The Ministry Magazine of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

SP RI NG ’1 3 | VOL . 41 NO. 1

ww /contac tma g a z i ne 1

Persevering in Hope in a Challenging World

An Anchor Through the Storms of Sandy Hook


refl ections from the president



culture have confronted the Body of Jesus Christ in


eing a Christian has never been easy. Opposition from within the Church (through discord and heresy), and opposition from the

We also recall that opposition, whether external or internal, calls for faithfulness, wisdom and endurance on the part of believers. Martyrs were frequently witnesses for Christ precisely because their character and actions demonstrated the reality of Christ within them. In this issue of Contact, we are reminded that despite the trials of our times, God is ultimately in control, and thus there is hope. In the midst of the challenges, our lives are also to reflect the very righteousness, mercy and faithfulness of our Lord, who says to us, “Everyone will hate you because of me, but those who stand firm to the end will be saved” (Mk. 13:13).

4 8 12 15 20 24
Anne B. Doll Dr. Aída Besançon Spencer

some manner in every period of history. At times the opposition has led to ridicule or isolation, and at other
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times even to martyrdom. The resistance to Christian faith shows no signs of letting up in the days ahead. In the face of challenge or even hostility, we are

The Ministry Magazine of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

An Anchor Through the Storms of Sandy Hook The First Century Church Persevering in Hope in a Challenging World
Danielle Durant (M.Div. ’92) Dr. Todd M. Johnson

The Demographics of Martyrdom The Living Gospel
Dr. Frank A. James III

27 29 30 34 34 36 39

development news faculty profile seminary news alumni profiles upcoming events alumni news opening the word
Dr. Catherine McDowell

reminded of divine resources on the one hand and the calling upon our lives on the other hand. In opposition and persecution in its varied forms (physical or psychological), we find strength and hope through the presence and power of God to grant grace and endurance. Believers who suffer for the sake of the Kingdom know that there is ultimate hope through Christ, but also hope in the midst of the greatest challenges of the moment. God has not abandoned us in the direst situations of life.

Dennis Hollinger, Ph.D. President & Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics

Athanasius: Two Aspects of Faithfulness Under Fire
Dr. Donald Fairbairn

Athanasius: Two Aspects of Faithfulness Under Fire

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Inquiries regarding Contact may be addressed to: Editor, Contact Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary 130 Essex Street, S. Hamilton, MA 01982 Tel: 978.468.7111 or by Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary does not discriminate on the basis of race, gender, national or ethnic origin, age, handicap or veteran status.

BOARD OF TRUSTEES Dr. Dennis P. Hollinger President Dr. John A. Huffman, Jr. Chairman Dr. Claude R. Alexander, Jr. Vice Chairman Shirley A. Redd, M.D. Secretary Mr. Ivan C. Hinrichs Treasurer Mr. Joel B. Aarsvold Mrs. Linda Schultz Anderson Rev. Dr. Garth T. Bolinder Rev. Dr. Richard P. Camp, Jr. Mr. Thomas J. Colatosti Dr. Stan D. Gaede

Mrs. Joyce A. Godwin Mrs. Sharon Fast Gustafson Rev. Dr. Michael E. Haynes Mr. Herbert P. Hess Mr. Caleb Loring, III Mrs. Joanna S. Mockler Dr. Charles W. Pollard Mr. Fred L. Potter Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, Jr. Mrs. Virginia M. Snoddy Joseph W. Viola, M.D. Rev. Dr. John H. Womack William C. Wood, M.D. CHAIRMAN EMERITUS Dr. George F. Bennett

EMERITI MEMBERS Dr. Richard A. Armstrong Rev. Dr. Leighton Ford Mr. Roland S. Hinz Mr. Richard D. Phippen Mr. John G. Talcott, Jr. Rev. Dr. Paul E. Toms CO-FOUNDER & TRUSTEE EMERITUS Dr. William F. Graham PRESIDENT AND TRUSTEE EMERITUS Dr. Robert E. Cooley PRESIDENT EMERITUS Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.

PRESIDENT’S COUNCIL Dr. Dennis P. Hollinger President Mr. Jay Trewern Vice President for Finance and Operations / CFO Dr. Richard Lints Vice President for Academic Affairs Mr. Kurt W. Drescher Vice President of Advancement Mrs. Lita Schlueter Dean of Students and Director of Student Life Services

CONTACT MAGAZINE Director of Communications and Marketing Mr. Michael L. Colaneri Senior Communications Advisor and Editor of Contact Mrs. Anne B. Doll Assistant Editor Mrs. Heather N. Korpi Graphic Designer Ms. Nicole S. Rim Graphic Design Intern Mr. Schuyler Anderson

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on the

front lines


t hro u g h the


sandy hook
anne b. d o l l
On Friday, December 14, 2012, a heavily armed gunman breached the security system of the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, CT, and began firing. Within five minutes, six educators and 20 children had lost their lives in the second worst school shooting in U.S. history. One of the victims, a six-year-old girl, was a Sunday School classmate of Pastor Rob Morris’ oldest son at Newtown’s Christ the King Lutheran Church. Within the week, the Gordon-Conwell alumnus would officiate at her funeral in this same Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod where he had been ordained and installed as pastor four months earlier.


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on the

front lines
society, an anchor is usually a negative image. But it certainly isn’t to anyone who has been on a ship during a storm. In that circumstance, you need a fixed point outside the boat, outside of yourself, that can anchor you. The reality of what was accomplished on the cross was just as true on Dec. 15 in Newtown as it Pastor Rob Morris earned M.Div. and was on Dec. 13 in Newtown. M.A. in Biblical Languages degrees While our confidence may from Gordon-Conwell in 2007. While a student at the seminary, he was also be shaken, our hope has a full-time staff member at Our Savior not because of our certainty Lutheran Church in Topsfield, MA. that the historical fact of Christ’s death and resurrection, the historical fact of our baptism into that resurrection life haven’t changed one bit by what happened on that day.” Surprisingly, Rob cannot recall a single instance when someone asked the question, “Why did God allow this to happen?” He suspects the absence of the question may relate to the degree to which Lutheran theology “is grounded in the fact that we are all sinful. Human nature is sinful; and evil, sickness and death in this world are all the result of that sin. God does not create or condone sin.” The appropriate response in confronting sin and its effects, he adds, “is to recognize that they are the same sinful behaviors and sinful nature that Christ has saved us from, that this world is certainly not what God intended it to be, and not the way his perfect creation will be once again after Christ’s return.” Pastor Rob says that in the immediate aftermath of the mass shooting, the grief that he and his church family experienced was overwhelming. “You can’t grasp what has happened, and even the small portion you can grasp is just crushing. There was a lot of weeping. It was probably a month before I could go through a service without needing a box of tissues on the pulpit. “ That first Sunday, he told the congregation that the verse to remember was “Jesus wept.” The appropriate response, he said, “was not to come up with an explanation, or even necessarily to assign blame, but to recognize that when heartbreaking and shocking and horrific things happen in life, the only proper response is to do what Jesus did—to lament. “From the very beginning, I tried to let the congregation know that there’s no one right way to grieve, to feel. We’re not all going to feel the same thing

on the

front lines
at the same time, so be honest about where you’re at and be patient with one another. Expect that sometimes you’re going to weep and sometimes you’ll laugh. Sometimes when you expect to weep, you won’t; and sometimes when you expect to feel good, you will find it unbearable. There’s no one right way to process what has happened.” He noticed this even in his seventh and eighth grade confirmation class when he met with them a week later. “Some of them,” he says, “would still tear up as we talked about Sandy Hook, and others would say, ‘We don’t think it’s right to be sad about this all the time.’” Shortly after the events of Dec. 14, the synod provided Rob’s church with a licensed counselor who specializes in disaster response. A month later, that individual returned for a week, during which he met with the church council, held an event for congregation members and was available to meet one-on-one with affected family members and those in care-giving positions at the church. Rob says that one of the greatest blessings to emerge “from a horrific situation” is the degree to which the congregation has warmly supported each other. “The biggest thing I see is people hugging and loving one another, being with one another, interacting with each other and wishing to help. People come early and stay late. And they ask if there is anything they can do, anything at all.” As a pastor, Rob has learned much, and is still learning from the events of Dec. 14. Hearkening back to his theme, he observes: “I think there are many very faithful Christian believers who root some of their certainty in the Christian life in subjective feelings and experiences—that you’re a genuine Christian if you’re growing in your emotions and exhibiting more and more of ‘fill-in-the-blank.’ While there’s some truth to that, that there’s a growth pattern in the Christian life, your absolute certainty can never be rooted in those things, but in facts that are unchanged. Otherwise,” he says, “when new, horrific facts come along, the response can be ‘I don’t feel like I’m supposed to feel and am not behaving the way I’m supposed to behave, and what does that say about me as a Christian?’ “What we look to is the certainty of what Christ has done for us, never to our own hope,” he adds, “because when an occurrence like this comes along, it strips you of every other source of hope.”
Anne B. Doll is Senior Communications Advisor and Editor of Contact Magazine at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.

n that never-to-be-forgotten Friday, Pastor Morris was enjoying his normal day off with his wife, Christy, and two sons, Elijah and Isaiah, when the phone rang at 9:30 a.m. It was the Newtown School System alerting the Morris family of a lockdown at Sandy Hook Elementary. He says that initially he “wasn’t thinking that it was anything like it turned out to be.” A previous incident at a downtown bank had also sent the schools into lockdown. Then a church member reported a shooting at Sandy Hook. Rob immediately headed to the church, where his administrative assistant was already assembling a list of church members with links to the school. “I started calling all the families on the list. Fortunately, I was able to reach most of them and find out that their children or the adults at the school were safe.” But Rob also learned that the parents of one child had gone to the school and could not find their daughter. So he headed to a firehouse staging area where families could connect with children, teachers and staff members. And thus began a vigil with an anguished father and mother that eventually moved to their home and lasted until after 1 a.m. the next morning. What does a pastor do and say in such times of abject horror? “You pray, you sit with them, you share Scripture and offer comfort and support in any way you can,” Rob replies. During that long vigil, he also shared his own experience of waiting and grief. “In our case,” Rob explains, “our youngest son, Isaiah, attends a special needs preschool (in the Newtown School System) because he has epilepsy. The first time he had a seizure, he went off in the ambulance with Christy and I had to stay home with our son, Elijah. I didn’t know whether I would ever see Isaiah alive again. “I explained to the parents that while my circumstance wasn’t the same as the one they faced, here was how God had comforted me: that our children are always in God’s hands. They’re a trust from him; they don’t belong to us. A situation like this, when there is literally nothing you can do, is a very strong and difficult reminder that he’s in control, that whatever the circumstances were, their daughter was in God’s hands.”
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That evening, while Rob waited with the parents for final confirmation from the police that their child had died, his church held a prayer service. Joining them were all the pastors of the local Missouri Synod circuit and the district president. Members would later describe it as “a beautiful and very mournful time of prayer and Scripture.” Similar services were held for the next six evenings, and now take place on the 14th of each month. On Saturday, Rob met with a second family who had requested a Lutheran pastor, because their young son had been baptized a Lutheran. He conducted that child’s funeral the following Monday. His church had to take immediate action on other fronts as well, such as developing a policy for responding to media from around the world, and instituting numerous security measures because of threatening calls directed at public places. “For about two weeks,” he says, “it was very surreal.” Prior to the tragic events at Sandy Hook, the church had scheduled a children’s Christmas pageant for Sunday, December 16. The leadership decided that this pageant should take place—as a way to honor the children still with them, to maintain some sense of normalcy for the young people, and to convey that the church remained a safe place. At the beginning of the service, Rob announced that during the worship time, he would not address directly the events of the preceding Friday, but would comment after the pageant and his children’s sermon. Parents could determine whether their children should remain, or be dismissed to the fellowship hall. Waiting there would be comfort dogs provided by Lutheran Church Charities. That organization takes trained dogs and their handlers to the site of emergencies and tragedies. “The children could go hang out and pet the dogs,” Rob explains. “It was kind of fun and comforting to have some trained dogs around.” The words of comfort and assurance the pastor then shared on that first Sunday have become a theme of sorts for subsequent sermons and adult Bible studies. “Our hope,” he said, “lies not in our own behavior or emotions, but in the certainty of what Christ has accomplished for us on the cross and delivered to us through his means of grace. Through his Word and sacraments, he has joined us to him in that resurrection life. That becomes the solid point, the anchor. In our

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he miraculous advancement of the gospel started with a handful of everyday men and women waiting in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit. Remarkably, in their lifetimes, without modern transportation or communication and amid ruthless persecution, the knowledge and hope of Christ had spread as far as Europe, India, Africa and elsewhere.

It was through the power of five indispensable components of spiritual transformation: Jesus, the content of power; prayer, the means of power; the Holy Spirit, the transporter of power; witnessing, the goal of power; and the Father, the source of power. All five working together can help believers, as Barnabas exhorted, “remain true to the Lord with all their hearts” (Acts 11:23 TNIV). Spiritual transformation is analogous to photosynthesis, where an everyday plant can miraculously manufacture food. Food is the content produced to nourish. The root is the means by which to absorb the water and nutrients. A plant’s stem transports water and food. The leaf, above ground, is the goal because it absorbs carbon dioxide and releases oxygen. And the

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sunlight is the source that gives energy. Similarly, Jesus nourishes us; prayer is the means to connect to God; the Holy Spirit transports our prayers; witnessing is our goal to communicate to the outside world; and, ultimately, God the Father is our source who energizes all activities. Acts 1:8 sets the theme for the Book of Acts when Jesus tells his followers that “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”1 It all began with Jesus of Nazareth, as Peter said, “a man attested by God before you with deeds of power and wonders and signs which God did through him among you” (2:22). Almost 200,000 people would visit Jerusalem at Pentecost, when the wheat harvest was ready to eat. When the crowds in Jerusalem become impressed with the sound like “a rushing forcible blast” (a tornado), and the sight over the disciples of divided tongues as in a “fire,” and the speaking of the disciples in many languages (2:24), Peter gives credit to God and in particular to God’s Son, Jesus (2:32-33). Again, in Caesarea, when Peter explained to the Gentile Cornelius and his household why an angel commanded Cornelius to contact him, he gives credit to Jesus of Nazareth whom God anointed with the Holy Spirit and with power (10:38-39).


