Written by Larry Anderson Tuesday, 14 August 2012 00:00

Editorial note from Sam Logan:

On Monday, August 13, the President of Biblical Seminary, David Dunbar, sent the message immediately below to the Biblical community. Below Dave's message is a blog written by Biblical Faculty member, Dr. Larry Anderson. Larry's blog was scheduled to appear on August 24. In light of the message from Dave Dunbar, I moved up the publication of Larry's blog to August 14.

David Dunbar's message to the Biblical Seminary community on August 13, 2012:


I feel the shortness of life today. Dave Lamb’s mother passed away about ten days ago. Darryl Lang’s mother is nearing the end of her days. My mother passed away on Friday evening. She seems to have slept her way peacefully into the presence of the Lord, for which we are very grateful. My daughter-in-law is staying with us just now and helping to care for her own father who is in the last stages of a massive onslaught of aggressive cancer . . . he will likely pass away in the next few days.

Our culture does much to disguise the reality of death, but the fact is that our lives here are fleeting and fragile. Resurrection is the good end of the story however. Let us live in hope of a brighter tomorrow!

I would value your prayers for our family, especially my dad. I am sure that Dave and Darryl would appreciate the same.




Larry Anderson's Blog:

I can't pretend death don't hurt anymore!

As I write this blog, I'm sitting here in my black home-going suit. I call it that because it has been donned at more of these services than any other occasions. I have one more obituary to add to my collection, and once again I am filled with emotion. I realize I can't pretend death don't hurt anymore!

As a pastor, I'm aware that I attend these more often than most, and many times I have no deep relationship with the deceased. It's the families that I am seeking to support. Nevertheless, I am still filled up reminiscing about all of the people I have personally lost while identifying with all the pain others are currently going through. I can't pretend death don't hurt anymore!

My calling is to remind people that we in Christ do not mourn as those who do not have hope. I'm called to explain that this is a celebration of life, and even better, life everlasting. I'm called to share with this grieving family how their loved one is even in a better place than all of us are right now. But I can't pretend death don't hurt anymore!

I do believe the Bible, and I do understand to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord; but I also know the pain of losing someone you love so dearly can take your breath away. I know how the littlest memory on a bright sunny day can bring you to a point of gut-wrenching grief. I know how a song, or a movie, or some past shared moment can have your eyes welling up with tears even with a smile on your face. You see, I just can't pretend death don't hurt anymore!

So I'm not going to tell anyone they shouldn't be sad or they need to stop crying. I'm not going to say "Time heals all wounds", or "Try not to think about it." I'm going to be honest and say "Death hurts, but it won't hurt always." Death does not get the final word. The real joy for those left behind is the reminder that one day we'll attend the biggest family reunion we've ever imagined, and the Host of Hosts will be Jesus Himself. Physical death awaits us all, but knowing the God of Comfort and having a relationship with the Lord sure makes it a lot easier to accept.

Larry L. Anderson Jr. is Assistant Professor of Practical Theology and the Director of the Urban Programs at Biblical. He is also the pastor of Great Commission Church, previously located in the suburb of Roslyn, PA, but now situated in the West Oak Lane community of Philadelphia to provide a holistic ministry to an urban setting.


Written by Todd Mangum Friday, 10 August 2012 00:00

It’s true. This week I turned 50 years old. And that’s all I’m going to say about that — it still sounds old to me.  I’m taking comfort in the notion that that means I must still be young at heart. 

A wise man knows he will not live forever, Ecclesiastes and all that.  Still, it’s hitting me harder than I thought it might, and has prompted some reflections.  Don’t get me wrong; I really am looking forward to the life to come. I’m just not finished preparing for it yet — and seeing the gas gauge down to a quarter tank is . . . well, disconcerting.

