Written by Bryan Maier Friday, 11 July 2014 00:00

Pastor Course
"Good intentions will always be pleaded for every assumption of authority. It is hardly too strong to say that the Constitution was made to guard the people against the dangers of good intentions. There are men in all ages who mean to govern well, but they mean to govern. They promise to be good masters, but they mean to be masters." ~ Daniel Webster

This was written almost a century and a half ago but is still relevant today. I believe Webster is warning us against the seductive lure of power. How does this happen? What is it about power that changes people? Throughout history leaders who have risen up to overthrow tyranny have often, once they control the reins of power, changed into some form of the very tyrant they fought so hard to overthrow. Is it possible to use power solely for the benefit of others or do we have to get comfortable with viewing ourselves as “above” others in order to minister to those who are “below”? After all, how are we capable of helping anyone if we are not given at least some power over them to do it.


Written by R. Todd Mangum Wednesday, 09 July 2014 11:32

Biblical Graduation

The end of June is the end of both our fiscal year and our academic year. This year, it was a banner year for areas of the school. I want to reflect here on the graduation aspect.

Commencement is always bittersweet for me. This is the day that students have worked for, for no less than two years (for the MAs) and, in some cases, for as many as five to six years. Every student represents an investment; every student represents a commitment — with costs and investments for both that student and that student’s family. And, every student represents a Kingdom investment and potential . . . great potential.

It’s the day that students long for, and that we long for — and yet it’s a day that means they are departing Biblical. In some cases, it’s the last day I will see them.


Written by R. Todd Mangum Friday, 04 July 2014 00:00

War on the 4th

This is the time of year in which we reflect as a nation on the costs and sacrifices made for our freedoms, and express appreciation — both to God and to those who made the sacrifices.

I want to do the same, but from a different angle — in part because appreciation for the sacrifices made in blood and violence, if we are not careful, can easily degenerate into glamorizing the circumstances that led to making such costs and sacrifices necessary. (It’s a point my Anabaptist brethren have been making for centuries.)

Over the last few days, I have watched a couple of documentaries on World War II, including some that have conducted interviews with those who were there who are still living. The heroism, the extraordinary selfless sacrifice, the raw courage, is just staggering to observe.


Written by David Lamb Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

sound of silence

I couldn’t talk for three hours. My wife forbade me. And I always do what she says.

On Sunday, Shannon taught Sunday school at church. She’s been leading a series of lessons on spiritual disciplines. This past Sunday the focus was Silence. She gave the class a challenge to be silent for the next three hours, until lunch. I considered just having a early lunch, but then thought Shannon might think that was a bad idea.

Why be silent?

First, the prophet Habakkuk thinks it’s good to be silent. He declares,

  • The LORD is in his holy temple;
  • Let all the world keep silent before him (Hab. 2:20).

Sometimes, the only appropriate response to God’s holiness is silent, reverent awe.


Written by Philip Monroe Monday, 23 June 2014 00:00

steps trauma counseling

Christian Psychology and Global Trauma Recovery Efforts

Trauma is a hot topic these days. We live in a world where we are aware of terrible traumas happening around the globe in real time. We hear and see tsunamis unfolding, towns being flooded when dikes are breached, mass shootings, bodies strewn about due to ethnic conflict, houses destroyed by errant bombs, and gender violence in almost every corner of the world. While humanitarian efforts to respond to the physical needs of those in trouble are not new, there is a recent push to have charity workers become “trauma informed” so they can also address spiritual and psychological distress.

Trauma is a hot topic not just because we have more evidence of it happening in real time. It is hot because we have better information about the impact of violence and abuse on the human brain, on human interactions, and on the fabric of a society (Mollica, 2006).

Christian counselors, many of whom want to provide cups of cold water to the hurting masses, undoubtedly wish to use their skills to bring hope, healing and recovery to traumatized peoples around the world. But just where should they start?


Written by Philip Monroe Friday, 20 June 2014 00:00

war trauma

As one who directs the Seminary’s Global Trauma Recovery Institute, I can say this: trauma recovery is kind of sexy these days. And that isn’t always a good thing.

Here’s what I mean: it seems everyone is talking about the problem of trauma, whether the traumas of child sexual abuse, domestic violence, human trafficking, ethnic tension, urban violence, or military service. Organizations and cities are becoming “trauma-informed.” But awareness of the problem of trauma on individuals and communities is not just for secular organizations and mental health professionals. The church too is getting that trauma is the mission field of our time (as per Diane Langberg) with pernicious impact on faith and spiritual vitality.

Don’t get me wrong; this attention to the previously hidden problem of trauma is a really good thing. Those with hidden and previously considered too shameful problems can now have their struggles validated. Traumatized individuals can feel their problems aren’t “just in their heads.” We may not know what to do to help some victims, but we do know we can support and encourage those who are in significant emotional pain. Hear me: this is a very good development.

But…sometimes we can jump on certain bandwagons in ways that end up harming the very people we want to help. Sometimes our motives are pure; other times not so much. Let me point out two particular ways we can add to the hurts of those who suffer with trauma symptoms.


Written by Derek Cooper Wednesday, 18 June 2014 15:30

Gettysburg BTS

Recently, BTS’s Doctor of Ministry program took students on a field trip to Gettysburg, PA. The trip was connected to the DMin class titled “Missional Theology,” taught by Dr. Paul Metzger from Multnomah Biblical Seminary in Portland, OR. The purpose of the class trip was to reflect on the significance of the Civil War on Christianity in America, and specifically to discuss the impact of race, slavery, and war on biblical interpretation, ecclesiology, and theology.

In preparation for the trip, students were encouraged to read either Mark Noll’s The Civil War as Theological Crisis or George Rable’s God’s Almost Chosen Peoples: A Religious History of the American Civil War. On the bus ride to and from Gettysburg, students discussed thought-provoking questions related to the Civil War and Christianity, such as: Is the Civil War still being fought in America? Did Lincoln die in vain? The great ethnic diversity of the DMin class—with an almost equal number of African American, Asian American, and Caucasian students—greatly enhanced the discussion. In one of the group discussions of which I took part, which included students from Germany, Sierra Leone, and the United States, we heard insightful comments about a range of issues ranging from race to slavery to missional theology and culture.


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