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The first thing we learn about power in the book of Acts is that the disciples’ power was not in their natural might or force. It came from God, God working through humans, and this power began with Jesus. Why Jesus? Jesus resurrected from the dead. As Peter said: It was impossible for Jesus to be held in death’s power (2:24). Jesus, at the right hand of God, poured out the wind and the fire and the tongues (2:33). He remained Lord and Messiah, even though he had been crucified (2:36). Paul, too, explained that he himself stood in chains before King Agrippa and Bernice because he hoped in the promise given to the Jews that the Messiah would suffer but then be the first to be resurrected from the dead (26:6-8, 22-23). Power should never become an end in itself. As Lord Acton said, “power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely,” when it is an end in itself. That was the problem with the magician Simon. They called him “the power of God that is called Great” (8:10). He amazed the people of Samaria with his magic (8:11). But Simon became himself amazed with Philip and then Peter and John; he wanted to pay to be able to lay hands on people so that they could receive the Holy Spirit (8:13-14, 18-19). Simon missed the point. It’s not about power. Power won’t save you. Jesus will. Simon asked for prayer (8:24), but according to the early church, Simon never got it right. If Jesus contains, or is the content of this power, then we should find lots of people praying in the book of Acts. And we do, because prayer is communication with the triune God. Prayer is the means of this power. Jesus had told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem (1:4), and this they did. But, what did they do while they waited? They prayed. The 11 apostles were “constantly devoting themselves to prayer, together with certain women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, as well as his brothers” (1:14). About 120 people were praying. They prayed between Passover and Pentecost (about 50 days). And, after Pentecost, the larger group of over 3,000 also prayed (2:42).
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Prayer set them up and kept them going. Prayer was a way to wait and a way to live. Because they prayed, they were tuned into their power source: God. Jesus said: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you” (1:8), but power is not an end in itself. When the Holy Spirit comes powerfully among people, they are empowered to speak and to act as eyewitnesses to Jesus’ life. Power comes only after people receive the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit fills people up. Peter, Stephen, Paul and the whole church are all “filled up” with God through the Holy Spirit. But the Holy Spirit also teaches, baptizes, foretells, speaks, encourages, predicts, decides and sends. Bearing witness is the goal of power. Peter explained to the religious authorities that it was only his faith in Jesus that could heal the man lame from birth (3:1216; 4:7-12). The point of these miracles was to direct people to the God who causes miracles. Moreover, Peter added: “There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among mortals by which we must be saved” (4:12). Stephen, who was “full of grace and power,” filled with the Holy Spirit, as he gazed into heaven even told his enemies: “Look...I see the heavens opened and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God!” (6:8, 7:55-56). All the apostles gave their testimony to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus with “great power” (4:33). Witnessing is the goal of power. Witnessing to Jesus’ life, death and resurrection gives life to others. We all get attracted to the marvelous miracles narrated in the book of Acts, but we may not remember all the opposition and conflict that ensued. When the Holy Spirit came at Pentecost, some were amazed, but others sneered (2:13). When Peter and John healed the man lame from birth, some were filled with wonder, but others were annoyed (3:10; 4:2). The temple authorities were so annoyed, they arrested the apostles several times (4:3; 5:18). Soon a great persecution began (8:1). But God worked through this great persecution to

spread the good news about Jesus to new cultural groups and new lands: Samaritans, even Gentiles, such as the treasurer from Ethiopia, Cornelius in Caesarea and Lydia in Europe. Jesus was powerful, but yet was persecuted when on earth and now Jesus’ body on earth, the church, is also powerful but yet persecuted. When Paul asked, “Who are you, Lord?” as he lay on the ground, Jesus answered, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (9:5). So, too, does the church suffer opposition from the world. Those who believe appreciate its life-giving message. Those who do not believe oppose it. But even the world’s persecution can be withstood by a fully vibrant church. Amidst the persecution of the early church, the triune God was active. God the Father’s power and will decided beforehand what would happen to Jesus, and God the Father anointed, resurrected and appointed Jesus as judge (e.g., 2:24; 4:2728; 10:42). The God who knows the heart also opens it and grants repentance (11:18; 15:8; 16:14). The book of Acts or “The Acts of Jesus through the Holy Spirit through the Apostles” is an exciting book to read. How can we ourselves enter into this dynamic, explosive world? I want to suggest four ways: learn, pray, ask and speak. First, learn about the content of power: Jesus the Messiah. He is the food that builds our faith. Study Acts and collate all you learn about Jesus. No one is more nourishing than Jesus! Second, prayer is the means of power. Therefore, pray that God will work miracles to bring about changed lives. Any one of us can be used by God if we pray, because when we pray we become like plant roots, absorbing Jesus’ water and food. Pray as a way to live, and also when life is in turmoil. Pray for one another. Pray to change people and to thank God. Listen to God as you pray. God will honor your prayers in Jesus’ name. Third, ask to be filled with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the transporter of power who brings heavenly power to your efforts.

Fourth, speak and act to witness about Jesus in religious and secular settings, before colleagues and rulers. Be ready to explain God’s point of view. Don’t be surprised by opposition. But ask God that you can become like Peter and John and Lydia. It was after the religious leaders told Peter and John not to speak to anyone about Jesus that the house church prayed for more boldness to speak and for God to heal through Jesus’ name (4:29-30). The dynamic Holy Spirit then shook up the place where they were gathered (4:31). Are you ready to receive this kind of power from the Holy Spirit? Sometimes we lose hope in today’s changing societies because we feel insignificant and overwhelmed by life. Yet remember, God used a few mostly unschooled, praying men and women filled with the Holy Spirit, built up in the knowledge of Jesus, and with God as their source, to take the gospel message of hope and everlasting life to lands and peoples they would never have imagined. As a result, our world is forever changed. And we are forever changed.
1 All Bible references are from the NRSV unless otherwise noted.

Dr. Spencer’s essay is an adaptation of a talk she delivered on Acts in the DVD series Disciple: Becoming Disciples through Bible Study, 2d ed. (Nashville: Abingdon, 2005).
Dr. Aída Besançon Spencer, Professor of New Testament, joined the faculty in 1982 after serving as a professor with New York Theological Seminary and Academic Dean with the Alpha-Omega Community Theological School (A.C.T.S.) in Newark, N.J., where she and her husband, Dr. William David Spencer, lived in community as Mastersin-Residence. She also served as a community organizer with Hispanics and as a campus chaplain. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church, she is Founding Pastor of Organization of Pilgrim Church in Beverly, MA. She has written or co-written 12 books and over 140 essays and articles, including most recently Marriage at the Crossroads (InterVarsity, 2009) and Global Voices on Biblical Equality (Wipf & Stock, 2008). Forthcoming this fall is Reaching for the New Jerusalem: A Biblical and Theological Framework for the City (co-edited with Drs. Seong Hyun Park and William David Spencer) and The Pastoral Epistles with the New Covenant Commentary Series (Cascade).

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And is it not the case that even we who hold fast to what we cognitively affirm—that God is sovereign and good—may still sometimes struggle to make sense of our emotions when we encounter a difficult passage of Scripture, or an experience such as betrayal or loss that challenges our view of an all-loving and powerful God? Indeed, consider bewildered Job under the scourge of suffering, or Joseph or John the Baptist languishing in prison, or faithful but barren Elizabeth and Zechariah, and countless others in the pages of Scripture who strained to discern God’s presence and purpose. So how do we help others see the hope of the gospel, and persevere in hope ourselves in a world where the biblical view of God is constantly challenged? First, Ravi Zacharias has observed that as we seek to address tough questions, it is critical to understand there is often a deeper question behind the one being posed. Hence, we must listen carefully to hear and respond to the actual question raised. He recalls how a young couple came to him after a speaking engagement in a church and asked how God could allow suffering and evil. As he began to offer a reply, he noticed that the woman was holding a child with a severe physical deformity. He surmised that the couple’s theological inquiry masked a deeper existential struggle. So he set aside the standard arguments of theodicy to consider the pain and confusion they were experiencing. This is not to suggest that some do not wrestle with the philosophical arguments for the problem of evil or God’s existence, but rather, that we need to take time to listen to our questioners so that we might truly hear their concerns. Sometimes, as with my longtime friend, we might even ask, “What do you mean?” In apologetics, this approach uses the law of identity, which involves identifying unspoken assumptions and presuppositions. This law states that everything that exists has a specific nature; for example, “A = A” or “A sheep is a sheep” (and not a cow). Thus, if someone remarks, “Sure, I believe in
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Over the days that followed, I tried to refrain from continually pointing her to numerous Bible passages that would challenge her intentions. After all, she knew them well. Rather, I spoke about God’s compassion in our brokenness and his Spirit’s transformative work in our lives, and encouraged her to talk with a counselor who could help unravel her deep and knotted burden. Sadly, a few months later, she chose to leave her church home and move in the direction she expressed. “I’m happy,” she told me. How does one counter that? Since my graduation from Gordon-Conwell, I have had the privilege to assist apologist Ravi Zacharias with his research and correspondence these past 21 years. If my experience with my friend and the emails and letters we receive are any reflection of the wider evangelical culture, there has been a noticeable shift in the questions raised by those who would identify themselves as Christians. Less than 10 years ago, the predominant questions were, if you will, intramural ones: “What is your view of predestination?” “Which version of the Bible is most accurate?” “What is the unpardonable sin?” More recently, however, many questions resemble ones we usually receive from skeptics or seekers at university engagements: “How can God be morally good if he ordered genocide in the Old Testament?” “How can I trust a God who allows suffering, hates homosexuals, doesn’t answer my prayer, etc.?” As such, I would suggest that many people, including those within the church, are wrestling with the fundamental character and nature of God, with questions concerning his goodness and trustworthiness. Think, for instance, of the confusion generated by Rob Bell’s book Love Wins. Yes, numerous pastors, scholars and bloggers revealed its flawed exegesis and arguments. Yet the book created profound cognitive dissonance for some readers and accomplished its purpose: to stir an emotional response to a depiction of an angry God and unfair judge.


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Jesus,” we rely upon the law of identity when we ask the person to tell us more about who this Jesus is. Is this the Jesus portrayed in the New Testament or The DaVinci Code? Or, we might follow up by asking the person to tell us what he or she means by “believe.” Does the individual’s understanding of belief amount to reasoned confidence or “blind” faith? (A common misperception is that science involves facts and evidence, whereas religious belief is based on myth, feelings or a wish-fulfillment for a benevolent God. And yet, science is unable to answer basic metaphysical questions such as “Why are we here?” or “Why is there something rather than nothing?” And atheism itself can be seen as a wish-fulfillment for no God and no absolute foundation for morality.) In such conversations, we may discover that “belief in Jesus” may be radically different from what the Bible presents. Thus, it is critical to listen carefully to those we seek to engage so that we might hear their underlying questions and unspoken assumptions. As my colleague Alister McGrath writes, “Apologetics is not a set of techniques for winning people to Christ. It is not a set of argumentative templates designed to win debates. It is a willingness to work with God in helping people discover and turn to his glory.”1 Second, though we may be seminary graduates pastoring churches or mature Christians discipling others, sometimes our own unsettled questions and unexamined assumptions can cloud our hope in God and our confidence in the gospel. When relationships fail, health deteriorates or vocations are lost, our understanding of God can be tested to the core when we, as philosopher Esther Lightcap Meek suggests, “Labor under the misimpression that we see what we see, that seeing is believing, that either I see it or I don’t.”2 The evidence for God’s existence and Christ’s uniqueness looks quite clear to me in light of the historical Scriptures, the pattern of the universe and conflicting worldviews. But there are times when I have questioned God’s goodness, because I perceived him to be unresponsive and unmoved by my troubled heart. Studying God’s Word didn’t lead me to this misperception; rather, my experience of loss did. And when our view of God is misguided, doubt eclipses hope and we may be tempted to take the seemingly “happy road” rather than trust in his sovereign but unforeseen plan. Yes, God is consistent and faithful to his Word, but he is not predictable. If he were, there would be no place for grace or mercy.3 He sends rain to the just and unjust. He rewards a prostitute’s shrewd deceit with a secure place in the Promised Land, while barring his prophet Moses from it because of a rash act of rage.4 Here I have discovered that we truly need the fellowship of other believers to help us see what we cannot
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see, to pray when we cannot pray and to hope when we struggle to hope. As Meek contends, “Sometimes, apart from someone else’s insistence and guidance, we don’t even get it right about the thoughts in our own head. We need to be taught how to see.”5 The prophet Daniel and the apostle Paul thrived in pagan, foreign worlds through a family of friends, persistent prayer and a steadfast hope against hope that God alone “changes times and seasons” and “no one can hold back his hand” (Dan. 2:21; 4:35). Paul wrote, “I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe” (Eph. 1:18-19a). And what is this hope? “Hope,” writes John Calvin, “is nothing else than the expectation of those things which faith previously believes to have been truly promised by God. Thus, faith believes that God is true; hope expects that in due season he will manifest his truth. Faith believes that he is our Father; hope expects that he will always act the part of a Father towards us. Faith believes that eternal life has been given to us; hope expects that it will one day be revealed. Faith is the foundation on which hope rests; hope nourishes and sustains faith.” 6 Likewise, we desperately need the mirror of God’s Word, for ultimately it is the one true and trustworthy reflection of who God is and who we are becoming. Here we are exhorted and comforted, chastened and encouraged by the One who loves us and can speak into our lives like no other. Here we can bring our longings, fears and questions before his throne of grace and let the light of Jesus’ presence shine into every dark and confusing place in our lives, “for God is greater than our hearts, and he knows everything” (1 John 3:20b). And it is in such places, Scripture tells us, that God “longs to be gracious” and promises that all “who hope in him will not be disappointed.”7
A longer version of this article, entitled “A Learned Craft,” appears in Just Thinking: The Quarterly Magazine of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries (Vol. 21.3), available online at
Alister McGrath, Mere Apologetics (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House, 2012), 41. Esther Lightcap Meek, Longing to Know: The Philosophy of Knowledge for Ordinary People (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2003), 99. 3 I am indebted to Roslyn Harden Scott, Ph.D., for this insight. 4 Of course, a close reading of Joshua 2 and Numbers 20 reveals that Rahab’s act of deception (risking her life to harbor the spies) was precipitated by her faith in the God of the Israelites, whereas Moses’ display of anger grew out of his lack of trust in God. Hebrews 11:31 commends her for her faith and James 2:25, for her works (faith in action). 5 Meek, 99. 6 John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, Book III, 2:42. 7 See Isaiah 30:18 and 49:23.
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Danielle Durant (M.Div. ’92) is Director of Research and Writing and Research Assistant to Ravi Zacharias at Ravi Zacharias International Ministries in Atlanta, GA.

