Teachers, scholars and leaders: Faculty add to a rich legacy of scholarship

A lot of great things are happening at Multnomah – new majors, new online degrees, new athletic programs – but one thing hasn’t changed: our commitment to providing an exceptional academic experience firmly rooted in God’s Word.

josberger_featureimageOur professors express this commitment by cultivating biblical wisdom in our students and publishing works that add depth and meaning to their respective fields. They’re experts in biblical exegesis, language and theological research – and they’re keenly aware of the complexities of modern society.

“Our faculty serve as thought leaders in their particular academic areas,” says Dr. Craig Williford, Multnomah’s president. “Their research, publications, speaking and teaching are all anchored in the authoritative Word of God.”

Multnomah’s rich legacy of scholarship continues to this day. Current Multnomah faculty members have authored more than 20 books covering a wide array of topics. They include Al Baylis, Derek Chinn, Brad Harper, Rebekah Josberger, Rex Koivisto, Rick McKinley, Paul Louis Metzger, Daniel Scalberg, Wayne Strickland and John Terveen.

“They know that God’s truth provides the proper foundation for all our academic explorations,” says Williford. “Combining their commitment to the Bible with being on the forefront of research provides the best quality educational experience for our students.”

Visit our faculty page to learn more.

Youth Ministry major gives students firsthand training, global opportunities

MU’s youth ministry major gives students firsthand training, unforgettable internships and global opportunities — from Germany to Japan.

"We get to take everything we learn in the classroom and apply it hands on," says youth ministry major Kayla Linscott.

Youth Ministry Chair Rob Hildebrand challenges his students to serve passionately and think big. "This major is designed for people who love God, love young people and want to make this world a better place," he says. "The youth worker has one of the most important jobs in the church. Young people are looking for guidance. What could be more important than having people love and care for them?"

Multnomah makes history with acceptance into NAIA, Cascade Conference

PORTLAND, Ore. – Multnomah University is excited to announce that it has been accepted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC). This is a historic achievement for MU because the NAIA is the largest sports association the institution has been involved with since the University’s establishment in 1936.

I am thrilled that MU has been accepted into the NAIA and the CCC,” Athletic Director Lois Vos said. “This historic time is directly related to the hard work each person has invested in MU to make it an athletic department that stands for excellence and for making it the best experience we can for the student athlete. We are truly blessed!” Vos has been serving at Multnomah for 26 years, and she said this is the most significant development during her tenure as athletic director.

The NAIA oversees sports programs at more than 260 small colleges and universities. The student athlete is the center of the NAIA experience, and the organization is dedicated to character development. Each year, more than 60,000 student-athletes in the NAIA compete in 13 sports and 23 national championships.

The premier Christian education fostered at Multnomah, combined with the Champions of Character program developed and promoted by the NAIA, establishes a perfect environment in which Lion athletes can flourish,” said David Lee, MU’s cross country and track and field coach. “We are thrilled that the NAIA, with its caring-for-people history, has included us as a member. MU's coaching team is encouraged at this announcement and will be strengthened by joining ranks with some of America's finest coaches.” Lee coached in the NAIA and CCC for 13 years before joining MU.

The CCC has evolved into one of the NAIA’s most formidable leagues. It sanctions championship competition for men and women in basketball, cross country, golf, soccer, and track and field, along with baseball for men and softball and volleyball for women.

Multnomah joins CCC member schools College of Idaho, Concordia University, Corban University, Eastern Oregon University, The Evergreen State College, Northwest University, Northwest Christian University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Southern Oregon University, Walla Walla University and Warner Pacific College.

“On behalf of CCC, we congratulate Multnomah University on their acceptance to the NAIA,” Commissioner Robert Cashell stated. “Director of Athletics Lois Vos and her staff worked tirelessly the last 10 months in preparation for this historic day for MU athletics. We  look forward to a long and positive relationship with MU as we welcome our friends to the league as official members.”

