Trail Markers A Newsletter of The History Center
Volume 11, No. 1
A Religion of the Heart By Glen Scorgie, Ph.D., professor of theology, Bethel Seminary San Diego
The Baptist General Conference (now known as Converge Worldwide) is rooted historically in European Pietism. And Pietism is widely considered a religion of the heart. Now, that’s a good thing, right? After all, the Bible tells us that we are to love God with all of our heart, as well as our soul and our mind and our strength (Mark 12:30). And Jesus indicted many of his contemporaries by declaring, in an echo of the prophet Isaiah, “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me” (Matt. 15:8). In Scripture the heart is absolutely crucial: “Above all else,” the wisdom writer exhorts, “guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.” (Prov. 4:23). So, as I said before, a religion of the heart is a good thing, right? Well, maybe. It depends on exactly what we mean by a religion of the heart. If we mean, for example, a religion that emphasizes the heart to the relative neglect or disparagement of the mind, then we have a problem. God does not honor mushy-headedness, and it soon leads to mental confusion and heresy anyway. A lobotomized spirituality is a dangerous and ephemeral thing with a very short shelf life. This type of Christianity generally weakens within a generation and dies off within two. If we mean a religion that is all locked up inside itself in a very privatized and cozy, warm intimacy with God alone, to the selfish neglect of human need and the work of God’s kingdom in the world, then once again we have a problem. The Christian faith is not about a narcissist escape from our calling to serve God in difficult, messy situations. But if, on the other hand, we mean by this a religion that is grounded in the core, affective center of one’s being, so that from this inner wellspring flows genuine love for God and neighbor, progressively transformed character, a consecrated will, good deeds and passionate service—well,
that’s indeed a very good thing, and almost certainly what Jesus had in mind when he brought up the subject of the heart. Most readers will be quite familiar with the origins of the Pietist movement in 17th century Germany, when Philip Spener led a reaction against a coldly intellectual Lutheran orthodoxy. His little classic Pia Desideria (1675) was a powerful call for a return to a faith characterized by sincerity, devotion, and heartfelt, experiential love for Christ. Such a vision and disposition were kept alive long after Spener and his contemporaries passed on; largely through the Moravians, and they flowered again in the 19th century among the Baptists, Free Church, and Covenant people in Scandinavia and wherever else these courageous folk migrated. We must admit, if we are honest, that through the years this religion of the heart has evolved in very different directions and ended up at quite opposite destinations. On occasion those who embraced this religion of the heart have gone on to Glen Scorgie disdain deep thinking, and eventually even biblical authority and sound doctrine. Sadly, the religion of the heart has too often mutated into a breeding ground for emotionalism, for feelings run riot, and even heresy. Some of the worst of German liberal theology grew out of this misappropriation of the religion of the heart. It’s why Pietism has always had its nervous critics— continued on p. 3 1
Remembering H. Wyman Malmsten By Marlys Arenson
H. Wyman Malmsten was promotional secretary for Bethel College and Seminary from 1938 to 1941. He was appointed assistant to the president in 1941 and held that role until 1965. From 1965 to 1967 he served as director of investments. He retired after 29 years of service to Bethel. While keeping Bethel afloat financially, he also raised money for constructing five buildings on the old campus, was involved in acquisition of the new campus property, and created both the Bethel retirement plan and the BGC retirement plan. Neither Bethel nor the BGC would be where they are today without H. Wyman Malmsten. Marlys Arenson is a member of the steering committee of the Friends of the History Center. She is also the eldest daughter of H. Wyman Malmsten. America was just working its way out of the great depression. My dad, H. Wyman Malmsten, was an energetic, youthful evangelistic pastor at Powderhorn Park Baptist Church in Minneapolis. After high school he attended Hamline University, planning to become a lawyer, but God had far different plans for Wyman. At