Anyway, here are major lessons I’ve learned from five decades of living so far — enjoy:

Ages 1-10: I learned that my parents loved me, were always there for me, and could be trusted to protect me when bad things happen. In the following four decades, one learns that none of these are as failsafe as you thought when you were three.  Even still, that feeling of love and protection is something every child should be allowed to enjoy. It’s something you and I can give to our kids; and the fact that not every child has these basic senses of love and protection is one of the injustices of this life that Christ calls us to work toward rectifying.

Ages 11-20: I learned that God is always there, is always watching, and is always with me. That learned and notwithstanding, my friends — the kind of friends I had and the kinds of interests we shared and pursued — were often a greater influence on what I might actually think, say, or do at any given moment. When I came to recognize that, it was both startling and sobering. Note to self: be mindful of the friends you hold dear and be careful about the company you keep. 

Ages 21-30: I learned that life with God can be fun; His blessings are rich — wife and kids included. I also learned that working hard to achieve goals is a real joy, but that sometimes all the hard work in the world results still in disappointment.  Life is a journey of victories and losses, successes and failures, joys and sorrows.  Each of us enjoys or endures both in different measures, sometimes because of choices we make, but often by choices others make that affect us or even by what just seems like the luck of the draw. In the end, the character of a person is demonstrated by one’s response to both success and failure — not by how many may be listed in each category.

Ages 31-40:  This was when I learned that life has a finite timeline, and that you can do some things you’ve always wanted to do — but you can’t do everything. Choosing between good options means not doing some good things, and missing out on things you wish you didn’t have to miss out on.  Looking back, some of the times I remember and cherish most are the whiffle ball games in the back yard with my toddler and pre-school boys, the backyard baby pool, Christmases and birthday parties.  And, I’m so, so glad I coached my son’s baseball team that year even though I was still working on my doctoral dissertation. I can put my book, The Dispensational-Covenantal Rift, and the “Coach Todd” baseball trophy on the same shelf.  I didn’t know it at the time, but that cheap trophy that every kid on the team got that year — including the third string right-fielder who never did quite learn to throw and ducked at every pitch thrown him at the plate — may actually represent the more significant impact of my life’s work.  (You should still buy my book though: http://www.amazon.com/Dispensational-Covenantal-Studies-Evangelical-History-Thought/dp/1842273655/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid= 1343394285&sr=8-1&keywords=mangum%2C+dispensational).

Ages 41-50: Over these last ten years I’ve learned that faithful life for God and with God is life filled with great joys and also great pain — that God can be trusted, but no one is spared the anguish and agony of loss and disappointment. I have also learned — well, am learning — that the blessings are probably greater than the disappointments, but, if you’re not careful, you can overlook them and be weighed down by the struggles. My wife — already a great blessing from the Lord right there; Prov. 19:14 is serious! — took me out for brunch on my birthday.  She knew I was feeling a bit pensive about all this, so she began listing major blessings that even now we are enjoying from the Lord’s hand — in career, in ministry fruit, in the Lord’s provisions financially and in physical health, ending with the listing of the blessing of my family. Parents who love the Lord and love us; three sons and a daughter in law who all know and love the Lord and love me. “And, don’t forget,” she ended, “a beautiful wife who knows you well and still loves you dearly.” J   Yep. True dat.

Academics like me — and you’re probably one, too, if you’re reading this blog — live in the world of critical thinking and analysis. We thrive on picking apart glib analysis and populist premises.  But truth is: there’s a lot of truth in all the corny sayings and hackneyed clichés about love and life, family and friends, God and Jesus that Mommy and Daddy, Grandma and Grandpa, the pastor and the Sunday School teacher, and the other good people in our life have tried to tell us.   Take it from one who’s now lived half a century: corny truths are still true, and they’re some of the most important. You can bet your life on that.    

Todd Mangum is the Academic Dean and Professor of Theology at Biblical.  He is ordained by the Southern Baptist Convention.  Todd is the author of The Dispensational-Covenantal Rift, and of several articles seeking to bridge divides among Bible-believing Christians. He is married to Linda and they have three sons.  See also http://www.biblical.edu/index.php/todd-mangum.


