Theology

Global ministry trends and issues, part seven: Unreached people groups

Comments Off on Global ministry trends and issues, part seven: Unreached people groups Written on September 2nd, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Feature, Missions, Theology

This is the seventh post in a series of articles on global ministry trends and issues presented by Dr. Greg Burch, Director of the Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice program and Chair of the Global Studies Department. You can read more articles from Dr. Burch on his personal site, The Burch Blog. Read the rest of this entry »

Global ministry trends and issues, part six: Children and youth

Comments Off on Global ministry trends and issues, part six: Children and youth Written on August 30th, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Missions, Press Releases, Theology

This is the sixth post in a series of articles on global ministry trends and issues presented by Dr. Greg Burch, Director of the Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice program and Chair of the Global Studies Department. You can read more articles from Dr. Burch on his personal site, The Burch Blog.

ChildInIndia_blog

This week’s focus has been the primary issue for me as a practitioner and researcher in life. Children and youth continue to experience pressing needs in our world today. I think particularly of those affected by global poverty and other factors that have led to an increase in children growing up in circumstances that put their lives at risk. One-sixth of the world’s children are living in crisis (Douglas and Steffen 349).

This population represents some of the most vulnerable people on the planet. Street-living and working children, child soldiers, gang-affiliated youth and others are in desperate need for mission praxis that is informed through best-practices in the field (best practices are models and approaches that derive from research and agreed upon standards from experts in the field). In the least developed areas of our world, children comprise 41 percent of the population (Payne 113). In some countries, that percentage rises above 50 percent, yet so often our mission training programs focus on the other half of the world’s population.

Scripture speaks boldly about the importance of children. Noted researchers in children’s spirituality focus on several biblical narratives where children are involved (Scottie May, et. al 39). One such story is the reunification of Esau and Jacob. When Jacob responds to Esau’s question about, “Who are these with you?” Jacob joyfully responds, “The children whom God has graciously given your servant” (Gen. 3:5). Other biblical passages from the N.T. are noted as well. The authors argue that “not only is the presence of Jesus’ teaching on children in the Gospels significant, but the emphasis in those teachings heightens their importance . . . understanding what Jesus says about children is at the heart of being a true disciple of Jesus” (39).

Given Scripture’s clear emphasis on recognizing the importance of children, understanding the risks they face is important.

Statistics reveal the need for caring for these young people:

• Two million people between the ages of 15 and 24 die each year globally from preventable diseases.
• 20% of adolescents experience mental health problems every year.
• Interpersonal violence kills about 565 young people between the ages of 5 and 29 every day.
• AIDS or AIDS-related illnesses account for the deaths of more than half of young female Africans (Payne 119).

Global development and mission organizations will continue to look for qualified candidates that are well-rounded in their skills and training. Local churches are critical to engaging with young people on the margins as well. “From the perspective of a missional engagement with children at risk, there is no replacement for the establishment of churches among every group of children who suffer the atrocities of a fallen world” (Pocock, Van Rheenen and McConnell 75).

Yet to care for these children, churches and agencies must move beyond a mentality that holds to a myopic approach to transformation that divides physical and emotional needs from spiritual realities. Spiritual conversion is critical for transformation, but a holistic approach that is focused on proclamation and formation, demonstration of compassion, restoration and development, and finally, confrontation of injustices will be critical to addressing both individual and structural issues that continue to contribute to the vulnerability of at-risk youth and children (Castellanos 136). Another way of saying this: We need to couple Word and Deed in our missional models for engaging with youth and children.

The implication of the abovementioned statistics recognizes the need for people to be trained through interdisciplinary programs that prepare caregivers from the fields of theology, business, psychology, sociology and health professions. General practitioners will continue to provide care as they launch programs that respond to the needs of at-risk children around the world. Combining the disciplines above will lead to robust programs that care for the whole child (thus bringing together the spiritual and physical realities).

One such example of a program that seeks to bridge both Word and Deed are found in some child sponsorship programs. Johnson and Wu, in citing a recent Christianity Today article describe the powerful effect that child sponsorship programs are having on vulnerable children (181). Sponsorship programs need not only passionate people trained in child survival practices, but business and marketing backgrounds as well. Happily, we have seen some Multnomah students from our programs going that direction. Children and youth also need pastors who are willing to open up their churches to serve those most vulnerable in their community. Academic programs that are multi-disciplined can provide the essential training that is needed for this type of ministry.