H. Wyman Malmsten
special evangelistic meetings at First Swedish Baptist Church of Minneapolis (now Bethlehem Baptist), God definitely called him, and he followed. Wyman left his old life behind and transferred to Ottawa University in Kansas. After college graduation he completed his education at Bethel Seminary. Wyman often led evangelistic meetings, spoke on gospel teams, and upon graduation, became a pastor. It was at the encouragement of Henry Wingblade that Wyman accepted the call to be field representative for Bethel College and Seminary. The Junior College had grown out of Bethel Academy, a Christian high school, and was a preparatory school for the seminary. It was located at 1480 North Snelling in St. Paul, Minn., and consisted of two buildings on two large blocks of property. A group of Swedish men had purchased a block from Thomas Frankson for $7,500. Frankson then donated another block. James J. Hill, the railroad magnate, gave $10,000, and in 1914 the seminary building was built for $35,000. By 1916 the property was valued at $153,000 and by 1920, $170,000. Dad was called to represent Bethel to the conference churches and to raise finances to keep the school afloat. He traveled from one coast to the other, usually staying with pastors’ families. As a child I watched Bethel grow as Dad raised money for a girls’ dorm, a boys’ dorm, a married couples’ residence, three additions to the dorms, a library, and a fieldhouse. Finances were often very tight, but God was faithful. There were times when money was needed for bills and salaries, and the bank said “no” to loans. Wyman then went to Carl Burton, Ph.D., to ask for a loan so the bills could be paid. With Burton’s 2
help the school kept running, and Burton was repaid when the churches and individuals sent in donations. Through my growing up years I learned to trust God as I saw how He provided. God took good care of our family while Dad was traveling. In the early years Dad took long trips—up to six weeks at a time—to the west coast churches. One day my brother Bud asked, “Mommy, do I have a daddy?” My parents realized trips couldn’t be so long. After that, trips were limited to about three weeks. Mom used the away times to teach us to rely on God, our heavenly Father. God would always take care of us even when Dad was gone. We learned to pray about everything, and we always included Dad and Bethel. I have many precious memories because of Dad’s time at Bethel. I’ll share a few. When Dad traveled, he would write a letter to Mom every day. It usually included where he stayed, whom he contacted, and what he ate. On Sunday we would often get a special delivery letter, and if there was no letter, we would get a three minute phone call. There were no jobs beneath Wyman’s dignity. He even cut the grass on the campus when it was necessary. One summer he laid a sidewalk from the girls’ dorm to the college building. He didn’t want students to walk in mud and slush to get to class, so he made wooden forms, and mixed, poured, and leveled the cement. One day he came home from Michigan with a car full of Haralson apples. Apples were everywhere except the driver’s space. The prospective donor didn’t have cash, but he grew apples. Other times God provided corn, potatoes, and onions. Dad took whatever God provided. Many times the donations were small, but “God took many littles and made much.”
Wyman started the idea of families praying and giving regularly to Bethel. Penny-a-meal banks were handed out across the Conference. Later penny-a-meal was changed to gift-a-meal because, as Dad said, “A penny wasn’t worth a cent anymore.” Once Dad bought a bus in Bellingham, Wash. He drove it home through the Rocky Mountains, so the football team could have transportation. Each of us three kids traveled to Fargo, N.D., on a short overnight train trip. We came back Sunday afternoon after the morning service. This preaching trip was a very special time for each of us. When Dad came home from trips we were always excited. He often brought little surprises. I got a major surprise for my 10th birthday when he brought me a used bicycle. It was during the war, and no new bikes were available. When Dad came home, Mom would remind him that he was not the visiting preacher. He was the daddy. He thought we were rowdier than most kids! We were just excited to see him.
