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.


Written by Susan Disston Thursday, 23 July 2015 00:00

According to Word Spy—the website that dubs itself the “word lover's guide to new words,”—a “do tank” is the action-oriented version of a think tank. The website quotes Harold Hubbard, VP of research at a small research firm, who allegedly responded to his company being called a “think tank” by saying “Not so! We’re a ‘do-tank,’ not a ‘think tank.’”

Think Do Tanks

BTS’s doctor of ministry program could make the same claim for its focus on being an action-oriented version of a think tank. By the end of their three to four years of study, DMin students complete a major applied research project that integrates the knowledge and skills learned in the DMin coursework with the analysis of a specific program, problem, or case in the student’s ministry. It provides the student with the opportunity to make a professional contribution to missional praxis in the student’s chosen context.

In June 2015, two DMin students completed their project dissertations and oral reviews. It was a privilege to see them hooded and awarded their degrees at Commencement a few weeks ago.

Here are the students’ projects and evidence of the significant contributions their projects make to missional praxis.


Written by Bryan Maier Tuesday, 21 July 2015 10:28

As our country careens further and further from the freedom and liberty of the American Revolution and lurches toward the anarchy of the French Revolution, these times can be very discouraging for those who want to be followers of Jesus. Evangelical Christians have enjoyed a home field advantage in the United States since the founding. But now the culture and even the laws are becoming more and more hostile to religious liberty in general and Christianity specifically. It can be disorienting to lose home court advantage, yet it should not be surprising. Our Christian brothers and sisters around the world are still paying a higher price for their faith than we are. We surely have little appreciation for what we had, but that is about to change.

Gay Marriage Debate

The prophet Jeremiah knew what it was like to lose home field advantage. When God called him to be a prophet, the righteous king Josiah was on the throne (1:2-3). While idolatry still persisted, the official god of Judah was the god of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Thus, Jeremiah could preach with freedom under the protection of a monarch who also desired a revival. However, after a misguided military campaign, Josiah was killed and his son was taken into exile, leaving the kingdom in the hands of another son, Jehoiakim, a ruler who “did evil in the sight of the Lord” (II Chron. 36:5). Suddenly it was no longer comfortable or safe to be a prophet of God.

Home field advantage had been lost.

How did Jeremiah respond?

I believe there are at least three lessons we can glean from how Jeremiah reacted when he lost home field advantage that can be of benefit to Evangelical church in America.


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Written on 25 August 2015 - by R. Todd Mangum
Written on 20 August 2015 - by Dr. Jonathan Henry
Written on 11 August 2015 - by Jeffrey Monk
Written on 30 July 2015 - by Manny Ortiz and Susan Baker
Written on 28 July 2015 - by Charles Zimmerman
Written on 23 July 2015 - by Susan Disston
Written on 21 July 2015 - by Bryan Maier
Written on 14 July 2015 - by Charles Zimmerman
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