Raised in an Italian family in Long Island, New York, Will Pavone jokes that his life resembled the movie “The Godfather.” His father, a first-generation American, brought the family business to Brooklyn when he opened his own butcher shop. God saved Will’s parents about the time he was born and his dad felt the calling to start a church in their home. After becoming a full time pastor, he sold his butcher shops and has been faithfully pastoring his Long Island church for 31 years.
“I grew up in a wonderful and nurturing Christian home,” says Will, but in those early years of his life, something profoundly important was missing from his walk with Christ. “My walk was all about the experience. I loved to participate in worship and to express myself in music and have times of emotional expression to Christ. But I had no interest in theology or doctrine or even for God’s Word. I thought that theology was what old men with long beards and musty books do. I thought doctrine was what stifles a true passion for Christ and, therefore, all I need is the emotional experience—that it would be enough to sustain me and my relationship with Christ. For me, the problem with that was my walk with Christ was all highs and lows. There was never a substantial foundation to undergird my desire to worship and follow Christ.”
About 7 years ago, Will and his wife went through an experience together that resulted in a gospel explosion in their hearts. “We began to discover the glorious truths of what justification by faith really meant and how it changes you. We discovered the sovereignty of God in all things and His passion for His glory and His kingdom program, and His future for Israel.”
Will explains, “My life at that point was shattered. My profoundly man-centered view of the gospel began to change. To my great surprise the richness of doctrine and theology did not stifle my walk with Christ but became the fuel for the fire of a passion for the supremacy of Jesus Christ in all things.”
As Will pondered Romans, chapter 11, He realized that it was the theology the Apostle Paul had just penned that caused him to erupt into a doxology of praise to the Lord, writing “Oh the depths of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God. How unsearchable are his judgements, how inscrutable are his ways. For who has known the mind of the Lord and who has been his counselor and who has ever given a gift to him that he should be repaid. But from him and to him and through him be all things to him the glory, forever. Amen.”
Will will say that his time at Dallas Seminary served to greatly enlarge his vision of this infinitely great God and the gospel of his Son. “I once heard a prof here say, ‘Worship is weak when our vision of God is small.’ So I am so indebted to the Seminary and to my professors who have taught me with such humility. And my favorite professor told our class that his favorite professor used to say ‘And when they hand you that master of theology, don’t believe it, because our goal is not to master the scriptures but to be mastered by them.’ I know that sounds cliche but it’s so true. And I’m so thankful for my time here at DTS. I will always look back at my time here with my wife as the time when God so deepened and enriched our understanding of God, our knowledge of him but also our affections for him.”
The mission of Dallas Theological Seminary is to
glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders
for the proclamation of His Word and the
building up of the body of Christ worldwide.