Theology

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.

Four seminary students selected for two-week internship in Oxford

If studying ancient manuscripts is a dream come true, then studying ancient manuscripts at one of the world’s best universities must be paradise.

Four seminary students from MU have been selected to attend the Logos Conference, a two-week internship at 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.

OxfordStudent1

Haley Kirkpatrick (pictured) is studying in Oxford with classmates Becca McMartin, Daniel Somboonsiri and David Tucker.

Students from more than 60 schools across North America applied, but only 30 people were selected. Five additional students who participated in the 2014 internship were chosen to attend as second-year fellows. David Tucker and Becca McMartin will be attending the conference for the first time. Haley Kirkpatrick and Daniel Somboonsiri will be joining as second-year fellows.

Biblical Languages Chair Dr. Karl Kutz told his Hebrew students about the opportunity this winter and encouraged them to apply. McMartin, Kirkpatrick and Somboonsiri have assisted Kutz with two GSI projects, and Tucker has helped with one. Both projects focused on analyzing a never-before-seen Dead Sea Scroll fragment loaned to them from the Green Collection.

“These four are some of our best students, and I am delighted they have been selected,” says Kutz. “The invitation for them to participate speaks very highly of their skills and the quality of our program.”

McMartin says she waited on pins and needles to find out if she was chosen for the trip. When she heard the good news, she called Kirkpatrick, who had just received confirmation of her own acceptance. They screamed together in glee over the phone.

“This is almost unbelievable,” says McMartin. “Studying a Dead Sea Scroll fragment is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. And everything we do in Oxford will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity too! It’s humbling, and it’s an honor.”

Kutz, who was invited to lead three sessions of a Logos Hebrew language seminar, will join his students in Oxford for five days. 

OxfordStudent2

Daniel Somboonsiri (pictured) and Haley Kirkpatrick will attend the Logos Conference as second-year fellows.

“I am excited for them to have the opportunity to learn from other leading scholars in the field of textual research,” he says. “I am also glad they get to rub shoulders with other junior scholars from around the world who will become their peers as they continue in their studies and careers.”

As second-year fellows, Kirkpatrick and Somboonsiri will give presentations on the two GSI projects they have tackled. They’ll discuss the particular fragments they studied, how they analyzed them, processes in research they took and more. In addition to presenting their findings, fellows will also lead small group discussions. “Our schedule in Oxford is packed!” says Kirkpatrick. “Group discussions are a way for us to process the experience as it’s happening.”

Although the internship is a flurry of chapels, lectures, tours, discussions and tea times, Kirkpatrick hopes McMartin and Tucker can slow down to soak it all in. “My hope is that their experience in Oxford affirms for them how well God knows them and what he’s called them to do,” she says.

McMartin says they wouldn’t be going to Oxford if it weren’t for their teachers. “Our professors have accepted a huge responsibility by taking on GSI projects so that we could have this opportunity,” she says. “I’m so thankful for their investment in us.”

Kirkpatrick agrees. “I appreciate their emphasis on teamwork, and I appreciate recognizing and encouraging strengths in your teammates,” she says. “Our professors have a keen understanding of the language complimented by curiosity. They invite their students into the process. I still think we have the best Hebrew program in the country.”

Learn more about MU's Hebrew program.

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.

Spring Thaw energizes, educates 650 students

Whimsical obstacle courses, lanky wooden structures and exotic Egyptian relics peppered campus. Youth Ministry Chair Dr. Rob Hildebrand and his youth ministry majors had spent months building props, planning games and booking entertainment. Now they waited. Anticipation hung in the air.

Buses and vans packed with youth groups slowly rolled into parking lots. Hildebrand watched as 650 high school students began pouring into campus. Then he began to cry.

“It was beautiful to see their energy and excitement over the work we put into it,” he says. “This event says to them, ‘You’re important to us, you’re important to the church, and we love you.’”

‘A catalyst for community’

Spring Thaw 15 Blog 1For Hildebrand, every piece of Spring Thaw is significant. The wild games, the powerful speakers, the silly comedy sketches and the rich theology seminars each play a distinct role in developing students during the three-day retreat.

