Seminary

Conference teaches church leaders how to respect, engage with science

No Comments » Written on April 28th, 2016 by
Categories: Events, Feature, Programs, Seminary, Students

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Many see faith and science like oil and water — they’re impossible to integrate. But New Wine, New Wineskins thinks differently. On April 16 and 23, the institute hosted a conference aimed at dispelling the segregation of these communities through thoughtful dialogue. The conference, Church and Science: Partners for the Common Good, was made possible by a grant Multnomah Biblical Seminary received from the American Association for the Advancement of Science in an effort to integrate science into the seminary curriculum (view the 10 seminary courses that have adopted this integration here).

“It’s bound up with our ongoing, strategic effort at Multnomah to prepare seminary graduates in their pastoral calling to constructively engage our scientific age,” says Paul Louis Metzger, director of New Wine, New Wineskins. “It’s for the sake of their parishioners who have scientific questions and scientific vocational interests, and for the church’s own missional engagement with the surrounding culture.”

The event brought in speakers from Portland and across the country to explore several themes, including the history of faith and science, hermeneutical humility, and faith and scientific methods. Attendants delved into the themes through a variety of formats, such as plenary sessions, panels, workshops and thoughtful discussion times.

“Many young Christians are leaving churches because of what they perceive to be antagonism by the church toward science,” says Metzger. “It’s vitally important that pastors in training are equipped to develop an informed respect for science and discernment on how to articulate biblical faith in our scientific age.”

Many attendees walked away feeling more prepared and aware. “As a pastor, this conference opened my eyes to the tremendous need we have to address the role of science in our faith communities,” says Gaby Viesca, pastor to women at Cedar Mill Bible Church. “It also equipped me with practical tools to help people navigate their own questions and doubts, and how to engage in meaningful conversations around this topic.”

Jared Bennett, associate pastor at Grace Community Church called the conference “phenomenal” and found Dr. John Walton’s session especially insightful. “He stressed that the debate over young earth creationism/evolution is not what we should be focused on; the mechanics of ‘how’ are secondary to the agency of ‘who.’” Bennett claims to have walked away with a lot to think about. “I will continue to read, think and pray on what I learned at the conference in the hope that I can use that personal growth to better pastor my students,” he says.

Join the ongoing discussion. New Wine is hosting forums at local churches, and you can check out their website for information and updates. You can also read endorsements for the Church and Science conference here. Lastly, if you’re a youth pastor, New Wine wants to collaborate with you in order to care for teens wrestling with their faith in the midst of scientific questions. Stay tuned.

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Seminary students selected third year in a row for internships at Oxford

Comments Off Written on March 30th, 2016 by
Categories: Events, Faculty, Programs, Seminary, Students

The polished halls of Oxford University have been steeped in centuries’ worth of scholarly culture. Their crevices contain manuscripts, statues, engravings and echoes of the past. What better place for world-renowned biblical experts and students to gather?

For the third year in a row, a handful of Multnomah seminary students has been selected to attend the Logos Conference, a two-week internship in June sponsored by the Scholars Initiative. Any students who have worked on Scholars Initiative projects are invited to apply to the workshop. Scholars from more than 60 schools in North America submit applications, but only 30 students are chosen for the trip.

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 ‘Shocked and overjoyed’

Oxford3_blogChad Woodward had his eyes on Oxford ever since his classmate Daniel Somboonsiri was selected two years ago. “It was a goal I’d set for myself,” Woodward says. “I was on the edge of my seat waiting, and when I heard I was chosen, I felt validated as a Hebrew scholar.”

Alyssa Schmidt is equally enthusiastic. “I’m really excited to be around people who are passionate about God’s word, and to have so much opportunity for learning within two short weeks,” she says.

Ruben Alvarado received his invitation two weeks later than his classmates. He thought he hadn’t made it in. When he finally heard the news, he was ecstatic. “I couldn’t sleep that night,” he says. “I was shocked and overjoyed.”

