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The Ministry Magazine of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary | Summer 16 | Vol. 44 No. 1 | Arts in the Church

in the


F R O M B E G I N N I N G T O E N D.


f e at u r e s

on the front lines: A 16-Year Journey

from Hatred to Forgiveness
By Anne B. Doll


Made by a Maker to be a Maker

By Bruce Herman


Our Creative God

By Tim Laniak


The Art of Grace

By Heather N. Korpi

what's new?



good books


beyond our doors: Elizabeth Ostling

advancement news: To God be the Glory
By Kurt W. Drescher



alumni spotlight: A Missionary to the Art World


alumni notes

alumni news



opening the word: The Original Artist

By William David Spencer

The Ministry Magazine of
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
Summer 16 | Vol. 44 No. 1 | Arts in the Church

Reflections from the President

Director of Communications and Marketing

Mr. Michael L. Colaneri
Senior Communications Advisor
and Editor of Contact
Mrs. Anne B. Doll
Manager of Creative Services
Ms. Nicole S. Rim
Inquiries regarding Contact may be addressed to:
Editor, Contact
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
130 Essex Street, S. Hamilton, MA 01982
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary does not
discriminate on the basis of race, gender, national or
ethnic origin, age, handicap or veteran status.

n the beginning God created the heavens and the earth (Gen. 1:1).
The opening sentence of the Bible forms the framework for the human
arts. Gods creation exuded with beauty, intricacy, form and emotional

involvement. At the apex of creation, God created humanity, male and female,
in His image. Being image bearers, we as human beings have the capacity
to reflect in finite form something of Gods own creativity. Whether in the
visual arts, music or even work, our creativity is rooted in divine creation.
The Church has not always been kind to the arts or the artists in our midst.
Sometimes in our vital commitment to redemption through Christ, we have
lost site of a theology of creation, and thus have denigrated the arts. At other
times iconoclasts have wrongly interpreted the Second Commandment,
You shall not make for yourself an image in the form of anything in heaven
above or on the earth beneath. At still other times, we have heralded word

board of trustees
Dr. Dennis P. Hollinger,
Rev. Dr. John A. Huffman,
Jr., Chairman
Rev. Dr. Claude R. Alexander, Jr., Vice Chairman
Dr. Shirley A. Redd,
Mr. Ivan C. Hinrichs,
Mr. Joel B. Aarsvold
Mrs. Linda S. Anderson
Dr. Diana Curren Bennett
Rev. Dr. Garth T. Bolinder
Mr. R. Bruce Bradley
Dr. Stan D. Gaede
Mrs. Joyce A. Godwin
Mrs. Sharon Fast Gustafson, Esq.
Rev. Dr. Michael E. Haynes
Mr. Herbert P. Hess
Rev. Dr. Peter G. James
Mrs. Priscilla Hwang Lee
Mr. Caleb Loring, III
Mrs. Joanna S. Mockler
Dr. Charles W. Pollard, Esq.
Mr. Fred L. Potter, Esq.
Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Jr.
Mrs. Virginia M. Snoddy
Rev. Dr. David D. Swanson
Dr. Joseph W. Viola
Rev. Dr. John H. Womack, Sr.
Dr. William C. Wood
emeriti members
Dr. Richard A. Armstrong
Rev. Dr. Richard P. Camp
Mr. Thomas J. Colatosti
Rev. Dr. Leighton S. Ford
Mr. Roland S. Hinz
Mr. Richard D. Phippen

co-founder and
trustee emeritus
Dr. William F. Graham

over image to the point that we have failed to recognize the many images
of beauty God himself ordained (i.e. tabernacle, temple, nature, humanity).

president and
trustee emeritus
Dr. Robert E. Cooley

In this edition of Contact we seek to reclaim the arts with a biblical and

president emeritus
Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.

or goal of life, but because God, our ultimate end, has created and done so

presidents cabinet
Dr. Dennis P. Hollinger,
Dr. David Currie,
Dean and Director of the
D.Min Program
Mr. Kurt W. Drescher,
Vice President of
Mr. Neely Gaston,
Interim Executive Director
at Charlotte Campus
Ms. Robin Higle,
Executive Director of
Organizational Effectiveness & Human Resources
Dr. Richard Lints,
Vice President
for Academic Affairs
Dr. Seong Park,
Interim Dean of the
Boston Campus
Mr. Jay Trewern,
Vice President for Finance
and Operations / CFO

theological foundation. We find joy in the arts, not because they are the end
with beauty, harmony and abundance.

Dennis P. Hollinger, Ph.D.

President &
Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics

f e at u r e s

on the front lines


contact | summer 2016

f e at u r e s


The recent M.Div. graduate, who was Student Association
President during his time at the South Hamilton campus,
was born in Liberia, one of six children. When he was
nine, his mother died of a mysterious illness. By the age of
11, Marcus was an orphan, his father targeted and killed
by rebel forces during a brutal 14-year civil war. His fathers offense: he worked for the Liberian Secret Service,
and had the same last name as the president whom rebels
sought to overthrow.
We were in danger of being killedall of usbecause of
the nature of my fathers work and our last name, even
though we were not related and not even from the same
tribe, Marcus explains.
In late 1990, as the civil war raged on, Marcus, an elder
brother and his family fled on a refugee ship to neighboring Ghana, before ultimately seeking asylum in the U.S.
When his brother found work in Western Ghana, Marcus
was left with a Ghanaian family to work on their farm and
go to school.
When he came back to check on me, Marcus recounts,
he brought me a letter from one of my other brothers still
in Liberia. And in that letter, he told me they were living
in the midst of periodic fighting. He also told me that my
father had been killed by rebels.
I was 12 years old at the time, and I used to go to church
sort of nominally. The churches we attended had Awana,
and we went because of the sports and games. But I really didnt know about Christ, even though my sister-inlaw had told me to give my life to him. She said to pray
a prayer, she gave me a Bible and I read it. But it really
didnt sink in. The trauma was too much to get past....

But after I received that letter, I became dim to God, because in my eyes God had forgotten me. My mother was
dead. My father was dead. There was a good chance my
siblings had been killed. And so I lost a lot of hope and
faith, and from that point on I became a very angry and
unforgiving person. I just hated everything.
Because of his thirst to find his fathers killer, he initially
balked when his brother told him that they were going to
America. He wanted to return to Liberia and join the war.
So when I came to the States, I was happy to be here, he
remembers, but a part of me wanted to be in Africa.
Marcus adds that during his high school years in the U.S.
he was a very poor student, scoring in the mid-20th percentile in major subjects, and was also a behavior problem.
But when Marcus was 19, yet another family crisis changed
everything. His 38-year-old brother who had brought him
to the U.S. had a massive heart attack, slipped into a coma
and was not expected to live. It just crushed me again,
he says, because he was the only family member I knew
who was still alive. It was during those days when he was
still in the hospital that I decided maybe I couldnt run
enough. I couldnt go anywhere else. I just had to turn
to God becauseeveryone was dying.It was during that
chaos that I prayed to God that if He were to save my
brother, I would live for Him and see that this hope everyone had could come into me. Because I just didnt know
what to do with my life. Thats how I began my journey.
It took Marcus 16 years to forgive the man who killed his
father. I practiced for at least a yeargoing through the
conversation, the emotions, the actions, because most
of the rebels are not sorry for what they did. So I had to
summer 2016 | contact

f e at u r e s

Today, Marcus and Annies vision is to help the Liberian

people, specifically children, women and former soldiers.
Because Liberias literacy rate hovers at or below 50 percent, their long-term goal is to build a community center,
childrens library and literacy center in a country that has
not one childrens library. Reading and literacy are huge
for us, he explains, so that people will be able to read the
Bible and understand the Gospel.

Marcus and Annie Doe

be prepared that if he did not care, how I would handle

standing in front of someone I knew had killed my father,
and actually not do anything to him.
During Marcus struggle to forgive, he turned to Mt. 6:1415. I went over those verses a lotbefore I realized I had
to forgive, because Christ forgave me and Im not that innocent of a soul.
Marcus eventually graduated from high school, and then
received a degree in social science from Frostburg State
University in Frostburg, Maryland. In 2008, he moved to
Colorado, where he taught social studies at Highpoint
Academy in Aurora. There, he met and married Annie, a
fellow teacher who now teaches second and third grade
in Lawrence, Massachusetts. When Marcus was exploring
seminaries, it was Annies father who encouraged him to
consider Gordon-Conwell.

Marcus says that he and Annie have spent much time

praying about the specifics of how to implement that vision. They dont feel called to Africa permanently, envisioning themselves rather with a foot in the U.S. and a
foot in Africa. His current hope is to remain in the States
and become a pastor in a church that will allow them to
travel periodically to Liberia to set their long-term plan
in motion. They want to have a farm or another organization that would be self-sustaining, thereby eliminating the
need to continually seek funds to support these programs,
or require poverty-stricken Liberians to pay for learning
to read. Its a big endeavor, Marcus admits.
In addition to high illiteracy, he adds, There are no music
programs, no sports or art programs. Children who want to
learn cannot because of the lack of necessary resources. Yet,
there are a lot of ideas locked in the brains of Liberian children that could help the country and the next generation.
If I could be a part of alleviating these needs, I feel God
will bless Africa through that.
Marcus chronicles his journey to forgiveness
in a recently released book, Catching Ricebirds. A Story of Letting Vengeance Go,
available on Amazon. You can read more
about the book on

Libera: At-a-Glance
Liberia is Africa's oldest republic, but it became known in
the 1990s for its long-running, ruinous civil war and its role
in a rebellion in neighboring Sierra Leone.
Unemployment Rate: 75%
Adult Illiteracy Rate: 44%


Child Mortality Rate: 14.5%

Life Expectancy: 58
Daily Income: Less than $1 / day


Without Access to Clean Water: 1.6 million

*Statistics taken from UNICEF -

contact | summer 2016

f e at u r e s

by a

to be a

b r u c e h e r m a n , m fa

I l o v e t h at m e m o r a b l e l i n e i n t h e f i l m C h a r i o t s
o f F i r e w h e r e E r i c L i d d e l l s s i s t e r c o n f r o n t s h i m
w i t h h i s d u t y a s a m i s s i o n a ry f o r C h r i s t i n C h i n a ,
admonishing him and scolding him for his frivol o u s pa rt i c i pat i o n i n t h e pa g a n O ly m p i c g a m e s i n
Pa r i s . H i s r e p ly : Y e s , o f c o u r s e ! I a m i n d e e d a
m i s s i o n a ry b u t G o d m a d e m e fa s t , a n d w h e n I r u n
I feel His pleasure!
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iving God pleasureimagine! This has to be the

heart of glorifying the Lorda desire and capacity
to give our Maker pleasure. I also love Augustines
famous paean of praise: You have formed us for Yourself,
and our hearts are restless until they rest in You. It may be a
bit cheeky, but Id revise this just a little for the purposes of
my article: You are our Maker, and You made us to be makers. Our hearts are restless until we make somethingsomething beautiful like what You have made.

indulge in even greater self-conscious posturing. But I do

think there is a principle here to be noted: the child creates
art from a place of fearlessness and natural freedom. Art and
fear are not good bedfellows. To make art to the glory of God
requires that we give our all in the process of makingholding nothing back. But the difference between the child and
the grown artist is that knowledge, technique, experience,
even a kind of artistic wisdom is operating as we mature
and practice art over a lifetime.

And the beautiful is at the heart of all that God has made.
Open your eyes, and even a superficial glance at the night
sky or the fields of wildflowers below our feet reveals this:
God loves beautyin its full range, from the awesome raging
of the thunderstorm to the fragile petals of a rose. One might
even be bold and say that just as God is Good and God is
Truth, God also is Beautytrue beauty in all its multivalence
and grandeurGods kabd. And this is where I begin as a
painter, desiring above all to give my Lord pleasure in the
works of my hands.