“This is an extremely exciting time for Multnomah University,” said Curt Bickley, who coaches men’s basketball for the Lions. “Personally, I did not think I would ever see this day, but now that it is here, I am fired up about the potential and possibilities for our institution, and specifically for our basketball program.”

About Multnomah Athletics
Multnomah Athletics began in the 1950s with men’s basketball and expanded to include women's volleyball in the 1960s. In 2014, MU added six new programs (men’s soccer, men’s and women’s cross country, women’s basketball, and men’s and women’s golf) and now features 10 teams with the recent addition of men’s and women’s track and field. Before joining the NAIA, Multnomah competed in the National Christian College Athletic Association.

About Multnomah University
Multnomah University is a fully accredited, private, non-denominational, Christian institution of higher education located in Portland, Oregon, with teaching sites in Reno, Nevada, and Seattle, Washington. Composed of a college, seminary, graduate school, degree completion program and online distance-learning program, Multnomah issues bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees, as well as professional certifications and endorsements. For more information, visit multnomah.edu.

Right at home in Reno

When Pastor Mike Stewart decided to spring for a Master of Divinity degree, he knew he couldn’t look far from home. The 43-year-old’s roots had burrowed into Reno, Nev. — and into the church he and his wife planted 10 years ago.

So when Stewart discovered Multnomah’s Reno-Tahoe campus, he was delighted. “I love the convenience of experiencing world-class education 15 minutes from my office,” he says. “With my family being planted in Reno, an accredited resource like Multnomah is a God-send.”

'Equipped to minister'

MU’s presence in Reno-Tahoe was a long time in the making. Conversations began more than 15 years ago when several church and business leaders from northern Nevada approached Multnomah about the possibility of creating a Bible college in Reno.

“Many of our young people were leaving Reno for their college education,” says Dean of Students Tony Slavin. “But then they would never return to Nevada. We needed a place where they could be equipped to minister in the church here.”


Director of Reno-Tahoe John McKendricks and Dean of Students Tony Slavin.

'Filling a role no one else is filling'

In 2008, MU’s board of trustees approved a recommendation to merge with a little school in Reno called Meadows Bible Institute. After the board at Meadows accepted, both institutions negotiated an agreement that would transfer all Meadow’s assets to Multnomah. Under the direction of former president Daniel Lockwood, the agreement was signed that summer, and the first accredited biblical university in Nevada was born.

“We’re filling a role that no one else is filling,” says Director John McKendricks. “And we’re maintaining connections with the broader faith community.”

Slavin agrees. “What’s going on in the classroom is inseparable with what’s happening in local churches,” he says. “Students are gaining a hands-on approach to ministry from well-educated pastors.”

'A strong biblical foundation'

One of those students is Alina Bjerre, a 25-year-old kindergarten teacher earning her Bible and theology degree. Like Stewart, Bjerre has deep roots in Reno and wanted an education close to home.  Multnomah was the perfect fit. “I was so excited about what I would learn here,” she says. “I see value in getting this degree. We should all have a strong biblical foundation.”

Bjerre is building that foundation with the help of some talented and caring faculty. “The professors are fascinating to listen to and passionate about what they teach,” she says. “And they’re so personable — I feel like I can talk to them about anything.”

But what stands out to Bjerre the most is the unique community Multnomah attracts. “People come here with different interpretations, but we all love Jesus,” she says.

'Diversity within our unity'

Slavin feels the same way. “We have amazing students spanning across all ages and representing 17 denominations,” he explains. “MU creates an atmosphere that encourages diversity within our unity. These students have become my family and friends and co-learners. We teach them how to study and how to think, but not what to believe.”

That’s something Stewart has greatly appreciated. “There's a grounded, practical feel to the classes and intended outcomes at Multnomah,” he says. “I've been able to connect so much of what I’ve learned to the church I pastor. MU also provides a place for students to gather in a neutral environment for fellowship and discussion. My education has been valuable, but the relationships I’ve developed have been invaluable.”

