Retirees Served the Seminary

Mark Baker

Mark Baker, Ph.D. (1999)
J.B. Toews Chair
Professor of Mission and Theology

Mark Baker’s 25 years teaching seminary have been years of gratitude—his. “I just stood out on my office porch this morning and thanked God for the privilege,” he told a visitor.

While Baker was “totally uninterested in theology” when he graduated with his bachelor’s from Wheaton College, teaching social studies in Honduras taught him something. “Many people I encountered saw God as a distant, angry figure,” he says. “I wanted to be involved in shaping how Bible teachers and pastors teach about God.”

Honduras looms large in Baker’s life. His first stint was four years, returning after three years with InterVarsity in upstate New York and getting married. After earning his doctorate and becoming a Mennonite, Baker served again under Eastern Mennonite Missions until he came to the seminary.

While Baker admits his first attraction to Honduras was its mountains, its people drew him back. “God developed a calling in me,” he says.

Since Baker and wife Lynn are natives of the Northeast, he came to what was then Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary assuming he would soon seek a job “back East.” He stayed because of his seminary colleagues. “I appreciated working in a context where faculty, staff and administration respected and trusted each other,” he says.

Lynn Jost

Lynn Jost, Ph.D. (2006)
Professor of Old Testament/Preaching Seminary President
Director, Center for Anabaptist Studies

A call to ministry led Lynn Jost to preaching, teaching and administration.

Growing up the son of a Mennonite Brethren pastor in Kansas and South Dakota, ministry seemed a natural fit. “I sensed a call to pastor in the MB church,” he says.

After eight years pastoring Hesston (KS) MB Church, Jost taught Bible and Christian ministry at Tabor College, his alma mater, for 13 years. He came to the then-Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary in 2006 as academic dean and professor of Old Testament, but a solely classroom career was not to be.

Tapped as acting seminary president in 2008, Jost received a full appointment in 2009. The next year, barely having settled into his new office on the second floor of the Seminary Building, he led the merger with Fresno Pacific University.

Though the campuses are contiguous, and the seminary began in 1955 as part of the university— then Pacific Bible Institute—there were still complex issues around joining the organizations. “I have great satisfaction at being able to give leadership to the merger,” Jost says.

So 2013’s return to teaching may have seemed a reward. “Heading to the classroom is like going on vacation,” Jost says.

Jost and wife Donna are active at Willow Avenue Church, Fresno.