Yet the requirement that a work of art be free from pretentiousness or self-conscious posturing is a good oneand the
artistic act is one that can only be wholehearted. In his seminal work I and Thou, Martin Buber says:

My heart has been restless since my earliest daysrestless to

make something that would point toward my beautiful Makerand by His grace I cannot remember a day when I didnt
feel this way. I have always made art, and Ive nearly always
wanted it to please God. Except for a brief interlude in my
life during which I was confused about how to serve God as
an artist, Ive always at least intuited that God takes pleasure
in the works of our hands and hearts and imaginationwhen
it is done unto Him and for His glory.
what does it mean, in real terms, to make art
to the glory of God?
First, I believe that because God is the author of all things
beautiful and significant, it is a natural desire of all children
to make beautiful and significant things. Children can, and
do, distort this urge in order to simply garner attention for
themselves. But adults are always disappointed to see this in
their child. And that is because we all value the unselfconscious joy of making that we witness in children. The famous
artist Pablo Picasso once memorably quipped, I spent four
years in the academy learning to draw like an old master. Ive
spent the rest of my life learning to draw like a child! And
what he was pointing toward, I believe, is the very principle
being discussed: childlike, unselfconscious makingwhich
naturally glorifies God just as the rest of Gods creation does,
merely by being what it is.
It is easy for a child to make art to the glory of Godjust as
the sunrise or sunset, the thunderstorm or wildflowers glorify God without vanity or self-consciousness. But how is a
fully grown person to do so, much less a professional who
is paid and must always be promoting her works in order to
gain exhibition space? Are we to copy the work of children
and make clumsy, charming little works that show no knowledge or sophistication? No, of course not. This would be to

contact | summer 2016

This is the eternal origin of art that a human being confronts a

form that wants to become a work through him. Not a figment
of his soul but something that appears to the soul and demands
the souls creative power. What is required is a deed that a man
does with his whole being: if he commits it and speaks with his
being the basic word to the form that appears, then the creative
power is released and the work comes into being. Buber, Martin
(2011-05-17). I and Thou, trans. Kaufmann (pp. 60-61), Kindle
Buber has uncovered something deeply significant here.
There is in the creative process a certain mystery. His phrase
a human being confronts a form that wants to become a
work through him indicates that there is a dimension of authentic art-making that involves assent to a certain loss of
control, a certain giving in to the form itself. This idea about
art might sound at first quite romantic: mysterious forms jostling to be made into works of art independent of the artist,
etc., etc. But I believe that Buber is simply describing the reality of the artists situation.
When an artist truly desires to be a servant of God, she relinquishes some of her autonomy. There is no room for prima
donnas or dilettantes in Gods servicenor is there room for
the artist to over-determine outcomes. In that case we are not
talking about art but something else. Perhaps propaganda?
There is at the heart of the authentic creative process a tacit
acknowledgment that we are derivative creatures ourselves.
We have not created ex nihilo. And the form that Buber
speaks of here is nothing less than the artwork of God upon
which we must draw in order to make our own works.
Moreover, as the Apostle Paul pointed out in his famous
Mars Hill speech, there is an echo of Gods own voice in the
poetry and philosophy of even the paganswhose culture
was rich with reference and patterning derived from the
natural world. Platos concept of the pure forms is one of
those echoes, and it is fairly obvious that Buber is referencing
that platonic idea of form. The sensitive artist perceives those
forms that our Maker employs in His own making. And those
forms call out to us for a response of praise.


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f e at u r e s


contact | summer 2016


The most fitting praise for the works of our Maker is to be

found in our earnest creative work. We were made by a Maker to be makers. Scripture tells us that we are formed in the
image of Godthe Imago Deiand the first thing we learn
of God from Scripture is that God creates. It should be no
surprise, therefore, that we are restless until we engage in
creative making ourselves. Bubers thought is that we must
give our all in our makingall our talent, skill, knowledge,
feeling, intellect, loveholding nothing back. In this same
passage from I and Thou he goes on to say:
The deed [making a work of art] involves a sacrifice and a risk.
The sacrifice: infinite possibility is surrendered on the altar of
the form; all that but a moment ago floated playfully through
ones perspective has to be exterminated; none of it may penetrate into the work; the exclusiveness of such a confrontation
demands this. The risk: the basic word can only be spoken with
ones whole being; whoever commits himself may not hold back
part of himself; and the work does not permit me, as a tree
or man might, to seek relaxation in the It-world; it is imperious: if I do not serve it properly, it breaks, or it breaks me. The
form that confronts me I cannot experience nor describe; I can
only actualize it. Buber, Martin (2011-05-17). I and Thou, trans.
Kaufmann (pp. 60-61), Kindle Edition.
Again, he emphasizes that wholeheartedness is a prerequisite. But an additional requirement is glimpsed: there is a
risk and a sacrifice in art makingand the artist must resist
the tendency to objectify the form that wants to become
a work through her. What does this mean? Bubers entire
book is predicated on the idea that human beings always assume one of two postures in relation to each other and to
Gods creation: either we treat the creation as objects to be
used and experienced (It) or we relate to the creation as
Thouthat is, as being worthy of love, respect and care
rather than possession, use and objectification.
We may seem to have wandered far from the question of how
to make art to the glory of God. But this is the connection I
am trying to make for us: to glorify the Maker, we must become makers. The kind of makers we are to become involves
echoing Gods own character in our creative process. Just as
God imbues his human creatures with autonomy and dignity
and loves them rather than manipulating or possessing them,
human artists are to serve the forms they createendowing
them with a certain freedom and autonomy. And this is what
Buber is at pains to express, namely that human creativity
involves the very same risk that divine creativity engenders:
the risk that the created work might break or break the maker. And if there is any doubt that Gods creatures have the
capacity to break their Maker, simply remember the Cross.
Where have we come to in our attempt to investigate the
connection between human art and Gods glory? I believe
that the spark of divine creativity that is within the human
imagination is deeply connected to the principle I have been
attempting to elucidate. It is in our very capacity to make

works that outlive usworks that seem to exist independently of their authors interpretive gridthat we most echo our
Maker. The element of risk and sacrifice is also at the core of
that resemblance to our God. In a very real sense, the Lord
engaged in a cosmic risk by creating human beings. The possibility that we might rebel and refuse Gods love was there
from the beginning. And that very capacity of the created
thing to resist its creator is what eventually calls forth a sacrifice.
To make art to the glory of God, the human artist must imitate this deeper magic of Gods own creativity: risk and
very real sacrifice must accompany our making process. If we
avoid these and play it safe in our art making, we will always
fall short of glorifying our Maker. To conclude let me recount
a passage from J. R. R. Tolkiens Lord of the Rings:
Are these magic cloaks? asked Pippin, looking at them with
wonder. I do not know what you mean by that, answered the
leader of the Elves. They are fair garments, and the web is good,
for it was made in this land. They are Elvish robes certainly, if
that is what you mean. Leaf and branch, water and stone: they
have the hue and beauty of all these things under the twilight
of Lrien that we love; for we put the thought of all that we love
into all that we make. Tolkien, J.R.R. (2012-02-15). The Fellowship of the Ring (p. 482). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Kindle
So then, as the Elves put the thought of all that they love
all the beauty and mystery and majesty of Lothlrien, their
lovely landwe are called to put the thought of all we love of
our own dear Lords handiwork into all that we make. Perhaps
then He will be glorified and we will feel His pleasure.
Bruce Herman, MFA, is the Lothlrien Distinguished Chair in the Fine Arts, Department
Chair, and a professor of painting and drawing
at Gordon College, Wenham, Massachusetts. He
joined the faculty in 1984 and became the first
Chair of the Art Department in 1988. His primary focus as a teacher and artist is figurative
painting. He received the Junior Distinguished
Faculty Award in 1992 and was awarded the first fully endowed
Distinguished Chair at Gordon in 2006. His art has been exhibited internationally and is housed in museums such as the Vatican
Museum in Rome, the Armand Hammer Collection in Los Angeles
and the DeCordova Museum in Lincoln, Massachusetts.

Night Bruce Herman, 1991

pastel and mixed media on Dutch cotton paper
60 x 40
collection of The Stony Brook School
Descent Bruce Herman, 1991
pastel and mixed media on Dutch cotton paper
60 x 40

summer 2016 | contact



et me begin this brief (and therefore audacious) reflection on Gods creativity with a short
summary of what the Bible says regarding creation. Genesis leads with a bold idea that
only Yahweh* is the CreatorHe alone created everything in this world. In the context of
rival worldviews, this likely constituted a polemic against any claims to the contrary. Nothing
else is to be worshipped because, after all, everything except God is derivative.

Genesis 1 describes Gods creative acts as issuing from a divine word. As the writer to the
Hebrews puts it, By faith we understand that the universe was formed at Gods command, so
that what is seen was not made out of what was visible, (Heb. 11:3**). A succession of powerful,
life-creating words is at the heart of the panoramic description of creation.



enesis 1 is also characterized by order, and

perhaps more to the point, ordering. God
orchestrates the creation in a succession of days,
beginning with the domains for all things and then the
respective inhabitants of each domain. The puzzle pieces
fall into place, one by one, until the humans are created
and given a sacred, royal trust to rule over Gods world.
Genesis 2, the zoom lens view of the sixth day, provides
a different angle of vision on our Creator God. He creates
a world that is, in all of its diversity, pleasurably beautiful.
This may already be hinted at in the simple words, it was
very good, repeated in Genesis 1. Chapter 2 goes even
further to stir the senses. The trees are pleasing to the eye
and good for food. You can virtually hear the bubbling
streams that led from Eden to the four great rivers. You
can smell the aromatic resin and perhaps catch a glimpse
of shimmering gold and onyx.
Adam takes the invitation to name the various animals
that are living with him safely in this stunning paradise.
And then God creates Eve to join Adam in their shameless,
naked enjoyment of Gods created worldan expansive
garden of delightful differentiation of life forms, sizes,
colors, textures and elements. Think of the garden
described lyric after lyric in the Song of Songs. Who
wouldnt, while looking and smelling and tasting in this
exotic garden, admire the creative mind behind it all?
That gives you a sense of what a fairly quick read of Genesis
1 and 2 says. Taking the rest of the Bible (and a bit of
Ancient Near Eastern background) into account, you can
also recognize some implicit analogies about this Creator
God. Before I mention them, let me assure you that Im
not trying to turn God into a human. Thats the last thing
the biblical creation account allows for! But the Bible does
engage in what we call anthropomorphisms. That is, we
are invited to think about God in terms of human qualities
and roles. This is a massive accommodation to us created
beings, but one that graciously makes an invisible God
more understandable and more accessible.
First, God is the Divine Architect who fashions the world
according to his predetermined design. In the prophets
and wisdom literature we hear about God laying the
foundations of the earth. He asks Job if he was there when
he marked off the earths foundations and stretched
a measuring line across it. Job wasnt there when the
footings were set and the cornerstone was laid while the
morning stars sang together and the angels shouted for joy
(Job 38:4-9; cf. Prov. 8:27-31). The heavens were filled with
the sounds of astonishment and delight when the Architect
took what was in his mind and made it visible in space.
*Yahweh is the Hebrew covenant name for the God of the Bible.
** The doctrine of creation ex nihilo means out of nothing.
All Scripture references are taken from the New International Version.

