Faculty & Staff


Dr. Michael S. Heiser Headshot

Dr. Michael S. Heiser

Founding Executive Director

Dr. Heiser passed away in February 2023
due to pancreatic cancer. Although he is no longer with us physically, his legacy lives on through his work and teachings and continues to minister to people around the world.

Dr. Michael S. Heiser (who prefers to be called Mike) is a scholar of the Bible and its ancient context. He earned master’s degrees in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania and Hebrew Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has a Ph.D. in Hebrew and Semitic Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Before teaching at AWKNG School of Theology, Dr. Heiser taught at the university level for over 20 years and was the Academic Editor and Scholar for Logos Bible Software for 15 years. He supervised scholarly data projects related to the Dead Sea Scrolls, Hebrew and Semitic inscriptions, the Septuagint, and the Greek Pseudepigrapha.

Dr. Heiser is published widely in scholarly academic journals, including the Bible Study Magazine, and authored several portions of the Faithlife Study Bible. In addition, he is the author of several best-selling books, most notably:

  • The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible
  • Supernatural: What the Bible Teaches about the Unseen World and Why It Matters
  • Angels: What the Bible Really Says About God’s Heavenly Host
  • Demons: What the Bible Really Says About the Powers of Darkness

Dr. Heiser has a wide online presence through his blog, podcast, and YouTube channels, all of which can be found on his website. Dr. Heiser also has a nonprofit ministry MIQLAT, which provides free translations of his books Supernatural: What the Bible Teaches about the Unseen World and Why It Matters and What Does God Want? in dozens of languages.

On a personal note, Dr. Heiser has been married for more than thirty years to his incredible wife, Drenna. They have four adult children. He enjoys pop culture science fiction and has published two science fiction novels The Facade Sage (Volume 1 and 2) and The World Turned Upside Down: Finding the Gospel in Stranger Things. He loves dogs (especially pugs), enjoys playing fantasy football and baseball, and loves the Red Sox and the Packers.

To learn more about the impact Dr. Heiser made and the legacy he has left to all of us, click here.

Dr. Justin Bass

Justin W. Bass has a Ph.D. from Dallas Theological Seminary in New Testament Studies. He has formally debated Dr. Bart Ehrman, Dr. Richard Carrier, Dan Barker and Mufti Hussain Kamani. Dr. Bass’ latest book The Bedrock of Christianity: The Unalterable Facts of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection was released April 8, 2020. He has also written The Battle for the Keys: Revelation 1:18 and Christ’s Descent into the Underworld. He is currently teaching at Dallas Christian College and teaching courses online at Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary in Jordan and Asian Christian Academy in India. When he is not working, he is reading, watching movies (usually The Lord of the Rings), and spending time with his high school sweetheart Allison Bass and three children.

Dr. John M. Phelps

Dr. John M. Phelps was born in Jackson, Mississippi. He graduated from Louisiana State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business. He earned a Master of Theology in Bible Exposition from Dallas Theological Seminary and his Doctor of Ministry in New Testament Context from Northern Seminary. He planted a church in St Louis, Missouri, and pastored in various roles for over 30 years. He is an adjunct professor in Bible and Theology for Southeastern University. Dr. Phelps is married to his college sweetheart Karen, and they have four children – Jordan, Jake, Gracie, and Tori.

Dr. Dominick S. Hernandez

Dr. Dominick S. Hernandez, PhD, specializes in Semitic Philology. He completed a M.Div. degree at Princeton Theological Seminary and an M.A. at Columbia University. He earned his PhD in Semitic Philology from Israels Bar Illan University and currently works as an assistant professor at Moody Bible Institute.

Dr. Craig A. Evans

Dr. Craig A. Evans, PhD, is the John Bisagno Distinguished Professor of Christian Origins and Dean of the School of Christian Thought at Houston Baptist University in Texas. A well-known evangelical scholar throughout the world, he is an elected member of the prestigious SNTS, a society dedicated to New Testament studies and has authored many books and articles on Jesus and the Second Temple Period

Dr. Ronn Johnson

Dr. Ronn Johnson completed his Ph.D. in Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary. His dissertation on the created gods of the Old Testament (“The Old Testament Background for Paul’s Principalities and Powers”) provided him the opportunity to research the divine council worldview of the Hebrew Bible and apply it to New Testament exegesis. Ronn has taught Bible and theology courses at the college level for over 20 years, has pastored two churches in the Minneapolis area for fifteen years, and enjoys hosting study trips to Israel. He and his wife Susan have three married children and five grandchildren. Ronns pastimes include working on his personal library and cheering for the Minnesota Vikings.

Dr. Matthew Halsted

Dr. Matthew Halsted is an associate professor of biblical studies at Eternity Bible College. His educational background includes degrees in internal studies and philosophy. He earned a PhD in philosophical hermeneutics/biblical studies from London School of Theology/Middlesex University. An ordained minister, Matthew’s calling is to equip Christians with the tools they need to be gracious, well-reasoned, and convincing witnesses for Christ. He has a passion for teaching students how to read the Bible faithfully with curiosity and careful reflection. His research interests include philosophical hermeneutics, Paul’s writings, and apocalyptic literature. When he is not reading obscure German philosophers or the Greek/Hebrew Bible, he can usually be found playing in the yard with his kids or being elated with the joy that comes with being married to the best wife in the world.