The need for partnerships and interdisciplinary approaches is critical for preparing future workers among this population of young people. Internships and practicum opportunities, as well as working with organizations that understand best practices, give students the opportunity to put into play what they are learning in the classroom. This is a critical piece for preparing younger generations in mission engagement. As a student at Multnomah in my undergrad, interning with a nonprofit organization in Colombia played a critical role in my vocational calling. It was that interplay between theory and practice, the classroom and field work, that eventually led me to full-time work in Latin America upon graduating.

Children and youth are clearly seen prioritized in the ministry of Jesus as he places the child in the midst of His disciples (Matt 18:12). It is time that our academic training institutions follow His example and provide programs that focus on those most vulnerable in society.

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Works Cited

Castellanos, Noel. Where the Cross Meets the Street. Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2015.

Johnson, Todd and Cindy Wu. Our Global Families. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015.

May, Scottie, Beth Posterski, Catherine Stonehouse & Linda Cannell. Children Matter: Celebrating Their Place in the Church, Family, and Community. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans. 2005.

Payne, J.D. Pressure Points: Twelve Global Issues Shaping the Face of the Church. Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson 2013.

Pocock, Michael, Gailyn Van Rheenen and Douglas McConnell. The Changing Face of Missions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2005.

Steffen, Tom and Lois McKinney Douglas. Encountering Missionary Life and Work: Preparing for Intercultural Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2008.

Global ministry trends and issues, part two: Discerning the terms

Comments Off on Global ministry trends and issues, part two: Discerning the terms Written on July 20th, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Missions, Theology

This is the second post in a series of articles on global ministry trends and issues presented by Dr. Greg Burch, Director of the Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice program and Chair of the Global Studies Department. You can read more articles from Dr. Burch on his personal site, The Burch Blog.

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Beirut, Lebanon.

Recently while traveling in a creative access country (generally a country where missionary and evangelism activity is restricted), I was reminded of the importance of not using terms like missions and missionary. The use of these words in some contexts can land a Jesus-follower in jail or even worse. While traveling throughout this country, I spent some time considering the use of these terms in our world today.

Mission literature has also found it necessary to review some of the very terms that often accompany our global church activity. Mission and missions are two distinct words that have caused much confusion for younger generations. “Within mission discussion since the 1950s, terms have developed in such a way that it can be confusing to the uninitiated. Essentially mission (without the s) and missions (with the s) are used to indicate different things” (Moreau, Corwin and McGee 69). The two definitions, as laid out by Scott Moreau, Gary Corwin and Gary McGee are helpful as we explore terms. Missions is understood as the “task of making disciples of all nations. It is seen through the work of mission agencies, churches and missionaries around the world” (70). The specific emphasis is on cross-cultural ministry in international contexts.

Mission, on the other hand, has been used in recent years in a broader sense and typically refers to “everything the church does that points toward the kingdom of God” (70). While these definitions are helpful to clarify what we mean in engaging in a specific kingdom activity, I find it more more helpful to use terms like cross-cultural (or even intercultural) ministry to specifically identify when one is involved working in a community other than one’s own cultural group.

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Crossing a river into an indigenous village in the Caribbean highlands with my son.

Tom Steffen and Lois McKinney Douglas explore the idea of whether or not the term missionary is even appropriate in our day and age (34-35). One of the primary concerns with the use of the nomenclature is the negative connotations associated with it internationally. It is frequently connected to ideas like colonialism and imperialism. Whether justified, or not, the authors raise concerns and ask the question, “since the term ‘missionary’ has negative connotations for a large segment of the world that the Christian church is trying to reach, and is not found in God’s sacred storybook, should another term or phrase replace it?” (Steffen and Douglas 34). While there are no conclusions here, the raising of the question from prominent missiologists demonstrates the shift occurring within the field of missiology and missions today. Similar to the sentiment expressed above, Raymo and Raymo also bring into question the usage of the term “missionary,” especially as it relates to the millennial generation (28-29).

Essential to our exploration of terms is the Latin expression Missio Dei. Missio Dei is a common term used by both ecumenists and evangelicals. It is defined by Moreau, Corwin and McGee as “a comprehensive term encompassing everything God does in relation to the kingdom and everything the church is sent to do on the earth” (71).