Written by Sam Logan Tuesday, 07 August 2012 00:00

By now, we have all seen this picture hundreds of times:

I first saw the picture when a very good and respected friend posted it with approval on his Facebook page. 

I dissented (and I still do dissent) from his approval of the picture but many of his other friends celebrated  both the sentiment expressed by the picture and the approval expressed by the one who posted it. 

What should those of us who want to be faithful and missional Christians say in such a situation?

Here are some suggestions (and I would love to get both corrections and further suggestions from the readers of this blog) –

1) The implication that Christians are not as active in ministry (to the poor, to the homeless, to the sexually trafficked, to the victims of natural disasters, etc., etc.) as they are in supporting statements opposing gay marriage should be graciously but firmly rejected.  Specific examples of active (and often costly) Christian compassion may be provided . . . so long as they are not presented in a triumphalistic manner.    We must never be trumpeting our good works in order to receive the approval of men.  On the other hand, simple truth-telling really is a virtue.

2)  The tendency that we all have to make blanket statements about groups with whom we disagree (or think we disagree) must be vigorously and constantly be resisted.  Any implication that one would never see “that many” Christians at a food bank or a homeless shelter, especially when the implication is made through a global medium like Facebook, is a slander against the millions of Christians in other parts of the world who never even heard of Chick Fil A.  I have personally and physically witnessed Christians lining up in places like Soweto and Seoul to help others who were in need and I know from other direct experience that this sort of behavior is “normal” for many Christians, whether the issue is an Indonesian tsunami or a Japanese nuclear disaster or a Palestinian family’s poverty. 

3) Unfortunately, however, we evangelical Christians do not always embody this kind of “missional resistance” to making blanket stereotypical statements.  Those of us who bear the name of the One Who claimed to be (and is) “the Way, THE TRUTH, and the Life” must set the standard of accuracy in the way we talk.  Have we ever made a statement about “Muslims?”  If so, have we been careful to make such statements only if we have demonstrably clear evidence that what we are saying really is true of ALL Muslims?  “Muslims worship Allah” is an appropriate statement for evangelical Christians to make.  “Muslims are terrorists” is not an appropriate statement for evangelical Christians to make.

4)  To move to the issue which precipitated the Chick Fil A controversy, do we ever talk about “gays”?  Do we ever talk about those who support gay marriage?  If we do, are we careful to be certain that our statements embody “missional resistance” to stereotyping?

5) I have used the word “missional” in the previous two paragraphs.  Why? Because in everything we say and in everything we do, we are responsible to God to embody, to the best of our Spirit-filled ability, what Christopher Wight has called “The Mission of God” and “The Mission of God’s People.”   God’s mission and ours is not simply to try to show that others that they are wrong when we think they are, though, of course, standing for the truth is surely an integral part of that mission.  In addition to (not in place of, but in addition to) speaking the truth, the mission of God involves Incarnation and the mission of God’s people involves incarnation.  We are to BE what we SAY about grace.  When others make blanket stereotypical statements about us, they are repeating the linguistic actions of those who verbally assaulted Jesus.  When we resist responding in kind, we are repeating His words and His ultimate redemptive deed – “Father, forgive them.”

6) Of all the characters in Scripture, the one whose sin most often crops up in my own life is Jonah:  “Lord, those Ninevites are horrible sinners and I want them to get every ounce of judgment they deserve.”  “Ah, but Jonah, you love that plant which you did not create . . . should I not love and spare the city of Nineveh?”  Even if those who support gay marriage are wrong (and I believe they are), isn’t the mission of God and the mission of God’s people to do that which most clearly embodies the loving and the sparing which God accomplished in Jesus? 

I have rarely eaten at Chick Fil A and, in the future, I expect that I will eat there no more (and no less) than before.  This is not because I do not care about the issues raised by Dan Cathay’s comments.  It is because neither support for nor repudiation of those comments will, in my judgment, facilitate the accomplishment of “the mission of God” or “the mission of God’s people."