 ‘Engaging and exploring’

Biblical Languages Chair Dr. Karl Kutz encouraged Woodward, Alvarado and Schmidt to apply for the intership. “We really enjoy our students and are proud of them,” he says. Kutz will join his students at Oxford for three days of the conference.

The conference schedule is packed with activity. There will be excursions to Winchester Abbey and Tyndale House, evensong services at Christ Cathedral, lectures from renowned scholars, tours to the Bodlian and Parker Libraries, and discussions around pots of tea. Guests will even be lodging in an ivy-cloaked Victorian house up the lane.

“This seminar is helpful for two reasons,” Kutz says. “First, students will be able build friendships with peers in the same position. Second, they will be exposed to key scholars who have figured out what it’s like to live as a Christian in the academic world.”

Dr. Rebekah Josberger, who teaches Hebrew at Multnomah, is thrilled to see how her students will grow through this opportunity. “Learning isn’t about ‘arriving’ and knowing everything,” she says. “It’s about engaging, asking questions and exploring. This all happens at the conference.”

Needless to say, this environment of exploration will boost the future careers of attendees. “It’s continued exposure to what I love and enjoy,” Woodward says. “It will bring my studies to a different level.”

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 ‘A community of excellent teachers’

All three students are brimming with praise for the quality of Multnomah’s Hebrew program. “Our professors have created a program that’s different,” says Schmidt. “It’s not just classes, but a community of excellent teachers.”

Kutz prioritizes time with his students during the trip. While other professors wander off on their own adventures, he joins his group in a pub to discuss the highlights of the conference.

“The Hebrew community is a family,” says Woodward. “It’s not just instructive; professors take an active role in our lives and come alongside us as friends.”

Alvarado wholeheartedly concurs. “It’s been the experience of a lifetime to study under Dr. Kutz and Dr. Josberger,” he says. “They teach us the language and teach us how to live life.”

Although the two weeks are crammed with scholastics, MU students are also looking forward to sightseeing. Schmidt will be stopping by Paris on her way home. Alvarado will visit several of London’s tourist attractions like the British Museum, the Tower of London and the National Gallery.

Woodward is planning to take full advantage of the international experience. It’s his 10th wedding anniversary, and he just bought a plane ticket for his wife so they can explore England together after the conference. “It will be a good balance between work and play,” he says. Cheers to that.

Seminary announces fully online Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Leadership degrees

Comments Off Written on February 26th, 2016 by
Categories: Seminary, Students

Multnomah Biblical Seminary is proud to announce that it will be offering its Master of Divinity and Master of Arts in Christian Leadership degrees fully online beginning fall 2016.

This change was made possible by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS), which approved an exemption to the residency requirements* for the Master of Divinity and MA in Christian Leadership degrees. Typically, these programs have strict rules for on-campus learning, but ATS has waived these restrictions for MU so its students can now earn either degree fully online.

“We’re so excited that ATS granted our request to excuse students from having a residency requirement,” says Seminary Dean Dr. Roy Andrews. “Now we’ll be able to offer a high-quality theological education to students all over the world without them needing to relocate to Portland.”

Students can expect to connect with their classmates and professors through online discussions, email, chat and videoconferencing. But the learning won’t stop there: Andrews says the seminary will work to create partnerships between the student, an on-site mentor and a local church.

“This means the student can stay connected in his or her church, workplace and neighborhood, all while having the opportunity to be transformed by a Multnomah Biblical Seminary education,” he says. “These elements will provide the important components of spiritual formation and community that are often missing in distance education programs. Online students really can have the best of both worlds.”

Multnomah Biblical Seminary also offers a fully online Master of Arts in Biblical Studies program and a fully online Master of Arts in Theological Studies program. Find out more at multnomah.edu/online.

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*The Association of Theological Schools (ATS) has approved an exemption to the residency requirements (Degree Program Standard A, section A.3.1.3, and Degree Program Standard B, section B.3.1.3) for these degrees, permitting them to be offered fully online beginning fall 2016.