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The English word “martyr” is derived from the Greek martys, which carries the meaning “witness” in English. In New Testament usage, it meant “a witness to the resurrection of Christ.” This witness resulted so frequently in death that by the end of the 1st century, martys had come to mean a Christian who witnessed to Christ by his or her death. This enlarged meaning has become the accepted norm throughout church history.

4. “In situations of witness.” “Witness” in this definition does not mean only public testimony or proclamation concerning the risen Christ. It refers to the entire lifestyle and way of life of the Christian believer, whether or not he or she is actively proclaiming at the time of being killed. 5. “As a result of human hostility.” This excludes deaths through accidents, crashes, earthquakes and other “acts of God,” illnesses or other causes of death, however tragic. It is important to note that this definition omits a criterion considered essential by many churches in their martyrologies—“heroic sanctity,” by which is meant saintly life and fearless stance. Those are certainly essential for a martyrology if it is to have compelling educational and inspirational value for church members under persecution, and in particular for new converts. Heroic sanctity is, however, not essential to the demographic definition, because many Christians have been killed shortly after their conversions and before they had any chance to develop Christian character, holiness or courage.

For a quantitative analysis of martyrdom, Christian martyrs are defined as “believers in Christ who have lost their lives prematurely, in situations of witness, as a result of human hostility.” This definition has five essential elements: 1. “Believers in Christ.” These individuals come from the entire Christian community of Roman Catholics, Orthodox, Protestants, Anglicans, Marginal Christians and Independents. By A.D. 2010, more than 2.2 billion individuals were deemed Christians, and since the time of Christ more than 8.5 billion have believed in Christ. 2. “Lost their lives.” The definition is restricted to Christians actually put to death, for whatever reason. 3. “Prematurely.” Martyrdom is sudden, abrupt, unexpected, unwanted.

result of their either (1) being Christians, or (2) being part of a Christian body or community, or (3) being Christian workers, or (4) averring the truth of Christianity, or (5) holding to some Christian tenet or principle or practice, or (6) holding to Christian tenets different from their opponents, or (7) speaking for Christ, or (8) refusing to deny Christ or their Christian convictions; which then results in violence and in their voluntarily or involuntarily losing their lives prematurely. Violence can include shedding their blood, being put to death, executed, assassinated, killed, stoned, clubbed to death, beheaded, guillotined, garroted, strangled, stabbed, eaten alive, gassed, injected, electrocuted, suffocated, boiled in oil, roasted alive, drowned, torched, burned, massacred, crucified, lynched, hanged, shot, murdered, pushed under oncoming traffic, immured, buried alive, crushed to death, poisoned, drugged to death, starved, deprived of medication, chemically or electronically killed, killed extrajudicially, killed under torture, killed due to beatings, killed in custody, killed in prison, killed soon after release from prison, or allowed or left to die. Any of these may take place with or without prior demand or opportunity to recant. Note that (6) above means that most Christians killed as alleged “heretics” down the ages should correctly be included in demographic enumerations of martyrs. Item (3) above also includes vocational Christian workers killed while engaged in ministry, or who lose their lives because they happen to be in the path of violence (this includes workers killed by robbers, soldiers, police, etc). Note also that the definition of demographic martyrdom includes those children and infants who lose their lives along with adult martyrs.

Likewise, in Latin America in the 1980s, we do not count as martyrs all Christians who became victims of political killings, but only those whose situations involved Christian witness. Typical illustrations of the latter include the vast number of cases of an entire congregation singing hymns as soldiers lock their church’s doors and proceed to burn it to the ground with no survivors. One adjustment to the total is to include “background martyrs,” or those very small or isolated or individual situations. They cover cases where a Christian is killed as a result of human hostility, but where the circumstances have nothing directly or immediately to do with organized Christianity.

Martyrdom comes about because of persecution and results in a death that is in itself a witness for Christ. In the early church, the idea developed that it was not enough to be called a Christian; one had to show proof. That proof was normally some kind of verbal acknowledgement (“witness”) of identification with Christ, starting with the confession “Jesus is Lord.” Baumeister writes: “Dying because one is a Christian is the action par excellence in which the disciple who is called to this confirms his or her faith by following the example of Jesus’ suffering and through action is able once again to become a word with power to speak to others.” Eventually confessors were distinguished from martyrs. When most Christians hear the word “martyr,” they tend to think of the Roman persecution of early Christians. The Ecclesia Martyrum, or Church of the Martyrs, often is thought to refer only to the earliest period of church history, the 10 imperial Roman persecutions. This is not the case. Martyrdom is a consistent feature of church history and occurs in every Christian tradition and confession. One can see that all of the 10 largest martyrdom situations in Table 1 occurred in the second millennium of the Christian faith. The rate of martyrdom across the world throughout the ages has been a remarkably constant 0.8 percent. One out of every 120 Christians in the past has been martyred, or in the future is likely to so be.

The basic method for counting martyrs in Christian history is to list “martyrdom situations” at particular points in time. A martyrdom situation is defined as “mass or multiple martyrdoms at one point in Christian history.” It is then determined how many of the people killed in that situation fit the definition of martyr outlined above. (This is explained in more detail in World Christian Trends.) Note that in any situation of mass deaths or killing of Christians, one does not automatically or necessarily define the entire total of those killed as martyrs, but only that fraction whose deaths resulted from some form of Christian witness, individual or collective. For example, our analysis does not equate “crusaders” with “martyrs,” but simply states that during the Crusades, a number of zealous and overzealous Christians were in fact martyred as defined under “Definitions” above.

A more complex definition sees martyrs as Christians whose loyalty and witness to Christ (as witnesses to the fact of Christ’s resurrection, and also as legal witnesses to, and advocates for, the claims of Christ in God’s cosmic lawsuit against the world) lead directly or indirectly to a confrontation or clash with hostile opponents (either non-Christians, or Christians of another persuasion) as a


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1M 1.2M


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Defining and enumerating martyrs in the widest possible sense has both limitations and advantages over other methods. First, it is limited because it leaves out questions of quality, such as holy lifestyle (mentioned above) or theological persuasion of Christian martyrs. Second, it reports on martyrdom from a purely demographic lens, leaving out thousands of fascinating stories and anecdotes. Fortunately, these are not in short supply in other publications. Two advantages can also be highlighted here. First, due to extensive coding of martyrdom situations (available in World Christian Trends), it allows for a selective approach to the data, addressing questions such as “How many Roman Catholic martyrs were there in South America in the 19th century?” Second, this approach resists fragmentation by placing all Christian martyrs in the same global phenomenon.

One might be tempted to believe that mankind will gradually grow out of its violent nature, and that perhaps 100 years in the future, people will no longer be killing others, for whatever reason. However, this is unlikely to be the case. The future almost certainly holds more martyrdom situations, and the names of individual martyrs are likely to continue mounting year after year.
Note: This article was condensed from Part 4, “Martyrology,” in Barrett and Johnson, World Christian Trends (WCT). The compilation of data on Christian martyrs in all countries over the 20 centuries of Christian history is found in two large tables in WCT: Table 4–10 describing 600 major martyrdom situations in 150 countries, A.D. 33–2000; and Table 4–11, “Alphabetical listing of 2,500 known Christian martyrs, A.D. 332000.” Country-by-country statistics of martyrdom can be found at A version of this article was published in Sorrow and Blood: Christian Mission in the Contexts of Suffering, Persecution, and Martyrdom edited by William D. Taylor, Antonia van der Meer and Reg Reimer (Pasadena: William Carey Library, 2012).
Bibliography D. Barrett & T. Johnson, World Christian Trends (Pasadena, CA: William Carey Library, 2001). T. Baumeister, Martyr invictus (Münster, 1972). B. Chenu et al., Livre des martyrs chrétiens (Paris: Éditions du Centurion, 1988). P. Marshall with L. Gilbert, Their Blood Cries Out: The Untold Story of Persecution Against Christians in the Modern World (Dallas: Word Publishing, 1997). J. Metz & E. Schillebeeckx (eds.), Martyrdom Today (Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1983). D. Wood (ed.), Martyrs and Martyrologies (Oxford, UK: Blackwell, 1993). Dr. Todd M. Johnson is the Associate Professor of Global Christianity and Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, MA. He is co-author of the World Christian Encyclopedia, 2nd edition (Oxford University Press, 2001) and co-editor of the Atlas of Global Christianity (Edinburgh University Press, 2009).


1. 2. 3. 4. 5.

1921–50, Christians die in Soviet prison camps 1950–80, Christians die in Soviet prison camps 1214, Genghiz Khan massacres Christians 1358, Tamerlane destroys Nestorian church 1929–37, Stalin kills Orthodox Christians


15,000,000 5,000,000 4,000,000 4,000,000 2,700,000

6. 1560, Conquistadors kill millions of Amerindians 7. 1925, Soviets attempt to liquidate Roman Catholics 8. 1258, Baghdad captured in massacre by Hulaku Khan 9. 1214, Diocese of Herat sacked by Genghiz Khan 10. 1939, Nazis execute millions in death camps

2,000,000 1,200,000 1,100,000 1,000,000 1,000,000

According to Latin American theologian Leonardo Boff, they exist for two reasons: (1) Christians prefer to sacrifice their lives rather than to be unfaithful to their convictions, and (2) people who reject proclamation persecute, torture and kill (Metz 1983). This general presence of evil in the world, combined with Christian devotion, is at the root of martyrdom. When we examine a list of martyrs down the ages, as comprehensive as is known today, some startling findings emerge. Table 1 provides a list of the 10 largest known martyrdom situations ranked by size. Note that over 20 million were martyred in Soviet prison camps, and that well over half of the 70 million Christian martyrs were killed in the 20th century alone. Even though state-ruling powers (atheists and others) are responsible for most martyrdom, closer examination of the entire list of martyrdom situations reveals that Christians themselves have been the persecutors responsible for martyring 5.5 million other Christians.
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Table 2 reveals that over half of all martyrs have been Orthodox Christians. One partial explanation for this is the vast anti-Christian empires throughout history centered in Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Nonetheless, all Christian traditions have suffered martyrdom.

Protestants Independents



Roman Catholic

In some countries, one finds that martyrdom was followed by church growth. A contemporary example is the church in China. In 1949, there were only one million Christians. Fifty years of antireligious Communist rule produced some 1.2 million martyrs. The result: explosive church growth to today’s 100 million believers. Today, major martyrdom situations continue in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sudan, Indonesia, Nigeria and other hot spots around the globe.

Russian Orthodox

Armenian Apostolic



Ukrainian Orthodox



East Syrians

= 70,000,000
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Frank A. James III, Ph.D.

n recent years, Christianity has been the object of considerable ridicule. The New Atheists—Dawkins, Harris and the late Christopher Hitchens—have made a nice living by declaring that religion in general and Christianity in particular “poisons everything.” Of course, this is nothing new. Karl Marx demeaned Christianity as the “opiate of the masses.” The British philosopher, Bertrand Russell, defiantly asserted: “The Christian religion, as organized in its churches, has been and still is the principal enemy of the moral progress in the world.”
So it was surprising to read an article from another atheist who took a rather different slant on Christianity. Matthew Parris, columnist for The Sunday Times of London, wrote a provocative online article titled: “As an Atheist, I Truly Believe Africa Needs God.” Returning to the Africa of his youth, Parris makes the startling observation: “It confounds my ideological beliefs, stubbornly refuses to fit my world view, and has embarrassed my growing belief that there is no God. Now a confirmed atheist, I’ve become convinced of the enormous contribution that Christian evangelism makes in Africa: sharply distinct from the work of secular NGOs, government projects and international aid efforts. These alone will not do. Education and training alone will not do. In Africa, Christianity changes people’s hearts. It brings a spiritual transformation. The rebirth is real. The change is good.” This is a refreshingly honest sentiment from one who demurs from personal allegiance to Christianity. If we are honest, Christian history has its fair share of skeletons in its collective closet. This is hard to swallow, and I wish it were not so. Despite the fact that Christians have not always behaved in ways that would please Christ, the many examples of Christian compassion down through the ages are nothing short of dazzling. From the beginning, Christians have been known for their compassion for the disadvantaged. Perhaps one of the most astonishing examples is the opposition to infanticide in the early church. In the Greco-Roman world, female infants and males born with deformities were of no value and often deposited on the village dung heap to die of exposure—or perhaps even more tragic, raised as temple prostitutes. In a chilling letter written one year before the birth of Christ, a Roman citizen named Hilarion directs his pregnant wife: “When you are delivered of a child—if it is a boy, keep it; if it is a girl, discard it.” The Stoic philosopher, Seneca, is even more callous: “Monstrous [deformed] offspring we destroy;
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The Church’s Historic Witness

children too, if born feeble and ill-formed, we drown.” This is the cruel world to which Christianity came with their counter-cultural message. Over time, this gospel changed the Roman Empire. Christian compassion has manifested in many ways down through the ages. In a world entirely lacking in social services, Christians became their brothers’ keepers. At the end of the 2nd century, Tertullian wrote that while pagan religions spent their donations “on feasts and drinking bouts,” Christians spent theirs “to support and bury poor people, to supply the wants of boys and girls destitute of means and parents and of old persons confined to the house.” By the 4th century, Christians had become especially well known for their

poor; the Gerontochium for the aged; the Xenodochium for poor pilgrims. In the West, the earliest hospital was established by Fabiola at Rome around the year 400. Fabiola came from a wealthy Roman patrician family. After her conversion, she renounced the world and devoted her immense wealth to the needs of the poor and the sick. St. Jerome informs us that she “established a nosocomium to gather in the sick from the streets and to nurse the wretched sufferers wasted with poverty and disease.” If the Christian gospel has been identified with compassion for the sick, poor and disenfranchised, it has also been noted for its opposition to injustice. The institution of slavery has long been and remains an