But where will YOU be eating your fast-food lunches?  And why?

Sam Logan is Special Counsel to the President and Professor of Church History at Biblical.  He is an ordained minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and he is President Emeritus at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia.  In addition to his work at Biblical, he serves as International Director of the World Reformed Fellowship ( http://www.wrfnet.org).  He is married to Susan and they have two sons and two grandsons. See also http://www.biblical.edu/index.php/samuel-logan


Written by Kyuboem Lee Friday, 03 August 2012 00:00

There is an obvious interest in the topic of the bi-vocational pastorate--quite a few readers have contributed their comments on the previous postI very much appreciate them; thank you. These responses have jogged more lines of thought that I believe could be helpful for us to explore further.

As I've stated in the previous post, we will probably see a rise of bi-vocational pastors because of the economic pressures and the changes afoot in our world. Going from a full-time pastorate to a bi-vocational model can be a difficult transition, fraught with many challenges for the whole congregation. But that means it can be a wonderful time of growth, too. One commenter asked a question that is surely on many people's minds: If the pastor transitions from full-time to bi-vocational, won't the ministry suffer, simply because the pastor has less time for the ministry?

>As a response, let's consider some vital questions:

One: Is the pastor being compensated enough?

That has to be the first consideration by the congregation. According to this postmany pastors are not.

A recent study conducted byThe National Association of Church Business Administration points out that the average American pastor with a congregation of 300 people earns a salary of less than $28,000 and that one out of five pastors has to moonlight for supplemental income. The study also indicated that only 5 percent of American pastors earn more than $50,000 a year, and 14 percent earn less than $25,000.

Clearly, something needs to give. If congregations are not able to support an adequate wage for the pastors and their families, they need to support the pastors in other ways--one way is to allow them to go bi-vocational. It could be that a pastor is overly in love with money and possessions, and is being overly demanding of a higher income. They will need to be gently challenged, accordingly. However, more often than not, pastors are people who have made tremendous personal sacrifices for the sake of answering the call, and, if so, congregations will need to recognize their service and let them support their families adequately. It will involve a change for the whole congregation, as we will see, so it won’t be an easy transition. But it will be a necessary one.

Two: Can the church leadership as a whole embrace a team approach to the ministry?

If the full-time pastor transitions to a bi-vocational role, pastoral responsibilities will need to be shared. Leaders will need to be developed, and they will need to assume different roles. We are thinking more of a team of shepherds, instead of a CEO and board model.

There is a good biblical precedent for this approach. In Acts 6, when a vital ministry was in need of good leadership, the apostles installed the first group of deacons so they might oversee the distribution of food to widows. This freed the apostles up to devote themselves to the ministry of word and prayer.

Pastors, elders, and deacons need to consider how they could work better as a team of leaders. Some in the church, other than pastors, are gifted in pastoral counseling, but haven’t assumed a role that fits their gifting. Same with mercy ministry, envisioning, visitations, etc. Surely there are leaders in the church better gifted to lead a building program than the pastor? They will need to assume leadership roles, and others will need to follow their lead. This will free up the pastors to focus on the ministry of word and prayer.

Preaching is also a work that can be shared among the church leadership. In my church, there is a group of elders and deacons with whom I share the preaching work. I work with them to prepare the messages, and they grow in their abilities through experience. Training is built into this model.

That leads us to the next question.

Three: How will the church train and raise up leaders for the new paradigm?

The elders and deacons will need training for church leadership, much more than what may currently be expected of them. This doesn’t mean that they will need an M.Div. But they will need a theological education. The pastor, who usually does hold an M.Div., may now need to fulfill the role of trainer and coach. The pastor's main role would now shift to raising up other shepherds within the body of Christ. As the one who holds the most advanced degree in theological education in the congregation (usually), the pastor can lead an in-house theological training program.

There can be a lot of exciting creativity that can come into play when building such a training model. Other local pastors can be called on to share the teaching, and build a local team of trainers. Every pastor will have their own unique gifts to bring to the training process. An exciting by-product could be a shared sense of mission among these churches, directed to the local community.

