Written by R. Todd Mangum Friday, 16 May 2014 00:00

debate at Cairn

Last week, I participated at Cairn University in a friendly, intra-evangelical debate on eschatology (future things, premill, postmill, amill, and all that); also on the panel were Dr. John Master of Cairn University, Dr. Gregg Strawbridge, pastor of All Saints Presbyterian Church, and Dr. Vern Poythress of Westminster. The whole thing was recorded and is available below:

At one point, Dr. Master forwarded the old dispensationalist point that dispensational, pre-trib rapturist, premillennialists interpret the Bible “more consistently literally” than anyone else, that the key to understanding prophetic literature is to take it literally, rather than metaphorically.


Written by Jeffrey Monk Monday, 12 May 2014 00:00

Work at Work

Part one asked, “What is your theology of work?”. In it we argued that as an image of God, the goal of one’s work should be to reflect God’s creational purposes and to bring about human flourishing through loving creativity within one’s particular occupation.

Relating our work to God’s big story involves not only unfolding the potential that God infused into creation, it also requires that we understand how to respond, given humanity’s fall into sin. Satan deceived Adam and Eve by persuading them that ultimate meaning and fulfillment come through rejecting God’s kingship and setting oneself up as authority (idolatry). God cursed the ground, so that work includes an element of struggle. What does it look like to be “salt and light” in an idolatrous and broken world?


Written by Dan Williams Wednesday, 30 April 2014 00:00

war on poverty

This year will mark the 50th anniversary of the war on poverty that was initiated as a response to a national poverty rate of around nineteen percent. My guess is that 50 years later most would agree that this is a war we have not won. For some reason the poor in many communities seem to be almost invisible, which may be worse than being unemployed or emotionally unstable.

The message of both conservatives and liberals focuses so much on percentages that they lose sight of real numbers, and real people.


Written by David Lamb Monday, 28 April 2014 00:00

BTS in Israel

For eleven days in late March and early April 2014, a group of twelve students, two alumni and two professors (Derek Cooper and myself) from BTS traveled to Israel to visit the land of Abraham, David and Jesus, and along the way we visited the three tombs traditionally associated with those individuals.

The itinerary for our first full day in Jerusalem included a walk down the Mount of Olives (Mark 11:1; 13:3; 14:26), past the Garden of Gethsemane (Mark 14:32), a visit to the Chapel of the Ascension (the supposed site where Jesus ascended to heaven), the Church of the Holy Sepulcher (the supposed site where Jesus died, was buried and resurrected — I have no doubts about what Jesus did, just about exactly where he did it), the Dome of the Rock (the third most sacred site in Islam; above the group is listening to our Jewish tour guide, Nathan, with the Dome in the background) and finally the Western Wall, sometimes called “The Wailing Wall.”


Written by Philip Monroe Friday, 25 April 2014 00:00

In the U.S. a large swath of people have been exposed to trauma. Why is it that not everybody who is exposed to trauma gets Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? The dictionary would tell you that resilience is the power or ability to return to original form after being compressed, bent, and stretched. This definition gives you a picture that when resiliency is in play, it is as if the compressing, the bending, and the stretching never even happened.

However, when it comes to trauma this is far from what happens. At a recent ABS Community of Practice event, I did a talk on resilience to trauma healing specialists.

If you have ever wondered why some people are resilient and are curious to know if there are ways we can support people’s resilience, take a look at the video.


Written by Derek Cooper Wednesday, 23 April 2014 00:00

Aladdin Genie

Most of us are familiar with the story of Aladdin in Arabian Nights. Aladdin, the young protagonist in the folk tale, discovers an oil lamp in a cave with magical powers. Upon rubbing the lamp, a genie appears who is compelled to grant the wishes of the person responsible for summoning him out of the magical lamp. As the story unfolds, Aladdin receives a beautiful wife, a magnificent palace and a wonderful life. Although many challenges present themselves over the course of the story, everything works out in the end, for such is the life of anyone who has a genie at his or her disposal!

Some people, Christians included, think that God is a genie. The origin of this thinking is as ancient as Christianity itself. The book of Acts describes a Samaritan named Simon the Magician, who was one of the earliest converts to Christianity. After recognizing the spiritual authority the Apostles Peter and John wielded in the presence of the people, Simon desperately pleaded with Peter to “Give me this power also” (Acts 8:19), so that he could use it as he wished. Since this time, a generation has not passed that Christians have not attempted to manipulate God for their own reasons. Of course, Simon would no doubt protest that he had all the best intentions, but we know the truth. We want unbridled control and no one to hold us accountable for how we use it.


Written by Kyuboem Lee Monday, 21 April 2014 00:00

church to community

Churches started by immigrants are facing new challenges as they seek to reach their urban communities, especially the poor.

I was recently asked to spend time with a second-generation Korean-American congregation located in a major US city. They sought me out because they had been reaching out to their community for some time, specifically to two homeless shelters for women and children nearby. Church members held cookouts and invited the families; they babysat the kids for mothers' nights out. Then, lo and behold, some of the homeless families started showing up at Sunday services. Some of the kids from the shelters started coming to youth group meetings and Sunday school classes.


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