Learn more about Multnomah Reno-Tahoe.

Seminary professor launches new book about freedom

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Pastor Rick McKinley

Rick McKinley, MU professor and lead pastor of Imago Dei Community, has published his fifth book — "The Answer to Our Cry: Freedom to Live Fully, Love Boldly and Fear Nothing." The Multnomah Biblical Seminary alum planted Imago Dei in 2000 and travels widely to share local movements, such as Advent Conspiracy, with the broader Church.

Get a free copy

Today MU's marketing department is kicking off a book giveaway contest. Go to Twitter to share your answer to "What does freedom mean to you?" and Instagram to answer "What does freedom look like to you?" Use the hashtag #mufreedom to qualify. Three winners will be announced at noon on Friday, November 7. All winners receive a free copy of McKinley's new book.

Enjoy this excerpt from "The Answer to Our Cry":

Answer to our cryThe form that freedom takes in Scripture is relationship with God. This is the gravity that holds our lives together so that we can enjoy the life that God has given us. We call this the gospel: the Good News that God hears our cry and sent his Son to give us freedom. We might think about this saving story as a narrative that has five parts: creation, fall, redemption, restoration, and consummation. • Creation: A good God created a good world in perfection so that we could enjoy him and everything he had made. • Fall: Humankind fell away from this God, and the sin that happened in the garden led to spiritual and physical death. We all are alienated from God. • Redemption: God did not leave us to our own despair. He came after us by sending his Son to live the life we should have lived, die the death we should have died, and bring about a new creation both in us and in the world. • Restoration: This good God is currently restoring all things through Jesus and bringing about his new creation so that the world changes (and we change too). Pockets of new creation are breaking forth in the old creation, and new life is the beginning to dawn. • Consummation: One day God will bring his creation and us together into a new perfection. That is what he originally created in the Garden of Eden. All pain and suffering will be done away with because this good God is making everything new. Creation, fall, redemption, restoration and consummation. And it really is good news! However, that’s not all there is. God’s nature and being are the main text of the story, and our experience of creation, fall, redemption, restoration, and consummation are the subtext. Without the main text, the subtext doesn’t make much sense (or even exist, for that matter). I believe the reason so many followers of Jesus are still crying out for freedom and still finding themselves bound up in slavery is because the don’t understand the most important part of the story — the part where we discover who this good God really is. The reason this is so important is because our freedom is dependant on it. If our freedom is dependent on form, then the form of our freedom is relationship with the good God of the Bible. We will never be free until we experience who this God is through an actual relationship with him. Freedom comes from desiring God for who he actually is, not what he has done for us. When we focus on only what God has done for us, we don’t relate to God for who he is. When that happens, we are dragged into a whole new kind of religious slavery. Our freedom is predicted on our being in an actual relational union with the God of the gospel. This means we will have to look up from the subtext of what God has done for us and fall in love with the God who is, well, everything. Being loved and in love with this God is the form that freedom requires to be experienced. We will never be free until we love God for who he really is. Taken with permission from "The Answer to Our Cry" by Rick McKinley (p. 24-26)

Interested in buying Rick McKinley's book?

MAGDJ program launches Night of Dialogue

1 Comment » Written on October 28th, 2014 by
Categories: Events, Faculty, Programs

MAGDJ Program Director Greg Burch introduces the first Night of Dialogue event on November 12

file2701271716451As evangelical believers, what roles do justice and development play in our desire to see the world reconciled to its Creator? How will biblical justice and development help us bring transformation to our communities? Through a TED talk style forum, a Night of Dialogue on Justice and Development brings together active scholars in this field to explore biblical understandings in these critical areas.

The event will be held on November 12th from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the JCA Lounge (just outside of Roger’s Café) on campus and is being sponsored by the Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice degree program.