“I learn something from everyone”: College professor says Doctor of Ministry program enhances her teaching

Comments Off Written on February 9th, 2016 by
Categories: Seminary, Students

Jody Bormuth is a mother, grandmother, wife and college professor in the rugged mountain town of Grants Pass, Ore. Over the years she has welcomed struggling teens into her home, mentored young women, taught Bible studies and developed a class on gender issues.

But just because Bormuth has been involved in Christian service for more than 40 years doesn’t mean she’s left learning behind. “I love academics in the first place, and so learning anything is exciting to me,” she says. That’s why she decided to enroll in MU’s Doctor of Ministry program with a focus in cross-cultural engagement.

Bormuth is now two years into her studies. “I love every part of it,” she says. “(The professors) are genuine and honest, and that is refreshing.”

Discussion and fellowship are regular parts of class which Bormuth thoroughly enjoys. She is continually challenged to listen well to others. “It’s the perfect environment to ask my questions,” Bormuth says. “I learn something from everyone as they share their ideas and thoughts.”

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In regards to cross-cultural engagement, Bormuth is learning to interact with those who disagree with her. “It’s all about approaching others with the earnest intent to hear what they have to offer me, rather than the other way around,” she says. “It equalizes all of us as worthy and valuable in God’s image. It has shown me how to approach others in an agreeable and peaceful fashion without compromising my own convictions.”

This leads to a lifestyle of living like Jesus. Bormuth did an in-depth study of the Beatitudes earlier this year and has since been learning how to apply them in her relationships. “God is teaching me to express to others how counter-cultural Christ was and is,” she says. “We are to be the same way.”

Bormuth is constantly in awe over how God weaves themes together in her life. “It has never failed that when any crisis comes up, something we are studying or learning in school is relevant to the crisis,” she says.

Everything that Bormuth learns is immediately applied to her classroom at Pacific Bible College. Her greatest joy is seeing the “lights come on” in students’ eyes as they grasp one of God’s precious truths for the first time.

“I have taken major themes home with me and not only felt affirmed in what I’d already been teaching, but able to add to it,” she says. “These themes have enhanced my teaching and classroom, not to mention my own spiritual life. It’s caused me to see God as bigger and richer, and to see Christ’s mission on earth as more personal and all-encompassing.”

A heart for Hawaii: M.Div. student Kunāne Hillen connects theology to his native culture

Comments Off Written on January 25th, 2016 by
Categories: Seminary, Students, Theology

Kunane_H_2v02For Kunāne Hillen, moving to Portland, Oregon, was a big change. “My first thoughts were, ‘It’s cold!’” he says. He was firmly attached to the sunshine, warm ocean waves, beaches and culture of his hometown — Honolulu, Hawaii. He’d never spent more than three weeks away. And yet he knew that, despite the climate change, Multnomah University had what he wanted for an M.Div.

Body surfing, ukulele, church friends and family were the main factors in Hillen’s life throughout his childhood. During his senior year in high school, Hillen took a Hawaiian history class that made him realize how much he loved his own people.

“After watching a film about Hawaiians, my heart broke,” he says. “I originally wanted to do intercultural missions, but then I got a heart for Hawaiians.”

Hillen attended Bible college on the island and earned his bachelor’s degree in Bible and Pastoral Ministry. He then began to wonder what was next. “I was looking for a school that would help relate Hawaiian culture to theology,” he says.

Multnomah brought those components together for him. “MU is really helping me process my theology,” Hillen says. “I get to tie Hawaii into my papers and discussions in class. I want to learn what the gospel means, not only in the Hawaiian community but also in the global indigenous community.”

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Hillen also appreciates his professors. “They are very personal,” he says. “They are willing to meet outside of class. They encourage me to talk. They don’t just teach to blank faces; they’re engaging.”

When Hillen returns to the islands, he’s excited to teach the integration of theology and culture to his fellow Hawaiians. And he’s especially eager to get back to his own warm beach. “I dream of the waves sometimes,” he says wistfully.