God is the Divine King who chose to create and order a

kingdom. The Kingdom of God is not just a New Testament
concept. It is a notion of life the way God intended, grounded
in this initial design. His Sabbath rest hints of sitting down
on his throne in a cosmic realm over which He alone reignsa
realm where all his enemies are under his feet.
God is also the Divine Craftsman who makes (asah) and
forms (yatsar) things that he calls into being. Forming
Adam from the ground (adamah), in particular, is the
result of God getting his hands dirty. And Eves creation
equally engages God in an intimate, personal way. He,
literally, built her from a rib taken from Adam. We
are, as humans, a mix of divine breath and the dust of
the earth. God continues to create each one of us and to
form every day of our lives (Ps. 139:13-17).
It isnt hard to spot the Divine Gardener at work in
Paradise. The Lord God planted a garden in the east, in
Eden; and there he put the man he had formed (Gen. 2:8).
God brought Adam and Eve into the creative project that
he had begun. They would oversee and contribute to the
fertile productivity of this garden. This was not only the
organic environment where they would work. Eden was a
covenantal farm, with one tree that brought perpetual life
and another tree that brought an end to that life.
Finally, God the Divine Father is here in Eden as the
spiritual parent of the first humans. You find a hint of that
when the same language of image and likeness is used
as Adam has his own son, Seth. Luke will later trace the
genealogy of Jesus all the way back to Adam, the son
of God. Sonship is perhaps as creative as any analogy.
Reproduction is the most direct way that any person
contributes to the creation of another.
Have you forgotten just how creative God is? Look around
at the world he created. Do you see the fingerprints of
a master Architect? A sovereign King? An engaged
Craftsman? An imaginative Gardener? Your eternal
Father? I certainly hope so!
Dr. Tim Laniak (M.Div.89) is Professor of Old
Testament and former Dean of the Charlotte
Campus. He has served as a missionary in 15
countries in Europe, Asia and the Middle East; as
the Director of the International Fellowship House
in Boston; and as a welfare housing manager for
elderly immigrants in Brookline, Massachusetts.
He launched the Urban Ministry Program at the
Charlotte campus and directed it for eight years. Dr. Laniak spent
two years studying in Israel, including one year of research that
formed the basis for his books Shepherds After My Own Heart and
While Shepherds Watch Their Flocks. While researching, he was also
the Annual Professor at the Albright Institute for Archaeological
Research in Jerusalem. He periodically leads study tours to the
region. For more insight on topics addressed in this article, see his
book Finding the Lost Images of God (Zondervan, 2012).
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The Art
of Grace

contact | summer 2016

Heather N. Korpi


giant sepia-toned photograph of cornstalks waves

admirers down the adjacent long hallway. Lining the
walls are more than four dozen stunning works of art.

A shockingly precise watercolor of a Penobscot Bay

beachfront, painted by a 90-year-old with the steadiness of a
surgeon. A playful, bright-eyed cat peeking out from under a
blanket, created by a painter who picked up the craft just two
years ago. Depictions of serene, tree-speckled landscapes and
lapping beach waves. Between them, abstract pieces reflect
brilliant brushes of gold, red, peach, sage and blue.
They all express A Sense of Placethis years starting
theme for the six annual juried exhibitions in the Art Gallery
at Grace Chapel in Lexington, Massachusetts. Up next is
Exuberance, then Collaborations. The gallery has been a
permanent fixture just off the caf at Grace for the past nine
years, and director Gillian Ross has been involved since the
very beginning.
An artist herself, Ross resonated with the original vision of
the gallery as an outreach tool, and has become instrumental
in involving the local art community. I really think God
works through how youre wired. So if youre wired with
that artsy thing, thats how youre going to connect best with
others, she says.
Barely filling the walls in the early days, the gallery now sees
well over 700 submissions every year. Ross estimates that
about 90 percent of the work comes from outside the Grace
communityfrom artists as far away as New Hampshire and
Rhode Island. As the pool of artists has grown, so too have
the gallery standards. For each exhibition, only about half of
the submissions are selected to hang.
I see God as the ultimate creator, so as artists were cocreating, says Ross. But what I find fascinating is that so
many artists who arent part of a church or faith community
are very aware of something deeper happening when they
create. They describe it in all different ways, but in a sense
theyre experiencing God at work. They may not use that
vocabulary, but it opens up some great conversations.
The Art Gallery is one of many veins of artistic expression
pulsing through Grace Chapel. Any given Sunday service may
involve video components, creative platform sets, dramatic
performances or unique musical experiences. And each is
produced five timesfor the main Lexington campus venues
(main sanctuary and courtyard services) and campuses in
Wilmington, Watertown and East Lexingtonan effort that
at times feels herculean, says Pastor of Worship Arts Robert
But, he adds, the number of hours and hands involved
serve a deep and distinct purpose: to lead others into creative,
transformational encounters with God through the worship arts.

We treat each service as a work of art or a journey, explains

Senior Pastor Bryan Wilkerson (D.Min. 09). Are we leading
people to a point of surrender or a point of celebration or a point
of commitment? How can we help them get therenot just
intellectually, in terms of content, but emotionally, spiritually
and volitionally? The arts have weight along the journey.
Its one of the most promising ways we can reach our
contemporary culture with the Gospel, exhorts Wilkerson.
We are a visual culture. Movies, concerts, videosits how
people learn, how they form their values, how they get their
information, how they experience and interpret the world.
Art may reach the present generation, but it honors the past
too, Ross adds. Back in the day, the Church really was the
place for art. All the greatest art was made by or for the
churches. Its nice to bring that back a little, she says.
Our mission statement at Grace Chapel is that we are
transforming lives with the surprising message of Gods
grace. That surprising message is a very key part of it,
explains Wilkerson. In an area of the country where much
of the population is cold to Christianity, We would like to
surprise themsurprise them with the beauty of the Gospel,
the relevance of the Scriptures, the warmth and friendliness
of Christian people, the joy of worship, and the contemporary
culture of a worship service.
My D.Min. work at Gordon-Conwell helped me better
understand the New England context, which led to the idea
that we have to find creative and fresh ways of communicating
this message to a New England culture, he says. Bloodworth
too is rooted in the New England contexthaving graduated
from Berklee College of Music in Boston and spent 25 years
ministering in the area.
Wilkerson, Bloodworth and Ross are motivated to see other
churches embrace the arts. Their advice: start small, begin
where you are and dont be afraid to take risks. Wilkerson
recalls his first shot at a dramatic monologue as a young
pastorsomething he has since become well-known for at
Grace. Walking onto the platform in a goofy homemade
Joseph costume to do my drama, I felt ridiculous and I looked
ridiculous and the congregation even giggled. But by the
endwe had a fresh encounter.
Our God is a God of great beauty who created a beautiful
world and gave us the capacity to create beautiful things. We
honor him when we do that.
Heather Korpi is Communications Specialist at Gordon College,
Wenham, Massachusetts. She formerly served as Communications
Specialist/Project Manager and Assistant Editor of Contact
Magazine at Gordon-Conwell.

Interested in submitting your work for

an upcoming exhibition? Learn more at
summer 2016 | contact



good books

good books
The Unbelievable Gospel: Say Something Worth Believing
By Jonathan K. Dodson (M.Div. 05, Th.M. 06)
Reviewed by Robert E. Colman, Ph.D.

turns to the vitality of our experience of the richness and

glory of the Gospel. No need to fear what others think of us
when there is firm assurance of Gods approval.

Evangelism has fallen on hard times

in the western world. Our fiercely independent, self-adoring, materialistic,
comfortable public feels little need for
a Savior. Tragically, our largely biblically illiterate generation cannot even
understand the salvation language of
the Bible.

To communicate the many-faceted wonder of the Good

News, he believes salvation metaphors throughout the Bible
provide ample contextual ways to speak convincingly to different audiences. Examples selected are the concepts in Justification, Redemption, Adoption, New Creation and Union
with Christ. Today these terms, and many like them, probably no longer carry their scriptural meaning and will require
some interpretation.

Jonathan Dodson, founding pastor of

City Life Church in Austin, Texas, and
Gordon-Conwell graduate, in this personal story seeks to
show how a culturally relevant Gospel can be made believable in a secular society.

In the concluding section, the author tells of some personal experiences in witnessing. Though incomplete, the stories show
how evangelism flows out of common life relationships.

He begins by sharing his own frustration in his early ministry relying on techniques designed to get decisions for Christ
through memorized presentations or reading a tract. While
acknowledging that these witnessing methods are used effectively by others, he came to see them as manipulative, often
motivated by a desire to earn Gods favor.
Rethinking evangelism, he believes changes are needed in
our motives and methods, even in the way the Gospel message can be made more appealing today. The book unfolds
around these three concerns, with considerable overlap.
The first section reasons why Christians hesitate to share their
faith. Absence of an overflowing love for Jesus may be the underlying problem, and becomes obvious in a failure to develop
relationships of trust with people. Fear of appearing self-righteous or preachy can also silence a witness.
In dealing with defeaters, he also confronts the popular idea
that all roads lead to God. Of course, every person has the
right to his or her opinion, but that does not mean that all
opinions are equally true. Certainly different religious convictions must be respected, but the kind of pluralism espoused in modern secularism actually becomes intolerant of
these differences, becoming its own religion. Dodson shows
that the exclusive claims of Christ, seen through the lens of
divine grace, lead to a persuasive tolerance of other beliefs
while lovingly affirming our own.
This section, picking up on our reluctance to witness, gets at
the inordinate concern to protect our reputations. Attention

contact | summer 2016

Some aspect of the Gospel relates to everyone. For example,

a man vainly seeking acceptance by God through religious
performance, yet never finding it, may be glad to learn that
Jesus has already paid his debt and salvation is a gift. Another
person who has always wanted intimacy, yet has only experienced rejection by others, yearns to know the One whose
love will never let us go. By engaging in conversations with
people, asking questions and listening attentively, we can
discover where they are and their connection to the Gospel.
In emphasizing the role of all Christians in witnessing, Dodson
does not let us forget that evangelism takes place in community.
The Church, he says, is Gods evangelistic genius.
The teachings of the book about relevance to culture and
building friendly relationships have been said before in
evangelism literature. What is new here is the authors organization of material and the freshness of his language. His
passion for the Kingdom comes through every page. Great
reading for the Church. It will help us all be more believable
in ministry.
Dr. Robert E. Coleman, Distinguished Senior
Professor of Discipleship and Evangelism,
joined the seminary in 2001 after directing the
School of World Mission and Evangelism at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for 18 years and
teaching at Asbury Theological Seminary for
27 years. While at Trinity, from 1991 to 2000,
he also led the Institute of Evangelism in the
BillyGraham Center at Wheaton College and served as Dean of
the Billy Graham International Schools of Evangelism overseas.
Outside the classroom, he has ministered in countless churches,
colleges and universities, student gatherings, evangelistic crusades, retreats, revival meetings, Keswick conventions, and pastors conferences around the world.

w h at ' s n e w ?

Virginia Pastor Elected

to Board of Trustees

ev. Dr. Peter G. James (M.Div.79),

Senior Pastor of Vienna (Virginia)
Presbyterian Church (VPC), recently
joined the Gordon-Conwell Board of
During his 36-year tenure at VPC, the
church has become the largest PCUSA congregation in
the mid-Atlantic region. He has also directed a mission
effort to plant one new church in northern Virginia
each decade, which has resulted in three new churches
in Centreville, Riverside and Brambleton. A fourth is
planned for 2016.
Dr. James earned a D.Min. degree from Union Seminary
in Richmond, Virginia; has taught continuing education
classes at Princeton and Union Seminaries; lectured and
spoken at Gordon-Conwell; and written articles for The
Presbyterian Outlook.
While at Gordon-Conwell, he received the Robert
J. Lamont award for preaching, served as Student
Government President and was the student representative
on the seminarys presidential search committee. His
son, Andrew, attended GCTS from 2011 to 2014.

Seminary Alum Joins Board

of Trustees

ordon-Conwell graduate Priscilla

Hwang Lee is the newest member of
the Board of Trustees.
Born in Eugene, Oregon, and raised in
Hong Kong, she has been the Co-CEO of
Oasis Development Enterprises since 1997,
and has been named one of the 100 Most Distinguished
Women Entrepreneurs in ChinaHong KongTaiwan.
Priscilla graduated from the New England Conservatory
of Music, and received an MATS degree from the
seminary in 1992.
She founded Community Bible Study International (CBSI)
in Hong Kong, and regularly conducts training in the
areas of Business as Mission (BAM), Christian leadership,
Biblical Studies, and Marriage and Family, usually together
with her husband, the Rev. Dr. Raymond C. Lee. She says
her greatest joy is to discover the amazing truth in Gods
holy Word and to impart it with passion, conviction and
clarity to the thirsty and hungry souls.
Priscilla and her husband live in Wellesley, Massachusetts,
and Hong Kong. Raymond is the former Dean of Chapel
and a longtime trustee of Gordon College. The Lees have
three adult children.

Counseling Professor Named to George Bennett Chair

r. Pablo Polischuk, Professor of

Psychology and Counseling, has
been named the George F. Bennett
Professor of Pastoral Counseling
and Psychology. The professorship,
previously named the Helen W.
Bennett Chair, was recently renamed
at the request of the Bennett family to
honor their late father, George Bennett, who served on the
Gordon-Conwell Board of Trustees for 40 years.
Dr. Polischuk is an experienced teacher, practicing
psychologist and active minister. He is a visiting professor
at the Israel College of the Bible, was an instructor in
psychology at Harvard Medical School and an associate in
psychology at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.
He also served as an adjunct professor at Southern
California College and Fuller Theological Seminary.

