Written by Manuel Ortiz and Susan Baker Thursday, 17 September 2015 14:57

Seminaries and other institutions of learning are seriously committed to training men and women for ministry. The world in which we live is always changing, but in the last few decades it has been changing at a much more rapid pace. To meet this calling of preparing ministry leaders, seminaries must continually evaluate their programs, their curriculum, and their faculty development.

eminary New Urban Mission

Seminary Preparation for a New Urban World

It was not too long ago when, during a class break in seminary, students would be talking about their calling. I overheard one student say, “I believe that God is calling me to serve in the city.” Another student responded, as was so often the case, “The city! Are you kidding me? Crime, congested streets and communities, no trees or green grass. How could you live in such a place? It seems like a losing battle? That’s not for me.”

It has been noted by missiologists that we are living in a post-rural era. This does not mean that we do not consider serving in rural communities, but the global urban shift has changed the face of this world. We can no longer ignore what God is doing and dismiss what missiologists are saying.

Seminary Preparation for a New “Glocal” Phenomenon

One author warns us that geographical concerns are still important, but the real context for mission is shifting radically. The phenomenon of diaspora provides a new intermediate state between local and global, what many authors are terming glocal. This significant shift can be called diaspora missiology.


Written by R. Todd Mangum Tuesday, 01 September 2015 08:58

This post by Seth Richardson on the Missional Alliance web page caught my attentiona> this past week. It’s titled, “Addicted to Dysfunction: Healing from Missional Misery.” Part of his point is that being “missional,” and “always on the cutting edge” is wearing; but also alluring with something like martyr syndrome. (Not his terminology – so maybe I’m better off just letting you read his post.)

Missional Leaders careful

I can resonate with what Seth Richardson is saying, even if the trajectory of thought he put me on is a little different from the exact point of his post. Part of what I recognize is that the responsibility of seeing and then preaching and teaching and trying to participate in the “mission of God” is an overwhelming task – that brings both joy and frustration; both insight and frustration; both energizing vision and depressing weariness. Any other missional Christians out there relate?

Here are a couple of bullet points stirred in me on the theme, “Missional leaders . . . if we’re not careful. . . .”:


Written by R. Todd Mangum Tuesday, 25 August 2015 09:10

I remember it to this day though it happened when I was maybe seven years old – it was my introduction to the seriousness of “using the Lord’s name in vain.” My older brother and I were roughhousing in our family room and at some point he grabbed my ankle and twisted. Involuntarily, the words came rushing out in that flash of pain, “Oh, God! My foot!”

Calling Wrong, wrong

What did you just say?

My parents were in the next room finishing with dinner and doing the dishes. But hearing that, all activity stopped with a gasp – not so much because of concern for my foot, but because of what they had heard just come out of my mouth. My father peered into the family room and asked sternly, “What did you just say?”

My brother, seeing the seriousness of the situation, tried to defend me. “It’s because he hears all the other kids in the neighborhood talking like that, Daddy.”

My father then took me to the back bedroom. I don’t remember getting a spanking (I might have, but I got a lot of them those days.) But I do remember “the talk” about using the Lord’s name in vain.

We call on God not as part of a yelp of pain or blast of emotion or for dramatic effect; we call on God when we want to get His attention, reverently, in prayer. I can’t just parrot what other kids who might not know the Lord are saying. I need to train and retrain my mind so that even when words come out of my heart involuntarily or in a flash of uncontrolled expression, my words will still be such that keep God’s name in proper reverence.


A few years later, some of the kids my age snuck away with some cigarettes they’d stolen from their parents and lit them up. They invited me to join in. As I recall, I didn’t, but I came home with the smell of smoke on me, alerting my parents to the need for “a talk.”


Written by Dr. Jonathan Henry Thursday, 20 August 2015 15:22

I recently stood on the newly-uncovered floor of what had once been the headquarters to commanders of the Roman VIth “Iron” Legion. A team of archaeologists had been digging and scraping away at the surface of a cow pasture in the Jezreel Valley for days, uncertain about what would reveal itself. Yotam Tepper, the Israeli archaeologist, had been leading up to this excavation for over a decade, and it turned out to be worth the wait.

Roman Dig Site, Bible

In July, newspapers, archaeology blogs, and online magazines began to run stories of how this team had uncovered the regional seat of Roman power in the Galilee region some 2,000 years ago. It was remarkable, to say the least.

This Legion had apparently originated in the days of the great general Pompey, and its earliest commanders had been legendary men, most notably Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. Other distinguished men held this command over a period of centuries. I stood imagining a commander giving orders to his men as his servants moved about – there’s nothing wrong with romanticizing a little bit when picking through Roman ruins!


Written by Jeffrey Monk Tuesday, 11 August 2015 15:28

My life story is full of ironies. One of them is that I very much disliked studying as a kid. Only after I encountered Christ did I begin to gain a vision of what it means to be truly human.

Guide for Seminary

Inspired by Prov 1:7 and 9:10, Calvin opens his Institutes with the observation that sound wisdom has two parts: knowledge of God and knowledge of ourselves. He points out that, in order to understand ourselves, we must first know God; conversely, in order to understand what it means to know God, who is both infinite and personal, we must also know ourselves. He further observes, “Knowledge of ourselves not only arouses us to seek God but also, as it were led us by the hand to find him” (Institutes, book 1.1.1).

Knowledge of God is both an event (conversion) and a process (sanctification). It was as I learned how to read my story in the light of the grand narrative of Scripture that I saw the relevance of Scripture to all of life. I began to get excited about the process of discovery as I grappled with the basic question, what are the implications of Jesus’ proclamation of the arrival of the Kingdom?


Written by Manny Ortiz and Susan Baker Thursday, 30 July 2015 00:00

On June 3, 2015, the faculty of Biblical Seminary held their annual retreat at the Joy in the City, their urban campus in Philadelphia, with the goal to have an honest dialogue among faculty and administration concerning a changing world and the eternal Word. The question to be answered is, how do we as faculty engage a global urban society in such a way that it transforms our thinking, teaching, and operation to meet the challenge faced by our students in the 21st century?

Seminary Urban Globalization

Globalization has changed the faces of countries around the world. Most of the increase or change of populations can be found in large metropolitan complexes. Biblical Seminary is a missional seminary. Therefore, it must get a better understanding of the movements of people, religions, economics, and societal issues brought about by globalization in order to train its students to be effective agents of God to bring about transformation in our communities.

What are the implications of this changing landscape for missions?


Written by Charles Zimmerman Tuesday, 28 July 2015 15:43

Before you jump down my throat for starting the worship conversation in the wrong place and with the wrong word, relax and let me define a few terms and explain what I mean by “winning” @ worship.

Winning Worship

I like to define worship as seeing God accurately and responding appropriately. We could take a lot of time and space and nuance the definition but in the end, the basic elements would be the same. We worship when we catch a glimpse or are reminded of who God is and what he has done and what he is doing and will do for us and then respond in praise, repentance, thanksgiving, obedience and service.

If that definition is correct, then it becomes crystal clear that worship does not equal singing, even though we often refer to the singing part of our services as worship. Don’t get me wrong, you can worship when you sing, but you can sing without worshiping. In fact, if our definition is in the ballpark, you can worship while reading the Bible or when you are reading the newspaper, you can worship before the service begins, you can worship while the preacher is preaching, you can even worship while the offering is being taken. In fact, you don’t have to be inside or anywhere near a church building to worship! You can worship in your car, in your house, on the beach or the golf course, or sharing a meal with friends. Worship is not about the context of your body but the focus of your mind and heart.


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