I had the pleasure of interviewing yet another gifted Kingswood faculty member. Professor Branscombe is the head of our Old Testament department and offers a wealth of knowledge and insight regarding this major part of Scripture.
How long have you been teaching here at Kingswood?
I’ve been teaching here since 1989. But I’ve had a connection to Kingswood for much longer. I remember being here as a child for the ground-breaking ceremony. Anytime there was a graduation on a nice day, we held it on the front lawn. If was a bad day, we’d go to a local church. We also only had two buildings back then.
Three of my siblings and I studied here. I came here in 1976 and graduated in 1980, with my bachelor of arts in religion, majoring in pastoral ministry.
What were you doing before you came here to Kingswood?
Upon graduating, I worked as an assistant pastor for two years at Sussex Wesleyan Church. After a short stint there, I realized that I wanted to go back to school. Because degrees from Kingswood weren’t recognized at that time, I enrolled at Acadia University and completed another B.A. Then I went on to Wycliffe College where I did a master of religion degree. I was able to specialize in Old Testament studies and write a thesis on the structure of the Jacob story in Genesis.
I then returned home to Sussex and worked in the woods for over a year. While a woodsman by day, I was a professor by evening. I taught a course at Kingswood in the fall and spring semesters respectively.
Fortunately, a full-time position came available here at Kingswood. It entailed a little of everything at first. I’ve taught more than 20 different courses since my time here. Part of being a teacher is being able to teach yourself. That is one of the most important skills I’ve learned. I always want to dive into a topic and see what I can learn next.
What is your favourite class that you teach?
I enjoy teaching on the Pentateuch. Those five books are the foundation for the entire Old Testament.
Why do you think studying the Old Testament is so important?
There are more stories in the Old Testament. I always found that more interesting. It is probably apocryphal, but I heard this story about how the New Testament was translated into the language of a remote tribe somewhere. The translators also taught the leaders of the tribe to read. After celebrating the newly-minted New Testament, the chief went off to read it and came back with these words: “Where is the other half?!”
Which part of the Old Testament is your favourite? A certain book or person?
I enjoy the first eleven chapters of Genesis—the creation story. Why? Well, for the same reason as to why I like the Pentateuch and the Old Testament —it is foundational to the rest of the story.
Where do you hope to see Kingswood headed in the future?
The first thing I think of is that we continue. Higher education as a whole is facing a tough time because of changing demographics. However, we are fulfilling a specific need here at Kingswood and contributing to the overall health of the Church.
I would like to see more curiosity among our students. I want them to ask more questions and to not simply take things at face-value. This doesn’t
mean that they throw out the core of what they believe. Instead, they can be bold in their search for truth. If someone is trying to avoid a responsibility, then they will likely find a justification for it. That person doesn’t really desire truth, and education will not likely help them. They have to be willing to go where the evidence leads.
What are some things that you absolutely love to do in your free time?
Well, I do walk everywhere. I’m almost always listening to something. Usually a podcast. I listen to talks about apologetics, theology, philosophy, woodworking, maker-movement stuff, etc. I listen to audio books as well. I enjoy listening to classic literature such as Dickens on audio. I also work a lot with my hands. I renovated my home. I always have a project on the go. I recently got a wet grinder, and now I need to make a stand for it.