God gave my dad a thick skin and a very soft heart. The teasings and comments from pulpits and friends bothered me much more than they bothered him. I didn’t like to hear about “moneybags Malmsten,” or the “beggar.” I now realize that God prepared my dad for a very special purpose. He loved preaching the gospel. He loved visiting churches. He loved telling people about Bethel. He was always excited about what God was doing on the Bethel campus. He started each presentation saying he first of all represented the Lord Jesus Christ. Then he represented the BGC family—world missions, home missions, Bible school and youth, the publications, and Bethel. For this sermon he would focus on Bethel. There have been great changes through the years. Bethel has grown from a very small school to being a great university. But our God does not change! I thank God for preserving Bethel. I praise Him for what He has done through Bethel, for what He is doing through Bethel, and for what He will do for and through Bethel in the future. If my dad were alive, this would be his prayer as well. •
continued from p. 1 in the past and even to this day. But at its best a religion of the heart still values the mind, yet sees the limitations of loving God only with the intellect. It calls for a more holistic and genuine response to God and His grace—so that, in the words of the psalmist, “all that is within me” blesses His holy name. At its best a religion of the heart is one in which, to quote Evelyn Underhill, “all that we do comes from the center, where we are anchored in God.” This is the kind of religion that has informed the Baptist General Conference’s historic vision of “heart and mind,” and led one of its great leaders, President Emeritus Carl Lundquist (1916-1991) of Bethel College, to declare in one of his newsletters for the Evangelical Order of the Burning Heart, which he founded, “Jesus must be more than an idea to be understood. He must be a person to be loved.” (Nov. 1984). It involves a disposition no less than a set of ideas. This is the crux of the matter, and why still, in the 21st century, there remains a great need—perhaps greater than ever—for a true religion of the heart to be lived out before a watching world. •
A Link to the New Bethel Digital Library We are living in an electronic age and increasingly, resources that used to be hard to find or available only in paper are now easily available online. Two years ago, Bethel University hired its first digital librarian whose responsibilities include building a Bethel digital collection that will serve the needs of Bethel students, alumni, and members of the churches of Converge Worldwide (BGC). While this process is new and improving, there is a lot of material already available for viewing by anyone with a computer. The best way to find
is to go to the History Center site (bethel.edu/bgc-archives) on the Bethel University website. When you get to the History Center front page, look on the left side of the page at the bottom and click on “Bethel Digital Library.” Some of the offerings that may be of particular interest to readers of Trailmarkers are the digital copies of the Clarion (the Bethel student newspaper), the Baptist General Conference collection, which includes the text of many of the most important historical books in our heritage as well as photos of many BGC historic churches; and 3
the Bethel University Collection, including photos of students from over the years. While you are looking up the Digital Library resources, you might also want to check out the link on the History Center webpage to back issues of Trailmarkers. Some of you have only received this newsletter for a short time, and you might want to look at issues going back to 2002.
Celebrate the Goodness of God By Leland Eliason, Ph.D., former provost, Bethel Seminary
This is an excerpt from the memorial service for Gordon G. Johnson, Th.D., dean of Bethel Seminary from 1964 to 1984. The service was held at Gracepoint Church in St. Paul, Minn., on April 8, 2011. The memorial message was delivered by Leland Eliason, Ph.D., who served as dean of the seminary from 1994 to 2010. The third point of Eliason’s message is a relevant reminder to all of us that the past is important because it is a record of the goodness of God. The Friends of the History Center are dedicated to preserving and proclaiming the work of God in our midst as it is happening today and as it happened in the past. Within his grief and continual health issues, Gordon walked a pathway that you and I can follow when we go through similar circumstances. There are sign posts on that pathway. When I met with the family in June of 2009 in preparation for Alta’s memorial service, with deep feeling, Gordon exclaimed: “Our lives have been lived under the gracious providence of God from beginning to end.” That’s the theme that I heard Gordon speak of more than any other during the last 22 months. He focused on the amazing ways that God had led and blessed him.