Seminary Preview on November 9

Comments Off Written on October 23rd, 2015 by
Categories: Events, Seminary

Connect the Word to the world

Your calling is unique, but the call to Christian leadership in every field requires biblical wisdom, spiritual maturity and cultural awareness. Those are the qualities you'll develop at Multnomah Biblical Seminary. Read the rest of this entry »

Dr. Metzger introduces latest book, announces public reading at Powell’s

Comments Off Written on October 8th, 2015 by
Categories: Books, Seminary, Students, Theology

Dr. Paul Louis Metzger — Professor of Christian Theology and Theology of Culture and Director of New Wine, New Wineskins — has released his latest book, “Evangelical Zen: A Christian’s Spiritual Travels with a Buddhist Friend” (Patheos Press, August 2015). The work features Metzger’s late friend, Zen Buddhist Priest Kyogen Carlson, who wrote the foreword and responded to Metzger’s essays.

A book reading for “Evangelical Zen” is set for 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, at Powell’s City of Books. The event will include readings from Metzger and Sallie (Jiko) Tisdale, who will be reading one or two reflections from Abbot Kyogen Carlson’s contributions in the volume.

Until then, Metzger answers our questions about “Evangelical Zen” and the unique vision behind it.

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Can you give us a brief synopsis of the book?

“Evangelical Zen” is part Augustine’s “Confessions” and part Robert Pirsig’s “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.” As an Evangelical Christian theologian, I reflect on my spiritual journey — an inner pilgrimage of sorts that weaves through a physical 40-day journey with my family in Japan.

The experiences of that journey, the beauties of Japan, its culture, and its religion become for me a lens on a deeper quest: I am searching for and, I believe, finding a global humanity in conversation with my friend and literary traveling companion, Abbot Kyogen Carlson, a Zen Buddhist Priest.

Can you define what you mean by “spiritual travels”?

Our travels through life as Christians are ultimately spiritual, not secular. We should never compartmentalize our faith, even in seemingly secular and pluralistic cultural settings.

Moreover, our faith is not static. While our eternal destination as Christians is secure through personal faith in Jesus Christ, our faith is an ongoing journey. Thus, our encounters with various people, places and things in life can serve as sign posts of faith as we seek to love God with all our hearts and our neighbors as ourselves.

What compelled you to write this book?

I felt compelled to write this book because my spiritual journey has taken me to Japan over the years through marriage to my wife Mariko, a Japanese national. Our children Christopher and Julianne have joined us on that journey. I have come to deeply love Japanese culture. Through my experiences in Japan, I have come to love Jesus more while also loving people across the globe. My travels there have helped me in my endeavors to become more sensitive to people of various cultures here and abroad.

Such growth here has been enhanced through my friendship over the years with Zen Buddhist Priest, Kyogen Carlson, who founded Dharma Rain Zen Center in Portland with his fellow abbot and spouse, Gyokuko. Since we first met in 2003, and until his sudden passing from a massive heart attack in September 2014, Kyogen and I developed a deep, abiding friendship. He agreed to write responses to the various essays, as well as a foreword to the whole book. For all our theological and philosophical differences from one another revealed in the book, Kyogen’s thoughts complete mine in this volume as we seek to understand life and humanity better.

How might reading this book be beneficial for a Christ-follower?

Evangelical Zen will help Christians navigate life and our increasingly diverse and multi-faith culture in such a manner that we can love God through Jesus more without having to love our diverse neighbors less. In fact, I believe our Christian faith, if cultivated well, makes it possible for us to love people of diverse paths better and with more sensitivity here and abroad.

Why is it important to build friendships with people of other religions?

I believe God’s love has been on display over the years with my Buddhist friends here in Portland, as my students and other Christians have joined the Carlsons, Dharma Rain Zen Center parishioners, and me for potluck meals and dialogues where we discuss key aspects of our respective faiths, including what divides us. We don’t sweep our differences under the table, nor do we stop short of engaging one another relationally. Instead, we go through our differences to build bridges of authentic trust that bind us together in the midst of culture wars that could easily divide us.

