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COVENANT The Magazine of Covenant Theological Seminary Spring 路 Summer 2012


spring · summer 2012


And Jesus said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you become fishers of men.” — Mark 1:17



Catching Up with Dr. Calhoun


Christ-Centered Discipleship




Covenant Distinctive: Relational Emphasis

10 Grace

to Grow On


Embarking Together on God’s Great Adventure


16 Reflections

on Dr. Bob Yarbrough


Looking for Answers at the


Crossroads of Tragedy


The Challenge of Sustaining Fruitful Ministry



To Serve God and Neighbor: The Mission and Ministry of the Diaconate


Seminary News



Jesus’ familiar words from Mark’s Gospel seem, on the surface, quite simple. Yet, when we think about what is implied in his little phrase, “Follow me,” we begin to see both the enormity of the challenge and the immensity of the blessing to which Jesus calls us as Christians. For the Christian life is, at one and the same time, a life of great sacrifice and self-denial, and one of great abundance and joy. It can be fraught with great though ultimately temporary difficulties, but also full of great and ultimately eternal rewards. It is, in sum, both the scariest and the most satisfying life we could ever hope to have! The foundation of such a life is discipleship—learning to know, love, serve, and glorify our Savior while helping others to know, love, serve, and glorify him as well. Discipleship is a lifelong process of growth in faith and holiness that moves us to reflect Jesus more and more in every area of our lives. And it is a process of passing on his truths and our love of him to those he gives to share our lives with us: our spouses, children, friends, neighbors, coworkers; those experiencing sorrow or tragedy; those who “have it all together” but still lack peace—in short, those who, like us, need to hear and hang on to the promises of the gospel every day. As the stories in this issue of Covenant illustrate, Christian discipleship can take many forms. At its core, though, discipleship is about opening our hearts and lives to the leading of Christ so that we might help lead others to him. It’s about sharing with one another the immeasurable love of Christ—walking together through our trials and triumphs, our successes and failures, our questions and concerns—and acknowledging our mutual need for forgiveness and mercy as we, by God’s grace, attempt to live out the gospel together in a redeemed but not yet fully restored world. For those who know Jesus, there can be no greater calling, no greater blessing, and no greater life than this. I pray that the Lord would work mightily through us all to make the joy of his love manifest.

Faculty and Staff News, Publications, and Speaking Schedules Faculty Recommended Readings

32 Alumni News VOL. 27, NO. 1

PS: It was recently announced that subsequent to the publication of this issue, I will be transitioning to the role of Chancellor at Covenant Seminary. Effective June 1, 2012, Dr. Mark Dalbey, current VP for Academics, will serve as Interim President as we engage in a presidential search process. For more information, please visit

Catching Up with Dr. Calhoun


our years after his retirement, Dr. David Calhoun, professor emeritus of church history, remains one of Covenant Seminary’s most beloved figures. He still maintains an office on campus and has been keeping busy in a variety of ways, including delivering the commencement address at this year’s graduation ceremony. We caught up with him recently to find out more about what he has been up to. The large window beside Dr. David Calhoun’s desk looks out over the lawn and playground behind Edwards Hall, the estate house that served as the original home for Covenant Seminary back in the late 1950s. In fact, this spacious, elegant room once was the office of Dr. Robert G. Rayburn, the Seminary’s first president and an important mentor to Calhoun. When guests ask him, “What did you do to deserve such a nice office?” Calhoun smiles and says simply, “I retired.” The statement underscores the gentle humor and gracious charm that have helped to make Dr. Calhoun a favorite among generations of Covenant Seminary students, faculty, and staff. Though he retired in 2008 after teaching church history for 30 years, he still comes in nearly every weekday morning to work on one of his many writing projects, prepare for one of the classes he still teaches on occasion, answer e-mails, or simply to meet and talk with the many friends, colleagues, and former students who often stop by to see him. “I love being retired,” he says with a laugh. “I do what I want to do, and I don’t do what I don’t want to do.” 2

COVENANT Spring · Summer 2012

One thing he enjoyed doing recently was visiting Columbia International University (formerly Columbia Bible College) in Columbia, South Carolina, where he once studied and also taught for a time, to speak at the dedication of a new library building. “The old one was damaged in a fire a few years ago. The library is named for Dr. G. Allen Fleece, the second president of Columbia, who also was my father-in-law. It was an honor for me to speak there,” Calhoun says. Traveling is something Calhoun loves to do, though his health has made this more difficult in recent years. He looks hale and hearty as he sits here now, but he has struggled with mantle cell lymphoma, a rare and incurable (but treatable) form of non-Hodgkins lymphoma, for more than 20 years. He also had a pacemaker installed a couple of years ago and is on medication for his heart. Though his cancer is currently in remission, he knows that could change at any time. He still visits the doctor frequently and is on a reduced schedule of chemotherapy. He also is required to have a colonoscopy every six months; he’s had more than 40 thus far. “I’m told I hold the record at

Mercy Hospital” [formerly St. John’s Mercy], he notes with typical good humor. As his attitude implies, Calhoun has not let his physical sufferings or limitations get him down. “My illness is just part of who I am now,” he says. “It has been hard at times, but it’s also helped me to see that what I believe is really true—the Lord works all things together for our good, and he does walk with me through the valley of the shadow of death. He’s taught me patience and to trust in him. As long as he gives me the opportunity to remain here and do what I’m doing, I’ll love him and love my neighbor as myself.” This good-natured strength and quiet perseverance are typical of Calhoun, whose path to where he is now—a respected church historian and revered father in the faith—was, as he describes it, “very erratic.” “I never knew what I was up to,” he says, “but God knew. He put so many diverse things together in my background so I could teach here. He brought things together so I could do here what I probably couldn’t have done anywhere else.” Teaching church history was not even on Calhoun’s radar when he first came to Covenant Seminary as a student in the third year of the school’s existence. In fact, he wasn’t a Presbyterian at the time, either, having been raised in the Baptist tradition. But at the suggestion of Dr. Fleece, who had visited Covenant and recommended it highly, he came to St. Louis and was impressed with what he found. “I had known the biblical stories pretty well before, but Covenant helped me to see the Bible more clearly as one big story and

how the diverse parts all reflect that big story. I loved that aspect of Reformed theology. The other thing that happened was that when I got here I was still a Baptist, but by the middle of my second year I was a Presbyterian.” He adds with a laugh, “My wife sometimes says I became too much of a Presbyterian because I had such an interest in it. But that’s where the Lord led me.” After completing a Bachelor of Divinity (BDiv, the precursor of the Master of Divinity) and a Master of Theology (ThM) at Covenant, Calhoun and his wife, Anne, became missionaries in the West Indies—another turn of events he would not have expected—at the behest of then-Seminary president Dr. Rayburn. “He told me one day that he knew of a church on Grand Cayman Island that needed a pastor and he

way, Calhoun also found time to earn another ThM, this time from Princeton Seminary. And then, as God’s providence would have it, came another twist in the story. “I met up with Dr. Rayburn again at the second General Assembly of the PCA,” Calhoun recalls. “He told me it was time for me to come back to Covenant Seminary to teach. I didn’t have a PhD at that time and didn’t know what I would teach. The faculty said there was a need in the area of church history, which I didn’t know much about. But that’s where the need was, and Dr. Rayburn wanted me to do it. So I went back to Princeton and got a PhD, then came to Covenant to teach.” And the rest, as they say, is history. During the next 30 years, Calhoun helped generations of seminarians come to know