David Bosch rightly acknowledges that, “Mission has its origin in the fatherly heart of God” (240). Mission that resonates with this generation of cross-cultural workers must be understood from this perspective. For to separate mission from God leads us to charitable intentions, yet lacking the power for true transformation in the heart of the goer and receiver.

Charles Van Engen appropriately contends, “We cannot have mission without the Bible, nor can we understand the Bible apart from God’s mission” (37). The Bible is the main source for missions and must be understood as a means of contributing to the ultimate task of the Missio Dei. Scripture plays a role in defining unchanging truth to a changing context.

Steffen and Douglas note that, “Christian witness is always lived out in social environments influenced and shaped by local and global economics, politics and religions” (343). These are critical topics that demonstrate the importance of an interdisciplinary understanding of the field. As Van Engen notes, “Theology of mission, then, must eventually emanate in biblically informed and contextually appropriate missional action” (25). It must not remain static or purely theoretical. This need emphasizes the place of an appropriate contextualization to each of the explored trends and issues that follow in the coming weeks.

 

Works Cited

Bosch, David. Witness to the World: The Christian Mission in Theological Perspective London: Marshall, Morgan, & Scott, 1980. Print.

Moreau, A. Scott, Gary Corwin and Gary B. McGee. Introducing World Missions. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2015. Print.

Raymo, Jim and Judy Raymo. Millennials and Mission: A Generation Faces a Global Challenge. Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library. 2014. Print.

Steffen, Tom and Lois McKinney Douglas. Encountering Missionary Life and Work: Preparing for Intercultural Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic. 2008. Print.

Van Engen, Charles. Mission on the Way. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1996. Print.

Global ministry trends and issues, part one: Discerning the times in global mission

Comments Off on Global ministry trends and issues, part one: Discerning the times in global mission Written on July 18th, 2016 by
Categories: Faculty, Missions, Theology

This is the first post in a series of articles on global ministry trends and issues presented by Dr. Greg Burch, Director of the Master of Arts in Global Development and Justice program and Chair of the Global Studies Department. You can read more articles from Dr. Burch on his personal site, The Burch Blog.

Cochabamba

Taken from the El Cristo statue in Bolivia, looking out onto the city of Cochabamba.

Over the next eight weeks, I will be presenting some of the current movements and trends within global mission efforts today. As contexts of mission shift, theory and practice must also keep up the pace. A primary motif within current mission literature seeks to understand current issues and trends in the field. One thing that must not change is the theological basis to global mission. Theology and mission must be closely tied as we re-consider and reconfigure what we mean by global mission in an age of radical change. Too frequently in the past, our theologies have remained dormant and detached from social realities. And likewise, mission has been divorced from a strong theological foundation, manifested, in some cases, more like a social service disconnected from God’s central purpose in building his kingdom. When this all happens, “The result is a theology divorced from human realities and a missiology that lacks theological foundations” (Paul Hiebert 38).

There are a number of shifts taking place in global mission today. Strategies and approaches will need to be assessed to keep up with current events. One example from this past week is the new Russian law that prevents one from sharing his or her faith outside of a church or religious building (including online and in residential buildings). The new law, which was attached to anti-terrorism amendments, goes into effect on Wednesday, July 20. (For more on this law see Forum 18 – a local news source in the region.) How should mission organizations and others deeply concerned about growing God’s kingdom respond? What is the best approach to missional activity in such a restricted context?

Other issues we will consider in the coming weeks are new mission terms. Even historic and traditional ways of describing mission are being debated. The issue of nomenclatures and mission program titles has, as of recent, been included in mission conferences and frequently debated in recent works. Take, for example, the recent American Society of Missiology’s annual meeting (2015) and the Professor of Mission conference as they discussed such topics as Missio-logoi: The Many Languages of Mission and What’s in a Name? Assessing Mission Studies Program Titles. These are current issues that are reflective of the changes taking place in the field. Even our own mission program at Multnomah recently went through some significant changes. See Global Studies for more on MU’s own experience with this topic.

Andrew Kirk writes from a conciliar position on mission as he explores the need to incorporate a broad missiological foundation that includes mission to the poor, creation care, contextualization, social justice, pluralism, violence and peacemaking, and global partnerships. In his proposal, he suggests that mission be inclusive of a broad range of issues (24, 28-29). One of the stronger emphases noted in the writings of Kirk is how many of Jesus’ friends were indeed outsiders. The poor, with whom Jesus associated, were much more than those who did not own property; rather, they were people who had been intentionally disadvantaged and forbidden to enter into the life of civil society. They were forced to become powerless to make any difference in society (48). Given the place of the poor and marginalized in Scripture, they will be a primary motif in the coming weeks as well.

