Tag Archives: Fuller Theological Seminary

Say What? I Have A Fuller Email Address?!!

You know that old saying, “the devil is in the details”?  Well it is true….

Last week I submitted a course substitution petition to Fuller Theological Seminary where I am working on a Masters of Cross Cultural Studies. Today, I emailed my advisor asking for an update of the petition as the class starts next Monday. Her reply:

“I had sent the decision to your Fuller email account.”

Say what?!

I have a Fuller email address?!!!

When? Where? How? And Who killed the cat?

I’ve have been a grad student for…hmm…lets see – a little over two years now. And never once did I ever realize or think about the fact that I might have a student email address… 😕

Wow. 65 unread messages…. Continue reading Say What? I Have A Fuller Email Address?!!

Defining “Kingdom of God”: A Paper (Part 3 of 3)

coffee cupJesus’ deeds were also a sign post declaring that the kingdom of God had come among men. The book of Isaiah mentions that when the Day of the Lord comes there would be salvation for all people: the deaf would hear, the blind see, the lame leap like deer, the dumb shout for joy, and those imprisoned would be set free  (Is 29:17-19; 35:5-6; 42:6-7; 49:8-9) [Derek Morphew, Breakthrough: Discovering the Kingdom, 38-39]. Luke 7:22 and Matthew 11:5 give testimony that all of these signs were accomplished through the ministry of Jesus Christ: “The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor” (Mt 11:5, New International Version).

In addition, Isaiah 43 declares that when “the LORD, your Holy One, Israel’s Creator, your King” comes He will “remember your sins no more” (Is 43:15, 25 New International Version). The Gospel texts show that Jesus of Nazareth, unlike any of the previous prophets of Israel, publically forgave the sins of the people without referring to the Temple sacrifices (Mt 9:5-6; Mk 2:5-10; Lk 5:20-24; 7:48; Jn 8:11). In effect, Jesus was simultaneously declaring Himself God while demonstrating the fact that the Day of the Lord or the Kingdom of God had come among men forever. Continue reading Defining “Kingdom of God”: A Paper (Part 3 of 3)

Defining “Kingdom of God”: A Paper (Part 2 of 3)

FlowerReturning to the teachings of Jesus, this understanding of the “kingdom of God” helps to explain sayings such as Matthew 6:33 (also Lk12:31): “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (New American Standard). In other words, seek first the reign and rule of God in your life and He will take care of the rest.

However, there are others teachings of Jesus that do not seem to fit with the concept of the kingdom being the active rule and reign of God. In these teachings, Jesus talked about the coming of the “kingdom of God” as if it was something that was coming soon, or something that had already come. In order to understand how these passages fit within the above definition of the kingdom of God, we will need to turn to the Old Testament writings.

Within the Old Testament there is a duality where God is described both as currently being the king of world and as some day in the future being king over the world. Psalm 103:19 states that the “The LORD has established his throne in heaven, and his kingdom rules over all” (New International Version). Yet, Obadiah 1 talks about the “day of the Lord” when God will become King of Israel and punish all those who do not follow Him. Continue reading Defining “Kingdom of God”: A Paper (Part 2 of 3)

Defining “Kingdom of God”: A Paper (Part 1 of 3)

desert pathLast month I wrote a short paper about the definition of the term “kingdom of God” for my Fuller class on the Gospels. Originally, I was going to wait until I received a grade for the paper before I posted it online…but since it looks like Fuller is taking their time grading it, I figure I would go ahead and start posting sections of the paper for your reading enjoyment.  🙂

Note that while I am going to save the full bibliography until the end, I will try to include references throughout the journey so that you (and all the copyright lawyers out there) will know where I gathered my information. 😛

Blessings

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The Gospel texts declare that the central message of Jesus Christ was the “kingdom of God” (Mt 4:17; 9:35; Mk 1:14-15; Lk 4:43). Unfortunately, the phrase is not defined in the Gospel texts as the Biblical writers most likely assumed their readers would already know the meaning of the phrase. This leaves the modern reader in the predicament of having to define the phrase based upon the Old Testament writings, Jewish intertestamental literature, and the particular contexts in which Jesus used the phrase. Accordingly, this paper will seek to briefly define the phrase the “kingdom of God” and look at its impact on the teachings of Jesus. Continue reading Defining “Kingdom of God”: A Paper (Part 1 of 3)

The Long Awaited, Overdue 2009 Newsletter

Today is a very special day for Requisite Danger as we have a gorgeous guest author  – the amazing  E!