He is in private practice at the Willowdale Center in South

Hamilton, Massachusetts, was Chief Psychologist for the
Chelsea Health Center at Massachusetts General Hospital,
and has provided consulting services to Karen Or, a nonprofit counseling center in Jerusalem. Most recently,
Dr. Polischuk, Dr. Karen Mason and Dr. Ray Pendleton,
received a Lilly Theological Research Grant for their
project, "Protestant Clergy Referral of Suicidal Persons."
An ordained minister in the Assemblies of God, he has
preached at diverse Spanish and Anglo speaking churches,
was senior pastor of Templo Calvario in San Francisco,
and also served as interim pastor at several New England
churches, including Park Street Church in Boston.
Presently, he is the interim pastor at Union Congregational
Church in Magnolia, Massachusetts.

summer 2016 | contact



Seminary Alumnus Named to New

Formation and Discipleship Position

ev. Dr. Thomas C.

Pfizenmaier (MATS,
1982) has been named
Director of Formation and
Leadership Development
and Associate Professor of
Formation and Leadership
In this new position, he will personally disciple students,
provide resources and guidance for faculty doing the same,
and teach several courses in discipleship and formation.In
addition, he will help coordinate the strong initiatives
already in place, including the Pierce Center for DiscipleBuilding and several M.A. and D.Min. degree programs in
Spiritual Formation.
Together, representatives of these programs will develop
institution-wide goals and strategies for discipleship and

Minister, Musician, Professor and

Recognized Community Leader
Joins Faculty

r. Emmett G. Price III (MAUM,

2014), a recognized authority on
African-American culture, worship,
ethnomusicology and the Black Church,
is joining the seminary faculty as
Professor of Worship, Church & Culture.
A former Associate Professor of Music
at Northeastern University and Chair of its Department
of African American Studies from 2008-2012, Dr. Price
has also been a visiting professor of Africana Studies at
Berklee College of Music and a visiting guest professor
at Andover Newton Theological School. Named a Boston
Business Journal Emerging Leader in 2011, he was selected
in 2013 as one of the 40 most influential business and
civic leaders in Boston under the age of 40. Since 2011, he
has served on the music staff of the Hampton Ministers
Dr. Price has authored numerous books and articles,
including The Black Church and Hip Hop Culture, and


contact | summer 2016

The position was fully funded by a generous grant from a

friend of the seminary to give significant attention to the
formation and discipleship of students.
The new director and professor previously served for 20
years as Senior Pastor of Bonhomme Presbyterian Church
near St. Louis, Missouri, and has also served churches
in California and Oklahoma. He received an M.A. in
Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell, an M.Div.
from San Francisco Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. in
Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary. He and his
wife, Donna, an elementary school teacher, have three
adult daughters: Lenny, Kate and Ann.
Dr. Pfizenmaier will be a rich resource to support our
growing emphasis and commitment to see students
grow in their personal relationship with the Triune God,
comments Dr. Dennis P. Hollinger, President & Colman
M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics.
He brings a deep commitment to, and lifelong experience
of, discipling men and women in their journey with
Christ. His pastoral experience, appropriate academic
credentials, love of students and personal gifts will be a
welcome addition to Gordon-Conwell.

Whats New? The Effect of Hip-Hop Culture on Everyday

English, which was published in the U.S. Department of
States eJournalUSA and subsequently translated into five
languages. He is an ordained minister and founding pastor
of Community of Love Christian Fellowship in Allston,
Massachusetts. In addition, he is President and Founder of
the Black Church Music Ministry Project, an organization
launched in 2006 to serve, nurture and develop spiritual
leaders in music ministry, and is also a contributor to
Bostons WGBH radio and television programming.
He received an M.A. and Ph.D. in music (ethnomusicology)
from the University of Pittsburgh, and an M.A. in Urban
Ministry from Gordon-Conwell.
We are truly blessed to have Dr. Price join our faculty,
says Dr. Dennis P. Hollinger, President & Colman M.
Mockler Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics. He
is not only an accomplished scholar, but also a committed
minister and astute cultural observer. His influential
contributions, which include sought-after wisdom into
African-American culture and worship, align with
Gordon-Conwells continued commitment to advance
Christs Kingdom by equipping church leaders to think
theologically, engage globally and live biblically.


New Professor Appointed to MocklerPhilips Workplace Theology Post

ev. Dr. Kenneth J. Barnes (MATH

89), a theological scholar, ordained
minister and former international business executive, will join the seminary
July 1 as Mockler-Phillips Professor of
Workplace Theology & Business Ethics.
He will also direct the Mockler-Philips
Center for Faith & Ethics in the Workplace, succeeding Dr.
David Gill, who retires June 30.
For more than 25 years, Dr. Barnes held senior executive
positions in multibillion-dollar, multinational businesses
such as Thermo Fisher Scientific, PPG Industries, Steelcase, Inc., and Haworth, Inc., doing business on six continents. In addition to his corporate assignments, he also
worked with small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs)
and start-up companies, and continues to serve as a company director and mentor to young executives.
Among his subsequent academic posts, he has served as
Inaugural Dean of the Marketplace Institute (Ridley Theological College, Melbourne, Australia); Fellow of the European SPES Institute; Visiting Fellow of the Oxford Centre
for Christianity and Culture (Regents Park College); Co-

founding Director of the Entrepreneurial Leadership Initiative (Oxford); Tutor in Theology and Religious Studies
(Oxford University); and Chaplain to the Oxford Graduate
Christian Union. He was most recently appointed a Tutor
at the prestigious Sad Business School, Oxford, as part of
its Global Opportunities and Threats platform. Dr. Barnes
has also served in parish ministry, and in corporate and
university chaplaincies.
He holds an MATH degree from Gordon-Conwell; M.Div.
from New Brunswick Theological Seminary; M.Phil. in
Church History and Doctrine from Kings College, University of London; and a D.Min. in Chaplaincy and Apologetics from Reformed Theological Seminary. He and his wife,
Debby, a singer, songwriter and professional voice-over
artist, have three grown children.
Dr. Barnes extensive executive experience in corporate
settings and in the academy make him ideally suited to
run Gordon-Conwells Mockler-Philips Center for Faith
& Ethics in the Workplace, says Dr. Dennis P. Hollinger,
President & Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor
of Christian Ethics. He has worked with scholars from
around the world, as he says, in a quest to bridge the Sunday/Monday divide. In his work as a volunteer chaplain,
he has helped graduate students consider what it means
to be[a] practicing Christian in a secular (and sometimes
hostile) environment. Both the seminary and the broader
business community will benefit greatly from his expertise.

Former Investment Management Executive Joins Jacksonville Board of Advisors

lbert J. Toole III has been named to the Jacksonville

Campus Board of Advisors.

Mr. Toole is Chairman Emeritus at St. Johns Investment

Management Company, and founder and member of the
firms Investment Committee. He has more than 40 years of
financial experience, including service as the former Chief
Investment Officer of GULFCO, where he managed very
substantial assets.
More recently, he was Founder, Chairman and CEO of St.
Johns Investment Management Company, St. Johns Place

Development Company and Crown Development Group.

He is a member of the C.F.A. Institute and the Jacksonville
Financial Analysts Society.
In the early 90s, he co-founded East/West Ministries International and served as board chair for many years. He
has traveled to Russia more than 60 times. He also helped
plant Christian Family Chapel in Jacksonville.
Mr. Toole received a B.A. in finance from the University
ofTexas and an M.B.A. from Southern Methodist University. He holds the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Haitian Pastors Graduate from Seminary

Front row, l. to r.: Haitian D.Min. graduates Joel Laloi, Vezel Philistin, Joseph
Simon Milien, Joel Vibert, Jean-Frede Bourdeau; not pictured Eddy Louis
Moise. Back Row, l. to r.: Dr. Carlot Celestin and Dr. Karen Mason, cohort
mentors, and Dr. Jay St. Fort, thesis-project supervisor.

summer 2016 | contact



The Gordon-Conwell Board of Trustees in May conferred
a total of 375 masters degrees and 51 Doctor of Ministry
(D. Min.) degrees during commencement exercises for the
seminarys four campuses.
The graduation ceremony for both the South Hamilton
and Boston campuses was held at Gordon College in
Wenham, Massachusetts. Among graduates were six
Haitian students, who received D.Min. degrees in Pastoral
Skills: The Pastor as Caregiver, Preacher and Person. This
track was established specifically to assist the students
impacted by the 2010 catastrophic earthquake in their
country. Two of the cohorts three residencies were held
in Haiti.
Hamilton commencement speaker was Rev. Dr. Doug
Pratt, a 1979 M.Div. graduate and Senior Pastor of First
Presbyterian Church in Bonita Springs, Fla. In 2015, his
church launched a ground-breaking and innovative


contact | summer 2016

partnership with Gordon-Conwell, providing fulltuition scholarships and an intensive on-site mentorship
experience for M. Div. students each January.
At the Charlotte campus commencement, held at Nations
Ford Community Church, the featured speaker was Dr.
Brenda Salter McNeil, Associate Professor and Director
of Reconciliation Studies at Seattle Pacific University.
Dr. McNeil, who also serves as teaching pastor at Quest
Church in Seattle, has devoted her life to the work of
racial, ethnic and gender reconciliation.
Speaker for the Jacksonville commencement service
was Rev. Chuck Colson, Senior Pastor at Christ Church
Mandarin, in St. Augustine, Fla. Rev. Colson previously
served as an assistant pastor at Second Presbyterian
Church (EPC) in Memphis, Tennessee, and also planted the
Church of the Ascension (ACNA) in Arlington, Virginia.


beyond our doors

Playing to the Glory of God

Michael Colaneri

ne of the most pivotal memories for Master of

Arts in Spiritual Formation student Elizabeth
Ostling was when she first saw Gian Carlo
Menottis Amahl and the Night Visitors. A Christmas
operetta, it tells the tale of a poor, disabled boy who is
visited by the three wise men on their way to meet the
baby Jesus.
My parents gave me a record of the operetta and I
couldnt stop listening to it, she remarks. Not long
after, my uncle visited and heard me listening to it over
and over and singing it all the time. He suggested I start
taking piano lessons.
That began a lifelong appreciation of music and the arts,
leading to a more than 20-year career with the Boston
Symphony Orchestra.
But not as a pianist.
A couple of years after beginning piano lessons, I
heard the flute played in my church and fell in love with
the sound. My parents tried to steer me away from it,
thinking there were too many children learning the flute.
They suggested an instrument like bassoon or viola.

I said, No, this is what I want to learn, and began taking

lessons from Karen Klein, the woman who had played the
flute at my church.
Elizabeth eventually enrolled at the Curtis Institute of Music
in Philadelphia. Not long after graduating, she found herself
in Boston auditioning for the position of Assistant Principal
Flute with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. There is a lot
of pressure. I didnt advance past the preliminary round for
my first few auditions. You begin to wonder if this is going
to work out. The night before my BSO audition, I prayed
a simple and pretty blunt prayer: This is my dream. Im
willing to give it up. But if its something I should pursue,
please make it clear.
I got a call back and thought that was the answer. I really
didnt expect to get the job. God answered the prayer way
beyond what I imagined.
But it wasnt perfect.
It was a very stressful time. The Principal Flute position
was also open, and I auditioned for it during my one-year
probationary period as the Assistant Principal Flute. So
at that same time I was playing as the Assistant Principal
Flute, I was competing for the Principal Flute. It was a little
unusual, but that situation lasted for three years.
It was a time of intense scrutiny. I was completely
overwhelmed,but also very sensitive that I be taken seriously.
summer 2016 | contact



It wasnt until years later, after listening to some sermons

from Tim Keller (M.Div., 77), Senior Pastor of Redeemer
Church in New York City, that I came to understand it
was idolatry. I had a death grip on something other than
Christ. Getting the Principal Flute Chair was the end all,
be all. It was the only thing that existed other than myself.
That was a faith struggle early on in my career.
God worked it out for the best. The orchestra eventually
hired an incredible performer, a superstar really, for the
Principal Flute. The day he got it, I was so relieved. I was
so happy it was over.
And it allowed her to follow a passion for exploring the
intersection between the arts and the Christian faith.
A few years ago, a BSO colleague inspired me to think
about seminary. I started looking at options. I knew some
people who were going to Gordon-Conwell, so it was
an obvious first place to start. I visited with Associate
Professor of Church History Dr. Gwenfair Adams, and she
gave me about an hour and a half of her timeshe began
telling me about her Dynamics of Spiritual Life class. I was
really drawn to that, because she has a love for the arts
and I think there is a coherence between storytelling and
narrative and the music I play. But I also have a passion for
connecting other people to the Gospel through the arts.