“Church history in particular helps us to see ourselves as part of the larger church, part of all God’s people down through the ages.” wanted me to do it,” Calhoun remembers. “I had never heard of Grand Cayman Island. I thought he was talking about the Grand Canyon. But Dr. Rayburn knew what he wanted, and he could be a very persuasive fellow; so I went.” And that began a long and fruitful ministry in the islands that also included stints with various mission agencies and several years as principal for Jamaica Bible College and Community Institute. Along the

and appreciate the many people and events of church history. He sees the study of history as important for many reasons. “Without an understanding of the past we have no sense of who we are or where we came from,” he notes. “Studying history helps us to be aware of and imitate the good things that have happened in the past and avoid the bad things. Church history in particular helps us to see ourselves as part of the larger church, part of all God’s


people down through the ages. Church history is really our family history—and as in any family, there are some skeletons in the closet as well as some very encouraging moments. All of these have something important to tell us about ourselves as Christians.” Calhoun’s influence in sparking a love of history in his students is evident in many of the objects that surround him in his office—each of which represents a treasured memory from a life lived in the service of the Lord. Among these are several of the imaginative “timelines” created by students as final projects in his church history classes over the years: a finely drawn sketch of Westminster Abbey in which each intricately penciled brick represents an important person or event; a model sailing ship with similar information adorning its sails; a stuffed pink pig holding a silky scroll ribbon also listing many dates. Additionally, audio files from Calhoun’s church history classes are consistently among the most downloaded resources on the Seminary’s Worldwide Classroom website. Now that he’s retired, Calhoun says that he does miss teaching regularly about the many interesting characters in our Christian family tree. But he still keeps his hand in it by researching and writing about church history. Besides several published books—a well-respected two-volume history of Princeton Seminary, a deeply personal study of the life and works of John Bunyan, several histories of important American Presbyterian churches, and a one-volume history of Columbia Theological Seminary (due out this spring)—he is currently 4

COVENANT Spring · Summer 2012

working on a biography of influential teacher, pastor, and Southern church leader William Childs Robinson, and an ongoing series of articles on various historical figures for Knowing and Doing, a magazine published by the C. S. Lewis Institute. In addition, Calhoun scratches his teaching itch with occasional courses at the Seminary. His classes on Calvin’s Institutes and the Westminster Confession of Faith are perennial favorites among the students and are always well attended. But, surprisingly, he says he gets the greatest response for a couple of classes that are not technically related to his main field at all: Sickness and Suffering, and Christianity and Imagination. “Sickness and Suffering grew out of my experience in dealing with cancer,” he notes. “It’s an attempt to explore and deal with the issues of pain, grief, and consolation. It’s hard to teach in some ways, but it also seems to be a blessing for many people. It’s very cathartic.” Christianity and Imagination developed out of Calhoun’s great love of reading. “I love all kinds of books—fiction, poetry, anything. I’m usually reading several books at the same time. In this class, we look at the works of people like Erasmus, Dante, George Herbert, John Bunyan, Rembrandt, Kierkegaard, Flannery O’Connor, and Wendell Berry, and how their Christian faith is expressed through their art.” To complete the study, Calhoun says students have the opportunity to create original works of Christian imagination such as short stories, essays, imaginative sermons, lectures, poetry, or art.

Calhoun is currently planning a course that will examine the history and influence of the African-American church. This evolved from his own long association with Galilee Baptist Church, a local black congregation in which he has served as a guest preacher for many years and where he now has a staff role. “I’m enjoying my closer connection to the folks at Galilee,” he says, “and I’m learning to preach better too!” All of this may seem like quite a load for someone who claims to be “retired.” But Calhoun is enjoying his life—and plans to do so as long as the Lord will let him. He’s happy to have an office right in the center of the Seminary campus where he can still interact with students and colleagues on a regular basis. And he’s eager to see what the Lord will do with and through the new generation of church leaders he is raising up. Reflecting on his own long and winding road through seminary and beyond, Calhoun advises students who are just starting out to not let the uncertainties or hardships they face get in their way. “Just come here and learn,” he encourages. “Don’t worry too much about what you’ll be. Test out the various options while you’re here, but don’t forget to relax and have fun. Study hard, yes, but also trust God; enjoy yourself, enjoy the world God made—and know that God is in control.” RICK MATT Rick Matt (MATS ‘05) is associate director of communications at Covenant Seminary, where he works at writing and editing materials for a variety of print and online publications. He particularly enjoys hearing and telling stories about how God is working in the lives of his people. Rick also serves as a ruling elder in a local PCA church.




AS FOLLOWERS OF JESUS CHRIST, we are all called to be “fishers of men”—but just as fishermen must have the proper training and equipment to do their jobs well, so too those who would lead others to Christ and help them walk in his ways must understand the fine art of discipleship. And just as fishing, in a sense, involves a kind of “dance” that brings the fisherman and the fish closer to one another, so too discipleship involves an intricate, dance-like movement that not only brings both participants closer to one another, but, more importantly, to Christ himself, who is the center and purpose of all things. In this adaptation of material developed in more detail in his Doctor of Ministry dissertation, Rev. Dr. Bob Flayhart walks us through the movements of this dance of Christ-centered discipleship and mentoring.

Discipleship, as Christ reveals in the Great Commission, is a relationship with an agenda—to teach Christians to observe all that Christ has commanded. But how do Christians grow in holiness? Do individuals become holy through a rigorous application of the will to perform the disciplines? Or do Christians become holy by grace through faith, a passivity which leads to transformed living? The Scriptures set forth a paradigm for the formation of our spiritual life. This paradigm is based on the truths of the gospel and the commands that flow out of those truths—and this order is extremely important. The paradigm can be seen clearly in the epistles of Paul, whose usual pattern is to spend the earlier portions of his letters focusing his readers on the doctrines of grace, union with Christ, our adoption as children of God, and the hope of the power of Christ at work in believers. Only after laying this foundation of grace does Paul make clear how we are to live as we walk in the light and power of that grace. Thus, what is needed in the church today is the implementation of a mentoring methodology that maintains the biblical tension of belief and behavior while also maintaining the biblical order of faith leading to works. In other words, mentoring strategies need to be more mindful of the doctrine of sanctification by integrating the biblical emphasis of growth by grace through faith and growth through personal effort— which is the working out of our faith with fear and trembling because it is God who is at work in us (Phil. 2:12 –13).


“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” — Matthew 28:19–20 Though many in the church have heard teaching or read a book on the topic of discipleship, the church often falls short in the area of mentoring. Congregations are filled with men and women who have walked with the Lord for years but have never been mentored or discipled, and many aren’t even sure what a biblical model of discipleship looks like. Far from being simply a critique of the church, such statements are an invitation to the church to embrace, model, and encourage Christcentered discipleship. Churches that do incorporate a balanced or integrated (scriptural) model of mentoring grow deeper spiritually and stronger relationally. Scripture puts forward a model of Christ-centered discipleship that involves the Holy Spirit, the power of the gospel, a mentor, a protégé (the one being mentored), and the larger community of believers (the church). This Christ-centered model is intentional and transparent, challenging believers to grow more in and like Christ.


COVENANT Spring · Summer 2012

Leaders in the church must begin with a Christ-centered focus. One of the primary temptations facing a mentor is the tendency to make the relationship “man-centered,” focusing on having a protégé master certain disciplines rather than trusting Christ for everything. Additionally, mentors must be constantly on guard to prevent their relationships from being about protégés following mentors rather than each person following Christ. Ultimately, the objective of mentoring must be growth in Christ-likeness and Christ-dependency that results in God being glorified, with both parties remembering that the only true disciple-maker is Jesus Christ. We mentor most effectively when we approach the relationship from a posture of humility. One of the best ways to keep Christ primary in the mentoring relationship is to remember that while we are called to be obedient to God through mentoring others, God could indeed mentor them without us—as he often does in the midst of our reluctance and failures! This attitude leads us to a healthy mistrust of our own abilities, strengths, and natural gifts so that we may remain desperately dependent upon the supernatural gifts and strength of the Lord Jesus Christ.