My students value such opportunities to engage people of diverse faiths. After all, they also live in an increasingly religiously diverse society. Like all of us, they need to learn how to engage their multi-faith society well in grace and truth. Their neighborhoods, the marketplace and ministry contexts (such as in the various spheres of chaplaincy and pastoral visitation) require that they become sensitive and adept at presenting biblical truth in a truly meaningful and gracious way. As our former MU president Dr. Joe Aldrich used to say, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.”  That is equally true here in the States, Japan, and anywhere else in the world.

Students experience the power of service, prayer

The sky was blue and full of sunshine on September 29 as the busyness of the day unfolded. On Multnomah’s campus, about 30 graduate and seminary students were gathering for Day of Prayer. Off campus, 150 undergraduate students were serving the neighboring community for Day of Outreach.

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'A great connector'

Once every fall and spring, undergraduate students volunteer at several locations in the Portland community. A volunteer site can be anywhere: a nonprofit, a community center, a school. Even a MAX station. MU cancels classes for the day so students can devote their whole morning to service.

The commuters waiting to ride the nearby MAX Light Rail brightened up as Multnomah students offered them steaming cups of coffee and fresh donuts. Freshman Megan Flikkema loved the opportunity to brush shoulders with people she wouldn’t normally meet.

“It’s a great connector,” she said. “It’s an easy way to pass out breakfast and talk about Jesus.” Flikkema was right: Many students took time to engage in meaningful conversations with people they encountered, listening intently to their life stories.

Summit student Trevor Grant saw Day of Outreach as a way to respond: “In the last three months, I’ve really been convicted about how much we’re called to help out in the community,” said the freshman. “So [Day of Outreach] is good timing.”

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'Faith without works is nothing'

Not far down the road from the MAX station, another group of students wandered through the Montavilla neighborhood, praying for their neighbors while they searched for trash littering the yards, gutters and sidewalks. Although a seemingly small act, the residents responded positively. One man even hollered his sincere thanks from his car before turning onto the busy street.

“It’s important, especially at Multnomah, to get out into the community,” said Brittany Bowling, a business and organizational psychology major.

Hebrew major Darren Warren stuffed some litter from the street gutter into a large plastic bag. “Faith without works is nothing,” said the freshman. “Being the hands and feet of God is precisely what God is all about.” You could tell Warren meant every word — he looked eager to support the event’s mission.

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'God weaves our stories'

Back on campus, graduate and seminary students were gathered together for a morning of prayer and fellowship. Daytime classes were cancelled so students could step back from studies and set aside time dedicated to seeking God. The quaint and quiet prayer chapel proved to be the perfect setting for the event.

Master of Divinity student Aimee Pahl was the organizer for Day of Prayer. She was deeply encouraged by what took place during the prayer time, and was especially impressed by students’ vulnerability as they lifted each other’s requests to the Lord. “[God] weaves our stories so that we understand each other, especially when we’re praying for one another,” she said.

The three-hour prayer session brought Kā‘ili Wells some much needed peace. “I just needed to reconnect with God,” said the seminary student. “I needed worshipful, prayerful rest.” Wells also mentioned the importance of creating a time and a place for seminary and graduate students to come together; with their schedules, it can be easy for them to become exclusive.

Although there has been a lot going on in Wells' life, he left Day of Prayer feeling refreshed. “It’s funny, because I’m tired,” he said, chuckling. “But I also feel rejuvenated.” The power of prayer does some amazing things.

MU is hosting this free event in June. Register today.

What

We're sponsoring an opportunity to hear from some well-respected speakers MU has brought in for its Doctor of Ministry and Master of Arts in Applied Theology programs.

This free lectureship series is open to the general public and geared toward ministry practitioners.

Guest speakers will share about their unique ministries and what they see as relevant for the local church in our current culture and context. Space is still available. Register today.

Where

The JCA Student Center on Multnomah University's campus

When and Who

Tuesday, June 2

Dr. Ron Frost is presenting on “A Love-Centered Approach to Cultural Engagement.” Frost serves missionaries and ministries across the globe through Barnabas International as a pastoral care consultant. He also taught historical theology and ethics at Multnomah Biblical Seminary for several years.

