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Biblical Seminary | News and Upcoming Events

Cohort 21 Returns from Haiti with Compassionate Hearts

The 2016 graduating students in the Urban LEAD Master of Divinity degree program (known as Cohort 21) completed their intercultural trip that is part of their curriculum and found it to be a thought and life changing experience.

Graduating student Robert EC Jones Jr., expressed it this way:

We had a rich cultural experience. But one thing that was most evident: It doesn't matter where you travel-- be it in the city of Port au-Prince, an outer laying small town, or pass through a village...the story is the same. Haitian people are in great need. They live in the aftermath of a devastating earthquake that crumbled the island in 2010. Yet today, they struggle with recovery and still lack so many of the basic necessities that we have, enjoy, and take for granted in the United States. But, despite what they don't have many Haitian people live in appreciation for what they do have while sharing a commonality of life from day to day. As I reflect on our missions trip, I recognize that just giving handouts are not the solution to the problems in Haiti. Although different individual groups and organizations provide various kinds of aid to Haiti, the country needs a more compassionate world to come alongside them in genuineness of heart to help them meet their needs in a holistic way. This can begin with me.

 

Click HERE to learn more about our dynamic Urban LEAD MDiv Program.

 

Pictures from Haiti

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BTS Alum Book, Death Letter, to Become a Movie

David W. Peters enlisted in the Marine Corps the day after his high school graduation. After his enlistment, he attended Biblical Seminary where he graduated in 2002 with his Master of Divinity degree. He then worked as a youth minister. Shortly after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, he was commissioned as a chaplain in the US Army.

He served as the battalion chaplain for the 62nd Engineer Combat Battalion (Heavy) at Fort Hood, Texas, 2004-2007, which included his deployment to Iraq in 2006. After Iraq he also served as a chaplain clinician in the amputee, orthopedic, neuroscience, and psychological wards at Walter Reed.

His essay, "A Spiritual War: Crises of Faith in Combat Chaplains from Iraq and Afghanistan" was included in the volume titled *Listening on the Edge: Oral History in the Aftermath of Crisis (Oxford University Press, 2014). David has written for the Huffington Post and is a priest in The Episcopal Church. He lives with his wife in Austin, TX.

Written in the dark days immediately following former Army chaplain David W. Peters' deployment to Iraq, Death Letter is part memoir, part comic lament, on his relationship with the three great subjects of our mythic imagination. The book has been met with rave reviews from those who have read it:

"This book is brutally honest and savagely funny. I was laughing while I cringed. Or cried."

"This book is beautifully written. The author takes blocks of incomprehensible, painful, tragic, and intensely private events and uses them to build not a wall around himself but a path to the reader and perhaps to other things."

A feature film based upon David's critically acclaimed words is in production.

 

Do You Want to Learn How to Help Military Personal Dealing with Trauma?

On August 28th and 29th BTS is hosting a class entitled "Trauma and the Military" where Senior Chaplain Colonel Dean Bonura, DMin, will examine many spiritual symptoms of PTSD and explore the spiritual remedies that address them by using the tenets of Christian spirituality. The course also addresses other trauma experienced in the military such as sexual assault.

Click HERE for more information

Our admissions department is always available to assist you and answer any question that you might have regarding our programs and the application process.
 

BTS Honors all of the Graduates of 2015

Seminary Graduation

The 44th BTS Commencement was held on Saturday, June 27th at LCBC BranchCreek Church in Harleysville, PA. Sixty-five students received graduate degrees and two doctoral degrees were conferred. The following students were awarded special honors in their fields of study:

  • HyeJung Sun received the Hebrew Exegesis Award;
  • Xiaowei Zhou received the Greek Exegesis Award;
  • Sungjun Kim received the Master of Arts Award;
  • Alexandria Cole received the Master of Arts in Counseling Award;
  • Jason Armold received the Language MDiv Award;
  • Chris Owens received the Urban LEAD MDiv Award;
  • Rachel Lindemuth received the LEAD MDiv Award; and
  • Monica Hall and Rob Marshall received the President’s Award.

During the ceremony Dr. Larry L. Anderson, Jr. shared an inspiring commencement address titled Our Moment for a Movement. The “Waves of Praise” worship team from Living Waters Church in Collingdale, PA led the congregational singing.

Janice Kim who graduated with her Master of Divinity degree shared her testimony in song.

Josef Berthold who completed his Doctor of Ministry degree has given his permission for his testimony to be shared in its entirety:

“I started school after experiencing a major loss in my life. I wanted to go to school sometime around the time when my children were all out of the house and not as dependent on us anymore. However, by that I did not mean for any of them to leave this earth permanently, but that is what happened. After my oldest son Micah passed away, theorizing about God had lost its appeal and theology was reduced to the very basics. This was a time when reading obituaries became a habit, because the reminder that life is short for all of us was actually a comforting thought. What could school have to offer at a time like this?