This may mean, however, that the pastor gives up being the primary face of the church. The preaching and other ministry roles will need to be shared among the growing group of shepherds, and this group will collectively assume the role of being the face of the church. This can be hard to pull off if the expectation has been that the pastor is the one everyone comes to see and hear preach on a Sunday. There will need to be a shift in the church’s vision.

Another implication is a corrective to the current model of church leadership development. The typical route to the pastorate has been this: An individual experiences an inner sense of calling. The individual enrolls in a theological seminary. Upon graduation, a church that is in need of filling a pulpit calls the graduate into ministry. Such an approach has left too much to the individual’s initiative and private devices. Where is the church body in the process? A much healthier approach would be to for the church to observe the individual's character, faithfulness, and abilities, as they serve as a lay minister in the context of the church. The candidate would receive training by the pastor and through experience. By the time ordination comes around, the whole church should be able to enthusiastically affirm God’s calling on the individual. There is a much greater emphasis on the outer sense of calling. Then the church would not be looking solely at a person’s GPA; the church would have the candidate’s whole life to base its judgment.

Moving away from the professionalization of ministry to the priesthood of all believers in this way can be a very healthy process of maturation for the whole church. Every believer will be called on to do the work of ministry and to exercise faith for the life of the church. There will be a greater participation and a more robust discipleship.

As you have more thoughts, please share. The give-and-take is good for developing these ideas.

Dr. Kyuboem Lee serves as a lecturer of Urban Mission at Biblical Seminary. He is the founding pastor of Germantown Hope Community Church in Philadelphia, and the General Editor for the Journal of Urban Mission.http://jofum.com


Written by John Oliff Wednesday, 01 August 2012 00:00

Introduction: One of the purposes of the implied authors of the Gospels is to present Jesus Messiah as completing the mission YHWH began in the Former Testament. Having said that, it should not be assumed all the Evangelist’s tell their stories the same way, even while having a unified subject, Jesus Messiah.

A little theory never hurt anyone:The Gospels were written to preserve the memory of Jesus in the early church and for future generations. Because the Gospels are stories a word (a short word!) is needed about approaching them. The fact that the Gospels are stories is not new; since the emergence of Narrative Criticism in the 1970s (the child of The New Criticism of the 1950s), scholars have read the Gospels as stories – whole stories! Reading the individual stories is not easy, for we intuitively want to “fill in the gaps” with what we know from the other three witnesses to “complete” the story; the problem I see in this is that the other witnesses do not “complete” the story, they tell an altogether different story. When we allow information from the other Evangelists “fill in the gaps” we take away from the implied authors agenda, thus ending up with another, more dynamic, story. As readers of the biblical text we do not do justice to the Evangelist’s by performing such acts – let the story reign! Thus, one of my passions is to assist students to be hearers of the individual narratives, to let the story, its plot, characters, tension, reign supreme over my reading, thus, doing what it is designed to do.

Mission: The mission Yahweh as found in the Older Testament comes to its telos in the Incarnation where Yahweh not only continues his mission to Israel, but also extends it to the Gentiles – one people, one covenant, joined to Yahweh through the mission of victorious warrior Messiah, Jesus. This is the mission of Biblical Theological Seminary. We tell the story, reminding students that Jesus’ victorious mission is the mission of the body of Christ while we await the return of its King, Jesus (cf., Philippians 3:20-21, et al).

The following is an example of Jesus’ mission told through the eyes of the author of Mark:

The Gospels all have interesting starting points. Matthew begins with a genealogy tracing Jesus’ lineage back to Abraham; after Luke’s introduction in 1:1-4, the writer introduces the reader to John the Baptist and Jesus with poems reminiscent of Hannah’s Song and Old Testament oracles; John’s prologue sets the stage for the ensuing narrative by placing the Word at the beginning with God; Mark begins his interpretation of the Christ event by citing Scripture(s). It is the last of these that will occupy several essays.