Dr. David B. Capes

Dr. David B. Capes is the Director of the Lanier Theological Library in Houston, TX. Prior to that, he served academic posts as professor, department chair, and dean at Wheaton College, Houston Baptist University, and Houston Graduate School of Theology. He has authored, co-authored, edited, and co-edited thirteen books including Rediscovering Paul (InterVarsity Academic), Rediscovering Jesus (InterVarsity Academic), The Divine Christ (Baker Academic), Israel’s God and Rebecca’s Children (Baylor Univ. Press). He recently finished a book Matthew through Old Testament Eyes (Kregel Academic, forthcoming). He serves as the New Testament editor for the Word Biblical Commentary (Zondervan) and edits a series with Mike Bird and Scott Harrowed entitled “Studies in Early Christology.” He is married to Cathy and is the father of three boys.

Dr. Joel Muddamalle

Dr. Joel Muddamalle serves as the Director of Theology and Research for Proverbs 31 Ministries and Lysa TerKeurst. He is part of the preaching team at Transformation Church with Pastor Derwin Gray. Joel earned a PhD in Theology under Dr. Patrick Schreiner (New Testament) and Dr. Michael Heiser (Old Testament) with an emphasis on Paul’s household language in Ephesians as it relates to the Old Testament. His first book, The Hidden Peace: Finding True Security, Strength, and Confidence Through Humility will release in early 2024.

Our Staff

Karla Adcox. Smiling white woman with brown shoulder length hair.

Karla Adcox

Executive Director and President

Karla has worked in church and nonprofit ministries since 2004. She holds a B.S. in Interdisciplinary Social Science with concentrations in both Sociology and Public Administration from Florida State University and has over 16 years of organizational leadership experience.

Ordained in 2019, she has served in a variety of ministry roles including executive leadership, pastor, operations, and team management. She has a deep love for God’s Word and God’s people and desires to use her giftings to advance the Kingdom of God forward in whatever way the Lord leads.

Born and raised in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, she loves Cajun food and LSU football, but is proud to call Jacksonville, Florida her home. Karla has been married to her husband Matt since 2006 and is blessed with two boys, Baize and Greyson.

Mike Chu. Smiling Asian man with a red shirt.

Mike Chu

Academic Director

Mike is a born and bred Bostonian who has been a lifelong resident of Massachusetts. He became a follower of Christ at the age of 15 at a local Chinese Heritage church, where the foundations of his love for Jesus and the Scriptures were laid down. It was Dr. Heiser’s content, however, that rekindled an interest in pursuing theological training. He is currently finishing up his Master in Divinity degree at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in the Spring of 2023. He, additionally, has recently been accepted as a Doctorate of Ministry candidate at the same institution. He and his wife Sofia have been part of local multi-ethnic church community in the city of Quincy since 2012, where they have served in various capacities over the past decade.
Britnie Bellamy. Smiling white women with brown short hair.

Britnie Bellamy

Learning & Development Specialist

Britnie is born and raised in Jacksonville, Florida – one of the few locals left! She graduated from the University of North Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She has extensive learning and development experience, ranging from facilitation, instructional design, knowledge management, and performance consulting. Britnie is passionate about learning and the adult learner experience. She is married to her husband Rick and has four pups – Callie, Benny, Max, and Molly!
Britnie Bellamy. Smiling white women with brown short hair.

Carisia Rooney

Administration & Student Support

Carisia (pronounced Carissa) Rooney has lived in Jacksonville, FL with her husband, Michael, for 24 years. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in Electronics Engineering Technology from DeVry, she became a stay-at-home mom and home-schooled her 4 sons for several years. When they were in high school, she returned to college and earned a master’s degree from FSU in Library Science & Information Studies. She worked at the Jacksonville Public Library for 17 years, first as a children’s librarian (including presenting story time!), and later as a library manager.

When AWKNG School of Theology began in 2020, Carisia was in the first group of students to enroll and received a Certificate in Biblical Studies in January 2022. Since retiring at the end of 2022, Carisia has spent her time out in the yard, playing with grandchildren, gathering neighbors, cooking for family, and taking trips with her husband. She is excited to be working part time with the school and truly enjoys assisting the current AWKNG students and supporting the AWKNG team.

Board of Directors

AWKNG School of Theology is a ministry of AWKNG, Inc. and is governed by an independent board of directors. It is a not-for-profit ministry and is not affiliated with a specific local church or any other ministries branded or containing the word “Awakening”. AWKNG, Inc. and its ministries love to support and partner with local churches all around the world by providing Biblical resources to help aid in local discipleship efforts.

Karla Adcox


Drenna Heiser


Stephanie Lippincott

Chairman and Acting Chief Marketing Officer

Wayne Lanier


Dawn Wilson

Secretary & Treasurer