Elizabeth began taking on-campus and Semlink classes.

Recently, she took a sabbatical from the BSO for the 201516 season to finish her degree, and will be the Fine Arts
Senator for the 2016-17 Student Association.
When I am in class, a lot of musical analogies and
particular pieces come to mind, and when I am on stage, a
lot of times what I learn at seminary comes to mind. There
really is a link between the arts and faith. Eventually, I
hope to be able to use the education I am getting at
Gordon-Conwell to serve the Church.
And the truth is that if I were the Principal Flute, I
probably wouldnt have had the time to finish this degree. I
am learning what it is to have a heart of surrender to God.
Not unlike the main character in Amahl and the Night
Visitors. He wants to give something, but is too poor to
offer anything for the wise men to give the Christ child.
So, he offers the only thing he has: his crutch. In that
instant, his leg is healed.
Elizabeth adds, That moment when he gives all that
he has, that sacrificial giftgiving up the one thing he
literally has to lean on to get through lifeits a beautiful
picture of the freedom were given in the Gospel. And it
still makes me cry.

The Boston Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Hall under Music Director Andris Nelsons (Elizabeth seated in winds section)


contact | summer 2016

a d va n c e m e n t n e w s

To God Be the Glory!

Kurt W. Drescher

s we approach the final few weeks of Our Legacy

Our Future Comprehensive Campaign, we have
been doing some analysis of the Advancement
program leading up to and during the campaign period.
Wonderful stories of generous and sacrificial friends of
the seminary are woven throughout the fabric of GordonConwells rich history. These stories are too numerous to
capture in a Contact Magazine article. But I would like to
paint a picture of the depth and breadth of this program,
while expressing gratitude to those of you who have been
partners in this educational ministry.

People Matter

You might recognize the names of some of our seminary

friends, as their gifts have been large and stand out
because of the tangible impact their giving has made on
the Gordon-Conwell community. Their names are attached
to buildings, scholarships, programs and endowed chairs.
We are so deeply grateful for these sacrificial gifts, and we
do not know what we would do without their meaningful
commitments to the seminary.
There is yet another group of people who stand out
because of the faithful, loyal and longtime partnerships
these friends have had with the seminary. We pulled some
of this information together in hopes that you might find
it uplifting and heartwarming. Some of these folks are
major donors. Some are longtime faithful donors. But it is
important to note that a number fit into both categories.
So here are some statistics that might encourage you:
There are more than 180 people who, for 10 or more
consecutive years, have faithfully contributed to the
seminary since we started keeping electronic records
in 1984. This does not include the folks who have
contributed but may have missed a year somewhere
along the way. If we had the manpower on our team
to do the digging through our archived paper files, we
would discover that many of these relationships go
back even further than our electronic records.

If we expand the scope a little and consider five or

more consecutive years, the number of donors almost
triples to 503 friends of the seminary. Some of these
people work or have worked at the seminary. In fact,
out of the 50 friends of the seminary who have given
the greatest number of gifts, 23 of them have served on
our faculty or staff.
Within this group of faithful folks, 39 donors have
given more than 200 gifts to the seminary, including
one donor couple who have written out 381 checks
to Gordon-Conwellvirtually one every single
month since 1984. Ponder that statistic for a minute.
This couple wrote out a check, put it in an envelope,
addressed and stamped that envelope, and mailed a gift
to the seminary 381 times. That is amazing!
One of the facts that I find most encouraging about these
faithful folks is that they cover the whole spectrum of the
Gordon-Conwell community, including representation
from alumni, trustees, friends, faculty, staff and churches.
These statistics represent real people who partner with
us. If you find yourself in this group, we want you to
know that we are immensely grateful. This faithfulness
both encourages us and tangibly demonstrates the deep
commitment of our Gordon-Conwell family. This is
stewardship that truly honors a serious commitment
to Christ and the Kingdom work that we are doing at

Participation Matters

When you give a gift to Gordon-Conwell, you are in

good company with a host of thousands. Sometimes
Advancement professionals will ask for a gift of any
amount, because in some cases participation really
does matter more than the amount of the gift. This is
particularly true if you are an alum, faculty or staff
member. Foundation grant proposals regularly require
giving statistics that include the percentage of alumni
who participate by making gifts to the seminary.
summer 2016 | contact




contact | summer 2016


Here are some numbers that we ran regarding participation

since we launched our Comprehensive Campaign in July 2010:
12,563 individual donors have given one or more gifts
to the seminary.
1,590 alumni have given at least one gift, which
represents 16 percent of our total alumni.
To date, in the same time frame, we have receipted
95,918 gifts.
The smallest cash gift in this time period is $.28 from
the son of one of our alums, and the largest gift is $2
We have 1,122 donors who have set up some type of
recurring gift commitment with the seminary.
Our Comprehensive Campaign ends when our fiscal year
ends on June 30, 2016. If there was ever a time to give a
giftof any amountto Gordon-Conwell, this would be
the time to take that step. You might even set up a small
recurring gift as so many friends of the seminary have
already done.

Partnership Matters

The Partnership Program was established at the seminary

10 years ago, and was created so that our students could
serve the Church and not their debt. This program
at Gordon-Conwell is designed to equip students for
Kingdom work while relieving them of the worry and
burden of educational debt.
The program provides a number of co-curricular activities
and resources in biblical stewardship, as well as a fulltuition scholarship that is renewable every year. As a part
of the curriculum, students gain practical ministry skills
and receive education and experience in applying biblical
stewardship principlesall important for future service in
and to the Church, parachurch organizations, evangelistic
ministries, missions and numerous other areas of Christian
Through the Partnership Program, students bring a team
of prayer and financial support with them to seminary.
Our hope is that students will emerge from the program
prepared for a lifetime of fruitful ministry, surrounded
by a network of support, equipped with fundraising
and stewardship skills, and free from unnecessary debt.
It might encourage you to know that 249 students are
currently participating in the Partnership Program. Even
though these partnership gifts tend to be smaller on
average, the number of gifts makes all the difference. If
you are a Partnership Program donor, you are playing a
very significant role in making it possible for students to
afford seminary and helping them be prepared to be the
future leaders of the Church.

Prayer Matters

I was recently visiting with very good friends of the

seminary in Pennsylvania. They have been longtime
partners and are deeply committed to our work of
advancing Christs Kingdom in every sphere of life by
equipping Church leaders to think theologically, engage
globally and live biblically. As these friends have aged,
they have wrestled with a number of health challenges.
We have prayed together numerous times either on the
phone or in person. This gracious couple remind me
regularly that they are praying for Gordon-Conwell, and
even more directly, that they are praying for me and for
my team as we do our Advancement work.
A group of folks, including some of our trustees,
administrators and advancement staff, committed a
number of years ago to hold a campaign prayer call the
first Thursday of every month. As I look back on all the
ways that God has shown up, it has been through His
people. If you keep a journal, you know it is a good way to
see how God answers our prayers. That has certainly been
true for our regular campaign prayer call. In challenging
financial times, when we can start to get discouraged and
budgets seem to be the topic of many discussions, we find
hope and encouragement through Gods people praying
with and for the seminary.
Faithful friends who participate by giving, partnering
or praying make all the difference in the work of the
seminary. We could not do what God has called us to do
without you, Gods people, standing with us. If you are
reading this and are thinking your small gift would not
matter, let me encourage you with some simple math.
If 2,000 of our alums and friends gave or increased their
giving by $10/month, over a five-year period that would
total $1.2 million.
These friends and their stories inspire me, and I hope they
inspire you. Please keep giving, partnering and praying,
and know that we are deeply grateful. Everybodys story
is a little different, but one common thread that shows
up regularly and is woven throughout this narrative
is that our great God has shown up and exceeded our
expectations over and over again through our incredibly
faithful friends. To our great God be the glory for the great
things He has done!

Kurt W. Drescher
Vice President of Advancement
978-646-4070 |

summer 2016 | contact



A Partnership Between Church and Seminary

Jennifer Drummond

Pratts 10-year anniversary as Senior
Pastor of First Presbyterian Church, Bonita
Springs, Florida, was
approaching. And he
didnt want an expensive trip or a set of
new golf clubs.
A 1979 M.Div. graduate of Gordon-Conwell, Doug has served
his church and denomination, always with a
desire to invest in future leaders. This passion, passed on to his
congregation and shared by his staff, drove members to
ask, Is there a way to partner with the seminary to both
honor Doug and influence future leaders?
Doug says the traditional model of supporting students
financially through scholarship funds held some appeal.
But members were also captivated by the thought of leaving a better world for their children and grandchildren.
What could be more meaningful, they surmised, than investing in leaders of the next generation who will have a
direct impact when current members are gone?
Thus, a new kind of scholarship was born. The congregation initially raised funds for two full-tuition scholarships. But church members didnt stop there. They also
asked, What do we have that seminary students might
need? Doug says the answer surprised them a bit. Essentially, we have the ability to bring students to Florida in
Januarythe middle of the year, in the middle year of their
time in seminaryand allow them to witness the functioning
of a fairly healthy church.
Our church, located about 1,500 miles away from the
Hamilton campus, could never participate in the normal
mentored ministry program because of the distance. This
was the only way we could come up with to be involved in
students lives (beyond financial support):bringing them
to us during the narrow window of the J term.
As a central component of the scholarship experience,
students are mentored by the church staff, whom they
shadow for two full weeks, experiencing the ups and

contact | summer 2016

downs of church ministry. Scholarship recipients also live

in parishioners homes during their time at the church.
Already the response is positive.
Being with a few other students, completely removed
from the seminary context and immersed in the life of
this church, was very helpful in processing all that Im
learning, says Alyssa Sherman (M.Div. 16), part of the
first cohort to visit Bonita Springs this past January. Mike
DiStefano (M.Div. 17) adds, To have a front-row seat in
the day-to-day operations of a pastorthat enhances your
degree in a way that sitting at a desk simply cant.
Doug and his staff are inspired by the studentsand by
the congregations thoughtful process that ultimately
made the scholarships possible. He says that because
members engaged in conversation about what resources
the church has and what the seminary needs, the whole
congregation was blessed. Moreover, as parishioners
walk with the students for a few weeks, mentor them and
contribute to the scholarship, the students, in turn, bring
energy and enthusiasm to them, and the cycle of blessing
and giving repeats.
This new scholarship [program] is a tangible expression
of what partnership between the local church and seminary is, says Dr. Jim Singleton, Associate Professor of
Pastoral Leadership and Evangelism at Gordon-Conwell.
This used to be the norm, and still could be.
Seminary President Dr. Dennis Hollinger adds, This is a
win-win situation, with the church honoring its innovative and deeply loved pastor, Doug Pratt, then providing
both scholarships and mentored ministry for our students
under his leadership. We are excited about the investment
of First Presbyterian Church of Bonita Springs in the lives
of our students.
While the details of this story are specific to the context
of the Bonita Springs congregation, Vice President of Advancement Kurt Drescher notes, the story itself is one that
can be told again and again. Imagine if your church were to
partner with Gordon-Conwell. What resources do you have?
How can Gordon-Conwell come alongside your congregation, as we together think about investing in the future leaders of the Church?


Melanie Spinks working on massive, new installation at Charlotte Campus

alumni spotlight

A Missionary to the Art World

elanie Spinks gifts as an artist began to surface

when she was four years old.

And here I am very unexpectedly a follower of Christ.

I really felt I had disqualified myself to be used of God.