Thursday, June 4

Dr. Kumar Abraham will discuss bearing witness as a Christian in majority Hindu, Muslim or restricted access countries. Abraham has served as a missionary in the Philippines for twenty-one years. Today he equips Christ-followers, trains evangelists and lectures.

Tuesday, June 9

Andrea Smith will speak on “Gospel Witness: Beyond Colonialism.” Smith is Associate Professor of Media and Cultural Studies at University of California at Riverside. She is also co-founder of Incite! Women of Color Against Violence.

Wednesday, June 10

Dr. Mark DeYmaz will talk about “Real Community Transformation: From Rhetoric to Results for the Glory of God.” DeYmaz is the founding pastor of Mosaic Church of Central Arkansas. He is passionate about catalyzing the movement toward multi-ethnic churches throughout North America and beyond.

Thursday, June 11

John Stewart will talk about what apologetics looks like in a multi-faith environment and seek to answer the question: In a relational dialogue with our neighbors, how is apologetics expressed and lived out? Stewart is a practicing attorney in Southern California and the international director at Ratio Christi, an apologetics ministry.

Time

Each lecture will be held from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Register today.

Highlighting God’s blessings

"Give praise to the Lord, proclaim his name; make known among the nations what he has done, and proclaim that his name is exalted. Sing to the Lord, for he has done glorious things; let this be known to all the world." Isaiah 12:4-5

Why are we praising God and proclaiming his glory over the whole earth? Why are we rejoicing at Multnomah? There are a host of reasons! God has had his hand of blessing upon us this year, and I want to share some highlights with you. You can also get more details at multnomah.edu/new.

Accounting concentration

studying_featureimageIn fall 2015, MU will launch an accounting concentration under its business program that will prepare students for employment in the field of accounting as well as ready them for the Certified Management Accountant Exam and the Certified Fraud Examiner Exam.

Business & Organizational Psychology degree

MU will launch a business & organizational psychology degree in fall 2015. Graduates will utilize their training to create business policies and methodologies with the goal of improving an organization’s ability to better meet the expectations of its customers and stakeholders.

Biology degree

MU plans to offer a biology degree in fall 2016. More details to come.

Global Studies degree

MU’s intercultural studies program was recently renamed the global studies program. Students will specialize in one of four new concentrations:

  • Applied Linguistics
  • Children at Risk
  • Culture & Diversity
  • Global Ministry

Summit (a five-year B.A./M.Div. program)

Multnomah is launching Summit, a five-year Bachelor of Arts/Master of Divinity program. Summit students will save more than $41,000 in tuition, cut their time in school by two years and receive a Summit Scholarship.

Fully online undergraduate and seminary degrees

Starting in fall 2015, MU will be offering the following programs fully online:

  • Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Theology
  • Master of Arts in Biblical Studies
  • Master of Arts in Theological Studies

AAOT acceptance

The Associate of Arts Oregon Transfer degree now satisfies all MU freshman and sophomore general education requirements.

NAIA approval

The Lions have joined the Cascade Collegiate Conference (CCC), which is considered to be one of the top small-college athletic associations in the country. The CCC is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). Each year, more than 60,000 student-athletes in the NAIA compete in 13 sports and 23 national championships.

Track and field

Multnomah will launch a track and field program in spring of 2016. More details to come.

Thank you

We couldn’t have done any of these things without you. I want to personally thank you for your generous support. Your prayers, service and offerings strengthen Multnomah’s impact every day.

Matching gift

Multnomah was blessed by an anonymous friend wanting to broaden our support base by matching $2 for every $1 given by first-time givers or lapsed givers (those who have not given in over a year). Our friend will donate up to $400,000.

We’ve almost met our match

Today we are shy of this goal by just $41,896. We are calling everyone to pray and seek God’s will for what their gift of participation could be. Will you join us?

A gift of any size, according to your ability, is all God asks of you. Every gift matters. We invite you to share in this joy of giving to God’s exciting work at Multnomah!

I hope you have a blessed summer.

Craig

Rev. G. Craig Williford, Ph.D.
President