Someone you need to meet....

At seminary, much like at other institutions of higher learning, some courses stink; some courses are okay; some classes are good; and a very few classes change your life.

I've only had three classes that I would place in the last category without hesitation. The first was a class by Dr. Bill Lawrence called "The Spiritual Life." Basically, the class was an exposition of Romans 5-8, and I'll never be the same. He's now teaching some of the same material with an organization he founded called "Leadership Formation International."

The other two classes were both taught by Dr. Jay Quine. One was "The Gospels," and the other was "Old Testament Prophets." You've heard me talk about him before, but DTS just decided to run a profile of him on their main page. I've copied the text below, but you can find it here too. I particularly love the last paragraph, and the last sentence.

Dr. Jay Quine

Dr. Jay Quine’s purple socks give him away. He is not a typical professor, nor is he a typical lawyer. Born in Washington State, Dr. Quine married at the age of 21 and became a municipal court judge at the age of 24. He was a prosecutor, and is now a pastor, professor, and parent—and the discipline it took to become a lawyer and the faith he came to know personally in college have taught him to persevere through the toughest of trials.

A Rocky Start
After one year of marriage, Dr. Quine and his wife moved to Idaho to be close to the law school in which he was enrolled. “We lived on a wheat farm up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains,” he says. The four-bedroom farmhouse had no television and barely any radio reception. No neighbors were in sight. “So it was just the two of us,” he says. “It was a really wonderful way to start a marriage.”

Twenty-seven years, five states, and two sets of twins later, Dr. Quine and his wife have come a long way from simple wheat farm living. Their twin boys, Preston and Skyler, are nine, and their twin girls, Madison and McKamie, are six. Their days are filled with everything from ballet and swim lessons, to basketball and baseball games.

So much activity, Dr. Quine admits with characteristic honesty, can strain a marriage. “You become more partners in a project than husband and wife. We just don’t get time together. We went to Israel this year as a couple without the kids and had two weeks together. It was just so wonderful to talk with my wife.”

But the joys of children outweigh the hectic schedule. He says his kids also keep him honest. “They will smell a fraud,” he says. “So [being a parent] forces you to be genuine, which is what we all need. You can’t just say you love them; you’ve got to love them. You forgive them. You accept them. You don’t hold grudges. You have to give of yourself all the time.”

One way he gives of himself is to read to his children. “When the boys were six I read through the Old Testament with them every single night. And I read from the New King James. Any question went,” including the inevitable question, “‘What does circumcision mean?’” he says. “Now I’ve decided to read the New Testament with the girls.”

Are You the Waiter?
Honesty is a valuable trait in a judge, but Dr. Quine’s foray into law began so early that no one believed he was one. At 24 he began working as a municipal court judge in Washington. “I was the youngest judge in the state,” he says. “I went to these judge conventions and I looked like the waiter. It was really funny.”

And Dr. Quine’s judicial practices were as unconventional as his age. “Fridays were traffic and small claims court. The people don’t have lawyers, so I’d come out and say, ‘One of you is going to lose and one of you is going to win. I’m not one of these guys who cuts the baby in half. You have ten minutes to see if you can resolve [your problem] without me, or the power of the law comes down on you.’ Then I would leave and come back,” he says. “Eighty percent of the time they would have figured it out.”

Although he loved practicing law and felt he was contributing to society, Dr. Quine was disturbed by a sense that he was “prostituting” his gifts. When the time came for him to petition for superior court judge, he and his wife decided instead to relocate to Dallas. He finished his Th.M. in three and a half years, something he attributes to learning how to read in law school. What are his secrets? “Focus, concentrate, know what to look for, know what to not look for, get past the fluff, zero in on the important stuff, highlight, take notes.”

From Dallas and Back
After taking all those notes Dr. Quine and his wife, moved to Lincoln Park, New Jersey, so that he could work as a singles pastor. Beginning with a small group of 17, it slowly began to grow. Soon, a few single musicians began to attend and with Quine formed a band called Just Three Things. Before they knew it the singles group was steadily increasing in attendance and the band was touring up and down the East Coast. They played venues that varied from spots in Manhattan to the rooftop of Patterson Prison. “It was absolutely incredible work,” Dr. Quine says of working with the singles group and seeing the band take shape. “So many people came to Christ because of it.”

After four years Dr. Quine went to pastor another church in central New Jersey. “They wanted to grow and build, so we started a building project seven months later.” While he was helping the church to expand, Dr. Quine was also expanding his horizons. He began teaching at Philadelphia Biblical University (PBU) and eventually became the chairman of the Bible program. Nearly three years later he was spearheading the effort to create a Master of Divinity program from scratch.

Because of that involvement, he and his wife moved their family to Yardley, Pennsylvania, to be closer to the campus. And because he’s also a pastor at heart, Dr. Quine took over pastoral roles at a little church two blocks from their new home. “We lived this idyllic life,” he says. His children walked to school and to church and could ride their bikes everywhere. The draw to Texas again was all in the timing. With the Master of Divinity program up and running at PBU, Dr. Quine felt led to return to full-time teaching at Dallas Seminary. And although the transition has been as tough as law school, he still says that “everyday is an amazing day in our house.”

And each day he earns the respect of his colleagues such as Dr. Thomas Constable, chair and senior professor of Bible Exposition. “Dr. Quine combines excellent scholarship with many years of effective pastoral and academic experience,” Dr. Constable says. “He understands well how the Scriptures bear on the situations our students and graduates face in ministry.”

He understands because he has been in each situation—whether he’s behind a judge’s bench, a podium, a pulpit, or a dinner table. And in every situation he seems to know what the music group’s name indicated: just three things matter in life—faith, hope, and love (1 Cor. 13:13). So when he is behind a dinner table with his family, Dr. Quine will occasionally raise his glass to signal the family’s traditional toast: “Jesus is coming back!” they chorus and clink glasses. What does that mean for a father who has worn everything from a judge’s robe to a professor’s purple socks? Well, in the words of one of his children: “It means the mosquitoes won’t sting anymore.”