His educational journey was one of those blessings. Gordon’s academic preparation is the most complex I have ever seen, and I’ve read a lot of academic résumés. He was graduated from Moody Bible Institute in 1941 and then attended Bethel Junior College for two years before transferring to the University of Minnesota to complete his undergraduate degree. While Gordon was at Bethel, Dean K. J. Karlson had highly recommended that he go to Harvard or Princeton to finish his bachelor’s degree. Joining the armed services was the only way he could afford to go to one of the Ivy League schools. So during his second quarter at the University of Minnesota, he signed up with the Navy, wanting to enter their Chaplaincy program, but the Navy denied Gordon’s enlistment due to allergies. So he continued at the U of M. Then the Army drafted Gordon, and he again contacted the Navy. This time they accepted his application. And the Navy allowed him to finish his B.A. at Harvard by doing a full year of work there. He also did a year of work at Princeton. He then transferred back to Bethel Seminary from where he received his B.D. degree. While pastoring a church in New Jersey he completed his work at Princeton Seminary from where he earned a master’s degree. And while pastoring the church in Chicago he earned his doctorate from Northern Baptist New Dean Gordon G. Johnson greets retiring seminary Dean Edwin Omark on the Bethel campus. 4
Theological Seminary. So think about this: in order to lead the seminary effectively and reach diverse groups of evangelicals, Gordon had Moody, Bethel, and Northern Baptist as a bridge to the most conservative, and he had the University of Minnesota, Harvard, and Princeton to bridge with those who valued academics the most! Who could have designed and funded that kind of track? Gordon believed firmly that only God could have done such an amazing feat! In the midst of WWII—and all the chaos that occurred—Romans 8:28 was taking place in his life—“In everything, God was working out His purposes” and Gordon knew that God had worked for good in his life. There were multiple other examples of God’s providence that Gordon described. In God’s providence he accepted the invitation to write a training manual for membership classes within the Baptist General Conference, having no idea that it would become a best seller within the BGC over many decades. I just came from a pastor’s conference in Washington state and met a man who is writing
his doctor of ministry degree project and dissertation, using My Church as the foundation of his study. In God’s providence, God led a truly unusual group of young scholars to join the faculty at the seminary while he was dean, and the school grew 550 percent, from 100 to 550 students. Why is this exercise of rehearsing the goodness of God so important? You see it is far more than a retired person reminiscing about the good old days when gasoline was 33 cents a gallon. Over and over again the Bible tells us to remember what God has done in the past because of this crucial truth: reviewing the history of God’s intervention and actions in the lives of His people renews faith and restores hope. It builds us up when we are worn down. Psalms 4:6 says, “My soul is downcast within me; therefore I will rememberYou. . . .” Psalm 143:5 says, “I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all Your works and consider what Your hands have done.” Lamentations 3:21-24 has this great passage: “Yet this I call to mind and therefore I have hope: Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him.’ This I call to mind and therefore have hope.” 1 Chronicles 16:12 commands, “Remember the wonders He has done, His miracles, and the judgments He pronounced. . . .” Hebrews 10:32: “Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property,
Five Decades Receives International Recognition
Five Decades of Growth and Change, which chronicles the history of the Baptist General Conference from 1952 to 2002, has been selling well through Harvest in Chicago and the Bethel University bookstore. It recently received unsolicited recognition from the General Secretary of the Baptist World Alliance in the BWA magazine Baptist World. We sent Neville Callam, Ph.D., a copy of the book as a courtesy and this is what he penned in his column in the January/March issue of the international magazine read by Baptists all over the world: “In a 676 page book fully worth every minute required to read it, the Baptist General Conference and Bethel College and Seminary have told their exciting story. Five Decades of Growth and Change, 1952-2002, which is edited by James and Carole Spickelmier, was published in 2010 by the History Center in St. Paul, Minnesota, USA.” Callum goes on to point out material from the text that resonates with what he has seen in Baptist churches throughout the world. We are grateful for this tribute by the leader of the BWA, which represents 218 Baptist conventions and unions comprising a membership of more than 37 million baptized believers and a community of 105 million. If you would like to have Five Decades on your book shelf or in your church library, contact Scott Nelsen at Harvest at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Bethel University bookstore at 651.638.6202. And if you need to contact the History Center to get on our mailing list, or to inform us of information regarding your church or Conference or Bethel history, please email email@example.com.
