At Asbury College, Nonneman said he does not feel constrained to segregate his faith life from his academic life as he did at the secular universities. But, he is not sorry for the time devoted to other institutions.
"I don't regret my time in secular universities," he said. "I'm thankful for all that I learned in secular education ... but all of that I think was preparation for now."
Several periods of shaping led Nonneman to his current position at Asbury and his stance on Christianity.
"I became a nominal Christian at age 12 when I was confirmed in our congregational Christian church in the town where I grew up," he said. "[But] the real personal relationship with Jesus as a third person of the Trinity didn't occur until after graduate school."
During his undergraduate work, Nonneman said he thought the Christian value system was excellent as a moral philosophy, but he did not see a way to prove that Jesus was God. His thinking was transformed after he got married and was forced to depend on himself to provide for his family on little income. He began to read author C. S. Lewis' works and continued to notice the vibrant faith of some of his colleagues and his wife.
His "ultimate born-again experience" occurred in 1990 while he was in earnest prayer. Unsure of what the future held, Nonneman said he totally emptied himself before God and asked for his direction. He said he was impressed by an "almost-audible voice" indicating that Asbury was the place.
A conversation he had previously had with Dr. Alan Moulton, the chair of the department of psychology at Asbury at that time, continued to run through his mind.
"We're a Christian liberal arts college, not a research university," Moulton had told Nonneman. "And we take those terms 'Christian' and 'liberal arts' very seriously and probably in that order."
And contrary to the expectations of some of his secular colleagues at the University of Kentucky, Nonneman said he has found his decision to teach at Asbury a "freeing experience."
"I don't have to edit my faith out of the classroom and advising sessions," he said.
In contrast to his interaction with students at secular universities, Nonneman said he is now deliberately provocative and attempts to get students to think more about their choices.
Nonneman emphasized that his faith is vital to his work.
"I think it is important to share our lives as Christians," he explained. "We will stop class to pray if someone needs to."
He said he never would have done that at the University of Kentucky.