“[The] consummation of the in-breaking of Jesus Messiah [Son of God], as it has been written in Isaiah the Prophet, “Behold I am sending my Messenger before your face who will prepare your way, a Voice of one crying in the wilderness[ish places] make ready the way of Yahweh, make his paths straight. (Translation mine)

The beginning of Mark is unique among the gospels. It begins with a conflated citation which forces the reader back to the books (I am hesitant to use the term book as it is an anachronism, but for our purposes we will retain it. Most scholars now understand the importance oration played in the years before the New Testament; Richard Horsley suggest less than 3% of the Roman Empire were literate [Hearing the Whole Story]) of Exodus, Isaiah, and Malachi. Markan scholars are divided as to whether or not Mark has the individual books in mind, or, whether he was summarizing the motifs from the various books in question. For the last 13 years I have reflected on this text and have concluded the following; I pass them on to you to encourage you to reflect, question, and as an aid in your journey through Mark’s wilderness.

(1) Mark’ story is primarily concerned with presenting the arrival of Yahweh’s (Warrior) Messenger in the midst of Israel’s present exile – Mark does this by showing and not telling (the power in narrative is the way the individual story tellers weave their pericopes together to show the meaning of their story – they are not primarily concerned with didactic formula – “hey, this means such-and-such,” but they are master shower”); (2) Mark is picking up on themes which resonate within the current socio-political-biblio-consciousnesses of his audience; thus, the implied author of the Gospel of Mark writes assuming his audience understanding of the literary past; (3) Mark’s conflated citation opens the door for Mark presenting Jesus as the fulfillment of the long awaited agent of the New Exodus, the Dominion of Yahweh; again, the implied author does this by retelling the Jesus story as an example of Yahweh’s “incarnational-kingdom-arrival-story;” (4) the conflated citation is best understood as an ancient epigraph; thus, everything in Mark’s story is to be filtered through it, as though it were translucently hovering over each section; (5) as the translation shows, Mark’s wilderness[ish] gloss is to be understood metaphorically – it is the wilderness of Isaiah, not Exodus, that the implied narrator has in view.

Thus, Mark’s Jesus is the long awaited Agent of Yahweh missioned to initiate and fulfill the dominion of Yahweh. Rhetorically, Mark invites his reader to enter into his story through the epigraph, to follow his clues and cues, and watch the story of what it looks like when Yahweh again breaks into humanity – the blind see, the deaf hear, and the poor have the gospel preached to them (cf., Isa. 35 echoed in Mark 7). This, and only this, is the dominion of Yahweh foretold by the story of the Hebrew Scriptures. Let the reader understand!

Further reading:

Janice C. Anderson & Stephen D. Moore. Mark and Method: New Approaches in Biblical Studies, 2nd edition. (Fortress, 2008).

Seymour Chatman. Story and Discourse: Narrative Structure in Fiction and Film. (Cornell University Press, 1978).

Ira B. Driggers. Following God Through Mark: Theological Tension in the Second Gospel. (WJK, 2007).

Mark A. Powell. What is Narrative Criticism?: A New Approach to the Bible. (SPCK, 1990, 1993).

Wolfgang Iser. The Act of Reading: A Theory of Aesthetic Response. (Johns Hopkins, 1978)

John Oliff is Adjunct professor at Biblical Seminary where he teaches NT Greek (I-III) and various other NT courses; John has 13 years teaching experience on both undergraduate and graduate levels; He is currently completing his Ph.D (ABD) on the Gospel of Mark (Remythologizing Mark: The Yahweh as A Warrior Motif with emphasis on the ANE Combat myth Motif in the Gospel of Mark) under William S. Campbell.  John is also an Adjunct faculty member at Eastern University where he teaches Old and New Testament. His passion is reading text within their socio-political-rhetorical-religio-context. He can be reached at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ; visit his website @ johnoliff.com (merestudent.com).


