God has been faithful every moment of John Whittaker’s life, working through relationships to shape who he is today.
John grew up attending McKinley Park Christian Church in Tacoma, WA where Don Robinson was the minister. Don was also on the board of a place called Boise Bible College (BBC). When John, not long after his baptism, expressed interest in being a preacher, it was all Don needed. John soon found himself going along on trips to BBC; while Don met with the board, John would visit classes. This deeply impacted him, and he enrolled.
While John excelled in his studies (and counts his grounding in the Bible as a huge blessing), it was relationships beyond the classroom that really made the difference. Through time in professors’ offices (particularly Chuck Faber’s and Dale Cornett’s), on the basketball court, and on the flag football field, John learned how to be a Godly man. Professor Faber was his spiritual family leader and academic advisor, allowing him to see into Faber’s family life. Having grown up without a dad, John says,
“Relationships with Chuck and Dale shaped me as a person, as a husband, as a father . . . I’m really who I am today because of the foundation they laid in my life.”
The winter before John started at BBC, the Image of Christ sang at McKinley Park. At the potluck following the service, he sat near one particular member of the group, Louise Wheeler (BS’91), who had really caught his eye! When he arrived on campus six months later, he found Louise. Before long they were dating and a couple of years later they were married. They will celebrate 31 years of marriage in May this year! He made many other lifelong friends, who still have a huge impact on his life, both when he was a student for 5 years and later as a professor for 19 years.
Before his graduation with a BA in Preaching Ministry in 1992, John’s days at BBC held some fun and adventure with Maverik runs, throwing people in the canal, playing flag football, attending all-school retreats, hosting a Bible study with Louise at their home, and enjoying ice cream sundaes at the Fabers’ with Patti’s famous peanut butter topping. John also made a round trip from Boise to Wyoming in 24 hours with Steve Crane to recover the school van after the engine burned up while the Image of Christ was headed to the North American Christian Convention.
God’s faithfulness has continued since BBC. John has attended Cincinnati Bible Seminary, taught at BBC for 19 years, obtained a doctorate, helped plant a church in Kuna, ID, preached at a multi-campus church in Boise, stayed faithful to his wife of 30 years, and raised two terrific kids (Jeffrey and Ashley) who now walk with the Lord, are married, and have given him grandkids. John sees God showing him His grace over and over, reminding him that when he is weak then he is strong, providing for his family again and again, and making it abundantly clear that apart from Christ John can do nothing.
Thinking back on his time at BBC, John sees BBC’s values of scholarship and community. The staff and faculty showed humility on a daily basis, shaping John’s own view of life and relationship with God. God has truly been faithful.
John Whittaker is one of our speakers at Spring Conference 2020, speaking Tuesday evening, May 12, on “The Church: God’s New Temple,” from Ephesians 2:11-22. He will also lead a workshop called “How to Increase Bible Engagement . . . and Why You Must!” Be sure to catch both of these.
John also founded the online teaching ministry “Bible in Life” where he teaches blue jeans theology, including podcasts for download. Check it out at johnwhittaker.net.