Yelp. She is so famous – she only needs one letter to introduce herself.  🙂

Enjoy.

________________________________________________________________________________

Nashville, Feb 2009
Nashville, Feb 2009

Dear Friends & Family,

Wow – it’s hard to believe that 2009 is over already…and that the last time we wrote a letter to all of you was nearly a year and a half ago after our last trip to Paraguay! Sorry we haven’t been better at staying in touch! The time since then has been eventful and life-changing, so we wanted to make sure we got out a holiday note this year to fill you all in.

In our last letter in Sept. 2008, we mentioned that our little church was facing big changes as we and our fellow VLI-grad took on the leadership of the church. Along with our new service time and name, the PRV has been growing by leaps and bounds since then. We’ve seen some turn-over in attendance as is expected when there are leadership changes, but we’ve been excited to see new faces and have been consistently having 30-40 people every Sunday. We still have a good core group from before that have been stepping up in leadership more and more. This summer we finally made the official break from the VB and became our own church entity and just this month we finished jumping through all the hoops and are an official part of the USA Association of Vineyard Churches. Of course through all of this my (E’s) job has gotten bigger with the addition of accounting and more paperwork, but with more people in the church taking on event organization, etc. it hasn’t been too hard to handle. Continue reading The Long Awaited, Overdue 2009 Newsletter

Breathing is good….

class booksAnd I can breathe now.

Granted, it wasn’t like I was lying on the ground grasping for oxygen… nope…instead, I was lying on the ground crying like a little baby caught in a viper pit with a rain storm coming.

Or at least – that’s the way I felt remember it.

But now, it is all over.

I have completed the final essay for Fuller and have placed it in the mail. Now I can relax a bit and enjoy getting ready for Christmas and a new child.

Until next year….. 😛

The Once A Year Brain Simulator

class booksOne of the nice things about the Fall is the chance to simulate the gray matter floating 10 inches above my shoulders.

Or, if you prefer plain English, it is the time of the year in which I try to take a college course through Fuller Theological Seminary.

Last year I embarked on a journey through world missions – which was an amazing course hosted by the Perspectives On The Christian World Mission group.

This year I decided to take a ‘real’ Fuller class – as in a class hosted and taught by Fuller personnel. The class of choice was one about the four Gospels.

And let me tell you – it has been a GREAT class!

I am about three quarters through the class (it ends Dec 11th) and it has been worth every effort. There is just something about studying the life and ministry of our Lord Jesus that awakens one’s spirit. =)

Em has been laughing at me because I am reading every page of my text book versus skimming the chapters. It would probably be easier to skim – but I want to learn this stuff. I want to know and apply it to my life.

Besides – its fun. =P

The Changing Face of World Missions: Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends by Pocock, van Rheenen and McConnell

Similar to Winter and Hawthorne (the Perspective book),  Michael Pocock, Gailyn Van Rheenen, and Douglas McConnell combined the works of various authors into one missiologoy book. The main difference being that each chapter of The Changing Face of World Missions was written expressly for the book instead of being chosen from previously published works and compiled, like the Perspectives book.

In the introduction, Pocock, van Rheenen and McConnell lay out the missions theology they used to create their book.

“We hope this book will positively affect the progress of the missionary task, not simply in numerical expansion but also in qualitative depth . . . Such engagement involves a renewed focus on God's glory and a renewed love for one another.”  

This focus on the glory of God is very similar to the theology of missions promoted by John Piper in his book Let the Nations be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions. [@more@]

With a name like The Changing Face of World Missions: Engaging Contemporary Issues and Trends, you would expect to find a plethora of trends and issues facing world missions. Pocock, van Rheenen and McConnell follow through on their book title and provide twelve trends and issues within three contexts:

  1. the global context
  2. the missional context
  3. the strategic context

They also make a point to differentiate between a trend and an issue. To them, trends are “what is characteristically happening and they intensify over a period of time.”  Issues, on the other hand, are “points often raised by those trends that become the focus of debate.”

Within these twelve trends and issues, there are three main themes that run throughout the book:

  1. disillusionment with modernity
  2. use of modern technology
  3. the shift of Christianity from the West to majority world cultures.

The first theme, disillusionment with modernity, refers to the syncretism of Western Christianity with Western Enlightenment principles that left modern missionaries ignorant of “key elements of the supernatural.”  