I just remember seeing things in my head, and I wanted

to put them on paper, the Gordon-ConwellCharlotte
alumna explains. Thats when I started the work, the intentionality that it takes to become an artist.

Then I had an encounter with Him one night, and just

knew it was lay everything down. I was broken, and [recognized] what it means to be lost and separated from God.
I [had such] gratefulness for the pardon I had received
from Christ.I told Him Ill go anywhere, anytime.

Fortuitously, Melanie had talented footprints to follow.

Both her parents are craftspeople:, her father a Master
Woodworker, and her mother a seamstress specializing in
wedding gowns. The couple have refurbished old houses,
had an antique store, and refinished furniture and antiques, all while holding corporate positions.
Dad always kept a shop, and I was his shadow, she says.
My Mom, when I was born, quit her corporate job to stay
home with me. She really gave me eyes to see. We spent
a lot of time out in nature looking at flower petals and
spider webs.
Now a Master Sculptor, Melanie received a Master of Fine
Arts from Georgia State University and worked for several years as a professional artist in that city. Her curiosity
about materials and processes led her to a professional apprenticeship in metal fabrication and applied craft; moldmaking and foundry development; glass, leather, plaster
and fiber arts; clay modeling; and the patination of metals.
In 1999, Melanie was called to missionary service after receiving Christ the year before.
That changed everything, she explains. I just knew that
I wanted to serve Him. But I had been in such a dark place,
receiving a lot of recognition doing sacrilegious works.

Melanie graduated from Gordon-Conwell in 2007. Today

her desire is to produce pieces that serve as signs and
portals to the beauty and meaning found in God, and to
awaken all to behold His glory in and throughout the
world. She views the art world as a mission field and art
as a spiritual gift. Her passions include the greater enjoyment of the arts in the Church, and the soul care and
spiritual formation of artists, whom she considers an unreached people group.
Recently, she has felt the need for multiplication of artist
missionaries in the arts. I really want to help Christians
understand why the arts are so important, because people,
such as artists, who shape the cultural metaphors shape
the way the culture thinks about issues. The Christian
presence just isnt there.
She currently teaches at Wingate University, and has
taught at Georgia State, Charleston Southern University
and the Gibbes Studio.
In 2014, Melanie was commissioned by Gordon-Conwell
Charlotte to create an installation for the new David M.
Rogers Hall of Missions in time for the dedication ceremony in May 2015. In the following article, she describes the
development of that massive work. ABD
summer 2016 | contact



Inside a Gothic, arch are photos of the GordonConwellCharlotte community in ministry

For the Soul Care of Artists and the Greater

Enjoyment of the Arts in the Church
Melanie Spinks, MFA, MA in Biblical Studies (07)

An Austrian nobleman was expected to follow the family

line in politics. But an encounter with God through a gallery painting changed the direction of his life. Depicted
before him was Jesus Christ crowned with thorns. Below
were the words, This I have done for you. What have you
done for Me? Profoundly moved, the youth responded, I
will do more.
The young man was Count Nikolaus Ludwig von Zinzendorf. He gave his life for the advancement of Christs Kingdom. Through his establishment of a safe haven uniting
Christians fleeing persecution, a prayer community was
born. Through the preaching of this Bishop of the Moravian Church, many answered Gods call to what would
become known as the Moravian Missionary Movement.
This is the power of God. And this is the power of Gods
call sounded through the medium of art.
As a Gordon-Conwell alumna, this installation project
for the Charlotte campus is personally important to me.
My first introduction to the seminary came through the
Perspectives course at this campus after I was called to
missionary service. GCTS graduate Dr. Bill Jones (now
President of Columbia International University) was the
instructor. He and other alums challenged me by the way
they engaged the world. Whether serving in the marketplace or smuggling Bibles into prohibited lands, they
modeled in their lives the kind of Christian I wanted to
become. I came to see that as an artist, I am already among
an unreached people group. This revelation gave me eyes
to see the art world as a mission field with art as my voice.
Francis Schaeffer, Bill Bright and other Christian leaders
of their day were simultaneously building evangelization
strategies based on the domains through which the Gospel
comes. While there is debate on where the boundary lines
fall, most agree that the prominent categories include religion, family, government, business, education, the arts,
science/technology, media and entertainment. Affirming

contact | summer 2016

the priesthood of all believers, this view maintains that

the full range of human endeavor is spiritual. All things
exist and are to be done to the glory of God. For from
Him and through Him and for Him are all things, (Rom.
11:36, NIV).
For an artist, going big wall is the occasion of a lifetime.
I wanted the result to be as grand as the opportunity at
hand. But when a work is about the artist alone, it is limited to that artists individual life, expression and experiences. Then the idea came to me to expand the works
domain by inviting the Gordon-Conwell community to
become a part of the installation.
Just as the Gospel is narrative, story fuels the installation
concept. Our personal stories are interwoven not only
into the lives of those with whom we share, but into Gods
greater story. Ultimately, it is in His metanarrative that
our smaller ones find their place, purpose and meaning.
So the call was placed for students, faculty, staff and alumni to submit their candid photos of the Gospel in action.
The seminary community submitted hundreds of photos.
How moving it was to see Gods work in and through His
people. Image selection was the most difficult part. Cell
phone shots often wouldnt successfully scale for print.
Many wonderful images werent included due to the limited space available. But occupying the topmost spot is a
picture of a model of Christ pouring water into a basin
for the lowly service of washing feet. The concept trickles
down from our Master into all areas of our service. Near
the center the dove flies, representative of the Holy Spirit
in our midst.
An artful treatment of purpled brush-worked edges was
given to each photo selected. The watery, hued strokes
convey the sense that ministry is more art than science.
We dont always know what we are doing. It is often unscripted, messy, with results unclear. Yet the purples ref-


erence Divine Sovereignty over all we do. This treatment

also serves as a unifier for the photos pouring in from
diverse sources, bringing with them a broad range of exposures, color casts and pixilations.
While photographs present the saints of the present,
we stand on the shoulders of the saints of the past. To
reference our rich history, traditional church forms and
media were employed to link the new with the old. The
most prominent feature is the Gothic arch, which serves
as frame, container and unifier of the photo wall inside.
The pointed arch was a miracle of engineering rising from
the field of what scholars rightly describe as The Architecture of Immanence. Pointing forever upward in orientation, the Gothic arch honors our rich aesthetic history
within the field of spiritual architecture. The element that
elicits primary viewer response is scale. Majestic themes
demand grand presence, so the choice was made to fill
the space. The scale freed the arch to better reference that
which it actually is not a mere decorative feature, but an
architectural element.
As an artist, I value truth in materials. However, a 20
marble arch was beyond the budget and what our wall
could bear. Thus, a wooden arch had to be custom-built.
Being from a thriving craft community in Charleston,
South Carolina, I knew plenty of woodworkers who could
have done a fine job. But after prayer, my first call went
out to the very best, my father and Master Woodworker,
Jerry Spinks.
We had the challenge of fabricating the piece in sections,
so that it could be transported and assembled on site. Yet
it had to be manageable for two people to install via a
20 sky lift. He engineered a brilliant system for installation that also distributed the weight evenly across the
wall. Because the arch is ultimately a frame, it needed to
do what a good frame does: politely escort the eye into
the work of art. In lieu of a molding is a clean bevel. The
outer rim serves as a stop, rolling the viewers gaze back
summer 2016 | contact



inward. Of course, this required a skeleton of beveled rib

work. Five sections were made hollow and attached to the
wall, and the arch was at last faced on the wall itself.

missions were made from archival Epson inks and papers,

and attached in a manner that allows for replacement of
photographs in the future.

Nothing can kill a work of art faster than a faux finish

gone wrong. My goal was to make this wooden arch look
so much like stone that the viewer anticipates its coolness from across the room. Therefore, I spent time studying marble to emulate its natural rhythms. Most things in
nature are shaped by water, wind, temperature and the
interplay of the elements over time. A paint with stone aggregate served as layer one. Then I let water do the work
of laying trails for veining, black and then white and then
black with a chalky overlay to bring out the impression of
minerals layered in translucency.

Because the building employs state-of-the-art technology to carry out its missional work, it seemed important
to convey this feature in the installation. This drives the
second use of light as metaphor. Because the Gothic arch
historically opened the interior to the light, I would still
like to build a green-energy light projection that will imply historic tracery. So far, we have consulted with several
companies who say it cant be done in that space. But I
believe that the right technology will come.The tondo
(a round painting or relief) has long been a signifier of
divine space, and the Trinity of Circles crowning the top
gives deference to our Triune God.

The miracle of the Gothic arch in its time was that it displaced mass with volume. Romanesque stone walls gave
way to stained glass, allowing dark interiors to be flooded
with glorious lightthe metaphor that God uses throughout Scripture to communicate what He is like. Therefore,
this installation makes use of the light metaphor in two
ways. The photographic images are offset from the wall
by one inch to allow light to be refracted in a haloed glow.
Each image floats in its own breathable space surrounded
by empty glass that can catch and corona the light. The
outer frame is made with traditional stained glass caming
with raised solders, a nod to the crafts initiated by the
Church past. Blackened with old world patina, a final zinc
white treatment gives the impression of age.
The photos rest behind museum glass, which accounts for
the startling image clarity. Because these photos are located adjacent to a wall of windows, a conservation grade
glass was necessary to preserve the photographs colors.
Light from the windows also threatened to block the images with reflections. The beauty of museum glass is that
it blocks 99 percent of light, leaving only one percent reflection for a near invisible finish. Prints of the photo sub30

contact | summer 2016

The grid pattern within the work plays off of the adjacent grid pattern in the right flanking window wall. The
arch frame plays off the adjacent metalwork in the left
flanking balcony rails. All three rise together in a manner
reminiscent of the Europe of Church history, with grand
architecture from multiple eras sharing the same skyline
in a neighborly way.
My time at GCTS was a season of sanctification for the
discipline I love. My desire ignited to be light in an art
world where night has fallen. As such, it is an honor to
serve the seminary community that has shaped me as a
cultural missionary, by developing this installation for
Gordon-ConwellCharlottes new David M. Rogers Hall
of Missions.
This installation is a testament to Christs continuing love
to the world through his Church. But my hope is that it
will do more than memorialize the service of saints present and past. My prayer is that it will sound the call to
those who have ears to hear it: the call to find your life by
losing it in Gods greater story.


alumni news

For Christian believers, Gods special grace enables us
to understand the depth of his common grace, which is
evident in more ways than we can count. We read about it
in Romans 1:20: For since the creation of the world Gods
invisible qualitieshis eternal power and divine nature
have been clearly seen, being understood from what has
been made, so that people are without excuse.
The striking reality of Gods common grace expressed
through the arts came to me through an encounter with
a local artist commissioned to depict Gordon-Conwell
campuses in four separate paintings. My husband and I
went to pick up the oil paintingsstriking images of places
that instruct and train men and women to be disciples and
share the Gospel to make other disciples. The artist (not
a believer) turned over each painting as he showed it to
us. He named each work. For the Hamilton campus, he
portrayed the Kerr building as seen driving up the hill
and called it Guiding the Lords Legions. A depiction
of the CUME building in Roxbury had the name New
Beginning. To his rendering of the Charlotte campus
building, he gave the title Doing the Lords Work, and
to the most recent campus extension, Gordon-Conwell
Jacksonville, Spreading the Word.
What made the images he created beautiful and his words
poignant was realizing that he used the gift of Gods
common grace to complete them. The artist knew little

about the background of each campus. His ability to create

and name these paintings with theological significance
came from the One who created him. The sayings were
moving to us because we knew them to be true and could
imagine faces of alumni who had gone to specific places
that God, in his sovereignty, called them to go. We knew
that through Gods special grace.
What a privilege as Christian believers that we know by
Gods special grace the source of creation, including the
arts and all good work. Gods creation and those who
further it by sharing the gifts He has given point to the
truth of a creatorthe one Creatorof every good and
perfect gift we can use for His honor.
Through Gods creation, including work in the arts, we see
his eternal power and divine nature fulfilled through the
lives of Gordon-Conwell alumninearly 10,000 in over 80
countries, including every state in the U.S. We trust that
as God acts in the lives of our alumni around the globe, we
will continue to reach all nations through all vocations by
his special grace at work in us.
Rhonda Gibson,
Director of Alumni Services
Ph: 978.646.4148


