A Life of Studying and Teaching
As a Nazarene Preachers Kid in northern Vermont and Maine, my parents taught me right from wrong almost from birth – and, of course, I chose to do wrong as soon as possible. I asked Jesus into my heart at age 5. It was 60% fire insurance, 30% family tradition, and 10% love of the Lord. I was sanctified in second grade – the first of many times.
During the summer of 1962, prior to leaving home for Eastern Nazarene College, I had a genuine spiritual experience. As an adult, I committed myself (by grace) to the faith I had been taught. It would not be my parents’ faith any more, but mine. I determined to love God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. That commitment has been tested from time to time, but never given up. And from that day on, by the grace of God, I have never felt “prone to wander . . . prone to leave the God I love.”
At ENC, I chose to associate with serious Christian intellectuals and future missionaries. I majored in History, minored in Music, enlisted in the Naval Reserves, and persuaded Marie to marry me a year after graduation. I felt called to Christian higher education in my senior year. Upon graduation, I spent two years on active duty – mostly in Vietnam – as a storekeeper. I saw no combat but gained a lot of future perks for my patriotism.
Nazarene historian Timothy Smith collaborated in establishing a religious history program at the University of Minnesota. It attracted me there for graduate school. He had left. Instead, my advisor was an agnostic Jew who specialized in English Catholicism. Eventually, I completed an MA and a PhD in modern religious history, with additional concentrations in the Reformation period and in the Twentieth Century (which then ended about 1965). My thesis area was to be a controversy at Oxford University in 1836 between divinity professor R.D. Hampden and the Anglo-Catholic movement.
From there, all but dissertation, we went to Winnipeg, Manitoba, where I became the history professor at Canadian Nazarene College for seven years. Marie fulfilled her dream as Resource Teacher for an inner-city school and completed her master’s degree. I enjoyed life in the ivory tower, teaching history and church history. Our two children were born there.
In 1979, we sold our home and went to Oxford, England, to do research – earning ourselves long-term financial problems and eventually, a PhD (from Minnesota, not Oxford).
Upon our return Post College (now Post University), Waterbury, CT, hired me, first as an adjunct and then, as a Continuing Education dean, managing three accelerated off-campus sites. I was “the college” to hundreds of working adults, operating out of the back of a college station wagon. In 1989, we moved to Manchester, CT, to be involved in Cornerstone Christian School, and the Connecticut forerunner of Reynolds Institute (New England Nazarene Bible College Extension). In 1995, we made it to Massachusetts to end our administrative career at ENC in the LEAD program.
We moved back to Manchester, CT, working in customer service and insurance while providing a home for our daughter and grandchildren. We attend Manchester Church of the Nazarene. Our son is also in the area.
Celebrate Recovery has been huge in my spiritual life. By the grace of God, I am celebrating deliverance from a “messenger of Satan” that tormented me for more than half a century – leading me at one point to despair of my salvation. The support of my “brothers” has been invaluable in times of sorrow and loneliness. Currently, I am Ministry Leader for my church. Thank the Lord for this ministry of accountability and spiritual growth!
Marie was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 1999, and I retired in 2007 to care for her. God blessed her with peace and happiness and myself with grace day by day. In June, 2014, she passed from my arms to the arms of Jesus. Now, I enjoy the in-law apartment with my daughter, son-in-law, and three grandchildren.
In the last years, I have been involved in e-mail ministry and as an Adjunct Professor for Reynolds Institute, Post University (on-line), and NBC on-line. Recently, I published “Holiness” in the “12 Steps” to introduce Wesleyans to Celebrate Recovery. God is good! And for fun, I read and keep a garden.
Dr. David Heughins has been an adjunct instructor at NBC since 2013.
Filed Under: Communicator Published: 11/09/2020