An Oral History of the Church

"An Oral History of the Christian Church," by Adam Christman and Jonathan McCormick, is a conversational history podcast organized by "volume" (season). Check out our companion podcast, "Saints Gone Before"!
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An Oral History of the Church



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Now displaying: 2016
Dec 30, 2016

The fifth episode of this volume focuses on dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, and bibliographies. What are they, and what are their uses for research? Join us next time for a discussion of the Social Sciences and Historiography. 

Dec 16, 2016

What are primary sources and secondary sources? How do they fit into academic work, especially the work of the historian? And how do they fit with the Three Canons we discussed last time? We discuss these questions and more in the fourth episode of our second volume of An Oral History of the Church.

Don't miss our new companion podcast, Saints Gone Before, available now! It's all primary sources all the time. *cue sunglasses*

Episode 5 of this volume features a conversation about Tertiary Sources. See you then!

Dec 2, 2016

Jonathan breaks down the three canons, or tools, of the historian. We also get into materialism and anti-materialism, and more!

P.S., we have a new companion podcast releasing on Monday, December 5th: "Saints Gone Before"! However you get our current podcast, you can also get our new one. It is an audio book style podcast in 10-20 minute episodes where Adam or Jonathan reads a Christian text (sermon or hymn or treatise, etc). Make sure you check in on our facebook page for the announcement so you know you can pick up the first one!

Nov 18, 2016

This time around, we discuss the two schools for interpreting Biblical Historiography, as well as a comment about American Christian Historiography. This is the last one of our episodes discussing the worldview part of what supports the work of a historian. Next up, on Dec. 2nd, is our episode on The Three Canons! (Cue dramatic music!) These will be the three tools a historian uses in his or her work.

Don't forget to keep an eye out for our new companion podcast, Saints Gone Before, coming on Monday, Dec. 5th!

Nov 5, 2016

Welcome back to An Oral History of the Church! This episode kicks off our new 'volume' or season, in which we focus on the subject, "What is history?" 

This season is a study of how history is written. How do historians decide to include this, but not that? Why isn't every history book on, say, the inception of the Anglican church ten thousand pages long? Why is it important to know Julius Caesar was stabbed 23 times, but we don't know what he had for breakfast?

Episode 1 is a discussion of four schools of thought on how to write history. More schools of thought will be covered in the second episode of this volume.

Make sure you stick around to the end of the episode for a special announcement! See you in two weeks!

Sep 23, 2016

Somebody stick a fork in this oral history because it is DONE. Episode 17 features an interview with co-host Jonathan McCormick, an alumnus of GGBTS and current Regional Librarian of the San Francisco Campus of Gateway Seminary. Jonathan makes a case for viewing the relocation of the seminary as a form of gentrification for Mill Valley/Tiburon that listeners may find particularly interesting.

While this episode marks the end of the GGBTS Campus Relocation Project, it does not mark the end of the podcast! Keep your subscriptions on because we return in November with the beginning of Volume 2!

We want to thank all of our listeners over the course of this project. Your downloads and feedback are greatly appreciated. If you want to discuss anything with Adam and Jonathan, e-mail

Sep 16, 2016

The GGBTS Campus Relocation Project finale begins! First up, we continue our methodology to interview co-host Adam Christman for his perspective on the relocation. We laughed, we cried, we lost 5 pounds.

Come back next time for the second half of the GGBTS Campus Relocation Project finale! Yes, we will try to make that name longer! Oh, and it features an interview with co-host Jonathan McCormick, as well as overall reflection on the project, and the announcement of volumes 2 and 3 of An Oral History of the Church.

Sep 9, 2016

No need to be shushed, dear listener! This episode features the coolest librarian around. Dr. Kelly Campbell contributes her perspective to our oral history this week. She is the Associate Dean of Information Services and Director of the Library at Columbia Theological Seminary, and previous Library Director for Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary's Northern California Campus, located in Mill Valley.

Dr. Campbell provides yet another angle on the campus relocation, especially as regards the library from 2003 to 2013 as well as GGBTS' work with alumni. The interview is conducted only by Jonathan, as Adam was unavailable at the time. We commend it to you as another helpful entry in this series, and the last episode to feature an interview with a guest.