because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.” Jesus gave us the Lord ’s Supper and admonished, “Do this in remembrance of Me.” You see these stories that Gordon told are more than a shallow view of history—mere memories of facts about what happened. They retell sacred history and when we retell the sacred stories of God’s kindness, God’s faithfulness, God’s providence in our own lives—these stories become storehouses of hope, and faith, and confidence. When you and I go through perhaps as great a trial as we’ll ever go through, the loss of a spouse while 5
going through one hospitalization after another ourselves, how do we live? Gordon gave us the signposts on the pathway to walk on. (1) Grieve intentionally. (2) Revive old projects that embody your passion and your interest. And (3) rehearse the great works of God in your life. And as you remember God at work in the past, you’ll receive this resounding message: The God who acted so powerfully in the past is ready and waiting to act similarly today. God almighty is with us. Jehovah Jirah, the God who provides, is with us. So have hope. Deepen your faith. And go forth to live–because God the Creator is with us! •
His Name Shall Be Honoring Stan Rendahl Adapted from a story by Stan Rendahl
The Friends of the History Center lost a good friend this last spring. On March 3, 2011, Rev. Stan Rendahl was called to his reward at the age of 95. Stan grew up in the Conference as his father was a conference pastor and district worker while Stan was growing up. Stan served as an evangelist, pastor, church planter, interim pastor, U.S. Army chaplain, district executive officer, interim district executive officer, and Baptist General Conference adult ministries director. In more recent years he has contributed wonderful stories from his ministry and his father’s ministry, which have been printed in Trailmarkers. We will miss him, but he has left us several volumes of stories that we will use in future issues. In this issue, we honor his life by printing this story about the names he was given through the years of his life. My last name Dad acquired at Ellis Island. His name in Sweden was Reinholdt Axelson and he thought he wanted to change it to Axel Reinholdt. So he told the clerk, who wrote down Axel Rendahl. Dad saw that wasn’t right but, after he read it again and again, he said to himself, “That’s a good name. I’ll keep it.” It had a Scandinavian ring to it and would be easier to spell. My birth certificate reads Johan Stanley Romulus Rendahl. When I got into my teens I asked Dad why he gave me those names. His reply was “I wanted you to be a witness like John, a missionary like Livingstone, a founder of a great program, and my name.” I changed it unofficially from the Swedish Johan to John. My family and friends always called me “Stanley.” In later years that got abbreviated to “Stan.” We moved to a small town where my playmates in the neighborhood
were not Swedish. Those boys started to call me “Randy.” That seemed to be a long way from “Ren” but I answered to it. One morning in the seventh grade I came to school having walked the distance from my home in bitter cold. I think I was the last one to arrive. I walked my chilledthrough body into the coat room and opened the door to the classroom. One of the boys spotted my frost bitten red nose and blurted out, “Look— Randy’s got a red cherry for a nose.” From then on I was “Cherry” to my classmates. That lasted until I got to high school, where they abbreviated it to “Cher” and then to “Chow.” We moved to Illinois and I lost that title. When I enrolled in Prentice High School we had three boys named “Stanley” and three boys named “John.” To identify myself I started writing my name “J. Stanley.” As such it became my name on my diplomas, my bank accounts, and other papers. It wasn’t until I came to Bethel I was dubbed something else. It changed on the basketball court in a
game with Concordia. I caught a pass after a toss from an out-of-bounds team mate and began dribbling up the floor with my awkward, lumbering gait. About mid court a Concordia player hollered, “Look out, here comes the truck.” The center lane opened and I dribbled to the basket. From then on, the guys called me “Truck.” After graduation I went to Kenosha as pastor. For some reason the
Another Book from the Friends of the History Center Another book about the Baptist General Conference (Converge Worldwide) is being prepared for publication by the Friends of the History Center. Five Decades of Growth and Change told the story of Bethel University and the Baptist General Conference from 1952 to 2002. But there have been a lot of changes, especially in the Conference, in this last decade. New Century/New Directions looks at the work of the Conference from 2001 to 2010. A new name, a new location for the headquarters, huge 6
staff transitions, and a new way of defining the ministry of the Conference are some of the issues covered. There are also reports of the work that has been done in church planting and a detailed analysis of the finances of the Conference. There will be a limited number of paper copies of the book available through Harvest and the Bethel Bookstore early this fall. The book will be made available for most people through internet access to the Bethel Digital Library.