THE DANCE OF DISCIPLESHIP A simple paradigm to help keep the mentoring relationship Christcentered and integrated when it comes to belief and behavior involves

the concept of dancing. All Christians dance, whether they realize it or not! The various paradigms of growth, renewal, and transformation in the church can be seen as different types of dances. For instance, the bunny hop is a one-step dance, and those who would do the dance of discipleship this way tend to reduce the paradigm of growth to a singular focus. The most popular one-step of many such discipleship models is what I call “fight.” This is based on the idea that because believers are new creations in Christ and have new natures, they can become holy if they simply set their wills to follow the rigors of God’s law and the spiritual disciplines. The truth is, however, that we need more than a rigorous application of the will to follow the law. We must be more than bunny hoppers. There are others who follow a one-step model of “surrender;” they echo the refrain, “Let go, and let God.” Unfortunately, this creates a mindset of waiting to be zapped. It tends to see the Christian like a stick in a river waiting for the current to whisk it along. This is passivism, and though there is a sense in which believers are waiting on God to act in them, this model is an inadequate understanding of how Christian change takes place.


If leaders in the church want to help their congregations grow in grace, they must learn to ask come critical questions about discipleship, such as:


What is the main role of the mentor—merely to be an agent to pass on skills, or simply to speak the love of God to the protégé? Or, must a mentor do both?


Is there a place for curriculum in the structure of discipleship, or should the relationship be more fluid and spontaneous? Should the content primarily revolve around the spiritual disciplines, character issues, and ministry skills? Should the content expose protégés to doctrine and theological truth? Does it matter?


What role does the church play in discipleship? Should more mature believers seek to build relationships with younger Christians regardless of church connection? Are mentoring relationships more effective when both parties are actively involved in the same body of believers?


Is there anything specific the local church can do to foster mentoring, or should the church just let things happen serendipitously?


What role should the pastoral staff or church elders play in supporting a mentoring ministry?



What does the message of the gospel of grace have to say in addressing all these questions?

The most integrated model of discipleship, Christ-centered mentoring, must be seen in terms of a waltz—a three-step dance to spiritual growth. The first step of the waltz is “repent.” As believers are encouraged to live in the love of God, we become open to seeing that all Christian growth begins with an awareness of sin, failure, weakness, and an understanding of our desperate need to be changed. Jesus said, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 4:17). Thus, acknowledging our sin and our helplessness must come first, and it requires great transparency and vulnerability. The mentor must model humility and acknowledge his or her own desperate need for forgiveness by leading in the area of repentance. Unfortunately, many people get stuck in this repent step and feel defeated, then fall into

We must remember that discipleship is not about finding a foolproof method for obtaining or encouraging spiritual growth. Rather, it is about the daily mutual reliance on and encouragement in the grace and mercy of God through which both the mentor and the protégé, “being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that [they] may be filled with all the fullness of God” (Eph. 3:17–19).

THE TEXAS TWO-STEP A second dance model of discipleship can be described as the Texas two-step, which focuses on “repenting and recommitting”—or confessing and trying harder. This model teaches that if you acknowledge your sin and try a little bit harder, then transformation is just over the next hill. But trying hard—even with a new nature—won’t in itself accomplish transformation. If we bypass the cross of Christ, there’s no supernatural power in us, and the new nature will fail at merely trying harder. Another form of the Texas two-step is the model of transformation or renewal focused upon the need to “repent and believe.” The discipling relationship is then focused on helping the believer acknowledge sin and trust Christ for change. Although this dance is the closest thus far to the biblical paradigm of heart-renewal than the others, it still lacks one essential element.


despair. Because all they see is their sin, they get stuck in the bunny hop of repentance. Repentance must lead to the second step of the waltz, which is “believe.” There are two elements to this particular step: appreciate and appropriate. As we acknowledge our sin before God with deep honesty about our failures and helplessness, we are to appreciate or affirm our justified standing with God, received through our union with Christ. Because of our union with Christ, God’s punitive anger and wrath have already been poured out upon Jesus, so there’s no need now to live in self-condemnation or shame. We are also to understand and appreciate that all of Christ’s righteousness has been transferred to us so that the Father rejoices and sings over us in Christ (Zeph. 3:17). God delights in us not on the basis of our performance but because of our union with Christ. Whenever we sin, we are called to repent—but we also must immediately appreciate, affirm, and re-preach to ourselves that gospel of grace concerning our legal or positional standing before God. Too many disciples fail to press on because they feel discouraged by their failure to live as the second half of Paul’s epistles call us to live. One huge responsibility of a Christ-centered mentor is to point others continually to the reality and hope of their union with Christ. The mentor must inject a lot of grace and unconditional love into the relationship, modeling the mercy and kindness of God for the protégé. But more is needed. The second element of the believe step is to appropriate. Believers must be taught and reminded continually to appropriate the power of the blood of Christ at the particular point of repentance. In other words, just as those of us who know Jesus and have been saved from eternal condemnation have experienced the converting power of the blood, we Christians must realize the transforming power of the blood of Christ as well. We are to appropriate—to grab hold of by faith and make our own—by the power of the Holy Spirit, the transforming value of the blood of Christ at our particular point of repentance. Ultimately, we are not changed by simply trying harder. As the late theologian Francis Schaeffer taught so ably in his book True Spirituality, we are changed by trusting God to apply the “present value of the blood of Christ” to our daily lives. This model of discipleship keeps people rooted in the supernatural, not in themselves. The mentor, then, must constantly seek to emphasize to the protégé the redemptive power of the gospel, encouraging him or her to believe in and claim the reality that God is at work, and that the power of Christ’s blood will not fail. The final element of the waltz is the “fight” step. Once we’ve acknowledged our sin and our helplessness; preached ourselves to the point of encouragement concerning our legal and positional standing before God in Christ (realizing that we’re non-condemnable), which does not change; and appropriated the power of the blood to change us at our point of sin; we are now indeed called to exercise our renewed wills to make choices to follow Christ in new obedience. Paul’s letters clearly call the Christian to engage the will to present ourselves as slaves to righteousness. We are called by Paul to put off the old self and to put on the new self (Eph. 4:22–24). The author of Hebrews charges us to strive for holiness without which no one will see the Lord (Heb.12:14). Peter calls us to make every effort to add to our faith virtue, knowledge, self-control, steadfastness, godliness, brotherly affection, and love (2 Peter 1:5). Though it is true that the Father does not delight in us because of our


COVENANT Spring · Summer 2012

obedience but rather on account of our union with Christ, all our actions and attitudes either are or are not objectively pleasing to God based on the clear commands of Scripture. Mentors can emphasize the “fight” step of the waltz by challenging protégés to engage in the means of grace, to be obedient, and to be engaged in personal ministry. In addition, from the mentor’s side of


the relationship, the fight step of the waltz means that effort must be exerted to be intentional and somewhat structured by thinking through the curriculum necessary to keep the relationship on track. Though the discipling relationship must not become solely curriculum-driven, some structure is necessary to provide direction.

BEWARE OF HEAVY-FOOTEDNESS One key element of the discipling relationship is discerning how each believer tends to be “heavy-footed” in the waltz. For instance, some Christians are heavy-footed repenters. They see their sin and their helplessness but fail to live by faith in the gospel promises. Other Christians are heavy-footed in the believe step of the waltz. They have no trouble seeing God as gracious and loving or as good and benevolent. However, they tend to minimize their sinfulness or fail to truly strive after holiness with great effort and intentionality. Finally, some believers are heavyfooted in the fight step of the waltz. Many traditional discipleship models incline believers this way. These models can actually disciple believers into a paradigm of competency and individualism when in fact the biblical model seems to be a paradigm of brokenness and desperate dependence upon Christ. In the end, those who seek to follow a truly Christ-centered model of discipleship must ask one vital question through every step of the process: At the end of each discipling phone call or meeting, with whom does the protégé (and the mentor as well!) walk as a result of the discipler’s encouragement? Himself and his own efforts? Or the risen Christ, whose blood redeemed our sins and who alone can make us right and holy and whole before God?