The example of Great Britain shamed other European countries to abolish slavery within their dominions. Wilberforce had no greater advocate than John Wesley. As he lay on his deathbed in 1791, Wesley wrote one of his final letters to Wilberforce: “O be not weary of well-doing! Go on, in the name of God and in the power of his might, till even American slavery (the vilest that ever saw the sun) shall vanish away before it. Reading this morning a tract written by a poor African, I was particularly struck by the circumstance, that a man who has black skin, being wronged by a white man, can have no recourse, since it is a law in all our colonies that the testimony of a black man against a white man counts for nothing. What villainy is this?”

commissioned by the Church of England and sent to India to win souls. However, she soon discovered that in Hindu temples young girls were dedicated to the gods and forced into prostitution to earn money for the priests. When she turned her attention to rescuing these girls, she encountered resistance from her missionary agency. Yet she persisted, and founded the Dohnavur Fellowship. It continues today, and has become a sanctuary for thousands of young girls who would otherwise have faced a grim future. Christianity continues its long heritage of being salt and light in a fallen world. Christians have founded some of the most important humanitarian organizations in today’s world: Red Cross, Salvation Army, Habitat

Christian compassion has manifested in many ways down through the ages. In a world entirely lacking in social services, Christians became their brothers’ keepers.
compassion for the poor—both Christian and pagan. The Roman Emperor, Julian the Apostate (361–363), even complained about “those impious Galileans [Christians] support not only their own poor but ours as well.” As Christianity became the dominant religion in the Roman Empire, its compassion became institutionalized. Following the Council of Nicaea (325 A.D.), hospitals emerged in many cathedral towns, especially in the East. One of the earliest hospitals was established in Constantinople by the Christian physician known as “Sampson the Hospitable.” When the Byzantine emperor Justinian was healed of his illness, the emperor offered to reward him. Sampson requested that a new hospital be built for the poor. This hospital became the largest free clinic in the empire, and served the people of Constantinople for 600 years. Eventually Constantinople had two hospitals staffed by doctors who developed systematic medical treatments. Specialized Greek terms described the various charitable functions. The Nosocomium was for the sick; the Orphanotrophium for orphans; the Ptochium for the
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If the Christian gospel has been identified with compassion for the sick, poor and disenfranchised, it has also been noted for its opposition to injustice.
Slavery has many forms. One of the most dehumanizing is sex slavery. All over the world, young girls are kidnapped, seduced or even sold by their own poverty-stricken parents to the sex trade. Today’s movement for the abolition of sexual trafficking is a rekindling of an earlier struggle. In the late 19th century, reformers such as Josephine Butler, Florence Soper Booth, Katharine Bushnell and Amy Carmichael fought to protect “the down-trodden mass of degraded womanhood.” They were the Wilberforces of their day. Josephine Butler took a bold and unusual stance. Instead of spewing out moral outrage against prostitutes, she reserved her wrath for those who tolerated (and sometimes enjoyed) prostitution. She insisted on the humanity of those caught up in the sex trade: “When you say that fallen women in the mass are irreclaimable, have lost all truthfulness, all nobleness, all delicacy of feeling, all clearness of intellect, and all tenderness of heart because they are unchaste, you are guilty of a blasphemy against human nature and against God.” The Irish missionary Amy Carmichael was for Humanity, Prison Fellowship, World Vision and International Justice Ministry (IJM). It is a powerful testimony to the watching world when Christians live out the gospel amid tragedies such as in hurricane Katrina, the tsunami disaster in Japan, the Haitian earthquake or 9/11. Whatever the tragedy, when Christians show up, the good news of Jesus Christ is there for all to see. Perhaps this is what Matthew Parris saw in Malawi.
Dr. Frank A. James III is Professor of Historical Theology and former Provost. He previously served as President of Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL. He has taught at Villanova University and Westmont College, and was Visiting Professor at the Center for Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Oxford University. Currently, he serves as General Editor of the Peter Martyr Library and is on the Editorial Board for Reformation Commentary on Scriptures. On July 1, 2013, he will become President of Biblical Theological Seminary, Hatfield, PA.

ugly part of human civilization. Christian opposition to slavery found one of its most significant advocates for the abolition of slavery in William Wilberforce. Slavery became a burning national issue in 1783 when the case of the slave ship Zong riveted the public imagination. The Zong had tragically veered off course, putting it and its occupants at serious risk. With drinking water running short, the captain made a fateful decision. He reasoned that if the slaves died from thirst, the financial loss would belong to the ship owner. But if the human cargo was thrown overboard for the “safety of the crew,” the loss would fall on the investors. Desiring to please the ship owner, he ordered 133 slaves thrown into the sea. At about this time (1785), a young Member of Parliament, William Wilberforce, converted to Christ. By 1787, he had taken up the cause to abolish the slave trade. He stubbornly led the parliamentary campaign against the British slave trade for 26 years, until slavery was finally abolished by the Slave Trade Act of 1807. Wilberforce also had an impact beyond his homeland.

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Donald Fairbairn, Ph.D.


he theme “faith under fire” is a stirring one that conjures up images of persecuted Christians under intense pressure. History recounts the way these believers faithfully withstood the pressure, and we who hear the accounts come away either marveling at the Christians’ firmness, or ashamed of our own flimsiness—or maybe both. Even though such accounts are intended to inspire us, we Christians who live under only mild persecution, or perhaps none at all, often feel a deep sense of spiritual inferiority to those who endured persecution. We assume that they must have been much better believers than we are, because of the purifying fire through which they passed. One thing we have to realize, however, is that persecution does not merely purify the church. Sometimes persecution hardens believers, isolating them from the surrounding society, or gets them to focus so much on small matters (in the name of purity, of course) that they become hostile toward each other, and lose contact with the very people they are called to reach with the gospel. Sadly, persecution often fractures and isolates the body of Christ as much as it purifies it. Furthermore, persecution of Christians is often indirect. True, sometimes a government committed to atheism or to another religion besides Christianity tries very directly to stamp out the church, as was the case in the early years of the Soviet Union or is the case in some Islamic-controlled regions today. But far more often, persecution takes the form of advocating changes that appear small, but actually have far-reaching effects.

The implications of Nazi ideology for the Christian faith were not apparent immediately, and most German Christians missed them for years. Persecution creates a fog of confusion that makes it difficult for Christians to know what is central and what is peripheral. As a result, it is important for us to recognize that maintaining the faith under fire is not just a matter of having the fortitude to resist frontal assaults on Christianity. It also involves having the biblical and theological discernment to see clearly in a fog, to recognize what is most central and what is less crucial. One of the great examples of faith under fire in all of Christian history is the 4th century Egyptian theologian and bishop of Alexandria, Athanasius. He lived during the Christian church’s greatest theological crisis—the battle against Arianism, which is the belief that the Son and Spirit are lesser beings than the Father. Athanasius’s fortitude has never been questioned, and is the source of his super-hero status in the church. Athanasius was exiled five times by four different Roman Emperors. He spent 17 years out of a 45-year episcopate in banishment. And throughout those long years, he fought tirelessly—even viciously—for the truth that the Son and the Spirit had to be, and were, equal to the Father. He coined the word “Ariomaniacs” to describe his opponents. He drew a line in the sand by saying that if the Son were the way the Arians said he was—a being inferior to the Father and therefore not the same God— such a Son could not have saved us. And ultimately, Athanasius prevailed. But behind this dramatic story of Athanasius’s fortitude lies another story, one of his
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development news

discernment. This story is less well known, and I believe it is worth recounting here as we consider the theme of faith under fire. Simply put, the truth at stake in the Arian controversy was that we could not rise up to God ourselves, so God had to come down to save us. The persons who came down—the Son through the incarnation and the Spirit at Pentecost—had to be fully equal to the Father in order for us to be saved. This much was relatively clear to everyone. So when Arius wrote openly around the year 318 that the Son was lower than the Father—indeed, that he was a created being—this idea was rejected fairly quickly, most notably in the year 325 at the Council of Nicaea, which we now call the First Ecumenical Council. However, this clear rejection of Arius’s thought took place in a tumultuous political atmosphere. The Roman Empire had gone from severely persecuting Christians to regarding Christianity as its most favored religion, all in the space of less than two decades after Constantine became a Christian. The inevitable result of imperial favor toward the church was imperial involvement in the church. After Constantine died in 337, his three sons vied for control over his empire, and each tried to enlist Christian bishops and Christian theological slogans on his side. The result was a bewildering proliferation of creedal statements, with various ways of speaking of the Son’s relationship to the Father. The Council of Nicaea had declared the Son to be “of one essence with the Father.” Now, other creeds called him “like the Father” or “like the Father in all respects” or “exactly like the Father” or “like the Father in essence.” In a related issue, the church was also looking for words to describe the oneness and threeness of God, and some people used the same Greek word (hypostasis) to refer to his oneness that other people were using to refer to his threeness. Thus, some (like Athanasius himself) spoke of “one hypostasis” in God (meaning “one essence”), while others spoke of “three hypostases” (meaning “three persons”). The situation rapidly became confusing, as it became harder to tell which statements were equivalent and which ones actually reflected unacceptable differences of opinion. In this confused situation, many people tended to latch onto a single statement and to insist on it in opposition to all others. Parties started to emerge based on particular slogans, and the rival claimants to the imperial throne backed one party or another, one slogan or another, by exiling bishops who held to different slogans. This is where Athanasius’s extraordinary gift for discernment came into play. No one was ever more adamant in opposing Arianism. But if he had been
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equally adamant about insisting that everyone use his slogans to oppose Arianism, the controversy might never have ended, since almost everyone was distrustful of everyone else’s slogans. In the midst of the confusion, fog and name-calling, Athanasius was uniquely able to recognize that beneath the varied statements lay a consensus, shared by most of the church in opposition to Arianism. In the 350s and early 360s, he worked tirelessly to uncover the consensus that he believed lay behind the various anti-Arian statements. And in the year 362, he held a small council in Alexandria at which he was able to show the different groups that they were saying the same thing. He insisted that since they were saying the same thing, they should begin to say it the same way, and it is a tribute to his humility that he did not insist in every case on the way he had said things earlier in his career. He accepted the use of hypostasis to mean “person” (which was not the way he had previously used the word), even as he insisted that the phrase “of the same essence” was the best way to show the equality of the Son to the Father. This local council was the turning point in the Trinitarian controversy. It paved the way for the church’s acceptance of the Nicene Creed (with its bold assertion that the Son is equal to the Father, and that this Son “came down” for our salvation), at the Second Ecumenical Council in 381. Times of persecution call for stalwart, faithful perseverance in the midst of pressure to compromise, or worse. But such times also beget confusion about who is and is not firmly standing for the faith. An important but neglected aspect of faithfulness under fire is the biblical/theological discernment to recognize what is and is not an acceptable way of affirming the faith. In the case of Athanasius and the Arian crisis, this kind of discernment was just as important to the work of the gospel as the fortitude for which he is much more famous. In discernment, too, he is a shining example to us of how to live Christianly in a complex, confusing world.
Dr. Donald Fairbairn is the Robert E. Cooley Professor of Early Christianity. His responsibilities include further developing the Robert C. Cooley Center for the Study of Early Christianity at the Charlotte campus, which explores the historical foundations of the Christian faith. Before coming to Gordon-Conwell, he taught at Erskine Theological Seminary, served as Associate Dean of Theology and directed the Th.M. program. He has also taught at Donetsk Christian University in Ukraine, and has served on the international staff of Campus Crusade, ministering in Soviet Georgia and researching Eastern Orthodoxy and Islam in Eurasia.

With Gratitude
Kurt W. Drescher
What does it mean to be truly grateful? Merriam-Webster defines grateful as “grate·ful, adjective \ˈgrāt-fəl\ 1) a: appreciative of benefits received, b: expressing gratitude <grateful thanks> 2) a: affording pleasure or contentment: pleasing, b: pleasing by reason of comfort supplied or discomfort alleviated.”


his definition is certainly true, but to me, gratitude seems like so much more. I have been thinking a great deal about thankfulness and gratitude lately. After all, I am, among other things, the “Chief Thanker” at Gordon-Conwell. I write thank you letters, make thank you calls and thank people face to face, as do other members of the Advancement team. I personally review and add thank you notes to dozens of gift receipts every month. It’s a part of my job to thank donors for their sacrifice, commitment, partnership and generosity. Over time, it has actually become one of the best parts of my job, giving me an even more grateful heart for the way our God uses his people to bless Gordon-Conwell and advance his Kingdom. It turns out that it is not just my job, but my joy to express gratitude on behalf of Gordon-Conwell. And the amazing thing that happens somewhat regularly is that I receive emails and comments thanking me for taking the time to be thankful. Having a grateful heart and expressing gratitude can be contagious! Soon after I assumed my current position four years ago, after working in the business community for 25 years, I discovered that one of the tangible benefits of my new job was our regular all-Hamilton-campus Wednesday chapel. At least once a week, faculty, staff and students come together for worship and a good, biblical word. It is an incredible blessing to our community, but we can start to take even good things and blessings for granted.