Around that time an older wiser man, a mentor of mine, said to me: “Josef, do you know the most fruitful years of your life still lie ahead?” So I decided I would let God surprise me in how more studies can prepare me for the “fruitful years ahead”. And that is just what God did…He surprised me.

Here are the three surprises I experienced throughout these 4 years of study:

How different God looks through the prism of color

As one of five Anglos among a cohort of mostly Korean and African American brothers and sisters, I learned to know their struggles and how it shaped their understanding of God. The best theology I have received was not from Dr. Metzger, Bonhoeffer, or Barth (even though they are superb theologians), but from people like Jeffrey Harley and Sherry Jones, Yoseop Choi and Paul Chung.

I learned what faith looks like born from struggle, and that our God transcends culture, privilege and theological preferences.

I learned about the sacrifice some have made to go on this venture of getting a degree. Yes, for some it could mean more prestige and opportunity, but for an African American sister it might mean a diminished opportunity to find a spouse.

Love for people trumps title (every time)

No doubt, my studies have enriched my understanding of what it is to be missional and have helped me conceptualize things, which I now can pass on to my congregation. (Thanks to my professors and a school who is willing to allow God’s Spirit to transform our thinking from dogma to missions).

Throughout my pastoral ministry, not once have I been asked about my titles. Not once, by any of the people in the community that my church is part of.

Conversely, the question people were asking, particularly those who have been on the fringes of society, has never been “What is your degree?” but “How much do you love me?” And that is really the question that matters. My doctoral studies have not been an exception to this.

I appreciate what I have learned and God can use it for His glory, but I am with the Apostle Paul on this one:

Philippians 3:8 I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. 10 I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11 and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

My inability to answer a simple question raised at my oral examination

I would have been prepared to spew all sorts of names and dates of important people and events of the reformation, or to give a detailed analysis of why some church planting movements are successful and others fail, but I was unprepared to answer this question raised by Manny Ortiz: “What is the gospel to you in the context of your church.” I stumbled with my answer that afternoon trying to be missionally and theologically correct, only to read the next day in scripture: “When I was a sinner Christ died for me.” The simplicity of the gospel came back to me that morning, and I felt reminded that my studies are only as good as God’s answers to the complex questions of this beautiful but very fallen plane. Dr. Ortiz, here again is my answer to your question - For those who are in Christ: ALL THINGS NEW.

The power of the gospel at work

When people as different as Manny Ortiz and Sue Baker can work in such unison for the gospel, that gives me hope.

I want to thank the staff of Biblical, in particular those who worked so hard behind the scenes out of dedication to the Mission of God.

Thanks to Dr. Manuel Ortiz and Dr. Sue Baker for guiding me through this process. Manny, you are a testimony of living for the gospel, literally with every breath until the end of your days. Thanks for being such an inspiration. I want to grow old like this, in order to bear even greater fruit in years to come. God be with you all.”

Once again, congratulations to ALL the gradutes from BTS this year... We honor you!

 

Leadercast Draws 110 to BTS Campus

Leadercast 2015

For the second year, BTS and CBMC teamed to host Leadercast BucksMont 2015

Leadercast reaches local business owners, leaders, sponsors, students and employees from a myriad of locations. Quite a few attendees noted that this was their first time to attend Leadercast, and also visit BTS. Among the crowd were nurses who registered for CEU credit with Georgia Nurses Association that was available at the event.

Eight student volunteers assisted in the logistics of Leadercast set up, day-of-event help and clean up.

Scott Newcomer, regional director of CBMC, is a student at BTS. Sponsorships included Silver sponsors Altek, Clemens Family Corporation, Hayden Miller Nelson & Yoder, and Henning’s Market – considered a Silver+ as they also provided lunch. Bronze sponsors were Canon Capital, Harleysville Savings Bank, Erie Insurance, and Village Caterers, considered a Bronze+ as they also provided continental breakfast. Exhibitors included Brotherhood Mutual Insurance, Melanie Stewart - Healthy Balance with Melanie and the Keystone Opportunity Center - Rich Aichele and his son.

Giveways included 2 flowering baskets from Merrymead Farm, a We are the Brave Ones T-shirt, and several books by BTS faculty.

 

BTS Joins Charleston in Mourning Their Loss

Charleston Shooting

The faculty and community of BTS mourn with our brothers and sisters of Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina and deeply appreciate their remarkable grace in the midst of their grief. We lament the loss of Pastor and State Senator, Clementa C. Pinckney (41) and the members of his Bible Study:

  • Cynthia Marie Graham Hurd (54)
  • Susie Jackson (87)
  • Ethel Lee Lance (70)
  • Depayne Middleton-Doctor (49)
  • Tywanza Sanders (26)
  • Daniel Simmons (74)
  • Sharonda Coleman-Singleton (45)
  • and Myra Thompson (59)

These faithful nine, who welcomed a hate-filled young man into their study of God’s Word, stand as poignant testimonies to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Even as we grieve the loss of these dear ones, we stand with Emmanuel AME Church in calling for unity, justice, and righteousness to flourish in the wake of this senseless racist attack. May the Gospel of Christ shine forth even in this dark moment. May the Holy Spirit comfort those whose hearts are broken. May God have mercy on the soul of the one who perpetrated this heinous act.