Written by Charles Zimmerman Friday, 27 July 2012 00:00

Where have they gone & where are they now? 

I have been contacting founding faculty members to see what they are up to these days and then posting that information to keep all of you updated on their whereabouts and activities.     

This post updates us with Tom Taylor – TVT. 

Tom was the first Biblical faculty member that I met when I visited a church history class while contemplating attending seminary.  I was surprised to discover that laughing was permitted in a seminary classroom and I thought, if this school can make church history fun, it’s the place for me. 

Who can forget Tom starting a morning class by explaining how he had driven all night from a speaking engagement so he wouldn’t miss our smiling faces and sleepy eyes.  And if Tom ever had to miss a class, he left a video complete with harmonica introduction. 

After coming on the faculty, Tom made faculty meetings bearable with his snide comments spoken as he raised his eyes over his reading glasses from his needlepoint. 

1. What years did you teach at Biblical?

When Dr. MacRae and others left Faith Seminary in 1971 lo launch Biblical, I was one of the “others.”  It fell to me – I was assigned by Dr. MacRae to teach some Old Testament courses and church history.  

 2.  Tell a favorite memory from your Biblical days

It was a great delight to me to publish the “weakly,” that mighty paper that enabled me to publicly poke fun at fellow faculty and otherwise be the means of disseminating announcements to the student body.  

3.  What have you been doing since then? 

Since the end of my formal teaching days, I continue to preach in a lot of churches and speak at conferences, with some counseling thrown in for good measure.  I have also had a book published: Old Testament Toolbox

 4.  What has been happening with your family? 

Ruth is taking good care of me.  She continues with conducting ladies’ Bible studies, and giving lots of advice to our children (they really need it!).  Grandchildren and great-grandchildren have arrived in such abundance we lost track of the count. 

Contact information:

  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

135 Middle Road, Dublin, PA  18917

Thus far in this blog series, we have heard from “Doc” Newman, Gary Cohen, Bob Vannoy, George Clark, Bill Harding, and John Grauley.  If you missed those blog entries, scroll back and take a look.  I asked each to provide contact information, so feel free to drop them an encouraging note and while you’re at it, attach a memory of your own to the appropriate blog entry. 

Charles Zimmerman is the Thomas V. Taylor Professor of Practical Theology.  He also serves as Teaching Pastor at Calvary Church in Souderton.  He is married to Kim and they have two daughters, Ashley and Megan.  See alsohttp://biblical.edu/index.php/charles-zimmerman


Written by Pam Smith Wednesday, 25 July 2012 00:00

Would you expect to see the president of a seminary to be living missionally by kneeling in the dirt not to pray, but to pull weeds? You would if it is Biblical Seminary’s president.  

He’s not just a president…he’s a member of Living Hope Church, a church that studied stewardship and came up with the idea of gardening as a way to bless the community. 

They’ve planted sunflowers, herbs, onions, tomatoes, peppers, beans, broccoli, beets, lettuce, kale, radishes and potatoes.  Church members and others in the community pay $25 a year and tend the garden a few hours a week to receive a share of its bounty. Everyone involved can take something from it and there’s plenty to take.

In fact, surplus from the harvest is donated to the church’s food pantry, which serves about 20 to 30 families.

Living Hope is hoping to attract interest in the garden among the larger community, something they’ve already begun to do. A local family decided to get their hands dirty this summer in the garden as a way to teach their daughters what it takes to put food on the table.  They’ve enjoyed themselves so much that the 12-year-old daughter started her own small garden — stocked with peppers and tomatoes — in their backyard.  The family expressed that not only is it a ‘cool’ thing to do, but they’ve also made some new friends.

Two of those friends: the seminary president pictured above and the pastor of the church who are enjoying building a relationship with this new family.

So, that’s how it can be for missional living.   It can even include broccoli.

Pam Smith is the Vice President for Student Advancement at Biblical Seminary and also instructs in our counseling program in the areas of career and coaching. Email Pam at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it


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