Back in February, John Huffman, our Board Chair and Pastor- inResidence, spoke at Wednesday chapel. John has been a GordonConwell trustee for 44 years, pastored churches his whole life and is an extraordinarily gifted communicator. Among other things, he talked about being grateful. He explained that it is easy to make a list of things that are going wrong or troubles that we are facing. But do we ever, literally, make a list of the blessings in our life, or a list of all the things for which we are grateful? John explained that when you do this, if you are like most people, you undoubtedly find that the list of things for which you are thankful is far longer than the list of all your woes. If you really work at it, your grateful list can go on and on and on. Well, I have started to make my list, and I am calling it my “grateful” and “grief” list. Let me give you just a few of the things for which I am grateful. First things first, I am eternally grateful for an awesome God who loves me in spite of all my shortcomings and sent his Son to die for me. My wife and two daughters are incredible blessings in my life and they mean the world to me. I would do anything for them. And what gifts and blessings are the family and friends with whom we “do life,” and our church, with its impact in advancing the Kingdom and leading people to a saving faith in Jesus Christ. For all these things, I express gratitude to our great God.
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development news


Your sacrificial giving to Gordon-Conwell has and will continue to advance the Kingdom, and for that we are eternally grateful to our great God.
As the “Chief Thanker” at Gordon-Conwell, let me also tell you just some of the many things for which we as a seminary are grateful. • We are grateful for the 4,012 donors who have made both large and small gifts to the seminary this year alone. And the year is not over yet. • In these uncertain economic times, we are amazed and grateful that Education Fund (Annual Fund) giving is up over last year by 42 percent, with a critical few weeks left to go to our fiscal year end, June 30. • It is no small matter that we have received a cash gift of $2,000,000 to endow the Pastors for Africa Scholarship. We are grateful for the sacrificial donors, for the scholarship recipients who are using these gifts wisely, and to God for making this all possible. • We are grateful for donors who have partnered with us through commitments to our comprehensive campaign that is underway on all four of our campuses. Their generosity is making possible greatly needed improvements in our facilities, and educational programs for the benefit of our students. • We are grateful for a Lilly Endowment Grant to research and study student debt and how the Partnership Program at Gordon-Conwell can address and mitigate some of this debt. An increasing number of students are leaving higher education with an extraordinary amount of student debt, and seminary graduates are no exception to this trend. We believe that as a seminary we have a shared responsibility to address this issue, and this grant is helping us to do so. • We are grateful for dozens of people who have planned gifts designated for Gordon-Conwell. The contributions of these partners are long-term, transformational commitments to our educational ministry. • We are grateful to God for our students, alumni, trustees, administrators, faculty and staff united in a single vision “to advance Christ’s Kingdom in every sphere of life by equipping
28 Spring ’13

Ryan Reeves, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean of the Jacksonville Campus & Assistant Professor of Historical Theology

Church leaders to think theologically, engage globally and live biblically.” This is not a marketing slogan or a brand position. This is absolutely why we exist, and we are grateful for God’s calling on us as an institution to live out this vision on our campuses in Hamilton, Boston, Charlotte and Jacksonville. When we read familiar Psalms like the one that follows, it reminds us again that part of being grateful is definitely connected to our posture in relationship to God. Psalm 100 A psalm. For giving grateful praise. Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth. Worship the Lord with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. Know that the Lord is God. It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. For the Lord is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations. If you have ever given a gift, or are even considering giving a gift to Gordon-Conwell, large or small, please know that we are deeply grateful. Countless people have and will continue to benefit from Kingdom investments made in the educational ministry of Gordon-Conwell. Your sacrificial giving to GordonConwell has and will continue to advance the Kingdom, and for that we are eternally grateful to our great God. With sincere gratitude, Kurt W. Drescher, Chief Thanker
Kurt W. Drescher is the Vice President of Advancement at Gordon-Conwell. He is an active member of Grace Chapel, where he serves as Vice Chair on the Board of Overseeing Elders. Kurt, a graduate of Gordon College, lives with his wife, Sharon, and their two daughters in Reading, MA.

Dr. Ryan Reeves always had a hunch that he would teach at a seminary. But it was a speech during his senior year in college by the great historian Heiko Augustinus Oberman that solidified Ryan’s calling.

“It was inspiring that someone could be so wise and engaged in a subject,” Dr. Reeves recalls. “During Oberman’s talk, I had a little epiphany. I realized that full-time education is not where practitioners end up when they can’t practice ministry, but is actually a place to go and engage in ministry. “Then, when I was in seminary, one of the things I realized is that seminaries are often shaped by the people who are there; a good seminary is good because it has great people. I started to have this growing passion to strive toward being in a place where I could be one of those good people shaping the seminary.” And shaped he has. When Dr. Reeves first joined GordonConwell in May 2010, the Jacksonville, FL, campus was just starting as an extension of the Charlotte, N.C., campus and consisted of approximately 30 students. Three years later, the Jacksonville campus is its own entity with total enrollment soaring to 100. Coming straight to Gordon-Conwell from his Ph.D. program in church history (Tudor evangelicalism) at the University of Cambridge, England, Dr. Reeves occupied a single office in the back of First Presbyterian Church, Jacksonville, as Assistant to the Dean. Now, he leads a staff of eight as Assistant Dean of the Jacksonville Campus and Assistant Professor of Historical Theology. “The Charlotte campus laid the foundation; I just came in and put the shingles on it,” he comments. For Dr. Reeves, a Florida native, joining Gordon-Conwell— Jacksonville felt like home. “Being born and raised in Florida, I know the Florida context well,” he says, “Gordon-Conwell is striving to shape Northern Florida with a serious brand of education. “With Florida being the Disney state, people tend to gravitate towards ‘light’ education, meaning, ‘How fast can I get to the beach?’ ‘What is the minimum number of courses that I need to take?’ We want to redefine that.

“Gordon-Conwell can be an example that you don’t have to check your mind at the door. When you do serious study, it doesn’t have to kill your heart. We’re about serious study and serious vitality. If we are faithful with the education component, God will lead us.” As Dr. Reeves faithfully guides the Jacksonville campus in providing quality theological education in the eighth largest city in the U.S., his passion for the students, he says, is what keeps him going. “My greatest passion is the everyday hallway moments with students. I purposely put the student lounge next to my office, so they have to come by for coffee and snacks. I love talking with them about life. “I wanted to teach and have the academic chops to be a serious scholar—as a means of engaging with students. If I were buried away in the Ivory Tower working on another book and trying to escape students, I would go crazy. As my colleague says, ‘ministry happens in the in-between moments.’” And as for his academic chops, Dr. Reeves earned his B.A. from Samford College, and M.A. and M.Div. from Reformed Theological Seminary. His doctoral dissertation, English Evangelicals and Obedience, will be published in summer 2013. The book looks to the Tudor period to examine a real conversation happening in the world today: “What do you do when the king wants to kill you for your faith? Fight back or kneel down? Can you ever overthrow the monarchy/government for the sake of the gospel?” Dr. Reeves has also published several book reviews, been a guest lecturer at Cambridge University and Reformed Theological Seminary, served as the graduate representative to the Church History Subject Committee at Cambridge, and was a Research Fellow and Editor at Teleios Research Institute. When Dr. Reeves is not engaging with students, teaching courses or running a campus, he can be found cheering on the Tampa Bay Bucs, playing his guitar, and spending time with his wife, Charlotte, and two young children, Zoë and Owen.

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seminary news

seminary news

Board Names Two New Trustees
he Gordon-Conwell Board of Trustees has welcomed Dr. Charles Pollard, President of John Brown University (JBU), and Ms. Sharon Fast Gustafson, attorney at law, as its newest members. Since 2004, Dr. Charles “Chip” Pollard has been President of John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Under his leadership, the university completed the Keeping Faith Capital Campaign (2005–2011), receiving over $118 million in gifts. The gifts to the campaign—which finished a year earlier than expected and $18 million over its original goal—funded annual operating support, new endowed scholarships and programs, and the construction of new facilities. Dr. Pollard teaches in JBU’s undergraduate program on a regular basis and is a frequent speaker in chapel and other venues. Prior to his presidency at JBU, Dr. Pollard served as Associate Professor of English at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and previously practiced law as a corporate and tax associate for Latham & Watkins in Chicago, Illinois.

Dr. Doug Birdsall Appointed President of American Bible Society
Dr. Pollard was elected to the board of the Council of Christian Colleges and Universities in 2009 and also serves on the community board for Arvest Bank in Siloam Springs. He and his wife, Carey, have four children (Chad, Benjamin [deceased], Emma and James) and are actively involved at First Presbyterian Church of Siloam Springs. Ms. Gustafson primarily practices in the area of employment law, representing employees with discrimination and benefits claims, advising tax-exempt organizations on employment matters, and lecturing on employment issues to bar groups and human resource professionals. She also practices adoption law and has represented adoptive parents, birth parents and children in uncontested and contested adoptions. Ms. Gustafson has volunteered at a crisis pregnancy center and has frequently been a court-appointed guardian ad litem for abused and neglected children. She also lectures on adoption issues to church and bar groups. Ms. Gustafson is a member of the National Employment Lawyers Association and is a fellow in the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. She and her husband, David, a judge on the United States Tax Court, live in Arlington, Virginia, and are active members of the Falls Church Anglican. They have nine children, a son-in-law who graduated from Gordon-Conwell and five grandchildren. r. S. Douglas Birdsall (M.Div. ’79), former Executive Chairman of the Lausanne Movement and Founding Director of the J Christy Wilson, Jr. Center for World Missions at Gordon-Conwell, has been appointed the 27th President and CEO of American Bible Society, effective March 1, 2013. Prior to his appointment, Dr. Birdsall chaired the Lausanne Movement for nine years and led the Third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelization in Cape Town, South Africa. This gathering, deemed the most diverse gathering ever by Christianity Today, brought together 4,200 church leaders from 198 nations. Gordon-Conwell maintains a deep commitment to the work of Lausanne, which began with shared founder Rev. Billy Graham and continued with Gordon-Conwell trustee emeritus Dr. Leighton Ford before growing significantly under Dr. Birdsall. During his time with Lausanne, Dr. Birdsall met with



Christian leaders in 60 countries around the globe. While his interactions revealed the many opportunities and challenges facing world evangelization, at the core, they fundamentally returned to the deep need for Scripture engagement. Challenged by this need, Dr. Birdsall felt pulled toward ABS, noting, “In these next years, I’d like to be an advocate for Bible engagement. If we don’t act, the influence of the Bible in our culture will increasingly be diminished and will eventually be extinguished.” In his new role, Dr. Birdsall will combine his 30-plus years of cross-cultural leadership experience with ABS’s rich 200year history in efforts to reach and challenge a new generation to engage with the Scriptures. The American Bible Society, founded in 1816, provides customized Bible resources, seeks to reach new generations with technology, and partners with other organizations to help atrisk individuals and provide Bible translations around the world. Learn more at

Global Education Study Seminar in Israel and Jordan

Dr. Richard Lints Installed as Vice President and Dean
service of installation was held on February 14, 2013, to welcome Dr. Richard Lints to his new role as Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Hamilton Campus. The service took place in the Kaiser Chapel at Gordon-Conwell’s Hamilton campus and included words from Dr. Rodney Petersen, Executive Director of the Boston Theological Institute; Dr. Dennis Hollinger, President and Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics; Dr. John Huffman, Jr., Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Pastor-in-Residence; Dr.



Carol Kaminski, Associate Professor of Old Testament; and Dr. Alvin Padilla, Dean of Hispanic Ministries and Associate Professor of New Testament. Opening Scripture verses were read by John Truschel of The Boston Company Asset Management, LLC and Gordon-Conwell board member Joanna Mockler. After a touching thank-you to his family, friends and fellow Gordon-Conwell faculty, staff and students, Dr. Lints delivered a message on “Unity and Diversity in the Gospel: What’s at Stake?” Dr. Lints assumed his new position July 1, 2012. He will continue to serve as the Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Theology. Watch a video of the service at

rom January 8–25, a group of Gordon-Conwell students, alumni and faculty, including Drs. Dennis and Mary Ann Hollinger, traveled to major biblical sites in Israel and Jordan as part of a global education course. Led by Ranked Adjunct Assistant Professor in Old Testament Dr. James Critchlow, the seminar included stops in Wadi Ram, Petra, Galilee, Caesarea-Philippi, the Jordan River, the Dead Sea and, climactically, Jerusalem. Dr. Critchlow describes the study seminar as a “fabulous trip…walking where Jesus walked; seeing where Moses died, where Joshua lived, where David reigned, where Solomon built the temple, where God’s people went into exile and returned from exile, where Jesus fed the 5,000; and fellowshipping with God in contexts where so many miracles were performed.” One of the major highlights, he says, was receiving communion from Dr. Dennis Hollinger in front of the Garden Tomb.

