Written by Derek Cooper Friday, 06 February 2015 00:00

Several years ago, I attended a family reunion. Although held in Texas, where my father’s side of the family has called home for six generations, relatives from other states and even foreign countries attended. During the two-day event, I spent most of my time with those I had known since childhood—my two brothers (of course), my first cousins, their parents, and my grandparents.

Christian Family Reunion

However, I also socialized with second and third cousins, distant granduncles and grandaunts, and many other relatives reportedly once or twice removed from family members I scarcely knew existed.

At the reunion, I watched videos of great-grandparents who had died before I was born, but who obviously played a pivotal role in my family’s life. I heard heartwarming tales about my ancestors who immigrated to the United States in pursuit of their dreams. I listened to tragic stories about family members who had divorced, died prematurely, or otherwise experienced some calamity that left emotional scars on those closest to me. I held in my hands silver cutlery, porcelain dishes, and other articles my forefathers used. I glanced at photographs of people who looked eerily like me other than differences in hairstyle and wardrobe.


Written by Susan Disston Wednesday, 28 January 2015 00:00

Most—if not all—students would be thrilled to know that their professor’s idea of fun is studying the subject he or she is teaching. Here at BTS our professors enjoy teaching. Most of them have not testified to this in a book. But one professor did.

Church History

Dr. Derek Cooper, professor of World Christian History, wrote:

“The study of church history is one of the most exciting adventures on which one can embark in academia. Unlike some disciplines, the field of church history is constantly in flux and never static. New discoveries of ancient articles drive us toward novel interpretations and revisions of old ones. The geographic extent of church history is immense, encompassing the entire globe. Its ongoing engagement with new cultures, people groups, and worldviews propels it into new sphere of influence and new orbits of thought.

Did you know that about church histor... that church history engages, propels, and orbits…that it encompasses cultures, people, and worldviews? If you missed these things, then like a lot of Christians, you don’t know much about history. Many Christians dismiss church history because they think it’s about “the church-as-institution,” as in doctrine, denominations, disputes, divisions, and so on.


Written by David Lamb Friday, 23 January 2015 08:44

Thomas V. Taylor passed away on Saturday, January 17, 2015.

Tom was one of the founding faculty members of Biblical Theological Seminary, where he taught, among other things, church history and Old Testament. For more information on his teaching and courses, click here.

Tom Taylor Psalm 23

I only remember one interaction with Tom Taylor during the first year I taught here at BTS. I met him outside of “Tom Taylor’s office” a room that he and a bunch of us used as an supplemental office, as place to make copies, and as a place to organize documents.

He could tell I was new, so he introduced himself to me, and then proceeded to welcome me to the seminary. He also instantly made me laugh (I value laughter, perhaps too highly). I thought, “I wish I had the opportunity to take classes with him.” Because of other responsibilities that kept him busy during his retirement, I didn’t have other opportunities to get to know Tom better over the past nine years.


Written by R. Todd Mangum Wednesday, 21 January 2015 00:00

Founding faculty member Tom Taylor died this past Saturday afternoon (1/17/2015). There will doubtless be many a eulogy offered that outshine this one on behalf of this man, who served the Lord with gladness for over 50 years. And, doubtless, were TVT here to respond in the flesh, he’d have some kind of self-deprecating one-liner to make everyone not only laugh, but put the whole thing in proper perspective.

Tom Taylor

I’m going to remark on just three outstanding characteristics of this extraordinary, unusual man (and make no mistake, he was very much both).

The Humor He Brought

Tom had a tremendous sense of humor – which people like me with a sense of humor immediately resonated with and enjoyed. His sense of humor was not always entirely comfortable or even appropriate; never off-color, he just had a way of finding the humorously awkward and talking about it, in a way that made people laugh – usually, though not always, in a way that made the people who were the brunt of the joke laugh, too, at themselves. (And when they didn’t or couldn’t, he’d feel genuinely bad.) Over 90% of the time, the joke was on him. In any case, his sense of humor was just legendary. It was wry, playing-field-leveling, and just plain enjoyable.


Written by R. Todd Mangum Monday, 19 January 2015 00:00

Let’s get this out right away: we still have a long way to go. We have longer to go than I thought we did, frankly, after electing our first African American president to the highest political office in the land.

Martin Luther King

The events of Ferguson, MO, New York City, Cleveland, OH, and Miami Gardens, FL (and these are just the tip of the iceberg if the testimony of vast numbers of African American men and women across the country is any indication) suggest that race-based inequities and race-rooted “misfortunes” are still very much with us.

Not to mention: does the kind of extraordinary resistance Obama has gotten from his first day in office have anything to do with his race? Many a Republican politician and party operatives insist that presidential politics is inherently hardball, a “contact sport” as Bill Clinton once famously put it. But still. . . some of us can’t help but wonder: is race a factor in at least exacerbating some of the animosities the president has endured?

Have we progressed at all?


Written by Jeffrey Monk Friday, 16 January 2015 10:01

How should we read Hebrews 11? What is the writer doing in that chapter? In the previous context, the writer recalls the community’s beautiful display of courage in response to persecution in its earlier days (10:32-34).

Instilling Vision

The readers’ situation and their existential need are important to understanding the meaning of Hebrews 11. Overcome by fear at the prospects of an oncoming persecution, the Hebrews had succumbed to doubt and disillusionment. In effect, the readers were in a crisis of faith.

The writer retells the history of God’s people in light of Hab. 2:4. Habakkuk’s faith had been tested to the core when he learned of God’s plan to use the wicked Assyrians to judge Israel’s unfaithfulness. In his perplexity, he discovered that “the just shall live by faith.” So, he voiced his doubts honestly to God, and actively waited for God to provide further clarity.


Written by Derek Cooper Friday, 09 January 2015 10:06

In or around 1625, men digging a grave in the central Chinese countryside discovered a two-ton slab of limestone buried deep in the ground. Carved in the front with 1,900 Chinese characters as well as almost 150 personal names and words written in Syriac — a Semitic tongue akin to the language Jesus spoke — this stele measured nine feet high by three feet wide.

Christianity in China

The beautiful Chinese calligraphy inscribed on the stele was to be read from top to bottom and from right to left. At the trunk of the slab rested a giant tortoise and at the top stood opposing dragons holding a pearl, adorned with clouds and a cross rising from a lotus flower. Though resembling thousands of others from China’s past, this stele contained a story that those living could scarcely believe: It proved the establishment of Christianity in China around 600 years before previously thought.


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