DR. ROBERT FLAYHART Bob Flayhart (DMin ’02) is the senior pastor of Oak Mountain Presbyterian Church in Birmingham, Alabama. He was called to plant this now-thriving church in 1989. Dr. Flayhart also serves on the Board of Trustees for Covenant Seminary.

The Covenant Distinctive Relational Emphasis

Making regular use of a professor’s office hours provides one student with a deep friendship, a new hobby, and an awareness of the value of growing in grace alongside others.


ike most MDiv students at Covenant Seminary, my second year began with Hebrew, and Dr. Brian Aucker was my professor. Dr. Aucker is a moderately intense man with sharp features who reminds me of a Navy pilot. He opened his first lecture with a slide of Dr. Otto Octavius, the main antagonist in Spider-Man 2. “Doc Ock” as he calls himself, is a hulking, brutish villain with four robotic tentacles extruding from his spine. Where his head should have been in the slide, an exaggeratedly obvious Photoshop version of Dr. Aucker’s smiling face replaced it. It was “Doc Auck’s” way of a warm handshake for the whole class. I thought it clever, but also felt, aside from Dr. Aucker’s homonym use, that he was going to be someone I would enjoy. Brian is a humble, scholarly, focused man. He shies away from praise and is dedicated to his students and his craft. While each member of our faculty strives to model Christ in the classroom, Brian’s way of doing so is endearing. This led me to his office door one spring morning when life was overwhelming me. I wanted someone to talk to who had answers. Brian, for some reason, came to mind. In retrospect, I think I went mostly because I felt safe. For whatever reason, I knocked, he invited me in, and we started to talk. That meeting was the first of many. Tuesdays at 11 a.m. became our standing appointment. I shared questions and thoughts, and Brian spoke into what he could. We thought out loud and told life stories. Brian encouraged me. He was an advocate in a season of doubt. God was very kind to give me that time, and it meant a lot personally that I had Dr. Aucker in my life because of it. Brian was a mentor and a sounding board, but more than that, he

became a friend. A Hebrew professor’s office is the last place I expected to find such things, but I’ve learned much in these past years about how God can go well beyond our expectations. Our Lord’s kindness is often demonstrated through the various people in our lives. Brian’s kindness is a part of my testimony of God’s goodness to me here, and it’s my hope that the rest of my brothers in seminary have similar experiences. Tuesdays in Dr. Aucker’s office are now replaced with Sunday afternoons in West County St. Louis. Shortly after I met Brian, he introduced me to cycling. Three bikes later, it’s become a passion of mine. It’s oddly reminiscent of the mornings in his office. In both contexts we work together and push each other for greatness; we cheer one another on, recognizing that to go it alone is to miss something truly wonderful. I’ve come to see that cycling and seminary have three things in common: they both use exclusive terminology (conversations can often seem puzzling, overly serious, and a bit self-aggrandizing to “outsiders”), both require a commitment to perseverance in the face of suffering, and both are at their very best when done with others. When we get over our nervousness and insecurity and reach out to someone, we learn that we aren’t alone. And this is when we actually flourish. BO COLLINS Bo Collins (MDiv ‘12) currently serves as a Sunday school teacher and youth volunteer at Crossroads Presbyterian Fellowship in Maplewood, Missouri. He desires to serve after seminary in a pastoral role focusing on outreach, evangelism, apologetics, and cultural engagement. An Alabama native, Bo enjoys bike racing, traveling, writing and playing music, learning about relational theory, and reading tales in the Norse saga tradition.


grace t o grow o n: the blessings and challenges of gospel-centered parenting

Parenting can be a daunting task, even under the best of circumstances. In a fallen world full of broken relationships, confusing expectations, and countless other pressures and pitfalls, how can anyone ever raise children successfully? Fortunately, the gospel offers help and hope for parents longing to train up godly, grace-filled children.

10 COVENANT Spring · Summer 2012


you’ve ever struggled with how to discipline a disobedient child or advise a wayward one, you know how difficult, frustrating, and guilt-inducing parenting can sometimes be. If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of parental discipline or advice you would rather not have experienced, you know how hard it can be to honor your father or mother. And yet, despite challenges such as these, the parent-child relationship also brings with it some of the greatest blessings that Christians can experience. How can parents navigate through the many landmines that await them and their children on the road to Christian maturity? According to Dr. Mark Dalbey, assistant professor of practical theology and vice president for academics at Covenant Seminary, and his wife, Beth, parenting is just like anything else in the Christian life: it’s all about the gospel. “Although there’s no one answer that will work for everyone all the time,” Mark says, “there are biblical principles that can inform and shape what we do as parents. Hope for parenting lies in the gospel of grace and understanding how God has parented us.” Beth adds, “Parenting requires trusting in and relying on the grace of God in Christ for everything we do. Even when we make mistakes as parents—which we certainly do—we must remember that God’s grace has the power to save and transform despite our failings.” Mark and Beth have a fair amount of experience in this area. They have three grown children and five grandchildren. They also teach an

occasional weekend course on the topic at the Seminary and around the country—a course appropriately titled Gospel-Centered Parenting. The Dalbeys note that people in our culture and, unfortunately, many in the church, too often view parenting as a purely performanceoriented task with the goal of producing right behavior in our young ones. Thus, the use of terms like “grace” and “gospel-centered” in this context might be seen by some as advocating a style of parenting that has no boundaries for acceptable behavior or no expectations for obedience on the part of children. For the Dalbeys, nothing could be further from the truth. “Being gospel-centered in our parenting does not mean having no standards that we expect our children to live by,” Mark explains. “Although it is true that our children need to obey us because we are their parents, focusing too much on the authoritarian aspect of that can be damaging to children and to the parent-child relationship. The biblical model is that behavior should flow out of the relationship itself. Obedience should flow out of love—not simply because ‘I’m your father or mother and I said so.’ ” “God’s plan is for parents to have a more nurturing role,” Beth says. “He wants us to nurture our children as he nurtures us. We can’t be God, obviously, but we are made in his image, and we possess some of his qualities. His goal is to grow us all up in that image, and he loves to use other broken, sinful people like ourselves to do that. That’s why he puts us in families from the start. As parents, our goal is to shape our children toward greater Christ-likeness in all things according to gospel love. We don’t love our children because they keep our standards; we love them no matter what—and out of that love will hopefully flow the response of love and obedience.” Mark adds, “In Ephesians 6:1–3, the apostle Paul says that children are to obey their parents in the Lord not only because it is right, but ‘so that it will go well with you.’ Obedience that flows out of love and respect for parents is presented here as bringing forth the fruit of blessing to the child.”

Some Key Bible Verses on Parenting and Parent-Child Relationships Deuteronomy 6:1–25 Psalm 78:1– 8 Proverbs 23:13–19; Hebrews 12:3–11 Ephesians 4:1–16 Ephesians 6:1– 4 1 Timothy 1:12 –17

But, as Mark notes, that relationship of love and respect is meant to be a two-way street. “Paul says in the very next verse, ‘Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.’ Parents are not just the guardians and overseers of their children; they’re called to love and respect their children as people. And just as parents should help their children grow and mature and be accountable before God, so children can help their parents grow and mature and be accountable before God as well. That’s part of how the Lord uses family relationships to sanctify us.” That process of mutual sanctification will look different during different stages of a family’s life. As children grow, their relationship with their parents changes in sometimes surprising ways. Mark offers an example of this from his own life. “When our son Steven was 13 years old, I realized that the nature of our relationship had changed. I was still his father, with all that that implies, but we were also now brothers in Christ in a way we hadn’t been before. I showed him an open Bible and said, ‘Steven, as my son you see me in a context where many other people in my life do not. If you notice things in me that are not consistent with the Word of God, I’m giving you permission to bring those things to my attention—in a loving way, of course.’ Well, the first time he actually did that, I was stunned. My immediate reaction was, ‘How dare you say that to me!’ But then I realized that he had done exactly what I had asked him to do and he did it in a wonderfully loving way. That helped keep our lines of communication open and honest during his teenage years.” Honest communication is key to close parent-child relationships, but it is especially important for children to see such communication going on between their parents—particularly as it relates to the need for forgiveness. “Our children need to be aware that Mom and Dad are sinners saved by grace just as they are,” Beth says. “They’ll know that instinctively anyway; we can’t hide it, so we need to be honest about it. Children need to see forgiveness being modeled by their parents when they’ve wronged each other. And parents need to seek their children’s forgiveness when they’ve been in the wrong against them too. No matter what mistakes have been made, God’s grace can heal all wounds and bring restoration.