Join us as we hear from Multnomah professor Paul Louis Metzger, lawyer and adjunct professor Mark Loomis and Ron Werner, Jr. of the organization Bend Youth Collective. In addition, several partnering nonprofits will be on hand to provide opportunities to get involved locally and internationally. We hope to see you there!

Learn more about Multnomah’s M.A. degree in Global Development and Justice.

Check Out Our New D.Min. Track: Global Evangelism

We sat down with Dr. Derek Chinn, director of MU's Doctor of Ministry program, to find out more about the degree's latest track, global evangelism.

Space is still available, and classes start June 2. If you have questions about this track or want to register, contact Dr. Chinn by emailing dchinn@multnomah.edu or calling 503-251-6732.

What's the purpose of the global evangelism track?

Dr. Luis Palau

Dr. Luis Palau

This track is in line with Multnomah’s goal of equipping its students for global mission. The education our students receive is biblically-grounded and academically rigorous, and it deliberately integrates what's learned in the classroom with ministry that takes place in the real world.

How will the track prepare students for missional work?

The majority of the students are already evangelists. They are currently doing the very thing God has gifted them to do, and they will continue to evangelize to those who don’t know Jesus and train local congregations to share the Gospel.

Getting a D.Min. degree will give them the opportunity to study more in-depth the theological underpinnings of evangelism, learn about different strategies and methodologies for evangelism, develop a better understanding and appreciation for the work that builds and sustains evangelistic ministry, and learn from fellow evangelists serving in different contexts.

How is this track distinct from programs offered by other seminaries?


Dr. Tim Robnett

Students participate and study with instructors who are actively engaged in evangelism around the world. The faculty mentor, Dr. Tim Robnett, is president of Tim Robnett Ministries, and he actively trains and mentors evangelists, locally and internationally. International evangelist Dr. Luis Palau is the senior lecturer for this track and will participate in the instruction. Guest lecturers are respected educators and practitioners in evangelism.

How is the track enriching in terms of professional, spiritual and personal development?

Students will use their professional ministry skills in the church and for the community to equip believers in the ministry of evangelism. They are expected to nurture their personal relationship with God and mature in personal character. Participants in this track will have ample opportunity to reflect on and develop a process of adaptation and application of biblical principles in the area of evangelism.

What makes this program stand out?

The experience that Dr. Robnett and Dr. Palau bring to the classroom is outstanding, and I can't think of any program that brings these types of skills and experience to bear. Dr. Robnett’s deep understanding of how evangelists are gifted and wired significantly shapes how instruction will occur, what coursework is assigned, and what topics will be covered.

Want to find out more about Multnomah Biblical Seminary? Check out our seminary page

Seminary Students to Join Leading Scholars at Oxford

Translating a never-before-seen Dead Sea Scrolls fragment is exciting enough. But when that fragment paves the way to an all-expenses-paid trip to Oxford, it brings learning to a whole new level.

Haley Cloyd and Daniel Somboonsiri have been selected to attend the Logos Conference, a two-week internship in Oxford sponsored by the Green Scholars Initiative (GSI). Only students working on GSI projects were invited to apply for the summer conference, where world-renowned academic experts will teach them history, theology and textual studies.

‘I felt like Charlie with the golden ticket’

OxfordPhotoCloyd has been working on MU’s GSI Dead Sea Scrolls project since last fall, and Somboonsiri began analyzing the fragment this spring. Biblical Languages Chair Dr. Karl Kutz, who directs this GSI project, told a few of his Hebrew students about the opportunity in January and encouraged them to apply.

Somboonsiri was shocked when he heard that he was chosen for the internship. “I felt like Charlie with the golden ticket in my hand,” he says. “It’s surreal.”

Cloyd was ecstatic when she received the news. “I’m so excited about the Bodleian Library — it has ancient manuscripts, a Gutenburg Bible and manuscripts written by C.S. Lewis and J.R.R Tolkien!” she says. “And I’m excited to meet more Hebrew nerds from other schools.”

“I’m not surprised they were selected,” says Kutz. “They are both very capable. I’m very proud of them.”