clientele started calling me “Preacher” and that stuck as long as I was there. I wondered if it was because I was a good preacher or because I was a poor pastor. When I entered the military, Uncle Sam ordered me to use John and S. as my middle initial. My government papers address me as John S. I didn’t want to recognize that too much so had my desk name plate read “J. S. Rendahl.” Today, if I make a hasty signature I still write my name that way. Mostly the khaki clad folk called me “Chaplain.” There came a variation or two. One was at a basketball game when I became the aggressor and the high point player and the GIs in the stand started screaming “Chappy.” That bolstered my ego and the chapel attendance too. [Moving to another post] I found a set of children to play with. To them I was “The God Man.” That was a title I loved. I came back to the states and to the churches we were to serve. Generally, I heard the pleasant title “Pastor.” I still covet that name. Once in awhile, I’d get another introduction. In one Nebraska church, the emcee introduced me as “Stan the Man,” after the great St. Louis Cardinal baseball player. He related that in a Bible camp baseball game, he was pitching and each time I came to bat the ball got a long ride. He has kept riding me with that name. As the Iowa district secretary, an ex-chaplain called me “Bishop.” In one interim situation, the assistant pastor had two sweet children. His father was a minister friend of mine. His granddaughters called me “Grandpa Pastor.” Vangie’s (my sister) granddaughters call me “Grandpa with a stick.” [Stan used a cane]. A title I have thoroughly enjoyed came from my youngsters who recognized me as “Daddy” and in their mature years as “Dad.” Now in my old age I am honored with the title “Grandpa” and “Grandpa Great.” Editor’s note: Stan Rendahl
pastored in Kenosha, Wis.; Bristol, Conn.; Omaha, Neb.; Big Springs, S.D.; and Duluth, Minn. He was district executive of the Iowa District and then director of senior adults for the Baptist General Conference. He was a member of numerous Conference and Bethel committees. After “retirement” at age 70, he served nine interim pastorates in churches from Worcester, Mass., to Hershey, Neb. He was also interim district executive in two Conference districts. He continued doing pulpit supply into his 90s.
Come to the Friends of the History Center
Fall Brunch Saturday, October 15, 9:30-11 a.m. Grace Point Church 2351 Rice Creek Road, New Brighton, Minn.
On October 15, the Friends of the History Center will meet at Grace Point Church to explore the roots of our faith. “A Religion of the Heart” is our theme as we hear from Chris Armstrong , Ph.D., Bethel Seminary history professor and editor of Christian History magazine; Jeannette Bakke, Ph.D., former Bethel Seminary professor and author and lecturer on spiritual formation; and from the writings of Carl Lundquist, Ph.D., president emeritus of Bethel College and Seminary. A small brunch will be served at 9 a.m. Our program will run from 9:30 -11 a.m. The writings of Carl Lundquist, who perhaps exemplified the Conference orientation to a religion of the heart as well as anyone, will be read by his daughter Carole Spickelmier. An offering will be taken to sustain the work of the History Center. The cost for the brunch is $4. Grace Point Church is at the corner of Silver Lake Road and Rice Creek Road, about one mile north of Hwy 694. Make reservations for this event by calling the Bethel Office of Development at 651.635.8050. Come see your friends and learn about a key distinctive of our faith. 7
Supporting the History Center The work of the History Center has been sustained over the years by Bethel, by the BGC, and by the financial support of those who value this work. The Conference gives $12,000 a year for operating support. Bethel University supplies the space for the archives, the technological support, and the salary for a one third time director of the History Center. All other support comes from volunteer contributions to one of three funds. The History Center Fund (operating fund) underwrites Trailmarkers and the Friends of the History Center events, and, in recent days, has financed the scanning of important historic docu-
ments for the Bethel University Digital Library. The Dick Turnwall History Center Endowment is a growing endowment that we hope will someday provide for the financial security of the History Center into the future. The Karl J. Karlson History Internship fund provides a yearly stipend to an outstanding student selected by the History Department of the Bethel University College of Arts & Sciences to do original research in the History Center. Individuals are invited to contribute to these funds as God provides. Memorials in support of the History Center are welcomed.
Steering Committee of The History Center: James Spickelmier, Chair; Diana Magnuson, Archivist; Alvera Mickelsen, Editor, Trail Markers; Stan Anderson; Marlys Arenson; Richard Burton; G.William Carlson; Gwen Forsline; Jonathan Larson; Dwaine Lind; Marv Lindstedt; Mary Jo Monson; Virgil Olson; Rich Sherry; Carole Spickelmier; Flossie Winquist; Vic Winquist
The History Center is housed and supported by Bethel University.
“Everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that...we might have hope.” Romans 15:4 3949 Bethel Drive St. Paul, MN 55112-6998
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A religion of the heart and remembering H. Wyman Malmsten.