The second main theme of the book is the increased use of modern technology. While generally a good thing, in several cases the reliance on modern technology has created “tension between those who have access to certain capabilities and those who do not . . .”  

Pocock, van Rheenen and McConnell define the term “majority world” as that “part of the world's population living outside Europe and North America.”  The shift of Christianity from the West to majority world cultures is a major theme throughout the book as this shift affects all areas of world missions. The authors even go as far as to state that:

“North American evangelical schools and their graduates can remain relevant only to the extent that they read, listen, and interact with believers from around the world about the conduct of the missionary enterprise.”

In summary, the authors of The Changing Face of World Missions promote a theology of missions based upon God's glory and the love for one another. Surrounding this missions theology are the main themes of disillusionment of modernity, technology, and the shift of Christianity from the West to majority world cultures.

These three themes weave their ways through all twelve trends and issues discussed in the book. In an ironic way, the three themes of the book are also the three main challenges that face the Global Church in world missions today.

Perspectives On The World Christian Movement by Ralph Winter and Steven Hawthorne

At 782 pages, the Perspectives book quite the read. In fact, it is less of a “book” and more of a compilation as it is comprised of 124 articles from various theologians, missiologists, pastors, missionaries, and church leaders.

At first it may seem that there is no way a book with that many authors can have a central theme or theology. However, as you read the book it becomes apparent that the Perspectives book was edited specificity to help the reader “live strategically” towards “finishing God's work.”

In fact, this theme of “finishing God's work” or closure is the dominant missions theology for the book. The entire Perspectives course is geared around Matthew 24:14 [Revised English Version]:

“And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the earth as a testimony to all nations; and then the end will come.”

[@more@]In keeping with the closure theme, Winter and Hawthorne chose articles that emphasised people groups, church planting and frontier missions. The phrase “people groups” is defined within Perspectives as the largest possible ethnic or cultural group “within which the gospel can spread as a discipling, or church planting movement without encountering barriers of understanding or acceptance.”

Realizing that the evangelism of every individual on earth is both impractical and un-Biblical, Winter and Hawthorne emphasize planting churches within each people group. They chose Kenneth Mulholland's article “A Church for All People” to define and promote this viewpoint:

“Although intensely personal, the Christian faith is not individualistic . . . He came to establish communities of His followers among every people group on the face of the earth.”

The last motif in the Perspectives closure theology of missions is frontier missions. Frontier missions is “cross-cultural Christian work that seeks to establish churches within people groups where it does not yet exist . . .”  Winter and Hawthorne spend the most time and energy on this motif as they seek to motivate the Christian church to devote money, people and resources to this area of world missions.
    
About three-quarters of the way through the Perspectives course, Winter and Hawthorne lay out what they see as the remaining tasks for the Global Church. These tasks are as follows:

  1. Establishing a “viable, indigenous church planting movement within every people,”  
  2. Establishing a “breakthrough in every people group on earth,”  
  3. Verifying the “progress towards closure.”  

I must point out that while task one and two seem the same, they are actually different as task two is focused on completing the Great Commission [Matthew 28:18-20] while task one is focused on contextualization of the gospel.
    
In summary, the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement has a missions theology based upon completing the Great Commission with the motifs of people groups, church planting and frontier missions. Winter and Hawthorne stay very positive throughout the book, believing whole heartedly that closure can happen in their lifetime. This optimism is very prevalent throughout all the articles selected with only a few articles mentioning or referencing the one issue, according to Winter and Hawthorne, that is slowing down the Christian movement.

This issue is one of cultural barriers:

“If the messengers are not sensitive as they convey the message across cultural barriers, then the message becomes only so much intercultural noise.”

However, given the rise in cross cultural training among mission groups, this issue is referenced with optimism and high hopes.

News Flash: Paper/Class Update

Just received an email saying that I received a 96% on my final paper!!!!

Much happiness!!! Cool

A HUGE thanks all those praying for me this Fall – God answered your prayers (assuming that you were praying for me to pass….).

A special thanks to my bride who talked me out of writing a research paper. Because of her, I threw my heart on the line and typed what I thought instead of piecing together different quotes. Laughing


Final Class Grade

Not sure that it is – but I know it will be an “A”.

Here’s a breakdown:

  • Perspectives Coursework (45% of grade) – I received a 97
  • Church Interview and Written Analysis (15% of Grade) – I received a 95
  • Comparison Critique Paper (40% of Grade) – I received a 96

Tis a good day.  Cool