One of Dallas International University’s distinctive strengths is its interdenominational diversity.

Professor Aaron Lockhart embodies this interdenominational spirit better than most: he has attended Assemblies of God churches and helped found a Calvary Chapel. He has pastored a Nazarene youth group and a Baptist church. He has studied monastic theology at a Catholic school and is writing his dissertation through a Methodist program.

Unity in Diversity

Professor Lockhart’s broad experience has birthed a passion to see Christians of all stripes learn from the beauty of each other’s worship. That’s why he loves teaching IS1350 Dynamics of Religious Experience, which explores expressions of the Christian faith across time, continents, and denominational boundaries. “It’s everything spiritual that I’ve ever loved,” he says.

Yet he infuses all his classes with the same passion for Christian unity in diversity. Starting with their first courses at DIU, Professor Lockhart’s students learn to appreciate other traditions and learn from them. This humility and teachableness prepares them to collaborate with the global church effectively long after they graduate.

Man the Adorer

For example, as part of their General Education curriculum, undergraduate students take IS1309 Foundations of Scripture. From the beginning of the course, when he teaches Genesis 1-3, Professor Lockhart incorporates insights from a variety of Christian traditions.

One topic that arises in Genesis 1-3 is theological anthropology, which explores the holistic nature and cosmic purpose of mankind. Professor Lockhart draws heavily on the theology of Christian thinker Alexander Schmemann, who points out humanity’s unique position among created beings. Unlike angels, we are material; unlike animals, we are spiritual. Thus, humans are precisely positioned to play a pivotal role in the “cosmic liturgy.” As the link between spirit and matter, we sing creation’s praise to God. “‘Homo sapiens,’ ‘homo faber’… yes,” Schmemann writes, referring to traditional descriptions of humans as wise and creative, “but first of all, ‘homo adorans.’ The first, the basic definition of man is that he is the priest” (For the Life of the World, 15).

David Fagerberg summarizes Shmemann’s insight this way: “Man and woman are the priestly tongue of mute creation” (Liturgical Mysticism, 42).

“All of that,” Professor Lockhart marvels, “comes out of the first three chapters of Genesis.”

Lasting Learning

It delights him to see students really “catch” what he’s teaching. He’s seen “the priestly tongue of mute creation,” which he quotes at the beginning of the semester, pop up in term papers at the end.

Yet, Professor Lockhart’s lessons don’t just lay the foundation for the rest of a course, or even for the rest of a student’s time at DIU. His lessons prepare students to live the rest of their lives in rich communion with God and his Church.

Thank you for coming alongside DIU as we prepare the whole person to partner with communities worldwide. We invite you to explore further our academic programs, many of which are rich in courses that integrate biblical studies with a rich appreciation of culture and traditions.