Beth and Mark Dalbey enjoy reading to grandson Preston.


Beth and Mark Dalbey delight in one of the great blessings of parenting: being grandparents to Peyton (far left picture), Jack (with Beth), Natalie (with Mark), Evie (not pictured), and Preston (previous page).

But even if he chooses not to do this right away—or ever in this lifetime—we still trust in him to know what is right for our children.” Mark adds, “It is important that each person thinks of himself or herself as the biggest sinner in the room, the most in need of God’s redeeming grace. That helps keep you humble before the Lord and before each other, and puts those mutual relationships of Ephesians 5–6 in perspective.” Even if serious parenting mistakes are made, it’s never too late to repent and seek the face of the Lord. The Dalbeys tell of a time when, after attending a Sonship conference as a couple, they found themselves feeling convicted of parenting mistakes they had made when their children were younger. They repented of these errors before their children, who were then in their teens. The children noticed a marked change in Mark and Beth’s approach to parenting after that and responded well to the new family dynamic. “It made a big difference in all of us to acknowledge those mistakes and move past them,” Beth notes. “That just shows again how the Lord works through imperfect people—and through family systems—to achieve his divine ends.”

think in terms of what is appropriate—for the particular child, for the particular situation, for the particular family. Each family needs to figure out for itself what that looks like. And appropriate discipline should always be accompanied by an explanation of what’s happening and why. We need to teach our children why we do the things we do.” Mark agrees, adding, “There may be families for whom spanking would not be appropriate for good reason. For instance, if a parent was physically abused as a child, or if he or she has anger issues, I would say that parent probably should not be administering spanking because the temptation would be too great to misuse it.” Given, then, that we are all sinners and that none of us have experienced perfect parenting—indeed, some have been greatly wounded by their relationships with their parents—how can we hope to achieve any measure of success in our parenting? First, says Beth, “We need to be careful not to fall too far on one side or the other. We can’t see grace as a license not to discipline our children. But we also can’t expect a set list of ‘how-tos’ to follow so that our children will turn out perfectly. It doesn’t work like that. We need to recognize that we don’t have it all together. Our children know that, and

“It is important that each person thinks of himself or herself as the biggest sinner in the room, the most in need of God’s redeeming grace.” One major struggle that many parents have is the issue of discipline. Is discipline ever called for? If so, what is discipline in the biblical sense, and what should it look like? “We usually think of discipline in terms of punishment, sometimes as spanking,” Mark notes. “And though the Bible does give some warrant for this—think of Proverbs 23:13, for example, which speaks of disciplining our children with the rod—it is important to note that the word ‘discipline’ comes from the same root as the word ‘disciple.’ And that’s really what parenting is—discipling our children in the ways of the Lord. Deuteronomy 6 exhorts us to do this when we are at home, when we go out, when we lie down, when we rise up, and so on. The purpose of discipline is always to instruct and to bring growth in a godly direction. Even when we do exercise correction, it’s not for the sake of punishment, but to bring about repentance, a change of heart, and a turning back to God and his righteousness.” Beth comments, “When it comes to discipline, you always have to 12 COVENANT Spring · Summer 2012

God knows that—yet he is kind and patient with us, and we need to be kind and patient with our children.” Second, as Mark notes, “God never intended parents to do this all alone. He meant for it to take place within the context of the church. We can look to how others in the church are modeling godly parenting and learn from them, and we can serve as models for others who may not be as far along the parenting road as we are.” Ultimately, of course, it all comes back to the gospel. “The emphasis is always on God’s grace and its transforming power in our lives,” Beth explains. “When we live that out together, it changes everyone involved. That’s what families are all about.” RICK MATT Rick Matt (MATS ‘05) is associate director of communications at Covenant Seminary, where he works at writing and editing materials for a variety of print and online publications. He particularly enjoys hearing and telling stories about how God is working in the lives of his people. Rick is also the proud father of four rapidly growing children.


Embarking Together on God’s Great Adventure

For Craig and Courtney Doctor the journey to seminary— and whatever comes after—is a great adventure that reflects the joy and excitement of the Christian life.


o matter how strong your faith or how deep your trust in the Lord, giving up a job, a home, long-standing relationships, and an entire way of life to move across the country for seminary is a daunting undertaking fraught with many uncertainties and many possible outcomes. For Craig and Courtney Doctor (both MDiv ’13), who came to Covenant Seminary after many years of running a business, raising a family, and being involved in the ministries of their church in Wichita, Kansas, the move was just one more chapter in what they see as “a great adventure” in which the Lord has graciously invited them to participate. The Doctors had long sensed a call of God to become better equipped for ministering the gospel, and the idea of coming to seminary had been on their minds for several years. But the time had just never seemed right. Indeed, as Craig notes, “We had almost given it up as being our own idea and not God’s plan for us.” But over the last few years, a series of affirmations and confirmations from their church and

friends, and God’s providential working out of the many intricate details necessary to make it all happen, convinced the couple that this is where the Lord wanted them to be. So, five days after their oldest son graduated from high school, the family moved out of their house—the house they had built and loved and which their four children (Austin, Bradon, Shelby, and Rebecca) had known as home all their lives—and moved into a temporary home in preparation for the move to seminary. The following year, and again just five days after their second son graduated, they moved out of that temporary house to make a new start in St. Louis. For Courtney, the move was the next logical step in a progression. She had long been leading women’s Bible studies and teaching and speaking for church groups and in other venues. She saw coming to seminary as a way of getting better equipped to do what she had already been doing. The chance to learn the biblical languages so she could dig even more deeply into the Word she loves was a big draw for her. For Craig, however, the move was “more of a 180-degree turn.” He had been very active as a leader in the men’s and youth ministries at their church, but his background was in finance, and he made his living running a general contracting business. The return to school after so many years was a major change for him. Despite this—and despite the many other changes that coming to St. Louis has brought to their lives—


Craig and Courtney Doctor began the journey of life together in college. It continues at Covenant Seminary, and they look forward to seeing where the Lord will call them next.

