By Gerard Flanagan, news writer/photographer/social media, Office of University Communications
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – Halloween is not the only notable event to take place on Oct. 31.
To nearly a billion Protestants worldwide, Oct. 31 also marks Reformation Day—the day Martin Luther is said to have posted his 95 Theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany, more than 500 years ago, an event that sparked the Protestant Reformation.
Dr. Joseph Early’s Church History class at Campbellsville University celebrated Reformation Day Friday, Oct. 29, with the inaugural Martin Luther Theological Biblical Spelling Bee.
“I always celebrate Reformation Day with my church history or theology class,” Early said. “This year I decided I wanted to do something different.”
As is his yearly tradition, Early, professor of theology and director of Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), dressed up as Martin Luther himself to mark the occasion.
In the spelling bee, students in Early’s class had to correctly spell a variety of terms related to the Protestant Reformation and Luther’s theological ideas.
“This is a great class that is very into the material, so the spelling bee fit their personalities and mine as well,” Early said.
Allison Hill, a junior from Lawrenceburg, Ky. majoring in marriage and family ministries, won the inaugural spelling bee and claimed a championship belt by correctly spelling “pneumatology,” a term for the study of the Holy Spirit.
“It was a good time,” Hill said. “The activity was fun, and everyone was having a good time. That’s what made it fun. We all got into it.”
Nate Stone, a junior from Shelbyville, Ky., said his favorite part of the spelling bee was watching his fellow students’ reactions to the words when they heard them for the first time.
“This honestly made me want to go look up half these words and learn them,” Stone said.
Early said learning should be engaging, and he feels the spelling bee fit the bill.
“Learning shouldn’t just be tests and papers,” Early said. “It should be fun as well. I know I had a blast, and I think the students did as well.”
Early plans to hold the spelling bee every fall semester.
Early has taught at Campbellsville University since August 2009. He serves as the Faculty Forum chair this year.
Early graduated from Cumberland College in 1993 with a Bachelor of Science in political science. He received a Master of Divinity degree from the Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 1997 and Ph.D. in church history from the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2002.
He is the son of Dr. Joe Early Sr., formerly of Williamsburg, Ky., and now of Campbellsville, and the late Phyllis Early. He is married to Tiffany Early, who is pursuing her Doctor of Education at the University of South Carolina.
They have two dogs: Knox and Freddie.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with more than 12,000 students offering over 100 programs of study including Ph.D., master, baccalaureate, associate, pre-professional and certification programs. The website for complete information is www.campbellsville.edu.