“Part of the power was seeing those familiar biblical stories and passages transformed from 2-D to 3-D,” says Dr. Mary Ann Hollinger. “It’s one thing to study maps in a book, and quite another to walk and hike the biblical sites by foot, or sail the waters as we did on the Sea of Galilee.” Chuck St. John (M.Div. ’14) agrees, noting: “The teaching and devotional time by Dr. Critchlow and our guides brought the biblical story, people and land to life.” For fellow student participant Achitha St. John (Th.M. ‘13), “The Bible will never be read the same again!” The 2013 January term seminar to Israel/Jordan is one of a growing number of global education courses offered by GordonConwell. These credit-bearing courses typically satisfy requirements or elective credits for students’ degree programs. Upcoming Global Education Courses Summer 2014—Uzbekistan Led by Dr. Todd Johnson, Associate Professor of Global Christianity & Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity

New D.Min. Track: Preaching to Culture and Cultures


he Doctor of Ministry office at Gordon-Conwell is rolling out a new track. Beginning in June 2013, Preaching to Culture and Cultures will equip Christian leaders to preach God’s Word in an increasingly globalized context by training them to understand culture and communicate cross-culturally. Students will sharpen their theology, philosophy and methodology of preaching, particularly among diverse listeners and changing congregations. “Understanding current culture and ethnic cultures makes
30 Spring ’13

a difference in preaching,” says Dr. Scott Gibson, Haddon W. Robinson Professor of Preaching, Director of the Haddon W. Robinson Center for Preaching, Director of the Th.M. Program in Preaching, and Director of the A.J. Gordon Guild. Dr. Gibson will serve as co-mentor for the new track alongside Dr. Matthew Kim, Assistant Professor of Preaching and Ministry, and guest speaker Dr. Nicholas G. Gatzke (M.Div. ’06), Senior Pastor at Osterville Baptist Church in Osterville, MA. Learn more at Preaching-to-Culture-Cultures.cfm.

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seminary news

seminary news

Recent Faculty Publications
Dr. Jeffrey D. Arthurs
Professor of Preaching and Communication Devote Yourself to the Public Reading of Scripture: Unleashing the Power of the Well Spoken Word (Kregel, 2012).

Dr. Todd M. Johnson
Associate Professor of Global Christianity; Director of the Center for the Study of Global Christianity

Dr. Stephen Macchia
Director of the Pierce Center for Disciple-Building Crafting a Rule of Life: An Invitation to the Well-Ordered Way (IVP Books, 2012).

Dr. Donald Fairbairn
Robert E. Cooley Professor of Early Christianity “Jesus’ Relationship to God, from His Words in John 13-17.” St. Francis Magazine 8.5 (October 2012): 571-592. “Translating ‘Son of God’: Insights from the Early Church.” St. Francis Magazine 8.6 (December 2012): 749-775.

Todd M. Johnson, Rodney L. Petersen, Gina A. Bellofatto, and Travis L. Myers, eds. 2010Boston: The Changing Contours of World Mission and Christianity. Eugene, Ore.: Pickwick Publications, 2012.

Dr. Jeffrey J. Niehaus
Professor of Old Testament

Dr. Carol M. Kaminski
Associate Professor of Old Testament

Dr. Kelly Breen Boyce
Assistant Professor of Counseling M. Alexander, K. Breen Boyce, L. Pitt, and K. Krause. “Personality Typing, Anyone? The Myers-Briggs Personality Indicator.” Cinemeducation: Using Film and Other Visual Media in Graduate and Medical Education. Vol. 2. Eds. M. Alexander, P. Lenahan, and A. Pavlov. London, UK: Radcliff Publishing, 2012.

Preludes: An Autobiography in Verse (Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2013).

Dr. Scott M. Gibson
Haddon W. Robinson Professor of Preaching and Ministry Preaching with a Plan: Sermon Strategies for Growing Mature Believers (Baker Books, 2012).

CASKET EMPTY: God’s Plan of Redemption through History. Old Testament Study Guide (Casket Empty Media, 2012).

Dr. Donna Petter Dr. Matthew Kim
Assistant Professor of Preaching and Ministry 7 Lessons for New Pastors: Your First Year in Ministry (Chalice Press, 2012). Associate Professor of Old Testament; Director of the Hebrew Language Program “Ruth.” The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary. Eds. G. M. Burge and A. E. Hill. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012.

Dr. Roy E. Ciampa
Director of the Th.M. Program in Biblical Studies; Professor of New Testament “Approaching Paul’s Use of Scripture in Light of Translation Studies.” Paul and Scripture: Continuing the Conversation. Ed. Christopher D. Stanley. Early Christianity and Its Literature, 9. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2012. 293-318. “Learning from Joseph’s Righteousness: Matthew 1:19” and “Paul’s (Often Missed) Pointer to an Old Testament Text: Romans 1:17.” Devotions on the Greek New Testament. Ed. Verlyn Verbrugge. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2012. 15-17, 58-60.

Dr. David W. Gill
Mockler-Phillips Professor of Workplace Theology and Business Ethics “Theology of Care for the Vulnerable.” Women, HIV, and the Church: In Search of Refuge. Ed. Arthur J. Ammann. Eugene, Ore.: Cascade Books, 2012. 62-80.

Dr. Peter Kuzmič
Eva B. and Paul E. Toms Distinguished Professor of World Missions and European Studies “Christianity in Eastern Europe: A Story of Pain, Glory, Persecution, and Freedom.” Introducing World Christianity. Ed. Chales E. Farhadian. 1st ed. Blackwell Publishing, 2012. “Dilemmas and Challenges for Theology in Post-Communist Eastern Europe.” Mission in Context: Exploration Inspired by J. Andrew Kirk. Eds. John Corrie and Cathy Ross. Ashgate, 2012.

Dr. Eckhard J. Schnabel
Mary F. Rockefeller Distinguished Professor of New Testament Studies The Book of Acts. Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Zondervan, 2012). “On Commentary Writing.” On the Writing of New Testament Commentaries. Eds. Stanley E. Porter and Eckhard J. Schnabel. Texts and Editions for New Testament Study 8. Leiden: Brill, 2012. 1­ 31. “Paul the Missionary.” Paul’s Missionary Methods: In His Time and Ours. Eds. L. Plummer and J. M. Terry. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2012. 29–43. “Paul, Timothy, and Titus: The Assumption of a Pseudonymous Author and of Pseudonymous Recipients in the Light of Literary, Theological, and Historical Evidence.” Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? A Critical Appraisal of Modern and Postmodern Approaches to Scripture. Eds. J. K. Hoffmeier and D. R. Magary. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012. 383­ -403. “Romans.” The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary. Eds. G. M. Burge and A. E. Hill. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012. 1223–1273. “The Community of the Followers of Jesus in 1 Corinthians.” The New Testament Church: The Challenge of Developing Ecclesiologies. McMaster Biblical Studies Series. Pickwick, 2012. 103-129. “Timothy: Missionary, Pastor, and Theologian.” Videre med evangeliet. FS Egil Grandhagen. Eds. H. A. Gravaas, E. Kjebekk T. E. Hamre, and A. Redse. Oslo: Akademika, 2012. 69–93.

Dr. Dennis Hollinger
President & Colman M. Mockler Distinguished Professor of Christian Ethics

Dr. James Critchlow
Ranked Adjunct Assistant Professor in Old Testament Looking Back for Jehoiachin: Yahweh’s Cast-Out Signet (Wipf & Stock Publishers, 2012).

“Good Sex: Its Meaning and Morals.” Moral Issues and Christian Response. Eds. L. Shannon Jung and Patricia Beattie Jung. 8th ed. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 2012. “The Weight of Pastoral Ethics.”  NAE Insight (Summer 2012).

Dr. Timothy S. Laniak
Academic Dean of the Charlotte Campus; Professor of Old Testament Finding the Lost Images of God (Zondervan, 2012).

Dr. John Jefferson Davis
Professor of Systematic Theology and Christian Ethics Meditation and Communion with God: Contemplating Scripture in an Age of Distraction (IVP Academic, 2012). “Buddha, the Apostle Paul, and John Hick: The Challenge of Inter-Religious Epistemologies.” Philosophia Christi 14.1 (2012): 95-114. “Practicing Ministry in the Presence of God and in Partnership with God.” Evangelical Review of Theology 36.2 (April 2012): 115-136.

Dr. Gordon L. Isaac
Berkshire Associate Professor of Advent Christian Studies and Church History “Monastic Memoria in the Preface to the Complete Edition of Luther’s Latin Writings 1545.” Luther Digest, Vol. 20 Supplement (2012): 127-140.  “The Finnish School of Luther Interpretation on Justification: Trajectories and Responses.” Concordia Theological Quarterly 76 (2012): 251-268.

Dr. Richard Lints
Vice President for Academic Affairs; Dean of Hamilton Campus; Andrew Mutch Distinguished Professor of Theology Renewing the Evangelical Mission (Eerdmans, 2012).

Dr. Eldin Villafañe
Professor of Christian Social Ethics Manda Fuego, Senor: Introduccion al Pentecostalismo (Abingdon Press, 2012).


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alumni profiles

alumni profiles

S. Douglas Birdsall (M.Div. ’79)

Mardochee Nadoumngar (D.Min. ’12)


r. S. Douglas Birdsall is President and CEO of American Bible Society. Dr. Birdsall previously served as Executive Chairman of the Lausanne Movement

and Founding Director of the J Christy Wilson, Jr. Center for World Missions at Gordon-Conwell. He and his wife, Jeanie, were missionaries with Asian Access in Japan, where he also served as President for Asian Access.
What are some recent developments in your life aside from your appointment as President of American Bible Society? How do you see your cross-cultural experience as preparation for your new role at American Bible Society? Our own country is much more global. It is a much different society than it was a generation ago. Having worked crossculturally, you learn to listen carefully. You also learn to realize the variety of gifts and perspectives that come from other cultures. Working in New York City, as global as any city in the world, working with American Bible Society, which is part of the United Bible Societies [organization], I will be traveling just as much as I have been the last few years with Lausanne. God providentially uses everything in our life not only for the moment but also to prepare us for what’s ahead. Tell us something about American Bible Society that people may be surprised to know. I am the 27th President of American Bible Society, which was founded in 1816. It means we’ll be celebrating a 200th anniversary in about two and a half years. Its relationship to American history and its engagement with the global Church are things that often surprise people. American Bible Society is very much involved in Bible translation around the world. It also surprises people when they realize that the American Bible Society was founded by leaders of [our] nation. The first president of the American Bible Society was the president of the Continental Congress. The second president was John Quincy Adams. It is an organization that has been woven very much into the fabric of American society.


r. Mardochee Nadoumngar studied in the Pastoral Skills track at GordonConwell. He uses his education to serve the people in his home country of Chad

and provide leadership to the church. Mardochee’s D.Min. thesis is titled “Mobilizing the Chadian Church to Understand and Treat Alcoholism.”
What is your current role? How did you decide to focus your D.Min. thesis on alcoholism in your country? If you walk down the street in my capital city, you see workers and people sitting there drinking. Many people drink for hours and hours. I want to set up a Christian association to help alcoholics recover from this disease. I want to mobilize the church by teaching pastors, church leaders and Christians to understand the causes and consequences of alcoholism and help others overcome them with God’s grace. Very little is done for these people in terms of church action. Many just preach against alcoholism. That’s why I chose to address the issue by mobilizing the church to deal with it. From the perspective of your ministry in Chad, what insight can you give our readers to become more aware of global issues faced by the Church? The church body in Chad faces issues in the culture dealing with corruption, alcoholism, polygamy, illiteracy (as low as 60 percent) and false teachings. These are some steps I would suggest to become more aware of global issues faced by the Church: 1) Listen to people, listen to the radio, watch television programs, read newspapers as much as possible; 2) talk with professionals to learn more about a specific issue; 3) become prepared by God’s grace to address the issue; and 4) do something about it.

This has been an exciting year for us. I defended my Ph.D. thesis with the Oxford Centre for Mission Studies in February. Also, as a result of my work with the Lausanne Movement and then our work here at Gordon-Conwell and in Japan, I’m very pleased to have been named by my alma mater, Wheaton College, as the distinguished alumnus of the year for 2013. That is really a great source of joy to me. How did Gordon-Conwell prepare you for your cross-cultural work? Gordon-Conwell prepared us very well for our cross-cultural ministry. I came to seminary to do the M.Div. and had every intention of going back to the Midwest where I was raised. I was influenced by a number of professors and students; foremost among them was Dr. J Christy Wilson, who expanded my horizons and opened up my mind to the world. I only took one mission course the entire three years [at Gordon-Conwell]. It wasn’t the academic curriculum so much as the environment of being with people who think globally. I’m very grateful that Gordon-Conwell provided us with a foundation for a lifetime of work.

I am the Principal [President] of Shalom Evangelical School of Theology in N’Djamena, Chad. This is the only seminary at the bachelor’s degree level for the whole country. The school is regarded highly because two other new administrators with advanced degrees have joined me. One serves as a professor and academic dean and another as a professor. This gives us hope that in the future, churches both in Chad and Cameroon, our next-door neighbor, will send more students to seminary. Besides my role as the President, I also teach New Testament and serve as Associate Pastor in my local church. Tell us about your Gordon-Conwell experience. I heard about Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Chad from [former Gordon-Conwell professor] Dr. Scott Hafemann, who came several times as a visiting professor in the Shalom Evangelical School of Theology. The D.Min. program at GordonConwell gave me the opportunity to learn along with other pastors from around the world. I was able to continue interaction with my classmates by exchanging emails between residencies on campus. We had the opportunity to meet when I returned to the States for my graduation. I have just got my D.Min. degree, so I cannot measure the full affect it will have on my ministry. However, the people I serve have a high respect for me when I preach or teach because of my additional studies. This challenges me to be very serious with what I say and do.


Upcoming Events at Gordon-Conwell

Thursday, June 6–Friday, 7, 2013 | Hamilton Campus
From the Garden to the Sanctuary: The Promise and Challenge of Technology

Monday, June 10–Thursday, June 20, 2013 | Hamilton Campus One of the best ways to recharge and gain new perspectives in pastoral ministry is through serious study of the Scriptures, worship, prayer, discussion and fellowship in community. GordonConwell’s 10-day Spurgeon Sabbatical provides rest, rejuvenation and community support for pastors in ministry. Learn more at

Friday, August 9–Saturday, August 10, 2013 | Hamilton Campus Gordon-Conwell is teaming up with The Gospel Coalition New England to host REFRESH, a summer conference designed to encourage, challenge and refresh lay leaders, ministry leaders and the pastors who care for them. Hear from Paul David Tripp, Stephen Um and Jeramie Rinne. Learn more at tgcne-refresh-tripp-um-and-rinne-aug-9-10.