Craig and Courtney are “110% confident that this is where we need to be,” and they are enjoying the experience of being in school together again—just as they were more than 20 years ago in college. “He helps carry my backpack to class just like he did back then,” Courtney laughs. “And this semester we literally have all the same classes together.” Being in a different stage of life than most of their fellow students has been part of the joy of seminary for the Doctors. Courtney notes how one young friend envied her position: “She said to me, ‘I think it’s great that you get to go through seminary with all that life experience!’ I laughed and said, ‘I think it’s great that you’ll get to through life with a seminary education!’ ” That education is something both Craig and Courtney had been craving ever since God began working in their lives years ago. Courtney had grown up in Wichita and began to experience something of God’s grace during a junior high youth camp. But, she says, “that lasted about six months, and then I lived the next eight years as if it had never happened.” By the time she was in college, however, Courtney was intrigued

Courtney and Craig visited that city’s well-known First Presbyterian Church. Shortly thereafter an Evangelism Explosion team from the church came knocking on their door. “It was the right timing,” Craig says, and he turned to Christ then. Still, he had trouble fully understanding the grace and mercy of God. “I knew God had forgiven me,” he says, “but I wasn’t able to forgive myself. It wasn’t until I was 30 that God really got hold of me and showed me the full truth of his gospel. Then I finally had joy in him. I was free. He had me.” That’s when Craig got involved at the men’s ministry in his church. The couple’s great hunger for God’s Word began to develop early on. Courtney recalls that for her it was sparked when “we had two young children who were always asking questions from their car seats like, ‘Who was Jesus?’ and ‘What is heaven?’—and I didn’t have the answers. It made me want to dig into the Word more deeply. We knew nothing about denominations or the Reformed faith at that time. We had no real theology. But the Lord put person after person in our lives who helped form us and shape us.” Through it all, their love for the Word continued to deepen and grow. Twenty years later, “Our professors take the time to show how what we’re the couple’s desire to learn more eventually led learning is actually forming and shaping us for ministry. them to Covenant Seminary. Each one models this in his own way, but with a message “Until we came we here, we were generally more topical in how we looked at the Word,” that is unified around the gospel.” Courtney says. “When we read a verse, we immediately wanted to jump to asking, ‘What does by and drawn to the girls she knew who were believers. “I could always this mean for me?’ We often had the right conclusions but not necessartell who they were,” she notes. “I wanted what they had, but I didn’t ily the best way of getting there. Our classes here have helped change know how to get there.” Yet the Lord continued to work in her. that. Early on one of our professors made the comment that the Bible Meanwhile, Craig had grown up in the Denver area. Though was written for us but not specifically to us—we have to look at it in its integrity and high morals were valued, none of his family members were original context before we can begin applying it to ourselves.” believers. It wasn’t until Craig was 25 years old that, he says, “the Lord “The whole concept of authorial intent was revolutionary for us,” started to grab me and reveal to me that his truths were real.” The Docsays Craig. “It has helped us begin to shape a more unified approach to tors, who had met in college, were married by then and living in Jackson, the story of redemption as revealed in Scripture. It’s also helping me Mississippi. Still seeking whatever it was that those girls in college had, to see that as I try to minister to people, I can’t just go straight to the 14 COVENANT Spring · Summer 2012

The Doctor family (from left): Courtney, Bradon, Shelby, Austin, Craig, and Rebecca, along with Carson, Courtney’s beloved horse.

gospel—I have to enter into their stories and help them see where they are in relation to God’s larger story. Then you can apply the gospel to their real heart needs and not from outside their situation.” That kind of eye- and heart-opening experience has been a regular part of the Doctors’ time at Covenant, both in class and out. “We’ve been very impressed that our coursework is both academically rigorous and also very devotional in nature,” Courtney says. “Dr. Guthrie made a wise statement in class when he said, ‘You are not the end of your own education; the point is to steward it to serve others.’ Our professors take the time to show how what we’re learning is actually forming and shaping us for ministry. Each one models this in his own way, but with a message that is unified around the gospel. And this goes on not just in class, but also outside it too—in their willingness to meet with students, to worship with us, to have dinner with us, to encourage us in so many ways. They know us personally and can speak into our concerns. There’s a consistent ethos among them that has a real impact on how students are prepared for ministry.” It’s that ethos that Craig and Courtney would love to be able to share with others who are thinking about coming to seminary. They wish everyone could have the opportunity they’ve had to experience it. But, as Craig notes, “That may not be God’s will for everyone. You don’t want to fall into the false dichotomy of secular and sacred callings. A seminary education can certainly help prepare you for many areas of service; it doesn’t have to be what we often think of as full-time church service. Wherever you are called to serve, that is your ministry—whether it’s business, law, or driving nails. God can use you anywhere.”

So now that the Doctors are here and are a little more than halfway through their degrees, what does ministry look like for them after graduation? For Courtney, if the Lord does not call them to overseas mission work, it may not look much different than it has for the last several years—teaching Bible studies, traveling to speak at churches or conferences, serving on the board of a local Christian school, and supporting her husband in his ministry. (And, hopefully, continuing to enjoy riding and caring for her horse, Carson, whom she was able to bring with her to St. Louis from Wichita.) For Craig, the future may be a little less concrete but no less exciting. “I have a heart for young people and the challenges they face. I also have a passion for men’s ministry—helping them learn to be better husbands and fathers. And for some reason the elderly tend to gravitate toward me and I toward them. So, probably I’ll be in some sort of pastoral ministry, but what that looks like for sure, I can’t say right now. It’s really wide open, and I’m okay with that.” “It’s really all about obedience,” Courtney adds. “It’s not necessarily about being called to seminary or to a particular form of ministry. It’s about being faithful to whatever God wants, being open to his leading, and responding to that by his grace. We have a quote from Helen Keller on the wall of our kitchen that says, ‘Life is either a daring adventure or nothing.’ That adventure is one of the great joys of following Jesus.” RICK MATT Rick Matt (MATS ’05) is associate director of communications at Covenant Seminary, where he works at writing and editing materials for a variety of print and online publications. He particularly enjoys hearing and telling stories about how God is working in the lives of his people. Rick also serves as a ruling elder in a local PCA church.


From left: Dr. Hans Bayer (sporting the grey jacket mentioned in the article), Dr. Bob Yarbrough, and Luke Yarbrough (Bob's son), near Chicago.


The tower at King's College at the University of Aberdeen, past which Drs. Bayer and Yarbrough walked daily on their way to their offices while PhD students.

Dr. Bayer in his office at the University of Aberdeen, where he, Dr. Yarbrough, and their friend Dr. E. Schnabel would meet for tea and "butteries" (croissants) when they were students together.

One of Covenant Seminary’s greatest strengths is its faculty of pastor-scholars who care deeply for students and each other— which prompts many to comment on the harmony that exists among our faculty. We believe that if faculty relate to one another on a professional level only, the effect would be a great loss. This group of educators delights to be together and learn from one another—even when challenges arise. As one example, Dr. Hans Bayer, professor of New Testament, shares a few anecdotal tales chronicling his early friendship with fellow professor of New Testament Dr. Bob Yarborough. Dr. Yarborough taught at Covenant Seminary for five years in the 1990s before moving out of state. He returned to St. Louis in 2010.


round August 1982, Bob and I met as PhD hopefuls in the hallway of the Faculty of Divinity building, King’s College, University of Aberdeen, Scotland. If I remember right, Bob sported hiking boots and jeans and shouldered a backpack. What I did not know then was that he had attended graduate school at Wheaton College following a lengthy stint as a lumberjack in Montana. When we met, he was eager to plow through the likes of Adolf Schlatter’s idiosyncratic and cavernous German in order to produce a PhD thesis on the merits of the redemptive-historical perspective (Heilsgeschichte, “salvation history”) in contrast to critical scholarship such as that of Rudolf Bultmann. I found that Bob relished academic theological work so long as it served the proper purpose, especially growth in personal discipleship and nourishment of the church. This remains true today. A few semesters into our studies, I was not sure whether I would be able to retain my university office for research. At that time, Bob had a tiny room at King’s College under a staircase with just enough room for a desk and some books (so it seemed). A meeting was called where offices were to be redistributed and my “office fate” would be decided. Unbeknownst to me, Bob had slipped into the back of the meeting room (even though he was not affected by the changes) just to make sure that if things turned sour, he could offer me a share of his already-crammed accommodations. Once my research time concluded, I was off to pursue a teaching post in Giessen, Germany. Bob graciously interrupted his research and accompanied me with my family’s belongings to Giessen. We had rented a moving truck, which Bob had offered to drive back to Aberdeen once we unloaded in Germany. To my delight, Bob wanted me to read German idiomatic phrases from a German dictionary as we motored down the British and French highways as well as the German Autobahn. Phrases such as “mich laust der Affe” (literally: “I am being de-liced by a monkey,” meaning, “I can’t believe this” or “puzzling monkey business”) elicited sustained laughter from Bob. Although I do not believe in reincarnation, I could only attribute this phenomenon to the idea that Bob must have lived in Germany during a “former life.” His feel for­— and grasp of—the German mind-set and way of thinking was simply too uncanny to have come merely from books. Subsequently, Bob drove the van back to Aberdeen alone. Through the entire British Isles, the van sounded like a warplane because it had developed a seriously defective muffler. Somehow, he made it back. For many years, I had hoped to win Bob as a colleague at the German seminary where I was teaching. Paradoxically, we instead became