Gordon-Conwell faculty members
prepare men and women to apply the
Gospel to their particular vocations.
The professors pictured in the photo
may look familiar to many alumni
who attended the seminary in the
Faculty photo from 1986-87. From L-R, top
row: D. Wells, S. Mott, K. Swetland, C. Saylor, K.
Umenhofer; second row: R. Lints, G. Beale, D.
Stuart, G. Pratico, D. Jessen, D. Borgman; third
row: J. Niehaus, G. Bekker, R. Peace, G. Rosell,
R. Fillinger, R. Pendleton; bottom row: J. C.
Wilson, T. D. Gordon, E. Villafane, A. Spencer, J.
Davis, G. Ensworth

summer 2016 | contact



Watch for more details regarding

upcoming Alumni Connect events at the
following conferences:
June 2016

22 | PCA General Assembly (Mobile, AL)

24 | EPC Conference (Northville, MI)

July 2016

26-29 | CCCC Family Conference (Carlsbad, CA)

September 2016
Alumni Tour to Greece, Turkey and Rome

The Alumni Services offices will host an Alumni Tour to

Greece and Turkey, May 28-June 10, 2017, with an option
to continue on to Rome, June 11-13, 2017. We plan to
fill a bus of 45 participants who will study together the
early roots of Christian faith with Drs. David (M.Div.
97, Th.M. 99) and Christine Palmer (MAOT 97, MAR
99), adjunct faculty at Gordon-Conwell. The itinerary
for the tour is based on the missionary journeys of Paul
and includes Perga, Laodicea, Ephesus, Thessaloniki and
many more sites. Space is limited. For more information
and a tour itinerary, go to

8-9 | National Preaching Conference (Hamilton, MA)

November 2016

15-22 | ETS/SBL Annual Meetings (Atlanta, GA)

For alumni resources and a complete list
of events and to connect with other alumni,
visit the Alumni Services website

Faculty, Alums Contribute to New Study Bible

Nine Gordon-Conwell professors and alumni are
contributing authors to the recently published NIV
Zondervan Study Bible.
Faculty members include Dr. Donna Petter (MAR, MAOT
'97), Associate Professor of Old Testament, Director of the
Hebrew Language Program; Dr. Doug Stuart, Professor of
Old Testament; Dr. Eckhard Schnabel, Mary F. Rockefeller
Distinguished Professor of New Testament Studies.
Alumni include Dr. Timothy Keller (M.Div.75), Senior
Pastor, Redeemer Church, New York City; Rev. Kevin
DeYoung (M.Div. 02), Chancellors Professor of Systematic
and Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary,
and Senior Pastor, University Reformed Church, East
Lansing MI.

Tell Us What You Think

Also, Dr. Henri Blocher (B.D. 59, D.D/Honorary 89),

Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology, Facult Libre
de Thologie vanglique de Vaux-sur-Seine; John Currd
(M.Div. 77), Carl McMurray Professor of OT, Reformed
Theological Seminary - Charlotte.;
Dr. V. Philips Long (M.A., M.Div.
87), Professor of Old Testament,
B.C.; Dr. Jay A. Sklar (M.Div.96),
Professor of Old Testament, Dean
of Faculty, Covenant Theological
Seminary, St. Louis, MO and Dr.
Rikk E. Watts (M.A. Theological
Studies, M.Div. 87), Professor,
New Testament, Regent College,
Vancouver B.C.

Does your graduation year end in 6 or 1? If it does, this is your year! The seminary has implemented an alumni survey model
to target a different segment of its graduates each year. As a result, each graduate will receive a request for general feedback
every |five
years. Watch your email in June for a link to the online survey.
summer 2016

alumni notes

In Memoriam
Henry Doughty (57 M.Div.)went to be with the
Lord on August 20, 2015, at the age of 83. After
graduating from Gordon Divinity School, Henry
faithfully pastored several Baptist churches in the
Woodstock, Connecticut, area until he retired in
1996. He was also involved in the real estate field
for several years, having opened up Pine Knoll
Real Estate in 1972. Henry had a love for people
and learning, giving time to both.
Rev. Mark H. Schipul (70 MARE) went to be
with the Lord on August 16, 2015, at the age of 71.
From a very early age, Mark sensed his calling to
ministry. After graduating in 1970 from GordonConwell, Mark spent the next 36 years serving in
five different churches located in New England
and California. Mark is survived by his wife, three
children and several grandchildren.
Mary Louise Laird (89 MATS)went to be with the
Lord on June 9, 2015. Mary was born on January 7,
1942, and was a resident of Glen Allen, Virginia. She
received her Master of Theological Studies in 1989.
Bard-Alan Finlan (84 MATS) passed away on
July 6, 2015, at the age of 60. He lived in Rockport,
Massachusetts. Bard was passionate about music
and earned a Doctor of Music at the University
of Southern California in addition to his masters
in Theological Studies from Gordon-Conwell. He
was an accomplished conductor and singer and
was a member of Christ Church in Hamilton,
where he sang in the choir. Bard was a technician
for Verizon for several years in the Rockport area.
He is survived by his wife and three sons.

Gordon S. Grose (63 BD) recently
published Tragedy Transformed: How Jobs
Recovery Can Provide Hope for Yours (Believers
Press, 2015), which looks at how Job deals with
tragedy, depression and anger. Through the
example of Job and people today, Grose helps
his readers reflect on how biblical faith sustains
through tragic circumstances.

Leslie Howe (71 MATS), retired high school
math and computer science teacher, has written
some Windows computer programs to
benefit the Church at large. The purpose of the
program Memorize is to aid in the learning of
the Scriptures. She has written eight computer
programs for Christian education that are
available on YouTube and
George S. Steffey (73 M.Div.) published his first
novel for young adults, titled Courage to Surrender
(Inspiring Voices, 2016). He tells the story of four
couples in their late 30s who come to discover how
to build a church fellowship where people love
one another, signifying personal and institutional
transformation. The novel touches on issues that
afflict many families, including drug addiction,
financial pressures and loneliness, as well as the
frustrations of churches preoccupied with rules
and programs. George has served the homeless
and those with the disease of addiction for 30

years, and hence drew on his ample experience in

ministry through his writing.
Adele Ahlberg Calhoun (75 MATS) and her
co-author, Tracey D. Bianchi, released two
books: Women and Identity, LifeGuide Topical
Bible Studies (InterVarsity Press, 2015) and True
You: Overcoming Self-Doubt and Using Your
Voice (InterVarsity Press, 2015). In Women and
Identity, Calhoun and Bianchi provide nine
studies following the themes of embracing Gods
strength and wisdom to live whole lives, as well
as examples of women who have done so. InTrue
You,Calhoun and Bianchi assist women in finding
their true selves, community and identity in God.
Dr. Timothy Keller (75 M.Div.)is a contributing
author to the recently published NIV Zondervan
Study Bible. Dr. Keller wrote the articles The
Story of the Bible: How the Good News about
Jesus is Central and Shalom for the study Bible
that specifically focuses on biblical theology.
Kathy Keller (75 MATS) and Dr. Timothy Keller
(75 M.Div.)recently released their new book,The
Songs of Jesus: A Year of Daily Devotions in the
Psalms (Viking, 2015). The Kellers provide their
readers with brief devotionals through the Psalms
as well as how to turn each Psalm into a prayer.
Karl Gustafson (78 M.Div.) resides in Durham,
North Carolina, and is currently employed as
a project manager at the University of North
Carolina, Chapel Hill. He has been married to
JoAnn Cace since 1976. They have two children:
Ryan,30, and Nicole, 33. Karl and JoAnn are also
the proud grandparents of two girls.

the subject of Dr. Silvias doctoral dissertation

had been presented in a scholarly venue outside
of his Trinity Southwest University dissertation
committee. On November 30, 2015, Dr. Silvia
defended his doctoral dissertation, titled The
Middle Bronze Age Civilization-Ending Event in
the Middle Ghor.
Reverend George W. Battle (88 MARE)recently
published Battlefields in the World and in
Christendom: Confrontational Scenarios (Dorrance,
2015).In his new book, Rev. Battle shares his life
from his rebellious youth through his journey
of becoming a pastor. Through the episodes and
events of his life, readers discover the working
power of salvation.
Jimmy Dodd (88 M.Div.) recently released
his new book, Survive or Thrive: 6 Relationships
Every Pastor Needs (David C. Cook, 2015). In his
book, Jimmy discusses how those in pastoral
ministry can find support and accountability
from relationships with a boss, counselor, trainer,
mentor, coach and good friend.
Mary Riso (89 M.Div.; 04 Th.M.) recently
released her new book,The Narrative of the Good
Death: The Evangelical Deathbed in Victorian
England (Ashgate, 2015). In her book, Mary
provides her readers with an understanding of
the concept of death and the afterlife among the
mid-19th-century Evangelical Nonconformists in
England. Analyzing over 1,200 obituaries from
this period, Mary shows the change of attitude
toward death and the afterlife as revealed by the
words of the dying.

Dr. Paul Borthwick (80 M.Div.; 07
D.Min.) released Great Commission, Great
Compassion: Following Jesus and Loving the World
(InterVarsity, 2015) in December.In his book, Dr.
Borthwick shows how the proclamation and the
demonstration of the Gospel must go together
and providesways for how to live out the Great
Commission and Great Compassion in all areas
of life.
Rev. Dr. Kevin Yoho (81 M.Div.) recently
published two articles: Presbyterian Basketball:
Looking to Improve Your Game? in Presbyterians
Today (Vol. 105, Issue 2, 2015), and Mission
Connectivity: A Tale of Two Cities in The Living
Pulpit (Vol. 25, Issue 1, 2015).
Rev. Lorraine Anderson (83 M.Div.) retired as
the Senior Pastor of International Community
Church, Boston, on July 1, 2015.
David Kilpatrick (86 MATS)is the author of the
recently published book Essentials of Assessing,
Preventing, and Overcoming Reading Difficulties
(Essentials of Psychological Assessment), 1st Ed.
(Wiley, 2015). In his book, David provides a
practical, in-depth guide to reading assessment
and intervention, and a detailed discussion of
the nature and causes of reading difficulties.
David also offers an assessment of such topics
as phonics skills, reading fluency and reading
Dr. Phil Silvia (86 M.Div), Tall el-Hammam
Excavation Project Field Supervisor and Director
of Analysis, recently presented his paper to NEAS
titled The Civilization-Ending 3.7KYrBP Kikkar
Event: Archaeological Data, Sample Analyses,
and Biblical Implications. This was the first time

Dr. Mimi Haddad (91 MATS) recently came out

with a five-part DVD and workbook series, Is
Gender Equality a Biblical Ideal? (Christians for
Biblical Equality, 2015), that explores the biblical,
historical and social precedent for womens
shared leadership in the church and world. The
series looks at various topics including Scripture,
church history and working cross-culturally.
Dr. Catherine McDowell (96 MA; 97 MAR),
Assistant Professor of Old Testament, recently
publishedThe Image of God in the Garden of Eden:
The Creation of Humankind in Genesis 2:5-3:24
in Light of the mis pi pit pi and wpt-r Rituals of
Mesopotamia and Ancient Egypt (Eisenbrauns,
2015). Copies are available through the GordonConwellCharlotte bookstore.
Dr. Donna Petter (97 MAR; 97 MAOT),
Associate Professor of Old Testament and
Director of the Hebrew Language Program, is a
contributing author to the recently publishedNIV
Zondervan Study Biblewith her work on Ezekiel.
Dr. Petter was part of a team of 60 contributors for
the new study Bible that focuses specifically on
the unfolding of theological concepts in Scripture.
Dr. Soong-Chan Rah (94 M.Div.; 05
D.Min.) is Milton B. Engebretson Associate
Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at
North Park Theological Seminary. Dr. Rahrecently
published Prophetic Lament: A Challenge to the
Western Church (InterVarsity Press, 2015), a
prophetic exposition of the book of Lamentations.
In his book, Dr. Rah provides his readers a
way to examine the churchs relationship with
the suffering in our world through the lens of
Dr. Steven Tsoukalas (90 M.Div.) recently
released The Bhagavad Gita: Exegetical and
summer 2016 | contact