“Some people think they should be in classes all day, but you can’t expect them to be able to sit down for 20 hours and listen,” says Hildebrand. “The truth is that we learn from watching people and interacting with them. Activities break down barriers between kids and their leaders. It’s a catalyst for community.”

Hunter Johnson, a junior from Mountainview Church, agrees. “I’ve been bonding with my youth mentor this weekend,” he says.

STcamel_featureimageStudents were treated to a variety of activities during the weekend, including bacon bonfires, real-life Mario Kart, a petting zoo, limo rides and a color war. April Fancher-McKinzie, a sophomore from Central Bible Church, loved meeting Curly, a towering camel who visited campus Saturday afternoon.

“Spring Thaw brings youth groups closer to each other, and we get to meet new people,” she says.

‘We’re learning from the best’

But Hildebrand doesn’t stop with games and entertainment. Spring Thaw hosts a main speaker who teaches four sessions during the event. There are also four theology seminars led by Multnomah professors.

STtheology_featureimage“The theology seminars are something I love about this retreat,” says Hildebrand. “Sometimes youth ministry can be shallow. But kids are deeper than you realize; they grapple with tough issues. This is a way they can hear from thinkers who have spent many years studying the deep issues of life.”

Fancher-McKinzie attended Stump the Prof, a seminar where Dr. Brad Harper answered students’ theology questions, which included:

  • How do you know if God speaks to you?
  • Is war ever OK?
  • Does God love something because it’s right or is it right because he loves it?
  • Can you be gay and be a Christian?
  • How does free will work when God is in control of everything?

“It addressed a lot of questions that come up in everyday life,” says Fancher-McKinzie.

Austin Thompson, a senior from Gladstone First Baptist Church, feels the same way. “The seminar was very beneficial to me,” he says. “It helped me understand the Bible more clearly.”

He was also impressed by the professors’ knowledge. “I feel like we’re learning from the best,” he says. “They are people to look up to.”

Supporting the work of the kingdom

Spring Thaw 15 Blog 2It’s Thompson’s second year at Spring Thaw, and he’s soaking in all the information he can. “I’ve only been a Christian for two years, so everything I take in is new to me,” he says. “I’ve become spiritually closer to God and am learning more of his Word.”

Hildebrand says that’s what Spring Thaw is all about. “This event allows us to utilize the assets the Lord has blessed us with to support the work of the kingdom in dozens of our area churches,” he says. “We’ve had people say, ‘Spring Thaw changed my life,’ but really it’s Jesus who changed their life.”

“You guys put a lot of effort into Spring Thaw,” says Thompson. “And it’s not about getting people to attend MU — it’s a chance for people to come together. I think that’s an amazing, selfless thing for a university to do.”

Tawny Johnson: Cultivating Knowledge

This week we're featuring a student story about Tawny Johnson, who graduated from both our college and seminary. When Johnson started attending undergrad classes at 45, she had no idea why God had called her to MU. Nearly ten years later, she knows exactly why.

“Isn’t that a guy’s thing?” Tawny Johnson had just told someone she was going to seminary, and that was his response.

Johnson paused. She had never thought that learning about God was gender exclusive — but she was finding that many Christians did.

“There’s a common impression that studying theology at a master’s level is just for men,” Johnson says. “But theology is not masculine.”

Multnomah welcomes men and women into all its programs; nevertheless, its seminary is currently composed of mostly men. This never bothered Johnson; it only highlighted the importance of a seminary education for all Christians, regardless of gender.

'Take responsibility' 

“There’s been an emphasis in some areas of the Church to rely on men, but women need to delve into things themselves and take responsibility for their own spiritual lives,” Johnson says. “Regardless of what you think about men and women leadership roles in the church…that’s beside the point. It’s not a gender issue — it’s a Christian issue.”

Tawny_mainJohnson and Multnomah go way back.

In the ‘80s, she worked full-time for Multnomah Press, a publishing company previously owned by Multnomah. After 13 years filled with administration, marketing, foreign publishing, design, advertising and product development, she left her job in 1992, when Multnomah sold the press to another publishing company.

The right thing

Johnson took the loss of a successful career as a gain in her family life: She spent the next 13 years homeschooling her two daughters.