Drs. Bob Yarbrough (left) and Hans Bayer (right) share a friendship and "fellowship in the gospel" that goes back nearly 30 years.

colleagues at Covenant Seminary in 1994. One day, Bob arrived at our house in St. Louis to unload a pile of ready-cut lumber for our fireplace. Just so? Just so! In 1996, after five years at Covenant Seminary, Bob sensed a call to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. While he was still here, I had managed to lose a nice jacket. A few days afterward, a new grey jacket arrived in my mailbox. Where did it come from? The unknown provenance did not detract from the fact that this new coat served splendidly for many trips to various Eastern European cities, where the inconspicuous look of it helped me blend into the respective host cultures. Someone skilled in cultural adaptability must have had a hand in it. Providentially, we are presently once again colleagues at Covenant Seminary where Bob returned in 2010. One day last fall, I thought I had “caught” Bob getting to his class two minutes late. After my all-too-gleeful “Late, eh?” came his laconic, matter-of-fact reply: “They [his Greek students] are doing their quiz.” I stood there “wie ein begossener Pudel” (“like a poodle that had just gotten a bucket of water poured over him”). Now you know who was late for class. Throughout our nearly 30 years of friendship, Bob has been a constant encourager toward and an example of the awesome and high calling of Christ. His love for God and for God’s reliable self-revelation in Scripture—which testifies to redemption-in-history—runs mighty deep. It is as oaklike as some of the Montana trees Bob took down in bygone days. Throughout these years, we have shared in a multifaceted sense what Paul calls “fellowship [or partnership] in the gospel” (Phil. 1:5)— sometimes as two soldiers shoulder-to-shoulder, other times sharing and pursuing that “fellowship in the gospel” from distant shores. No matter how, it has always been to the sound of the same drummer. Do you get a feel for who Bob Yarbrough is? Not yet? Well then, go help him clear some brush around his home, together with his white German shepherd who answers to “Wolf.” DR. HANS F. BAYER Dr. Bayer, professor of New Testament, taught for 10 years at the German Theological Seminary at Giessen, Germany, where he also planted and co-pastored a church before joining the Covenant Seminary faculty in 1994. He lectures and preaches in the U.S. and Europe, and he has published numerous works, primarily on the Gospels and Acts. He recently wrote a major commentary in German on the Gospel of Mark and has just published a book about discipleship in Mark. (See Seminary News for more information.)




ANSWERS at the


TRAGEDY Several alumni who work with Reformed University Fellowship reflect on what it is like to minister to young adults when crisis hits their college campuses.

18 COVENANT Spring 路 Summer 2012

photos: Melissa Lien In April 2011, tornadoes ravaged Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and devastated the community around it. Students at The University of Alabama were faced with big questions about God, his goodness, their purpose on Earth, and life after death.


he world is not safe. Brokenness falls in crescendo upon us all, sometimes individually and sometimes casting entire systems into chaotic uncertainty. Such large-scale tragedies are, perhaps, never more undoing than when they break in upon the idyllic lives of college students. Innocence is shattered, hope stolen, and the seams of identity unravel. TRAGEDY AND ONTOLOGY

“We all put our faith in something, expecting that it won’t fail,” says MDiv student Cam Smith, whose alma mater recently went through a shattering experience. “At Penn State, the people attach themselves to and find significance in the school. It’s hard to describe how significant you feel when wearing the blue and white. You feel like somebody, like you belong.” With such whole-person dedication to an institution, one can understand (without condoning) the outrage and riots at State College, Pennsylvania, that occurred last fall in repsonse to the sexual abuse scandal at Penn State University, a scandal that thrust the school and Joe Paterno, “JoePa,” into the national spotlight. Cam, who graduated from Penn State in 2008, was converted to Christianity there under the Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) ministry of Chad Brewer (MDiv ’00). “Loss of innocence is the best way to describe it,” Chad says of the Penn State situation. “I grew up a Penn State fan, loving the blue and white. Everything is classy about Penn State; that’s what people believe. They do things differently—or

at least that’s the feeling. There is a part of us, maybe we wouldn’t ever say so, that believes we’re better than other places. So when the controversy was uncovered, there was the loss of innocence.” Brewer left Penn State and moved to St. Paul, Minnesota, to begin an RUF chapter at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities (UMTC), the same year Cam graduated. “I think everybody is trying to connect themselves to something bigger,” Cam says, summarizing his take on the situation. “People connected with Penn State who are the biggest fans are the most devastated.” At heart is the issue of ontology—that branch of metaphysics that studies the nature of existence and of “being.” These students, like so many of us, are asking where they came from. The answers they settle upon are acutely evident during crises and ultimately form the basis of their identity and significance (anthropology and philosophy) and of where they are going in the life to come (eschatology). T R A G E D Y A N D E S C H AT O L O G Y

Ryan Moore (MDiv ’08), RUF campus minister at The University of Alabama, saw how tragedy reveals eschatology—one’s view of final matters like death and the afterlife—in the wake of last year’s four-day deadly spring tornado outbreak. On day three, April 27, 2011, an EF5 tornado measuring 1.5 miles at its widest and with winds of 190 mph tore through Tuscaloosa, Alabama, and left a devastating track of destruction in its wake. As if that weren’t significantly incomprehensible, the incredibly low death toll for the area was even more so. Though the storm

raked densely populated areas and could have killed thousands, only about 6o people died. “The student response was somewhat fascinating. For example, several students went out following the storm to take pictures. That sounds normal, but it was almost second nature,” Ryan recounts. “Instead of looking for people who needed help or even noticing the danger of walking around downed power lines and broken glass, students took the form of zombies walking the streets with cameras and smart phones taking pictures and videos to document this surreal moment. “From a theological and biblical standpoint, what this experience has done for a lot of these students is expose their views of eschatology—or lack thereof. One student returned in the fall and started having something like post-traumatic stress disorder, obsessing over death. As we talked through it, she came to the conclusion that she didn’t have a theological grid for where this life is going. She was a Christian and loved Jesus but had no category for this amount of destruction and how Jesus fit into it. I thought that was pretty insightful and, in my experience, she represents a large majority of people.” When ontology and eschatology are flawed, individuals become obsolete—identity becomes self-deterministic. Tragedy is incomprehensibly alien; consequently, its invasion is totalitarian. The only power greater is grace. TRAGEDY AND APOLOGETICS

When Chad Brewer first arrived at UMTC along with with church planter Bart Moseman (MDiv ’00), the two enrolled in a bowling class as


When disaster or tragedy strike, so do the questions about life and death and God. Campus ministers like Chad Brewer (above, second from left), and others, help bring gospel grace to bear in the lives of those struggling with such questions. Penn State alumnus Cam Smith (far right photo, with wife, Kaela), drew on this same gospel truth when coping with the pain and loss experienced at his alma mater.

