Mr. Nathan Nzyoka Joshua works for the Biblical Studies department as a part time lecturer. He holds a diploma in Theology and Bachelor of Theology from Scott Theological College (now Scott Christian University) in Machakos, Kenya. He also holds a Master of Divinity (General Stream) from NEGST/AIU. Currently he has finished writing and has submitted his dissertation for examination in pursuit of PhD in Biblical Studies at AIU. Mr. Nzyoka is now waiting for oral defence of the dissertation, which will possibly take place next month, October 2012.
Mr. Nzyoka, What is your Philosophy of teaching?
My teaching philosophy is to simplify the word of God to make it more understandable and enjoyable to apply in life. I choose this teaching philosophy because I believe that if those to whom God has given to understand his word better than the majority would interpret it in simple terms, more people would understand better the message of God that is hidden within the Bible (hidden as the teachings in parables). Consequently, those who hear or read the clarified word would respond more positively to God’s call in repentance and Christ-likeness that is more genuine. I base my teaching philosophy on Mark 4:11–12. There, Jesus said to his disciples, 11 “… To you has been given the secret of the kingdom of God, but for those outside, everything comes in parables; 12 in order that ‘they may indeed look, but not perceive, and may indeed listen, but not understand; so that they may not turn again and be forgiven.’”
What are your research interests?
My interest is in the social world of the New Testament. Specifically, my focus is on benefaction/patronage and Church leadership.
During and after my undergraduate studies, I wrote some articles on general topics, some of which were published in the Daily Nation, others in Today in Africa Magazine (published in Kijabe, Kenya) in the early and mid 1980s, and another in the Scott and You Magazine of 1990. In 1988, for the Institute of Church Renewal, I co-authored Manual for Worship Renewal for the Africa Inland Church. I also wrote a book review in the Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology (AJET) Volume 23 Number 2 of 2004 on a book co-edited by Richard A. Bailey and Gregory A. Wills titled The Salvation of Souls: Nine Previously Unpublished Sermons on the Call of Ministry and the Gospel. (The sermons were originally written by Jonathan Edwards.) Additionally, in 2008 in partnership with Africa International University (AIU) and Africa Leadership and Reconciliation Ministries (ALARM) I co-authored a training manual on ethnicity titled, Restoring the Beauty and Blessing of Ethnic Diversity. The book was written in response to the post election violence of 2007 and 2008 in Kenya, as an endeavour to offer a long-term solution to ethnic animosity in Kenya and elsewhere. My current PhD dissertation is titled “Benefaction and Patronage in the Pastoral Epistles: Influences on the Author.” I intend to publish it in book form soon after the defence.
Other than teaching what else do you do?
I do pastoral ministry especially in the Africa Inland Church where I am an ordained minister. Currently as I endeavour to complete my studies at AIU, I am not doing any ‘official’ ministry in the church, but I am doing freelance preaching and motivational speaking wherever and whenever there is opportunity. For example, I talk to graduands in Bible Schools as they enter the ministry and to high school candidates as they commence their exams and proceed to higher learning or exit to other vocations. I also speak in church conferences and do pre-marital counselling.
Given an opportunity what would you change in the world?
If given the spanners, I would tune the hearts of all humans so that we all may love God and fellow humans as much as we love ourselves. This would end selfishness, corruption, divisions, hatred and murder that have nearly turned the world into a mini hell.
What is your word of encouragement to the members of the AIU community?
I shout to everyone reading this interview that each one of us is equally an essential member of this community. None of us is less important than any other whatsoever. God values us all and has put us here as individuals at this specific time so that we may be moulded and help in the process of moulding others into Christ-likeness so that we may impact and transform God’s people and world positively before we pass on.
Ephesians 5:15-17 (NRSV): 15 Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, 16 making the most of the time, because the days are evil. 17 So do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.
Mr. Nathan Nzyoka Joshua first joined AIU in September 1996 for his MDIV studies; he later came back to AIU in 2005. He is married to Regina Muthoki and they are blessed with three grown and growing children: Irene Mwende (26), Nason Ngila (21), and Nehemiah Musembi (17).