Technology comes out of our God-given creativity, but brings with it unintended consequences. Today’s most thoughtful and respected Christian minds on this topic will reflect on the gifts and challenges of technology during the Marshall Hudson Summer Conference. Learn more at


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alumni news

alumni news

In Memoriam
Harold L. Allen (B.D. ’52), 87, passed away on Wednesday, October 17, 2012, at Mid Coast Hospital in Brunswick, ME. He served in the Army during WWII and was later a devoted pastor at several churches in Vermont and Maine. His life’s priority was serving others. He is survived by his wife, Mildred. Francis F. Crisci (M.Div. ’52) passed away on April 27, 2012. He pastored the Second Baptist Church in Newton Upper Falls, MA, for 42 years. In retirement, he was a volunteer chaplain in Mobile Estates Mobile Home Park in Sarasota, FL, until a week before he died. Francis was a man of faith, and even though he was blind since he was 25 years old, he still preached the Word faithfully. He leaves his wife, Elizabeth; daughter, Katherine Lee; and son, David. He is buried in the veteran’s cemetery in Sarasota, FL. Maurice E. Farr (B.D. ’52) died on March 27, 2012, at the age of 87 after 14 years of struggle with Lewy Body Disease. He is survived by his wife, Verna; children, John of Belvidere, N.J., Cheryl of Walnut Creek, CA, and Joel of Trumbull, CT; and grandchildren Brian and Julie Fischer of CA, and Cathrine, Lauren and Karalyn Farr of CT. Arthur W. Forrester (B.D. ’53) passed away on January 30, 2012. His memorial service was held in West Peabody on February 10. He had previously served as Adjunct Professor at Gordon-Conwell. John Walter MacLeod (B.D. ’56) went to be with the Lord on May 3, 2012. John considered it a privilege to attend Gordon Divinity School, to be taught and mentored by godly and kind professors, and to associate with such a variety of Christian fellows. He was baptized and ordained at Manchester Baptist Church and served churches of the Atlantic Baptist Convention for 55 years. John is survived by his wife, Evangeline; their three sons, David, Mark and Peter; and three grandchildren. Kenneth R. Rayner (M.Div. ’56), 85, died January 21, 2012. He was the husband of Jo Ann (Baucher) Rayner, to whom he was married for 58 years. Reverend Rayner pastored four churches and was affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA for many years. He is survived by his wife, four sons, one brother, one sister, 11 grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. David S. McCarthy (B.D. ’60), 77, died Tuesday, July 17, 2012, at Self Regional Medical Center. Reverend McCarthy was ordained in 1959 and served nine churches for over 50 years in the Advent Christian denomination, ending his pastoral ministry at Hickory Grove Advent Christian Church in Saluda, S.C., where he was serving when he died. Raymond V. Haapaoja (B.D. ’63), 77, died June 8, 2012, at Legend Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Gardner, MA. Raymond taught band and chorus at Narragansett Regional High School for many years and created the “Narragansett Song.” He also was the Music Director at several area churches, most recently Ashby Congregation Church. Raymond also served his country in the U.S. Army and National Guard. Malcolm Caldwell (M.Div. ’68, Honorary D.D. ’90) passed away in his sleep while surrounded by his loving family on March 1, 2012, at The Hospice at May Court, Ottawa, ON. He is survived by his wife, three children and many grandchildren. Robert “Bob” Johnson (M.Div. ’72) went to be with the Lord on August 20, 2012, after a battle with cancer. Bob and his wife, Alyce, worked together at Proclaim International, where Bob was one of three co-directors. Bob was passionate about evangelism and seeing people come to know Christ. He is survived by his wife, Alyce Johnson. Elward Ellis (M.Div. ’74) died on Saturday, May 12, 2012, in an automobile accident. Reverend Ellis contributed greatly in the expansion of the gospel around the world, especially in influencing and raising up global missionaries from among multi-ethnic populations in the U.S.

David Bartlett (M.Div. ’80) went home to be with the Lord on March 13, 2012. He fought an almost 15-year battle with cancer in the most remarkable way, a true testimony of God’s grace and faithfulness. He showed those in his life how to not only live with cancer, but how to die with the utmost peace and dignity. LeMei Littlefield (MATS ’85) died June 19, 2012, surrounded by her family after a six-month battle with a rare cancer. She is survived by her husband, Michael (M.Div. ’86), and their children, Stacia, Aaron, Micala and Josh. A celebration of her life took place on June 23, 2012, in Lakewood, CO. Russell “Rusty” Hays (M.Div. ’87, D.Min. ’91) went home to be with his Lord and Savior on August 17, 2012. He served on pastoral staffs at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Bethesda, MD, and most recently at First Presbyterian Church in Greenville, S.C., before retiring to Fort Meyers, FL. He is survived by his wife, Betsy; daughter, Elizabeth; brother, James; and four grandchildren. Jeffrey E. Fuhrman (M.Div. ’90, D.Min. ’04) passed away from metastatic cancer on February 15, 2012. A memorial service was held on Monday, February 20, 2012, at Perinton Community Church in Fairport, N.Y., where he was Senior Pastor. Walter Tilleman (D.Min. ’98) went to be with the Lord on February 10, 2013, after battling cancer. He is survived by his wife, Linda, his eight children, three brothers, 15 grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. Nancy Badertscher (MACE ’02) of Annapolis, MD, died April 26, 2012, at the Mandrin Hospice House due to stage four metastatic lung cancer. In addition to her parents and husband, Eric, Nancy is survived by her daughter, Sarah Badertscher; two brothers, Thomas Gray (Debbie) of Somerset, MA, and William Gray (Charlotte) of Haverhill, MA; two nephews, David Gray of Somerset, MA, and Jacob Gray of Haverhill, MA; and one niece, Kelsey Gray of Somerset, MA. Arthur Clark, husband of Jenny Clark (MAUM ’02, M.Div. ’05, D.Min. ’09), passed away December 4, 2012, at the age of 70. Services were held on Saturday, December 8 at Mount Moriah Baptist Church in Brockton, MA. Dr. Stuart Babbage, former President of the Conwell School of Theology and Vice President and Academic Dean of the newly merged Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, passed away on November 16, 2012, at the age of 96. He is survived by his children, Veronica, Malcolm, Christopher and Timothy.

David McDowell (M.Div. ’71) published an academic book with Wipf & Stock Publishers. The book is titled Beyond the Halfway Covenant: Solomon Stoddard’s Understanding of the Lord’s Supper as a Converting Ordinance, and is available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Duane Kellogg, Jr. (M.Div. ’75) wrote the words to a song, “Love Won the Fight,” that recently was published by Word Music Publishers with full orchestration as a choral Easter Anthem. William Hackett (M.Div. ’79, MRE ’79) was appointed Provost of Southeastern University, effective July 1, 2012. William has served at Southeastern since 1988, holding positions in teaching, administration and student life, including a five-year tenure as Vice President for Academic Affairs. He again was appointed interim Vice President of Academic Affairs in 2011 before being selected for his new role as Provost. Bob Hager (M.Div. ’79) produced a documentary film, “At the Crossroads.” The film examines the impact of 50 years of cultural change in the U.S. pastoral ministry. The film was an official selection at six film festivals in New York, Texas, Arkansas and Virginia. The film was named “Best Short Documentary” at the Bayou City Inspirational Film Festival in Houston, TX. It was also given the “Redemptive Storyteller Award” at the Redemptive Film Festival in Virginia Beach, VA. Bob’s second documentary will be released in 2013. Arthur Pace (M.Div. ’79) will be joining the American Bible Society as the Executive Director of its Armed Forces Ministry. Until his retirement in August 2012, Arthur served as Command Chaplain for the Northern Regional Command.

Clockwise (l to r): President Dennis and Mary Ann Hollinger (front row, center) meet with alumni living and serving in Korea; Holly and Gary Parrett (third and fourth from left) with four alumni honored during special alumni chapel service (Sandra Whitley, left; Holgie Choi, second from left; Miho and Grant Buchholtz and their daughter, Allie, right); As part of their 50th reunion, alumni take part in New England's Spiritual Heritage Tour led by Drs. Garth Rosell (front row, left) and Dave Horn (back row, left).

Alumni Connect
n 2012, more than 250 alumni and friends gathered in the U.S. and abroad in cities including Bangkok, Thailand; Seoul, South Korea; and Lancaster, PA. Gordon-Conwell hosted events at denominational meetings for the EPC, PCA, CCCC, PC (USA), and at conferences such as the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) and the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL). Some events were initiated by alumni. The purpose of the events is to connect alumni—with each other, Gordon-Conwell and faculty. A 50th reunion was held in October. Alumni from classes 19601964 came together to “Remember when…” they walked the halls of Gordon Divinity School. Alumni visited Frost Hall at the Gordon College campus, dined in the seminary’s newly renovated Alumni Hall and toured the North Shore with Drs. Garth Rosell and David Horn as part of New England’s Spiritual Heritage Tour,* a series of day trips designed by Dr. Rosell.
*New England’s Spiritual Heritage Tour book is available online in hard copy and electronic forms. Visit and click on “Books.”


• Holgie Choi (Th.M. '06), Associate Minister for Youth & Families, Acton Congregational Church, Acton, MA • Sandra Whitley (M.Div., MACO '04), Pastor, People's AME Church, Chelsea, MA Dr. Gary Parrett closed the service with benediction and prayer for Gordon-Conwell alumni around the world. A luncheon with President Dennis Hollinger and Dean Richard Lints followed in the President's Dining Room adjacent to Alumni Hall. Gordon-Conwell alumni work in a variety of vocations, including business, the arts, medicine, law, missions, church ministry and teaching. We are grateful for all of our alumni, in whatever vocation God has called them to serve, who faithfully work on behalf of Christ and his church. As part of the Alumni Hall renovation project, alumni authors were asked to contribute books for an Alumni Library. The Alumni Services office has record of over 270 alumni authors. To date, 101 have donated over 350 books. Many thanks go out to those who donated books to help fill our shelves. The Alumni Library is part of the President’s Dining Room adjacent to Alumni Hall. If you are an alumni author and would like to contribute your books, send them to: Alumni Services Office Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary 130 Essex Street, South Hamilton, MA 01982 Check out the Alumni Authors list online at:

Dan Williams (M.Div. ’81) became the Transitional Executive Presbyter and Stated Clerk of Central Florida Presbytery on August 1, 2012. Central Florida Presbytery serves 74 congregations in 10 counties. Dan was also elected to a six-year term on the Advisory Committee on the Constitution by the 220th General Assembly (2012) of the Presbyterian Church (USA). The ACC handles all questions requiring an interpretation by the General Assembly of the denomination’s Book of Order. Edwin Aponte (MATS ’82) was installed on October 24, 2012, as Vice President for Academic Affairs, Dean of Faculty and Professor of Christianity and Culture at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis, IN. Kay Burklin (MATS ’86) was appointed the new Director of Mercy Ministry for Mission to the World (MTW), the missions sending arm of the Presbyterian Church of America (PCA). Her new responsibilities with MTW are to oversee the StreetChild sponsorship program, medical ministry and disaster response. Phillip Silvia (M.Div. ’86) is a Doctoral Fellow at Trinity Southwest University in Albuquerque, N.M., working on a Ph.D. in Archaeology and Biblical History. Phil joined the Tall el-Hammam Excavation Project (TeHEP) in Jordan as a field archaeologist during the January–February 2012 dig season. Ken Barnes (MATS ’89) has been appointed as the Inaugural Dean at the Marketplace Institute of Ridley Theological College in Melbourne, Australia. Daniel Young (MATS ’89) was part of a COMIMEX missionary conference on May 26, 2012, which drew 270 youth and adults. The event promoted cross-cultural missions and activities requiring voluntary work and/or study. Last summer, Daniel returned to the U.S. to be with his mother and siblings after his father’s passing on June 2, 2012.

Some potential upcoming Alumni Connect events include: June: PCA General Assembly (South Carolina) June: UMC Conference (North Carolina) June: EPC Conference (Colorado) July: CCCC Family Conference (Minnesota) Fall 2013: New York or Philadelphia with Dr. Hollinger October 2013: Divine Presence Conference (Gordon-Conwell—Hamilton) November 2013: SBL (Maryland) For a complete list of events, and to connect with other alumni, visit the Alumni Services website at:

News + Notes
Kenneth Umenhofer (B.D. ’58) and Lurline Mears were married on March 27, 2012, and held a reception in Parish Hall at Christ Church, South Hamilton, MA, on May 19, 2012. Lurline is a former staff member of Gordon-Conwell, previously having worked for Presidents Dr. Robert E. Cooley and Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr.

Alumni Impact
s a way to recognize the impact of Gordon-Conwell alumni and honor Christ’s work through them, an alumni chapel service was held on April 16 in Kaiser Chapel at the Hamilton campus. Four alumni spoke about the work that God is doing in their lives and how Gordon-Conwell had an impact on them. Speakers included: • Grant (M.Div., Th.M. '09) and Miho (M.Div. '10) Buchholtz, Missionaries, Evangelical Covenant Church, Tokyo-Yokohama, Japan
36 Spring ’13

Please Tell Us What You Think

Marvin Wilson (M.Div. ’60), Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies at Gordon College, has begun his 50th year of teaching. He was recently honored by the college at a Wednesday morning chapel service. While he has been teaching for 50 years, Marvin believes he is still learning, stating that “life is for learning and learning is for life.” J. William Powell (B.D. ’62) and his wife, Ellen (Bosworth) Powell, celebrated 50 years of marriage on September 11, 2012, with family and friends at The Yacht Cove Club House in Columbia, S.C.



oes your graduation year end in “3” or “8”?  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 once every five years. Watch your email in June for a link to the online survey. Alumni News and Notes are updated regularly at http:// Join the Alumni Services website to view current news about your classmates.