As we discuss trends and movements within global mission today, we must remember that mission knowledge is built upon the past and mission praxis is built upon the present. This review will seek to keep an eye on both.

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The Mohammad Al-Amin Mosque in Beirut, Lebanon.

Works Cited

Hiebert, Paul. “Missiological Education for a Global Era.” In Missiological Education for the 21st Century: The Book, the Circle and the Sandals, edited by Edgar J. Elliston, Charles Van Engen and J. Dudley Woodberry. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1996. Print.

Kirk, Andrew. What Is Mission? Theological Explorations. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2000.

MU professor co-leads pastoral conference in Malawi, Africa

Comments Off on MU professor co-leads pastoral conference in Malawi, Africa Written on May 20th, 2016 by
Categories: Events, Faculty, Missions, Pray For MU, Theology

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MU professor Roger Trautmann will be conducting the Pastors’ Enrichment Conference in Malawi, East Africa May 24-25. Trautmann, along with  Carl Palmer from Global Training Network, was chosen by the Luis Palau Association to lead the event, which will draw nearly 800 pastors.

Many African church leaders face a startling deficit of biblical and pastoral training, which is exactly what promoted the Luis Palau Association to launch a leadership conference for local pastors. “In East Africa, pastors have little access to good training,” says Trautmann, who will be teaching on topics such as Bible study methods and the Pastoral Epistles. But lack of preparation doesn’t mean lack of motivation. “I’ve met pastors who’ve started 20 churches, and they’ve never had any official training,” he adds.

Although Trautmann has taught at this conference once before, he’s been conducting workshops for pastors in Tanzania, Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda and Burkina Faso for many years. “They’re hungry for good training,” he says. “That’s why I’ve been participating since 1994.”

During the conference, please pray that God would give both Trautmann and Palmer Christ’s wisdom as they teach and His power as they work to strengthen the Church in Africa. Pray also that the pastors and leaders in attendance would be encouraged and challenged during this powerful outreach.

 

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

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

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

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

EVZen

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.

Founder Dr. Mitchell’s radio program still airing across the US and beyond

Comments Off on Founder Dr. Mitchell’s radio program still airing across the US and beyond Written on September 30th, 2015 by
Categories: Alumni, Faculty, Theology

One of Multnomah's beloved founders, Dr. John G. Mitchell, used to host a popular radio show called "Know Your Bible Hour," which was later changed to "The Unchanging Word." This wonderful program is still airing on radio stations across the US — and even around the world. Tune in to one of the following stations for a refreshing time of devotion:

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KKPZ    AM1330                 Thursdays 6:00 p.m.       Portland Oregon

KIAM     AM630                  Sunday 10:30 a.m.         State of Alaska

KYAF    FM94.7                 Sunday 8:30 a.m.             Firebaugh, California

KYKN    AM1430                Sunday 8:30 a.m.           Salem, Oregon

KYKN     AM1430                M-F 12:00 a.m.              Salem, Oregon

KAJC    FM90.1                 M-F  5:30 a.m.               Independence, Oregon

KDPT    FM102.9              Sunday 8:30 a.m.            Dos Palos, California

KKJC    FM93.5                 M-F  10:00 a.m.              McMinnville,Oregon

KTRW     FM530               M-F    11:00 a.m.              Spokane, Washington

KGDN     FM101.3             M-F   11:00 a.m.                Walla Walla, Washington

KTBI     AM810                     M-F 11:00 a.m.            Wenatchee/Moses Lake, Washington

KTAC    FM93.9               M-F   11:00 a.m.               Moses Lake, Washington

KYAK    AM930                 M-F   11:00 a.m.             Yakima, Washington

KSPO     FM106.5             M-F    11:00 a.m.           Spokane, Washington

KBGN    AM1060                 M-F     10:30 a.m.          Caldwell, Idaho

kccsonline.net (internet)    Sunday-Saturday     5:30am, 11:30am, 11:30pm

ACN.CC (internet)            M-F  11:00 a.m.

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

Comments Off on MU is hosting this free event in June. Register today. Written on May 20th, 2015 by
Categories: Events, Seminary, Students, Theology

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.

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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.