 

The Countdown is on to the start of Fall Classes for New Students

Here’s the fall class start schedule for all new students:

  • New LEAD Cohort starts September 1, 2015
  • New Language MDiv students (Hebrew 1) start September 8, 2015
  • New MAC Cohort starts September 14, 2015
  • New Advanced Cultural Studies students start September 15, 2015

New Language MDiv students take these courses:

  • OT 510 Biblical Hebrew 1 on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons
  • TH525 Authentic Biblical Interpretation - Tuesday Evenings and one Saturday
  • OT 501 Reading the Old Testament Missionally - Tuesday Evenings and one Saturday
 

Critical One Hour Training for your Church Leadership

important church training
 

Dr. Diane Langberg Leads On-Campus Intensive

Global Trauma
Pictured left to right: Dr. Phil Monroe, Charity Jones, Will Sibert, Mary Castria, Harriet Hill, Joel Kolb, April Hankins, Dr. Diane Langberg, Nancy Higgins, Shari Hofstetter

 

Dr. Diane Langberg, Clinical Faculty at BTS, joined Director of the BTS Graduate School of Counseling Phil Monroe in a Global Trauma Intensive that is part of our renowned GTRI (Global Trauma Recovery Institute) training program.

During the training the class wrestled with the challenge of supporting cross-cultural trauma recovery, recognizing that while techniques are valuable, relationship-building and bearing witness to trauma stories are our primary activity.

Participants video conferenced with trauma counselors in Romania, Ukraine, and Rwanda, and with two U.S. counselors working with domestically trafficked women.

“If you do this work because you love [the victims], you will soon get out of the business because the work is nearly fruitless. Better that we do this work out of love and obedience to Christ.”

Are you ready to be equipped? Click here for information on how to get started.

 

City Leaders Join BTS on Missional Engagement

In the wake of the two recent grand jury decisions not to indict white police officers for killing unarmed black men, our nation is again awakened to ongoing and systemic racial tension. Biblical Seminary recognizes the debate around these events within the Christian community and the need to address them.

Missional Event

On February 23rd Biblical Seminary hosted our first Black History Month event in Philadelphia at Temple University’s Student Center.

The Graduate School of Counseling at BTS joined with the Urban ministry program to moderate a conversation on Race, Law Enforcement, and Trauma.

The event was titled From Protest to Process - How Can the Church Become a Healing Community?

To a room filled with more than 100 attendees that included civic leaders, ministry practitioners, and college students a panel conversation for which I served as facilitator offered perspectives on community and police relations, race, and the impact trauma has within urban environments.

Participants on the panel who fielded questions from the audience included:

  • Commissioner Sylvester Johnson - Former Philadelphia Police Commissioner
  • Rev. Desiree Guyton - Licensed professional counselor practicing primarily in urban context
  • Rev. Michael Major - President and CEO of Called to Serve CDC working to transform and revitalize a neighborhood in N. Philadelphia
  • Dr. Shannon Mason - Executive Director of Mercer Street Friends

Click Here: To keep informed of other BTS offerings on a variety of issues

 

Dave Lamb at Penn on God Behaving Badly...

Dave Lamb University of Penn

A coalition of campus groups at the University of Penn that included Cru, Greek IV, and the Christian Union gathered on Thursday night March 19 to engage with BTS Associate Professor of Old Testament Dave Lamb on his book God Behaving Badly, Is the God of the OT Really Angry, Sexist, and Racist?

Dave humbly and graciously connected well with students at various levels of their spiritual journeys. The campus leaders of the event loved the lively discussion and the way Dave took students' questions seriously.

The University of Pennsylvania is a high powered secular university where 40% of the student body is of the Jewish faith. Students hung around to talk with Dave for more than an hour afterward. Asking follow up questions and pressing deeper into issues that troubled them.

The Christian Union bought and handed out a couple hundred copies of Dave's book God Behaving Badly during a campus walk the week before he spoke.

Roughly 75 students attended the talk, the majority Christian. However, at least a third of the questions were asked by people who were seeking to sort out their perspectives on God.

The most lively discussions centered around the Canaanite Genocide, Sodom, and "is God sexist?"

Watch for Dave’s next book that continues to look at the more challenging parts of scripture. Click here to request Dave Lamb as a speaker.

 

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