Kutz will attend the second week of the conference, when professors and students work side-by-side with ancient manuscripts from the Green Collection. “I have a tremendous amount of gratitude to the Green family for their stewardship of the resources God has given them,” he says. “I’m looking forward to working on the projects with the students for most of the day. I enjoy the intense academic environment.”

Students from more than 60 schools in North America applied for the internship, and only 30 were selected. Five additional students who have already participated in the internship were chosen to serve as teaching assistants.

“I know we have a very quality program,” says Kutz. “I think it shows in our students by how well they read the language.”

‘Geek heaven’

OxfordStudent2A few years ago, Somboonsiri was doubtful he could excel in his Hebrew classes. “I thought learning the language was going to be the most daunting thing,” he says. “But Dr. Kutz’s curriculum doesn’t depend on rote memorization; instead, you understand how the language lives and breathes.”

This unique approach, coupled with supportive faculty, made Somboonsiri realize he could do more than he ever thought was possible. “The professors here are so passionate about Hebrew — it’s infectious,” he says. “I’ve been inspired to push myself in my studies thanks to their experience and guidance.”

Now all that work has paid off, and Somboonsiri can’t wait to reap the benefits. “I’m looking forward to the dinner chats with the scholars, especially the chats focused on apologetics,” he says. “We’ll get to hear from them about what it looks like to be a person of faith in the world of academia. To have the advice of people who have walked that path will be amazing.”

Somboonsiri plans to follow in their footsteps. After graduation, he wants to earn a Ph.D. and teach theology and Hebrew at a university. “My heart is to disciple people to be passionate about holistically living in Christ by participating in His redemptive mission in the world,” he says. “I would love to spend my life preparing people of the kingdom to live sacrificially as they bear witness to Jesus’ sacrificial love.”

In the meantime, he’s looking forward to representing his school at one of the world’s most prestigious universities. “Multnomah is small, but Dr. Kutz is very respected,” he says. “His language program is geek heaven. It’s the best in the country.”

‘A glimpse of the bigger picture’

OxfordStudent1Cloyd feels the same way. “Multnomah’s Hebrew program has a high level of scholarship, and the professors build that up in their students,” she says. “What’s really cool is that Dr. Kutz comes alongside you and shows you how to do things. He gets to know each student, and then tailors projects to fit the person.”

The individual attention and rigorous courses have given Cloyd a love for Hebrew that she couldn’t image life without. “Our professors encourage curiosity and investigating,” she says. “And you have to be curious to do research. Otherwise, it can get boring.”

Cloyd isn’t just passionate about the research — she’s invested in every word she’s studying. “The professors have given us a love for the Word, for knowing it well and for knowing its history,” she says. “To study the Bible well, you have to respect the saints who came before you and approach the book with humility.”

Like Somboonsiri, Cloyd plans to pursue a Ph.D. after graduation. Her time in Oxford will bring her dream of being a professor of Hebrew and Old Testament Studies closer than ever.

“There are the practical ways the internship will help me — it can go on my résumé, and it looks good,” she says. “But even more than that, it’s affirming that what I’m studying isn’t silly. It’s not just a hobby. And it’s not just something to pay the bills. I’m going to be able to do work that I love. This internship is just a glimpse of the bigger picture.”

Interested in finding out more about our Hebrew program? Check out MU's Biblical Hebrew page.

Have questions about MU's programs or enrollment? Send us a note. We'd love to hear from you. 

Students Skip Class to Serve Portland

A blue sky and sunshine greeted more than 130 Multnomah University students as they left campus to participate in Day of Outreach on April 14.

Once every spring and fall, students volunteer at several locations in the Portland community, including nonprofits, nursing homes, schools and community centers. MU cancels classes for the day so students can devote their whole morning to service.