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alumni notes

Marc Gauthier (M.Div. ’91, D.Min. ’07) and his wife, Christa, moved in July 2012 to Kaiserslautern, Germany, where Marc serves as the Command Chaplain for the 21st Theater Sustainment Command. Thomas Backer (M.Div. ’93) has taken a new position as a staff chaplain and CPE developer with Alegent Health in Omaha, NE, following the closure of the CPE Program at The Nebraska Medical Center. Tom teaches a class entitled “Incarnation: Theology and Witness at West Hills Church.” He also works with the Diocese of Des Moines and its diaconate formation program. Tom and his family live in Omaha. Kurt Peterson (M.Div. ‘94) left North Park University, where he served as Associate Dean for the Humanities and Professor of History, to go to Loyola University Chicago, where he works as Director of Development—Major Gifts. Kurt began at Loyola in August 2012. Soong-Chan Rah (M.Div. ’94, D.Min. ’05), Associate Professor of Evangelism and Church Growth at North Park Theological Seminary, is co-editor of a new book, Honoring the Generations: Learning from Asian North American Congregations (Judson Press, 2012). Rah and his co-editors, M. Sydney Park and Al Tizon, are joined by more than a dozen contributors from the pulpit and academy to explore, from a practical and theological perspective, the opportunities for ministry in the Asian North American (ANA) Christian community. Ken Shigematsu (M.Div. ’95) serves as Senior Pastor of Tenth Church in Vancouver, B.C. In January 2013, he received the Queen Elizabeth Diamond Jubilee Medal, given by the Governor General of Canada in recognition of outstanding contribution to the country. This medal represents his leadership, which “helped mobilize Canadians to provide health care, education and job opportunities for impoverished families in the developing world.” Ken attributes these tasks to his church, for their hard work with the poor and homeless, and for their work advocating on behalf of women and children who are vulnerable to the sex trade in Cambodia and Vancouver. Eric Bennett (M.Div. ‘96) continues to work out of his home office for Jews for Jesus. For 15-plus years, his position has been church relations. The Bennetts moved in the summer of 2011 to Cameron Park, CA, from Colorado Springs. Eric and Kathy celebrated 10 years of marriage in December 2011 by taking a trip with their daughter, Erica, to Hawaii and staying at Disney’s Aulani Resort. Erica is finishing up the third grade at Providence Christian School, about two miles from their home. Earl “Boo” Arnold (M.Div. ’97) was cast as Phil in the short film, “Useless,” the 2013 Winner of the San Antonio Independent Christian Film Festival (SAICFF) Jubilee Award and the $250,000 EchoLight Studios Feature Film Opportunity. Dale Edwards (M.Div. ’97) became the Executive Minister of the American Baptist Churches of Vermont and New Hampshire, effective January 17, 2012. Dale previously served for 25 years as the pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lebanon, N.H. Patrick Gray (MATH ’97) was installed as the 13th Rector at Christ Church of Hamilton and Wenham on June 3, 2012. He came to Christ Church in October 2009 after being Associate Rector at the Church of the Advent in Boston. Peter Sprigg (M.Div. ’97), Senior Fellow for Policy Studies at Family Research Council, regularly provides feedback on public policy issues in media forums, including PBS and CNN. Recent commentary includes remarks centered on controversies surrounding President Obama’s views on same-sex marriage and Pastor Louie Giglio’s dis-invitation from the inauguration ceremony. Peter Heltzel (M.Div. ’98) published a book titled Resurrection City: A Theology of Improvisation (Eerdmans, 2012). The book offers a clarion call for the church to improvise 38 Spring ’13

for justice today, bearing prophetic witness to Christ and the Kingdom of God. Peter’s work recently was featured in an article in The New York Times. Juan Hernandez (M.Div. ’98, Th.M. ’00) recently published “Modern Critical Editions and Apparatuses of the Greek New Testament” in The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: Essays on the Status Quaestionis (rev. ed.; ed. Bart D. Ehrman and Michael W. Holmes; NTTSD; Leiden: Brill, 2012), 687-708. Dale Tadlock (M.Div. ’98) accepted the position of Coordinator of Passport Media at Passport Camps in Birmingham, AL. He writes youth and adult Bible studies and camp devotionals for all 2013 Passport youth camps. While providing leadership for mission sites, camp design and staff training, Dale is also responsible for the design, writing, editing, production and marketing of curriculum and resources for Passport Media, a new publishing venture for Passport Camps. He serves as the inaugural President of the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship Youth Ministry Network. Frederick Williams (MACO ’98) is UMass Lowell’s firstever Police Chaplain. Having studied criminal justice, theology, counseling and social work, Frederick is able to help the members of the university’s police force with the stresses that come with the job. Timothy Clayton (M.Div. ’99) was installed by Bishop William Murdoch (M.Div. ’75) as the Second Rector of Christ the Redeemer Anglican Church in Danvers, MA, on September 30, 2012. Kristen Smith (M.Div. ’99) created a line of Bible memory cards for kids called “Words 2 Remember 4 Kids.” They are available online to view and to purchase.

Mission in Ninth Century Cordoba” in Al-Masaq: Islam and the Medieval Mediterranean 24, no. 1 (April 2012): 21-33. Ian Noyes (M.Div. ’06) was called in May 2012 as Senior Pastor and Head of Staff at First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, CA. John Sowers (D.Min. ’06)  received the President’s “Champion of Change” Award in the field of Fatherhood at the White House on June 13, 2012. While studying for his D.Min., he was the Multi-Language Director for Billy Graham in Los Angeles and New York, and is currently the President of The Mentoring Project, based in Portland, OR. John wrote his thesis project on fatherlessness, which was published by HarperCollins/Zondervan under the title Fatherless Generation: Redeeming the Story. Albert Hickman (MAR ’07), who is currently working at the Center for the Study of Global Christianity at GordonConwell, gave an interview with TV Slovenia, which aired August 15, 2012. Joshua Huang (Th.M. ’07) of Taiwan was selected by church members to fill a pastor position at Grace Baptist Church in Cheshire, CT, where he has served since May 2011, delivering sermons in Mandarin for a separate Mandarin-language service. While the church held Bible studies for these Chinese families for over a decade, there had not been a separate service. Hope Italiano Lee (D.Min. ’08) was chosen by Robert Austell as his candidate for Vice Moderator of the 2012 PCUSA General Assembly. Jong H. Oh (M.Div. ’09) wrote an article in Korean titled “New York’s Redeemer Presbyterian Church Introduces a Church Planting Movement” for Ministry and Theology, a well-known Korean Christian magazine. The article speaks about the background of the church and its beginnings by Tim Keller (M.Div. ’75) and his wife, Kathy (MTS ’75). Matthew Pooley (M.Div. ’09) was ordained November 11, 2012, as an Associate Pastor in the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA). Fellow Gordon-Conwell alum William ‘Bill’ Cutler (M.Div. ’87) spoke at the ordination service. Matthew continues to serve at Sandia Presbyterian Church in Albuquerque, N.M., as the Associate Pastor of Group Life.

Opening the Word
Catherine McDowell, Ph.D.

i am and they are not.
In the third chapter of Exodus, we read that Moses was tending his father‐in-law’s flock in the region of Horeb when Yahweh appeared to him in a blazing bush. The LORD identified himself as the God of the Hebrew patriarchs, and told Moses that he had seen his people’s affliction and had, at long last, come to rescue them from slavery. Anticipating the Hebrews’ curiosity and perhaps even their doubt and fear, Moses asked God for further identification. The LORD responded, “I AM who I AM.” For many years I found God’s reply to be perplexing. He seemed to be dodging the question. Why give such an apparently ambiguous answer? Upon further study and reflection, however, I began to understand, “I AM who I AM” as the truly ingenious response that it was. In three short words (three in Hebrew, five in English), God communicated to Moses and to the Hebrews the first and the most important thing they needed to know about him—that Yahweh was, is and will be, and that the pharaoh and the gods of Egypt, under whom they had suffered for generations, were not only no good, they were no gods. This message, “I AM but they are not,” runs throughout the Scripture like a crescendo lasting millennia, reaching its triple forte in the I AM made flesh. The Bible is, in short, the divine elaboration on this theme. Nowhere in the Old Testament is this made more explicit than in the caustic prophetic attacks on idol making (i.e. Isa. 40:18f, 44:9-20; Jer. 10:1-5; Hab. 2:18-20) and two psalms (Ps.115:4-8; 135:15-18). The idols have mouths, but do not speak (Ps. 135:16a). However, “God said, ‘Let the earth sprout vegetation.’” “God said, ‘Let there be light.’” And “God said to them, ‘Be fruitful and multiply…’” Further, God spoke through his prophets, and in these last days he has spoken to us through his Son (Heb. 1:1-2a), the Word (John 1:1). Who is the great I AM? He is the God who speaks. The idols have eyes, but do not see (Ps. 135:16b). However, the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth (2 Chr. 16:9), keeping watch on the evil and the good (Prov. 15:3). He watches over the city (Ps. 127:1) and the sojourner (Ps. 146:9), and his eyes penetrate the human heart (1 Sam. 16:7). Who is the great I AM? He is the God who sees. The idols have ears, but do not hear (Ps. 135:17a). Compare them to the LORD! Yahweh hears the needy and inclines his ear to the afflicted (Ps. 10:17). He listens to the cry of the righteous and delivers them (Ps. 34:1718). The LORD’s ear is attentive to those who worship him and do his will (John 9:31). Who is the great I AM? He is the God who hears. The idols have no breath (Ps. 135:17b; Jer. 10:14; 51:17; Hab. 2:19), and hence, no life. Yet with his mighty breath, Yahweh lays bare the world’s foundations (Ps. 18:15), brings forth the heavenly hosts and enlivens human beings (Gen. 2:7, Isa. 42:5, Job 33:4; cf Ezek. 37:9-10). Who is the great I AM? He is the God who breathes, and lives. “I AM” was God’s means of introducing himself to a people and a world that did not know him. I encourage you to start your study of Scripture with the LORD’s own proclamation of his identity in Exodus 3. Use it as a lens through which to read the divine elaboration, found in Genesis 1–Revelation 22, in response to the question Moses anticipated the Hebrews would ask, “Who is the LORD?” May you know much more intimately the only speaking, seeing, hearing, breathing, living God.
Dr. Catherine McDowell (MAOT ’96, MAR ’97), Assistant Professor of Old Testament, has taught at Wheaton College in Illinois, and previously at Gordon-Conwell and at Harvard University as a graduate teaching fellow while pursuing her Ph.D. degree. She has been active in church ministry, teaching adult education courses at Park Street Church in Boston and Redeemer Presbyterian Church in North Carolina, and has also worked for Vision New England as a conference speaker and consultant for leadership training curriculum development. For a number of years, she worked in the field at archaeological digs in Israel.

Linda Jackson (MAR ’00) was featured in an Asbury Park Press news article about homeschooling her children in Holmdel, N.J. She and her husband, Derrick, who serves as a pastor, work together to teach their children both academics and physical education. Stephen Keller (MAR ’00) serves as a NASCAR chaplain and holds chapel services before NASCAR races, where drivers and their crews worship and pray together. He was featured in a CNN Belief Blog article in March 2012. John Standridge (M.Div. ’02) moved with his family from the Boston area, where he served the Church for 16 years, to Kerville, TX, in August 2012 to pursue church planting. After six months of seeking prayer and counsel, as well as undergoing an assessment process through their denomination (PCA), they have been sent on mission, and hope to start Christ Church Presbyterian in Kerville. Mark Allen (D.Min. ’04) successfully defended his dissertation for a Ph.D. in Theology/Hebrew Bible from the University of Notre Dame. Andrew Williams (MAOT, MANT ’04) spent the last four years serving in the Dominican Republic and Haiti with Esperanza. Andrew spends one day per week in the field to become better acquainted with loan officers and the operations of the microfinance field. His wife, Marie, recently finished the 2011 Annual Report for Esperanza. Dawn Richardson (MAR, MACO ’05) had her second book signing in Fresno, CA, inside the cafe of Northeast Assembly of God for Driving Through Walls. Don Hughes (MAR ’05) and his wife, Janice, are now in India working with 7 Sisters International, which seeks to help children who are trafficked into the sex trade. 7 Sisters provides a residential home where staff address the physical, psychosocial, educational, vocational and spiritual needs of the girls while providing them with love and care. Charles Tieszen (M.Div. ’05, Th.M. ’06) recently published “From Invitation to Provocation: ‘Holy Cruelty’ as Christian

Matt Drayton (M.Div. ’10) and his wife, Pam, who are living in Guam, announce the birth of their fourth child, Madeline Ruth Drayton. Madeline was born on September 20, 2012. Angel Velez (Th.M. ’10), Dean at the InterAmerican University of Puerto Rico, published a book on the relationship of Spain and the former colonies of the Caribbean. The title (in Spanish) is El Caribe y Sus Relaciones con España: Políticas y Sociedades en Transformación (Siglos XIX y XX). Carson Weitnauer (M.Div. ’10) published True Reason: Christian Responses to the Challenge of Atheism (Patheos Press, 2012), which has been discussed in various media resources. Mark J. Denning (M.Div. ’11) was ordained as a teaching elder and installed as Associate Pastor of Adult Spiritual Growth at Back Creek Presbyterian Church in Charlotte, N.C., on May 6, 2012. Mark serves with fellow alumni Wayne Frazier (M.Div. ’75), who is the lead pastor, and Jane Frazier (MTS ’75), who is the head of the lower school at Back Creek Christian Academy.

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