Thursday, March 5, 2015

Teaching In Springfield Tomorrow

Tomorrow I'll be guest teaching for part of the morning in Gary Bredfeldt's Communicating Biblical Truth class. I'm looking forward to seeing everyone. We'll be discussing Philemon and, Lord-willing, I'll be able to show them some shortcuts using Logos.

Class Was Cancelled Today

We had to cancel class today. I can't believe it. Sometimes it snows, and sometimes I am thrilled when it snows. Today wasn't one of those days. I was actually praying for once that the weather forecasters would have it wrong. In the end, though, it snowed and it snowed lots! Why didn't I want it to snow? Well, because we had our trip scheduled for the Library of Congress and our teaching time over at Capitol Hill. There's nothing like a field trip, and the one downtown is the best I've been on (I'm biased, I know). Hopefully we'll be able to reschedule.

Pic Of Me At The Gun Store Growing Up

Me And My Kindergarten Teacher

I hadn't seen this picture before, at least I can't remember ever seeing it. Here I am with my kindergarten teacher, Mrs. Harris. We lived right across the street from the elementary school I attended. It might have been across the street, but it felt like a million miles away that first day that my parents dropped me off. I remember that. It's funny how this picture brought back some memories of my first days in school, things I hadn't thought about in a long time. Pretty cool.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Pic From My Dad

My dad saw this somewhere and thought of me. It's pretty wild how much that little guy looks like me when I was around that age. And yes, I did have a ride like that growing up. I wore holes in the plastic tires riding it so much.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Listening To Beautiful Music Live At The Shepherds Conference

Students, Remember What B. B. Said

The following are words from B. B. Warfield's address at Princeton Theological Seminary on October 4, 1911.
"We are frequently told, indeed, that the great danger of the theological student lies precisely in his constant contact with divine things. They may come to seem common to him, because they are customary. As the average man breathes the air and basks in the sunshine without ever a thought that it is God in his goodness who makes his sun to rise on him, though he is evil, and sends rain to him, though he is unjust; so you may come to handle even the furniture of the sanctuary with never a thought above the gross early materials of which it is made. The words which tell you of God's terrible majesty or of his glorious goodness may come to be mere words to you— Hebrew and Greek words, with etymologies, and inflections, and connections in sentences. The reasonings which establish to you the mysteries of his saving activities may come to be to you mere logical paradigms, with premises and conclusions, fitly framed, no doubt, and triumphantly cogent, but with no further significance to you than their formal logical conclusiveness. God's stately stepping in his redemptive processes may become to you a mere series of facts of history, curiously interplaying to the production of social and religious conditions, and pointing mayhap to an issue which we may shrewdly conjecture: but much like other facts occurring in time and space, which may come to your notice. It is your great danger. But it is your great danger, only because it is your great privilege. Think of what your privilege is when your greatest danger is that the great things of religion may become common to you! Other men, oppressed by the hard conditions of life, sunk in the daily struggle for bread perhaps, distracted at any rate by the dreadful drag of the world upon them and the awful rush of the world's work, find it hard to get time and opportunity so much as to pause and consider whether there be such things as God, and religion, and salvation from the sin that compasses them about and holds them captive. The very atmosphere of your life is these things; you breathe them in at every pore; they surround you, encompass you, press in upon you from every side. It is all in danger of becoming common to you! God forgive you, you are in danger of becoming weary of God!"

BIB515 In-Residency Days

Tomorrow I travel down to Springfield for two days of in-residency in our beginning Greek course. I'm looking forward to it! In fact, it will be difficult to sleep. If you would, keep my students in your prayers over the next few weeks. They're in one intense study. I can't wait to see them tomorrow. Lord-willing, we'll have some pictures to show you over the next few days of what we've been doing in class! Of course, on Thursday we are scheduled for our class down in Washington, D.C. We'll have to see what happens though. The weather man is calling for wintry stuff. Pray for that too, please!

Monday, March 2, 2015

Brian Chilton Chimes In On The Authorship Of Hebrews

The question is, does he go with Paul, Luke, or one of the other names floating around out there as a possibility? Well, I'll spoil it for you. –He opts for Luke, but concludes "it is best to accept that the authorship of Hebrews is an enigma that will not be conclusively solved on this side of eternity." You can read the rest here.

Before I go, just want to say hey to all my friends down at Fruitland in NC!

Sunday, March 1, 2015

Read Danny Zacharias' Post On Being Dad

Danny Zacharias' new post is a great read. Lesly and I don't have kids yet, but I tucked away what I read, having taken it to heart. It will bear some fruit in the future. Anyways, take a moment and see what he says. The post is called "My Encouragement and Challenge to Fellow Dads about Being Present."

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Lancaster And Capital Information Session

We held another information session at the Greenbelt site on Thursday night. Prospective students for our undergrad and grad programs came to hear what it is that God is doing at Lancaster Bible College and Capital Seminary and Graduate School. I was present along with our other full-time faculty members and a few adjuncts. This really is a special night. Thinking about going back to school is an exciting place in a person's life. The thought about finishing up a bachelor's program or entering into a seminary program is thrilling, even if it comes with a degree of anxiety. One of the things we like to communicate to every prospective student who comes to an information session is that God does really big things in students' lives during their course of study. Not only do they get entrusted with the tools that are going to prepare and equip them for a lifetime of continued study in God's Word and ministry in multiple different contexts, but they also receive a camaraderie with their professors and fellow students, relationships that continue long into the future and ones God usually puts together for future partnerships. Starting on the journey of finishing up a bachelor's degree or starting seminary, as I mentioned above, is exciting and at the same time can cause a little anxiety, but the information session is an opportunity to show students that God has a huge track record of shepherding students to the benchmark of graduation. Graduation isn't the finish line. It's one of the benchmarks along the way. And God gives students the strength they need to invest this portion of their lives to serious study of his Word. Whether it's at Lancaster or Capital or somewhere else, if continued education is part of God's plan for these individuals' lives, we want them to know that God is faithful to carry them through it. He did it our lives, and he will do it in theirs.