‘Get a different perspective’

Chris Cleaverdayofoutreach_492, a full-time counselor at Multnomah, led a group of students to Door to Grace, a Portland nonprofit providing restorative care and safe shelter for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. The day home needed some TLC, so students took Windex to mirrors, vacuums to rugs and push brooms to sidewalks. Freshman Johanna Quezada carefully watered the small boxwood trees that stood in a line near the front door.

“This is definitely a cool opportunity,” said the TESOL major. “I love hearing about the different ministries here in Portland. My world can get so small because I live and work on campus, so it’s good to get outside and get a different perspective. We’re at MU for more than just time in the classroom.”

Olivia Botsford agreed. As she wiped the kitchen counters with a washcloth, the psychology major talked about how she appreciates a day devoted to helping neighbors. “We’re not just focused on getting our degrees,” she said. “We want to serve and be in the community, loving people in the real world.”

‘Be a light’

dayofoutreach_501Dean of Students Jon Mathis and Psychology Department Chair Dr. Elliott Lawless joined another group of students volunteering at Drive Away Hunger, the home of Portland Rescue Mission’s vehicle donation and sales program. The men took on yard work, sweeping, raking and cleaning and organizing the auto shop.

Danny Kugelburg, Community Partnership Lead at Drive Away Hunger, leaned against a blue Chevy as he explained the impact of volunteering. “You might not have direct contact with the people we’re helping, but what you’re doing is changing lives,” he said. “We’re a nonprofit that survives solely on the gift of volunteers.”

Kugelburg is an M.Div. student at Multnomah Seminary, so he’s familiar with the school’s  mission. But watching it come to life in the auto shop is inspiring. “Multnomah has a desire for its students not to be insulated, but to be a light in the community — in voice and in deed,” he said.

‘Actively love’

dayofoutreach_534At the Montavilla Community Center, Multnomah students sat at tables piled high with paper plates and colorful ribbons to craft decorations for the center’s upcoming Easter celebration. Sophomore Edwin Granados carefully cut the plates into half moon shapes as he spoke with fellow volunteers. The music major is on the student-led Day of Outreach planning committee and was in charge of promoting the event this season.

Granados said he loves the opportunity to branch out of the University and into the surrounding community. “It’s one of my favorite things to do,” he said. “Our planning committee had a vision — that students could actively love in a way that will last beyond today. I hope this will be a kickoff for people to begin serving more frequently.”

Besides MU's two annual Day of Outreach events, MU students provide more than 100,000 hours of service to the community each year through the University's Student Ministries program

How have you been impacted by volunteer work? Share your thoughts below.

You’re Invited to Respond and Prevent

violence_mainApril is National Sexual Assault Awareness Month, when activists across the country raise awareness about violence and educate communities on how to prevent it. MU is getting involved by hosting a series of special events. Students, staff and faculty are invited to participate.


A group of students and faculty will volunteer at Door To Grace, a Portland nonprofit providing restorative care and safe shelter for survivors of commercial sexual exploitation. Interested in joining? Email Clarissa Smith at csmith2@my.multnomah.edu.


This project gives those in the MU community who have been affected — directly or indirectly — by violence the opportunity to express their emotions by decorating a shirt. The shirts will hang in the JCA hallway to serve as a testimony to the problem of violence against women. This will be one of more than 500 Clothesline Projects being shown around the world.

Want to add a shirt to the clothesline? You can either decorate a shirt on your own or host a shirt-decorating party for a group. Shirts must be submitted to Martha Byrne in the counseling center by April 8.


Staff and faculty will share how God is using the Church to respond to violence against women around the world.


Chris Cleaver, MU counselor, will speak about the role men should play in preventing abuse. “The problem of violence against women is a men’s issue,” he says. “Although the majority of men do not rape, batter and abuse women, many of us are passive bystanders and do not actively oppose the mistreatment of women. I want to call men to refuse permitting anything that supports a culture of violence against women. Because without their active participation, the violence will persist.”

For more information about any of these events, email Chris Cleaver at ccleaver@multnomah.edu.