In 2005, she felt God leading her to Multnomah. She didn’t know why she was supposed to go. All she knew was that it was the right thing to do. So, with the support of her husband and children, she enrolled, not realizing that she was beginning a nine-year journey.

'It wasn't about me'

Freshman orientation in the undergrad program found her surrounded by 18-year-olds. Johnson was 45. “It was a bit intimidating to come back to school as an older adult,” she says. “But I knew that it wasn't about me — it was about what God wanted to do in me.”

For six years, Johnson attended MU while working part time as a receptionist at a hair salon. In 2010, she graduated with a minor in English. After she accepted her diploma and took her seat, she watched as MU’s master’s students were fitted with hoods — a sign of their academic achievements.

“I thought, ‘I want one of those!’” she says. One year later, she was back at Multnomah — this time for a Master of Arts in Theological Studies degree.

'Part of a whole'

“I chose theological studies because it was a chance to integrate my love of theology and my love of history,” she says. “Now I have a broader view of the Church — I feel like I’m a part of a whole, and I appreciate the people who came before me in sacrifice and obedience.”

One of her favorite things about seminary was her teachers. “The professors at Multnomah are its strength,” she says. “They care about the student, and they cultivate an environment of stimulating exchange. They also help you think critically and address some misconceptions you probably have.”

One faculty member in particular, Dr. Brad Harper, taught several of Johnson’s theology classes over the years. “One time, he asked me if I felt out of place in the seminary,” she says. “I absolutely did not. My classmates and I all felt called to be there. Gender was never an issue with the professors or with my — almost exclusively male — counterparts.”

'My dream job'

Last month, Johnson finally earned her “hoodie”, as she affectionately calls it. “I threatened my husband that I was going to wear it to the grocery store, just to get some mileage out of it!” she jokes.

But Johnson began reaping the benefits of her degree before she was even finished with seminary. Just a few months before graduation, she was invited to join D.C. Jacobson & Associates as a literary agent.

“It’s my dream job,” she says. “My education in recognizing exceptional writing, depth of content and theological integrity has led me to this career. Multnomah was instrumental in cultivating that passion and knowledge which will assist me as I assess Christian books for publication. I will always feel connected to MU, and I'm sincerely grateful for the role it has played in my life.”

Register for our Advanced Ministry Lectureship Series

Advanced Ministry Lectureship Series

What

We're sponsoring an opportunity to hear from some well-respected speakers MU has brought in for its DMin and MAAT programs. This free lectureship series is open to the general public and geared toward ministry practitioners. Our guest speakers will be telling us 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

In the JCA Student Center on the Multnomah University campus

When and Who

Wednesday, June 4George Hunsberger

Dr. Hunsberger is professor of missiology at Western Theological Seminary. He is known and respected for his work on the missional church.

Thursday, June 5Josh Butler

Butler is pastor of local & global outreach at Imago Dei Community and author of soon-to-be-published "The Skeletons in God’s Closet".

Monday, June 9Terry Muck

Dr. Muck is executive director of The Louisville Institute and known for his work on Christianity and world religions.

Tuesday, June 10Hugh Halter

As an author and speaker, Halter travels extensively to encourage and equip pastors in incarnational ministry and missional leadership.

Wednesday, June 11Carolyn Custis James

James is the president and founder of Whitby Forum, and she speaks and writes extensively on women and men serving together in ministry.

Thursday, June 12Christena Cleveland

Dr. Cleveland is passionate about overcoming cultural divisions in groups. In August, she’ll be starting her new position as associate professor of reconciliation studies at Bethel University.

Time

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

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?

evangelism_tim

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. 

Moving Beyond Extremes to Gospel-Centered Love

Extreme positions often get the biggest hearing. It seems like you have to be liberal or conservative or pro-choice or pro-life to get people to listen. People so easily close their ears and hearts and shut the door when complexity enters the conversation. Read the rest of this entry »

What Multnomah Believes: Beyond Rudderless Faith and Rigid Formulas

Dr. Paul Louis Metzger, MU's Professor of Christian Theology & Theology of Culture, answers the question: "Where does Multnomah University stand theologically?"

Read the rest of this entry »