George Robinson, Southeastern Seminary, and the Gospel Project

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Well, you wouldn’t know it from listening to some folks, but the Gospel Project is a powerfully good Bible study curriculum for local churches. The best I’ve seen, as a matter of fact. The Gospel Project is edited by my friends Ed Stetzer and Trevin Wax, and, as the project’s website states, it “takes the story of Jesus — the gospel — the entire Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, and points to the one story that infuses Scripture from cover to cover — God’s redemptive plan to rescue us from sin and death. Because the entire Bible points to Jesus, it is important to examine the theology and mission within the text, as all of it is an important part of understanding the awesome depth and power of the gospel.”

We are pleased to note that several members of the Southeastern family are connected with this good project. One of those is George Robinson, Headrick Chair of World Mission and Assistant Professor of Missions and Evangelism. Dr. Robinson wrote  “Our Fallen Response to God’s Word” (lessons 4–6) for the Fall 2102 Unit, “The God Who Speaks.” This curriculum promises to be biblically sound and edifying for the churches using this material. To find out more, please visit the Gospel Project website.

 

 

Why All Good Christians Should Celebrate Halloween

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October 31st. For most Americans this date means one thing: **Halloween.** Costumes, candy and trick-or-treaters spending to the tune of $2.5 billion making this holiday second only to Christmas in marketing revenue. But good Christians don’t celebrate Halloween. Or do they? Some Protestants may prefer to call it Reformation Day, for after all, that is the date that Martin Luther nailed his Theses to the door at Castle Church in Wittenberg back in 1517. That does pre-date the first usage of the phrase “All Hallows Eve” (commonly known now as Halloween) which didn’t emerge until some 40 years later in 1556.[1]

Ironically, most good Christians that I know won’t be celebrating either Reformation Day or Halloween. Instead, they will be showing support for their local church by attending a “safe and sanitary” alternative called a Fall Festival. This alternative allows good Christians to invite their neighbors and friends to come to the church and get candy, play games and have some good, clean Christian fun. No pagan witches and goblins allowed. But they can dress up as David or Moses or some other biblical character. All the fun without the pagan revelry, right?

I would like to propose another alternative – that good Christians should indeed celebrate Halloween. I think that they should stay home from their church’s alternative Fall Festival and celebrate with their pagan neighbors. Most of them wouldn’t have come to your Fall Festival anyway. And those who did would’ve stopped by briefly on their way to “real” trick-or-treating. I’m sure that some of you reading this blog might be more than a little unhappy with my proposal at this point, but stick with me for a moment.: The reason I propose that good Christians celebrate Halloween and stay home from the “Christian alternatives” is that Halloween is the only night of the year in our culture where lost people actually go door-to-door to saved people’s homes . . . and you’re down at the church hanging out with all your other good Christian friends having clean fellowship with the non-pagans.

Living with missional intentionality means that you approach life as a missionary in your context. I lived with my family in South Asia and we had to be creative and intentional in engaging our Muslim neighbors. We now live in the USA and we still need to be creative and intentional. That’s why for the past 2 years we have chosen to stay at home and celebrate the fact that Halloween gives us a unique opportunity to engage our neighbors. In fact, last year we had over 300 children and 200 adults come to our doorstep on that one night. And we were ready for them!

We had a tent set up in the driveway and gave away free coffee and water to the adults who were walking with their children. Our small group members manned the tent and engaged them in conversation and gave each one of them a gospel booklet (“The Story” gospel booklets are available with a Halloween distribution rate here: http://story4.us/offer). The children ran up to our door while the parents were waiting and got their candy, along with gospel booklets (even if they were dressed as witches or goblins!). In all we gave away more than 500 pieces of literature that night, each with our name, e-mail address, and a website where they could get more info.

I sure wish more good Christians would celebrate Halloween this year by staying home and meeting their pagan neighbors – an option which I believe surely beats the “good Christian” alternative.

[Note: This article is a re-post of George Robinson's Sep. 28, 2010 blog.]

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[1] John Simpson and Edmund Weiner, Oxford English Dictionary 2d. ed. (London: Oxford University Press, 1989).

An Invitation to Study Evangelism and Missions at Southeastern

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The Christian Scriptures make clear that God is a missionary God. In the immediate aftermath of Adam and Eve’s rebellion, God responded by promising a Seed who would defeat sin and Satan and death. Throughout the pages of the Scriptures, we see the triumphant march of God to bring forth the Messiah who would redeem God’s image-bearers and restore God’s good creation. In the New Testament, we learn that the Messiah is Jesus of Nazareth, that this Jesus provides salvation through his crucifixion and resurrection, and that he will return one day to reign supremely. In that day, he will be worshipped by believers from every tribe, tongue, people, and nations, who will dwell with him eternally on the New Heavens and Earth.