Episode 16 is our next episode, and it features a debriefing interview with co-host Adam Christman. We will follow the same methodology and questions for this interview, and the final interview. The final interview is with co-host Jonathan McCormick, and will feature both an interview with Jonathan and an overall comment on the study by Jonathan and Adam.

But that's not the last episode of the podcast! Our next volume will be announced soon, and it will begin airing in late Fall 2016.

Sep 2, 2016

The 14th episode in our GGBTS Campus Relocation project has finally arrived! This interview features Dr. Brice Butler, pastor of Tiburon Baptist Church and two-time alumnus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. As the pastor of TBC, Dr. Butler is another Marin County local looking on as the seminary relocates. In some ways, Brice's experiences are similar to our 7th episode in this volume, in which we interviewed Kent and Katie Philpott. Brice comes at the relocation from his own angle, however, so we commend it to you now.

If you're keeping up with the project, you should know we are in our final stretch of episodes! The GGBTS Campus Relocation project will total 17 episodes in all. Next week, you can expect to find an episode interviewing Dr. Kelly Campbell, a previous Library Director for GGBTS who served on staff for 10 years! The final two episodes will feature debriefing interviews with your co-hosts Adam and then Jonathan. In those episodes, you will find our own take on each of these questions as we stick to our methodology, and a commentary on the overall project.

But this is not the end of An Oral History of the Church! To the contrary, volume 2 will begin in November of 2016! Stay tuned to find out the subject of that volume, or swing by .

Aug 13, 2016

We're back with a brand new addition, an interview with GGBTS alumnus Marc Jantomaso! Marc is a church planter whose story demonstrates the kind of grounded, hard-working ministry you can see exhibited in seminary student after seminary student. We think you'll enjoy his story.

The audio on this episode is a bit different. We recorded Marc by phone, and we also recorded our bookend commentary by phone, so you'll notice a difference this time around.

The next episode is with Dr. Brice Butler, two-time alumnus of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and senior pastor of Tiburon Baptist Church, a congregation local to the Mill Valley campus recently sold by the seminary. You'll want to subscribe to us so you don't miss that interview coming in two weeks!

Jul 29, 2016

Miguel Rodriguez is an alumnus and prior staff member of Gateway Seminary (nee Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary), as well as a pastor local to Marin County, where the Northern California campus of GGBTS was located for decades up until recently. Miguel gives us a wealth of insight on the seminary in recent years, stretching as far back as the 1980s, when as a child he accompanied his mother to GGBTS classes.

If you would like to hear more from Miguel Rodriguez, you can visit Lincoln Hill Community Church in San Rafael, CA, and their website ( to learn more about them and hear his sermons.

Our next episode arrives in two weeks! We are returning to a bi-monthly format for the near term and possibly the long term as Jonathan and Adam sort out their new schedules. Episode 13 features GGBTS alumn Marc Jantomaso, church planter and minister currently based in Virginia. You can expect that episode on August 12th.

Jul 22, 2016

Steve and Grace Howell sat down with Jonathan and Adam for a rich discussion of GGBTS' now-closed music department, more about the preschool, and their return to GGBTS for Steve's second degree before they came on staff at a church near the seminary's Mill Valley campus.

There's one more Friday left in July, our month for a flood of weekly episodes. Episode 12 features pastor Miguel Rodriguez, set to release on July 29th. Miguel is an alumnus of GGBTS, a previous staff member of GGBTS in a vital program yet to be discussed on this podcast, and the pastor of Lincoln Hill Community Church in San Rafael, CA, which sits just a few minutes north of the seminary's Mill Valley campus.

Jul 15, 2016

The tenth episode in this volume is an interview with Gateway Seminary (nee Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary) alumnus Anne Marie. She spoke with us about her experiences as a student and staff with the Kim School of Missions at GGBTS. Jonathan and Adam appreciate her addition to this project that provides an expanding perspective on what GGBTS was like in this moment in its history.


Next week is another interview with a married couple! This interview is with Steven and Grace Howell. As with several others interviewed in this project, they have both studied at GGBTS, and they have both worked there, AND they are local ministers who will see GGBTS leave Marin County. But it is how each of these elements played out that delivers a unique story that weaves into the overall story of who GGBTS was during this period. Download it on July 22nd!

