In Case You Missed It

Recently at For the Church, Steve Bezner shared his struggle with jealousy: “On Being Matt Chandler’s Roommate.” Steve writes:

This is a story about two young men who were friends, roommates, and pastors.

In other words, this is a story about jealousy.

In the mid-90s, I was a student at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. I was a successful student with a successful grade point average. I was leading a large college ministry. I was, simply put, on the fast track to success in the field of my choice—pastoral ministry.

My sophomore year a student transferred in who captured the attention and imagination of much of the student body.

His name was Matt Chandler.

At The Gospel Coalition, Matt Smethurst recently shared 7 ways Christian history benefits you.

Christianity is a history-anchored faith. We don’t teach a set of abstract principles or philosophical ideas; we teach the truth of a historical event. As Francis Schaeffer liked to say, if you were there 2,000 years ago you could have run your hand down the cross and gotten a splinter. How silly would it be for us to conclude, “Well, I believe Jesus lived and died and rose in historical time, and that without those historical events I’d be lost forever, but I don’t really care about history.”

Further, if you’re a Christian, then church history is your family history. Think about that. Studying church history is like opening a photo album and exploring your family heritage.

But Christian history isn’t just meaningful; it’s intensely practical, too. Here are seven ways that studying it benefits us.

Joe McKeever shared a story on his personal blog about how some often perceive pastors to be different in that they get special treatment from God. They think “You’re a pastor; you’re not like us.” Dr. McKeever writes:

Why is it, we wonder, that some people think if a preacher or a nun or priest is on board, God is somehow going to take extra care of an endangered flight?  As though He loved them more than the others.  “God is no respect of persons,” Scripture says somewhere.

No one gets by with anything with the Heavenly Father just because they are His favorite children.

Matt Capps recently shared an article discussing the beauty of congregational worship.

I have the privilege of pastoring a singing church. Week after week, when we gather for worship the sounds of God’s precious saints wash over me as I stand on the front row and prepare to preach. There have been several occasions when I have stopped singing in order to listen. On almost all of those occasions, the sound of our church family singing brought me to tears. Not because they are great polished individual singers, but because we sing corporately to a great God.

Dr. Albert Mohler recently published an article discussing why Thanksgiving is inescapably Theological. Dr. Mohler writes:

Thanksgiving is a deeply theological act, rightly understood. As a matter of fact, thankfulness is a theology in microcosm — a key to understanding what we really believe about God, ourselves, and the world we experience.

A haunting question is this:  How do atheists observe Thanksgiving? I can easily understand what an atheist or agnostic would think of fellow human beings and feel led to express thankfulness and gratitude to all those who, both directly and indirectly, have contributed to their lives. But what about the blessings that cannot be ascribed to human agency? Those are both more numerous and more significant, ranging from the universe we experience to the gift of life itself.

Can one really be thankful without being thankful to someone?

Finally, earlier this week Dr. Russell Moore gave a video tour of his personal study. Be sure to check out the video!

What Class Most Influenced You? (Part 3)

We recently asked several members of our faculty the following question:

What class from your own Seminary (or College/Graduate School) most influenced you and why?

Here are some of the responses we received:

Dr. Chuck Lawless, Professor of Evangelism and Missions, Dean of Graduate Studies, Vice President for Graduate Studies and Ministry Centers (Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; M.Div., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary):

The class that has most influenced my life was a college class I didn’t want to take. The course was an introductory missions course, and I had no intention of doing anything other than what I was doing at the time: serving as the pastor of a local church. To my surprise, God used that class (which was, by the way, kind of boring at times) to introduce me to the needs of the world. My professor was former missionary, and his quiet but deep passion for the nations took root in my heart. I will always be grateful for that professor and that class.

Dr. Larry Purcell, Associate Professor of Leadership and Discipleship, Associate Dean of Ministry Studies (Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; M.A., Liberty University):

My answer may be odd for one who teaches practical theology, since my Greek classes were some of my favorite. I’m a pastor while attending school so classes that helped me teach & preach the Word.

The opposite of your question is also necessary. It is what I was not taught at the academy that made me realize what I needed. Practical issues faced by all pastors was the missing link at the academy. I was taught to manage the mess and add programs, not to lead changes and build the body of Christ.

Stay tuned for more answers from our faculty.