We, God’s church, live between the times of his first and second comings. Living between the times, we are called to be bear witness to Christ and his gospel, both in this nation and to the far corners of the world. This is our great privilege and responsibility.

For this reason, Southeastern seeks to be a Great Commission seminary, and invites you to join us in studying and preparing to bear witness to Christ in this nation and throughout the world. Toward this end, you will have the opportunity to study with the following faculty members.

John Michael Dodson (D.Miss., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Church Planting and Evangelism, Associate Director for North American Missions for the Center for Great Commission Studies, and North American Mission Board Nehemiah Professor. He is the co-author of Comeback Churches (B&H) and has published articles in Journal of Evangelism & Mission and On Mission. Dr. Dodson is uniquely qualified in his field in that he has gained expertise both in church planting and church revitalization.

Ant Greenham (Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Missions and Islamic Studies. Dr. Greenham was born in South Africa, lived in Palestine for years, but now has found an oasis in Wake Forest, NC. He is the author of Muslim Conversions to Christ.

Al James (Th.D., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary) is Professor of Missions and Associate Dean for Proclamation Studies. Dr. James has lived and served in India and in Southeast Asia. His areas of concentration are Christian anthropology and history of mission. He is known to have a good sense of humor and is an administrative genius.

Alvin Reid (Ph.D., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Professor of Evangelism and Student Ministry and Bailey Smith Chair of Evangelism. He is the author of more than 10 books including Evangelism Handbook (B&H), Radically Unchurched (Kregel), and co-author with fellow SEBTS professor Mark Liederbach of The Convergent Church: Missional Worshippers in an Emerging Culture (Kregel). Dr. Reid has a pet snake, accepts hundreds of speaking engagements per year, rules Twitter, and does P90X. He’s a beast.

George Robinson (D.Miss., Western Seminary) is Headrick Chair of World Missions and Assistant Professor of Missions and Evangelism. He is the author of Striking the Match and a chapter in the aforementioned Theology and Practice of Mission (B&H, forthcoming). Dr. Robinson has lived and worked in South Asia, sports a wicked nice pair of spectacles and a dog tag, and is an expert in short-term missions.

Josef Solc (Ph.D., Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Professor of Evangelism and Missions and author of Communicating on the Playing Field (Xulon Press), an introduction to the concept and practice of sports evangelism for the church. Dr. Solc is from the Czech Republic, where he played professional hockey and professional tennis before completing his Ph. D. and coming to SEBTS.

Bruce Riley Ashford (Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Associate Professor of Theology & Culture, and Research Fellow for the L. Russ Bush Center for Faith & Culture. He is the editor of Theology and Practice of Mission: God, the Church, and the Nations (B&H: Forthcoming, Sept. 1, 2011).

The Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies and Missions is a double major which introduces students to knowledge, principles, and practices central to missions in national and international contexts. The College also offers the Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies with a minor in Apologetics or Missions. The M.A. in Intercultural Studies prepares students for international service with in-depth teaching and study. A student may pursue a concentration in Orality Studies, which prepares overseas workers to minister to primarily oral learners. The M.Div. with Evangelism trains vocational or church staff evangelists who may encourage church members to share the gospel in every generation. The M.Div. with Missiology is designed to equip students with the competencies necessary to serve as effective missions leaders in churches, denominational agencies, and other missions agencies in both North American and international settings. The M.Div. with North American Church Planting, under our Lewis A. Drummond Center for Great Commission Studies and in partnership with the North American Mission Board, equips leaders to plant effective churches. A focus in recent years has been to plat such churches in urban centers in the United States. The M.Div. with International Church Planting aims to provide the best training possible for the task of international missions. In partnership with the International Mission Board and under the direction of the Drummond Center, this program includes time on the mission field as part of program completion.

The D.Min with Missions, Evangelism, and Church Growth follows the cohort model wherein each student moves through the coursework and fieldwork with other students in this track and under the supervision of a mentor. The D.Min. at Southeastern is designed to wed continuing field ministry with intensive seminars to further equip ministers of the gospel. The desire and design of the Ph.D. at Southeastern is to fashion and equip Great Commission scholars. To this end, the Ph.D. in Applied Theology offers several relevant concentrations in a modified residency format: the concentration in Missions is offered to IMB workers serving overseas to equip them for teaching and writing about missions and theology while continuing their service in missions. The concentration in North American Missiology is offered for those serving in church ministry in North America to equip them for a writing ministry alongside their current ministry.

We invite you to study with our Missions and Evangelism faculty in the B. A., M.A., M.Div., Th.M., or Ph.D. programs of Southeastern. For more info visit our website (http://www.sebts.edu/ or http://www.sebts.edu/college/) and check out the Admissions and Academics links.