If you're interested in coming for one of the information sessions, we have some scheduled in March, April, June, and July. You can register online here. If you know someone who might be interested, send them the link.

Wesley Handy Teaches Theological Foundations for Ministry

One of our newest adjuncts finished up his in-residency this week. I had the privilege giving Wesley the tour of our Greenbelt facility before our Thursday night information session this week. He was down in Springfield teaching on Wednesday and Thursday. Wesley brings a lot to the table. We are a seminary of practitioners cultivating practitioners. Wesley, for example, is planting a church right outside of New York City on the Jersey side. Talk about a difficult place to reach. In fact, pray for Wesley's work, and pray that God would soften the hearts of those with whom he is sharing the gospel. Listening to Wesley talk about how his class went this week in the in-residency portion was exceptional. One thing really comes across: Studying at Capital Seminary is more than a professor telling you what to think; studying at Capital is learning how to transfer what the Bible tells us into meaningful exposition, both in our lives and our teaching, in the ministry contexts where we are serving. True biblical ministry is an extension of our walks with the Lord. In other words, if our walk with the Lord is deficient (or worse, nonexistent) then ministry is really not the word for whatever it is that we are doing. I'm so thankful to the Lord for the faculty we have here at Lancaster and Capital. You find wherever you look a commitment to biblical truth and a commitment to having that truth reign over the lives Christ has saved through his death and resurrection. Below you'll see a picture of Wesley with his class followed by a picture of Wes and I on Thursday evening. What a blessing it was to see him.

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Check Out The New Testament Greek Portal

One of the projects I worked on while I was at Southeastern was building a website that pulled together a plethora of tools and resources for learning and using New Testament Greek. Students, if you haven't checked out the New Testament Greek Portal, be sure you check it out. Whatever interests you about Greek, you'll find something that will help you in your studies on that site.

Is It Really "The" Ministry?

I did a quick scan around the blogoworld to see what people have been saying about "the" ministry over the past week. Let me share a little with you that's being said out there. These are just four. Three think one way about "the" ministry. One quite the opposite.

A Lutheran pastor has written a letter to other Lutheran pastors talking about "the" ministry. He writes, "Moreover, you have not chosen your vocation by yourself. Sure, God gave you a desire to study for the ministry (1 Tim. 3:1)." And he quotes Martin Chemnitz's Ministry, Word, and Sacraments: An Enchiridion a number of times referencing "the" ministry.

An article in the Philadelphia Tribune about one church's pastor adds a little more about "the" ministry. Here's a snippet: "The journey to that point began when he was growing up at Vine, heard his calling, and did not know that it was a calling. During his college years he drifted away from attending church. After graduation he felt a pull to return to church, but he resisted. Instead he immersed himself in his financial industry career. His company promoted him to become division accounting manager and relocated him to Westminster, Md. It was during this time he said that his calling was becoming more intense. Yet he felt secure in his new position and rebuffed the need to join the ministry. 'I used to think that people only went into the ministry if they couldn’t do anything else,' [he] admitted. 'I also felt that being called to the ministry was about wanting to have a title or make a lot of money. So, I felt secure in my job and I was excelling."

One church put up some descriptions of their pastors online. There was this one: "He received Christ as his personal Savior as a young boy and then was called to the ministry while at college." And then this one: "After graduating from Pensacola Christian College and receiving a Masters of Bible Exposition from Pensacola Theological Seminary, God called him into the ministry where he served 7 years as a youth pastor in a large ministry."

Okay, so those three think about "the" ministry one way. "The" ministry is synonymous with being a pastor. So I saw one more. Here it is.

Proclamation Presbyterian Church posted their bulletin online. It features a number of quotes from different Christian authors. How about this one they included by Ed Stetzer: "In John 20 Jesus tells his followers that He is sending them as His Father has sent Him. Thus, the Bible teaches everyone is sent on mission and everyone is called to the ministry (John 20:21, 1 Peter 4:10). The only questions are to where, among whom, and doing what."

Here's the thing, folks. We can keep referring to the ministry synonymous to pastoral ministry. Or we can do what PPC did and put it right smack dab in the bulletin for every single member of the local church to see. Everyone is in "the" ministry. Everyone is "called" into "the" ministry if in fact they have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus' substitutionary sacrifice on the cross. The ministry can either be the stuff pastors do, or it can be the Great Commission. Well, it really can't be both. But what I'm saying is, we have to make a decision. It's one or the other. And if we really believe the latter, then we have to do away with this seriously unhelpful expression and abbreviated reference to pastoral ministry.

A few things have to happen. (1) Pastors have to stop referring to what God did in their lives as being "called into the ministry." Why? Because it automatically, consciously or unconsciously, tells everyone who hears it who doesn't serve in that capacity that they haven't been called into "the" ministry, or, at least, that how they are serving Lord in different capacities is somehow minuscule and insignificant in comparison to what it is that pastors do. (2) These same pastors need to emphasize the importance of being granted the amazing privilege of being able to make Christ known to a lost and dying world. (3) Everyone in Christ who isn't a pastor has to take up a Great-Commission jersey and get into the game. Stetzer is so right. "The Bible teaches everyone is sent on mission and everyone is called to the ministry (John 20:21, 1 Peter 4:10). The only questions are to where, among whom, and doing what."