Jul 8, 2016

Dr. Gary Arbino has been on faculty with Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary for over 20 years, specializing in Old Testament studies. Prior to that time, he was on staff with GGBTS, and he was a student with the seminary, as well. He gives us a significant insider's look at how the relocation of GGBTS' main campus will affect those left behind or those who personally wish it had remained in Mill Valley.

July is a big month for An Oral History of the Church. We're releasing episodes every Friday during this month, so come on back next week for an interview with recent GGBTS alumnus Anne Marie.

If you haven't already, you will begin to see GGBTS referred to by her new name! In June 2016, the name change was approved. The school's new moniker is "Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention." In addition, as of the publishing of this episode, much of the relocation has now taken place. The Ontario campus is nearly set up, and the same is true for the temporary Mill Valley campus as they await the completion of the new Bay Area Campus building in Fremont, CA.

Jul 1, 2016

Adam and Jonathan talk with Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary Ph.D. student Jared Jenkins, who is also a pastor, blogger, podcaster, and not least, husband and father. Jared tells us about his experiences with GGBTS through their Missions Conference over many visits and how he came to be a student with this seminary and what his experience of it has been.

Next time around, Adam and Jonathan interview Dr. Gary Arbino, a member of the GGBTS faculty since the mid-1990's.

ANNOUNCEMENT: Because of the number of interviews we've recorded, An Oral History of the Church is going to a weekly release schedule for the month of July! So you'll get a new episode right here every Friday for the rest of the month. That means our upcoming episode with Dr. Gary Arbino arrives on July 8th!

Jun 24, 2016

Adam and Jonathan had a good, long chat with Katie and Dr. Kent Philpott from Miller Avenue Baptist Church in Mill Valley, CA about their experiences with Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary and their perspectives on the relationship between the seminary and its neighbors in Marin County. This episode marks our first with a pair of interviewees; in this case, they are a married couple.

There are a few hiccups in the audio of this interview, and for that, we apologize. Please bear with us, as the Philpotts' story is a helpful and needed one.

Jun 10, 2016

Jonathan and Adam discuss the history of the field education vital to the masters degrees that GGBTS confers with the current Director of Theological Field Education, Dr. Glenn Prescott. He shares with us insights about the "godfather of TFE," as well as some of the land development challenges the seminary faced as it considered whether to stay in Mill Valley or sell and move somewhere else.

May 27, 2016

Jonathan and Adam sit down with previous director of the Golden Gate Academy preschool owned and operated by Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary, Christi Zerbst. She shares with us her experiences coming at the seminary with fresh eyes, being unaware of it until she learned about a job opportunity there.


The current administration of GGA is planning to reincorporate as a new Christian preschool in South Marin, and could use your help. Visit and search "GGA Kids Marin" to see their current fundraiser to purchase necessary materials and equipment for their new school. Please give what you can! (Current as of May 2016.)

May 13, 2016

Jonathan and Adam sit down with Dr. Lisa Hoff, Associate Professor of Intercultural Studies at Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. In this episode, Dr. Hoff shares what it was like to come to GGBTS three times, as a student, as a staff member, and then as faculty. Dr. Hoff shares with us a unique perspective as someone who inherited an institutional culture that cares about its students, and which she models today.

Apr 29, 2016

Jonathan and Adam sit down with Dr. Rick Melick, Distinguished Professor of New Testament and now Affiliated Faculty with Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary's Academic Graduate Studies Program. He lets us in on what it was like to restart a Ph.D. program, view the historic campus sale from a perspective both inside and outside of the situation, and his hopes for GGBTS' future academic successes. This interview is another great contribution to the history of this school.

Apr 15, 2016

Interview with current GGBTS student Daniel Choi who tells us about coming to America to study and how the campus relocation figured into his decision to study at that institution. It was a great conversation, and a great addition to the oral history of this moment in the life of GGBTS.

Apr 1, 2016

In order to achieve a kind of symmetry with the announcement of the campus sale on April 1, 2014, our first official episode of the #GGBTSrelocation launches on April 1, 2016. This time, we interview Dr. Jeff Iorg, current president of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary about the campus relocation.

Mar 17, 2016

An introduction to the podcast and to the first project.