ben Holdsworth has spent most of his adult life teaching in some way. From being a student missionary in Thailand, to working at academies in Florida, to teaching adult Sabbath schools, to finally coming to work at Union college. He has always been passionate about Biblical studies, and his most memorable moments as a teacher come “when students are called to a life of deeper faithfulness with God.”
Union: When did you first know you wanted to teach theology?
Holdsworth: My love for theology began as a high school student. I started teaching adult Sabbath schools at age 16. I continued teaching Sabbath schools or leading worships during college, completing a BA in theology and minors in secondary education, history and social studies at Washington Adventist University.That lead to teaching religion instead of pastoral ministry—working at Orlando Junior Academy and Forest Lake Academy in Florida. Teaching is part of who I am, and core to my life calling.
Union: I understand you served as a student missionary while in college. How did that impact your calling?
Holdsworth: I was in in Haad Yai, Thailand during 1975-1976, teaching conversational English and a Bible reading class. It was a growing experience that changed my life and helped deepen my calling to pursue a career in education. The most meaningful moments were those when people chose to follow Jesus.
Union: What ultimately brought you to Union?
Holdsworth: My coming to Union was a “God-thing.” Previously, we were living in the United Kingdom, while I worked on my doctorate. A few friends came to visit, including a relative of someone who taught at Union. I emailed my resume to Union, which led to being hired, and teaching here beginning in fall 2009.
Union: What classes do you teach?
Holdsworth: I currently teach New Testament Greek, Christian Ethics, Christian Health and Bioethics, New Testament Survey, Romans in Context, and a new course, Global Environment and International Policy.
Christian Health and Bioethics is a PA program course. It provides a foundation in healthcare practice, to help students analyze ethical questions in ways that will help them be more prepared to be better practitioners and healthcare team members.
The other New Testament courses cover books of the New Testament, especially Paul’s letters and their historical context. New Testament Greek is great—a whole new way to understand the Bible. The Christian Ethics course relates to ways of decision-making and contemporary social issues. The new course studies the relationship between the environment, society and international relations.
Union: Tell us about your family.
Holdsworth: My wife, Ani, was raised in Cyprus and Lebanon. She studied at Newbold College in England and graduated from Washington Adventist University with degrees in communications and commercial art. She works as a freelance graphic designer. We have a rescue cat, Blizzard, who most of the time he thinks he owns us!
Union: What is the one thing you wish every Union student knew?
Holdsworth: I want every Union College student to know two things. First, how much God incredibly loves them and desires them to be part of his family. Second, that each student has amazing opportunities to make a difference in the world by what they learn at Union College.
By Elizabeth Bearden