Comparative Commentary with Sanskrit Text,
Translation, Interlinear Transliteration with
Parsing, Mini Lexicon, and Text-Critical Notes. Vol.
6. This is following his five other volumes that
translateThe Bhagavad Gita.Dr. Tsoukalas is also
the editor of the recently published bookStudies
in the Ontology of the Bhagavad Gita: What is
Ones View of God, the Universe, and the Soul?
Steven Samuel (95 M.Div.)continues to serve as
pastor at Westbury Gospel Tabernacle on Long
Island, New York, where he has been for over 18
years. The church recognized 50 years of ministry
with a celebration in June 2015. Stephen and his
wife, Elizabeth, have two teenage daughters,
Rebecca and Rachel. They appreciate the prayers
of Gods people everywhere for their family and
Marcella Charles (96 M.Div.) serves on the
Vision/Leadership Team of Clergy Women United
(CWU) of the Black Ministerial Alliance (BMA)
of Greater Boston. CWU recently sponsored
its annual retreat for female pastor associates,
chaplains and others in ministry, with over 40 in

Dr. Patricia Batten (00 M.Div.; 08 D.Min.)
is serving as an interim pastor at Community
Massachusetts, where she grew up. Patricia also
is a Ranked Adjunct Professor of Preaching at
Gordon-Conwell and preaches and teaches at
Hope Community Church in Newburyport,
Rev. Chad C. Fernald (01 M.Div.) recently
completed his first full-length book, Living
Wisdom (Richter Publishing, 2015), a study on
developing patterns for living well based on the
principles found in the biblical books of wisdom.
Chad has also authored a devotional, Reflections
on the Cross (available as an e-book through
Amazon). Chad serves as the founding minister/
lead elder of Community Faith Network in the
Tampa Bay, Florida, area. Chads website is

Kevin DeYoung (02 M.Div.) has been appointed

the Chancellors Professor of Systematic and
Historical Theology at Reformed Theological
Seminary (RTS). He will teach at RTS while
he continues as Senior Pastor of University
Reformed Church in East Lansing, Michigan. As
Chancellors Professor, Kevin is able to teach at
multiple RTS campuses. He is also a contributing
author to the recently published NIV Zondervan
Study Biblewith his article Sin.Pastor DeYoung
is one of 60 contributors for the new study Bible
that focuses specifically on the unfolding of
theological concepts in Scripture.

staff of a church in southwest London for eight


Dr. Natalie R. Eastman (02 M.Div.; 05

D.Min.), author of Women, Leadership and the
Bible: How Do I Know What to Believe? A Practical
Guide to Biblical Interpretation (Cascade Books,
2014), released her new online training and
coaching program, Biblical Breakthrough! in
August 2015.

Gina A. Zurlo (07 MAR), Assistant Director of

the Center for Global Christianity, was recently
quoted in an article in Newsweek with regard to
the rise of Catholicism in Africa.

Dr. Conley Hughes (02 D.Min.) received the

Daniel Sharp Award from The Conference of
Baptist Ministers in Massachusetts. This annual
award is given to one who demonstrates care
and dedication to the ministry of Jesus that aligns
with The American Baptist Ministers Council
Covenant and Code of Ethics. Dr. Hughes has
served for over 40 years in vocational ministry
as pastor, adjunct professor, advisor and mentor.
In the past, Dr. Hughes has served as an adjunct
professor at Gordon-Conwell, and currently he
serves on its Board of Advisors.
Jonathan Dodsons (05 M.Div.; 06 Th.M.)
book, The Unbelievable Gospel: Say Something
Worth Believing (Zondervan, 2014), recently won
an award from Christianity Todays 2015 Book
Awards. Dodsons book was listed under the
category of Apologetics/Evangelism. In his book,
Dodson discusses how to use the metaphors that
are found in Scripture to communicate the Gospel
to the diverse world in which we live.
Wing Yu Lam (05 M.Div.) graduated with a
Doctor of Philosophy degree in missiology at
Concordia Theological Seminary in March 2015.
He is now serving at Overseas Chinese Mission
in New York as a pastor of Cantonese ministries.

Dr. Jared E. Alcntara (04 M.Div.) recently

released his new book, Crossover Preaching:
Conversation with Gardner C. Taylor (InterVarsity
Press, 2015). Through an analysis of Gardner
C. Taylors preaching, Alcntara shows how
preachers and homileticians need to develop an
improvisational-intercultural approach to reach a
growing intercultural church.

While on a ministry trip to Katmandu, Nepal,

recent Gordon-Conwell graduate John Park (16
M.Div.) was able to visit alum Samuel Tamang
(05 MATH). Samuel has played a vital role in
helping to plant hundreds of local churches in
the Katmandu area. He has also participated
in several rescue operations with NGOs and
missions teams. Through his work and leadership,
many Nepalese have had the chance to hear the
Good News of Jesus.

MACO) recently
published Ready for More: How Millennials Like
You Are Destined to Change the Church (Credo
House, 2015). In her new book, Sara discusses
how God might be preparing the millennial
generation to catalyze the next Reformation
within the church.

Bert Hickman (07 MAR), Senior Research

Associate at the Center for the Study of Global
Christianity, was recently quoted in an article
from Religion News Service discussing the
decline of missionaries with the Southern Baptist
signal agency, the International Mission Board.

M.Div.) recently
releasedTalking with Catholics about the Gospel:
A Guide for Evangelicals (Zondervan, 2015).In his
new book, Dr. Castaldo addresses questions and
common misunderstandings about Catholicism,
and discusses Catholicisms history and doctrines.
As a former Catholic, Dr. Castaldo is able to help
his readers know how to share the Good News in
a gracious and kind manner with Catholics who
do not know Christ.


contact | summer 2016

Dr. Michael Moses (07 D.Min.)was unanimously

elected Moderator of the EPC 35th General
Assembly. Dr. Moses serves as the pastor of Lake
Forest Church in Huntersville, North Carolina,
as well as adjunct professor at Gordon-Conwell
Bobby Warrenburg (07 M.Div.) was officially
installed as the pastor of North Shore Community
Baptist Church in Beverly, Massachusetts, on
September 13, 2015. After graduation from
Gordon-Conwell, Bobby served on the pastoral

Dr. Jeffery A. Williams (07 D.Min.)was recently

appointed Bishop Designate with the Covenant
Ecumenical Fellowship and Cathedral Assemblies
(CEFCA). Dr. Williams received his holy orders
on August 2, 2015. His transition to the office
will be completed within a year with a Service of
Sacred Consecration. Dr. Williams is the founder
and Chief Empowerment Officer of The Kings
Cathedral in Olneyville, Providence, Rhode

Dr. Ryan Lokkesmoe (08 MANT) graduated with

a Ph.D. in biblical studies from the University
of Denver in August 2015. Ryan previously
published a book titled Blurry: Bringing Clarity
to the Bible (CLC Publications, 2014). He also
wrote an article for Relevant magazine titled The
Dangers of Making Jesus Look Like Us, as well as
an article for the LifeWay Small Groups website
titled Dont be the Expert. Ryan developed a
small group curriculum for LifeWay based on Eric
Masons book Unleashed, which will be released
in 2016.

Rev. Virginia Ward (10 MAYM)was awarded the
2015 Ruth Barron Award on October 21, 2015, at
the 23rd Tribute to Outstanding Women Awards
Dinner by YWCA Cambridge. She was given the
award for her service in the community.
Igor Alexis (11 MATH) and wife, Andrea,
recently shared about their efforts to provide
lunches for children in Haiti with the Danvers
Herald (Massachusetts).
publishedManger King: Meditations on Christmas
and the Gospel of Hope (Discovery House,
2015). John provides 25 meditations that focus
specifically on the redemptive story of Jesus
Christ, spanning from his birth to the cross.
David P. Bodanza (13 M.Div.)released his new
book, Breaking Good News: God News That You
Can Use (WestBow Press). In his book, Bodanza
gives readers examples of how to share the Good
News through a collection of 52 short articles
originally published every week in a hometown
Natasha Sistrunk Robinson (14 MACL) released
her new book, Mentor for Life: Finding Purpose
through Intentional Discipleship (Zondervan,
2016), on March 1, 2016. She is the visionary
founder of the nonprofit Leadership LINKS, Inc.
A former Marine Corps officer, Natasha serves
as a Bible teacher, writer, anti-human trafficking
advocate and champion for education.
Gentry Eddings (15 MACT)and his wife, Hadley,
were featured in an article in The Charlotte
Observer, where they reflect on the loss of their
sons in a car accident in May 2015. They share
about their pain, but also the hope that comes
from knowing the resurrected Lord. Gentry is the
pastor of the Ballantyne campus of Forest Hill
Church, Charlotte, North Carolina.


opening the word

The Original Artist

Genesis 1:1
William David Spencer, Th.D.

ric Werner, a professor of liturgical music, put it well

when he observed, The concept of art as a deluxe
commodity of life, a concept of our time, was utterly
alien to the ancient world.
Music, for example, was an organic part of daily life, linked
with a thousand bonds to all human concerns, from life to
death.1 Certainly, all throughout the Bible, the arts are not
peripheral. They are integral to all divine and human activity.
From the outset, Scripture recounts the artistic activities of
God. Did you ever notice that the Bible does not begin with
eternityGod existing in perfection in timelessness? Instead,
it begins with an artistic event. The opening words of Genesis are In the beginning, God created the heavens and the
earth. The Bible describes God crafting the universe from
formless matter just like a sculptor shapes a mass of stone
into a figure. And all of who God is is involved, brooding on
the water, speaking the word to create and creating. And,
when we speak of Gods art, we dont mean artifice, simply arranging already existing things, or sub-creating, as we
do. We mean the initial creative crafting of all that is!
In the Bible, we discover the earth (or cosmic matter) is Gods
canvas, we might say, on which God paints the world. Its
Gods musical scales on which God composes the symphony
of life. Its Gods sculpture in which God crafts all that has
shape, and breathes the breath of life into so much of creation. It is Gods performance space in which God enacts and
directs the drama of life itself. It is Gods real installation.
When we say that we and our world are Gods art, we are
saying something profound.
What is art? To me, art is excellent craft that communicates
something beyond itself. In creation, all that is is Gods craft
that communicates something about our Maker:

nor are there words; their voice is not heard; Yet their voice
goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of
the world (Psalm 19:1-4, NRSV).
When we look at each other and around at our beautiful
world, we should realize we are, in fact, illustrations of information about the great, relational, loving God.
We often wonder, in this postmodern age, how we can share
the Good News of the God who created us all to be in an
obedient love relationship that will unite us with our Creator
and one another in a world now so sadly divided.
The Bible tells us God has already set the precedent, so that
every sculptor, filmmaker, pictorial artist, musician, writer,
poet, dancer and performing artist, every crafter who creates
to Gods glory, speaks of the God we worshipwith or without words. And our message blends with heaven and earth in
praise of God our Creator.
1 Eric Werner, Music, in George Arthur Buttrick, et. al, The Interpreters Dictionary
of the Bible, vol. 3 (Nashville: Abingdon, 1962), 457.

Rev. Dr. William David Spencer, Th.D., is Gordon-Conwells Distinguished Adjunct Professor
of Theology and the Arts, based on the Boston
campus. His recent contribution sharing the
Good News through the arts is his novel, Name
in the Papers, which was awarded The Southern California Motion Picture Councils Golden
Halo Award for Outstanding Contributions to
Literature. He has won 20 other editing and
writing awards, including being co-recipient of the Edgar Award
book of the year for Mysterium and Mystery. He has several hundred articles, editorials, poems and reviews in print, as well as 14
books, including God through the Looking Glass: Glimpses from the
ARTS, and his latest, Redeeming the Screens, about the current
Hollywood Revival, edited with another Golden Halo Award winner,
Gordon-Conwell alumna Jeanne De Fazio.

The heavens are telling the glory of God, and the firmament
proclaims Gods handiwork. Day to day pours forth speech,
and night to night declares knowledge. There is no speech,

summer 2016 | contact


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