a way to develop relationships. One of the first people Chad met was a woman named Darnetta. Bart got to know Darnetta, one of the more challenged bowlers in class, while helping her improve her game. “Darnetta eventually got connected with City Life Church even before they launched worship and was converted that year,” Chad explains. “She was really part of the church from the beginning. She came from a significantly broken family and hadn’t seen her dad for years. She lived with her mom, but that was not a good situation. Darnetta got incredibly connected with the church.” Then tragedy struck Darnetta and her church family: in August 2011, Darnetta was diagnosed with cancer. “It was already stage 4,” Chad recalls with a sigh. “At that point she was only 25 years old. She couldn’t drive. Her legs became very swollen; she walked with a cane. Three or four times a week a church family would come by and help out. Her cancer got progressively worse, and the day before Thanksgiving, she passed away.” The impact on the RUF students who worshiped at the church was palpable. One student, a senior named Joe, was working out with Chad during that time. After one workout, they were standing in the cold when Chad sensed Joe lingering. Chad asked if there was something on Joe’s mind. “Yeah, I’m 20 COVENANT Spring · Summer 2012

having a hard time with Darnetta’s death and understanding why she died,” Joe confided. “I don’t know how to think about it or how to think about God.” For Joe, who had become a believer through RUF in the spring of 2010, this was the first crisis that had touched him personally, and it invited him to experience the grace of God more fully. NO SIMPLE ANSWERS

At the end of the day, not one of these ministers held definitive keys to the mysteries behind the specific sufferings that their communities experienced. When asked how they responded, each person began with a long pause followed by an audible sigh—a sigh that said as much as any words that followed. “I don’t know why this happened, but I see God’s goodness through the situation,” Chad says. “I told Joe that I didn’t know God’s plan, but we could see that God was working. He brought Darnetta into his family when she didn’t have one, connected her to Jesus when she was without a savior, and when she died it was with the hope that Darnetta now thrives in a perfect family, with a new body free of pain.” After the Alabama tornado, Ryan pointed to mercy’s store saying, “I didn’t have answers to all the questions such as ‘Where do tornadoes

come from, and are they part of God’s judgment upon the state?’ What I talked about more than anything was God’s mercy in our lives, comparing the destructive power of the tornado to the saving power of Jesus. I went back to Luke 13:9 when Jesus was asked about those Galileans who were slaughtered by Pilate and the falling tower. Jesus said in essence, ‘It could have happened to you too. Repent!’ ” For Lanier Wood (MDiv ’09), the wrestling is even more poignantly personal. On November 2, 2011—a few months after he became the RUF campus minister at the University of South Alabama—his wife, Leslie, was diagnosed with cancer. “The injustice of human suffering makes the reality of our brokenness seem even more severe,” Lanier shares, reflecting on this experience. “There is so much that is wrong with the world; there is so much that shouldn’t be—and yet it is. How do we find comfort in the midst of such darkness? “Christians—myself included—have done a good job of making evil and wrong milder than it really is,” he shares. “Whenever possible, we insulate ourselves by thinking that if we have enough cushions between us and evil, we will not have to deal with it. We settle into a subculture of likeminded people, religiously or

culturally, so that our values remain untested. Or—and this has been my tendency—we build an image of ourselves that we hope will prepare us to deal with any sin, sickness, or injustice head-on by trying to stand above it, like we have some control over it. You can spend an entire lifetime building up these barriers and battlements, but they will never withstand the attacks.” The images we build—whether of those immune to suffering or simply hidden in the collective strength of an institution—will fail. Christ alone is sufficient. Lanier, in the midst of his wife’s continuing treatment and recovery, concludes, “I have realized in a new way that what makes the story of the gospel so complete is that Jesus did not simply teach us to look on the brokenness of the world and ignore it or play it down, he taught us to enter into it.” Chad also sees what he is called to do: “I have to connect suffering back to Jesus, particularly to Isaiah 53. I am comforted to know that when we suffer, God has suffered as well. I can’t pretend to know why things happen, and I don’t even know how to articulate that line between human responsibility and divine sovereignty, but I know Christ has suffered for us. He is familiar with our sufferings.” This is the promise that comes to those who confess Jesus; welcomes the parent-

less woman into a new family; unravels the idolatrous façade of an entire school; comforts those suffering heartache, loss, disease; and ultimately provides salvation. “Until I got involved with RUF, I had never heard that I needed Jesus. My whole life I was told that I was significant,” Cam recalls. “I went to Penn State from a small town where reputation means everything. Suddenly, I was in a place where nobody knew my reputation, and that left me lonely. To hear then that I needed Jesus made sense. I knew I needed something. For my entire life, I had felt the guilt of my sin. So when someone finally offered to take that away—finally and fully—I was on that train.” As each of us experiences, the world is not safe, nor easily wrapped up in neat, concise quips and quotes. However, we know that our God is great—and good. We are offered a beautiful picture of these truths in C. S. Lewis’s book The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe when Mr. and Mrs. Beaver, in the land of Narnia, explain to some children about the great lion Aslan, the Christ figure in the story. When asked if Aslan is safe, the Beavers respond, “ ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king, I tell you.” JOEL HATHAWAY Joel Hathaway, director of alumni and career services, was involved in RUF during college. Covenant Seminary alumni are currently serving with RUF at 45 college campuses.

Questions to Guide Small-Group Discussion on the Topic of Tragedy and Suffering


What is your default reaction to tragedy and suffering? Can such a reaction be supported from Scripture?


What are the reasons Scripture offers for why tragedy happens? Why are some harder to accept and express?


Think of a time when you spoke into someone’s suffering and your words weren’t received well. Why do you think that was (e.g., timing, phraseology, miscommunication)?


How can you develop a more scripturally rounded response to suffering, whether your own or others’?


The Challenge of Sustaining Fruitful Ministry

Being a pastor is hard work—so hard that many eventually decide to leave the pastorate or ministry altogether. What can be done to help pastors achieve healthier lives, and how can they—and all of us saints—find the renewal we need to remain fruitful in ministry for a lifetime?

22 COVENANT Spring · Summer 2012

Being a pastor is a tough, demanding job, one that is not always very well understood or appreciated. Pastoral work is more complex than that which transpires in the hour or so a week that many lay people see the pastor in action . . . . — Jackson Carroll, Author, God’s Potters


o discover what it takes to keep pastors flourishing in ministry over the long haul, Covenant seminary’s Center for Ministry Leadership (CML) developed a specialized forum called the Pastors Summit (funded by a research grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.) to draw on the experiences and expertise of seasoned pastors. Through six years of Summit meetings, data analysis, and prayerful reflection, the Center for Ministry leadership identified five themes that are essential to surviving and thriving in ministry: spiritual formation, self-care, emotional and cultural intelligence, marriage and family, and management and leadership. Although each theme has unique characteristics, each is dependent upon the others, and all ultimately stand together. We shouldn’t let the apparent simplicity of these themes fool us into thinking, “There’s nothing dramatic here. Everyone needs to work on these areas.” That’s true—yet each theme also speaks profoundly into the unique challenges and priorities of pastors and their families.


Spiritual Formation

I may be a pastor, but I’m an inch deep. My life is filled with incessant activity and little prayer. ‘Contemplation’ is foreign in my vocabulary and non-existent in my life. — Pastors Summit Participant It is not unusual for pastors, when in a place of safety, to share thoughts akin to this. Psychologist Diane Langberg reminds pastors that they, like all of us disciples, are called to be lambs before they are called to be shepherds. We can focus on following the Shepherd via spiritual formation— the ongoing process of maturing as Christians personally and interpersonally. The Bible expects all Christians—especially church leaders—to focus on their spiritual growth (John 14:23). Paul encouraged Timothy to “train yourself for godliness” and to “keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching” (1 Tim. 4:7, 16). Every disciple—and every pastor—must pursue a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ and nurture it regularly. The dangers of not doing so are many, yet we often ignore or circumvent the process thinking that our church responsibilities will suffice. But exchanging ministry duties for personal spiritual growth results in Christians—and even pastors—who are “an inch deep,” with little grace and love to share with others. We help ourselves pursue spiritual growth by engaging in undivided

worship (a real challenge for pastors), maintaining spiritual disciplines, and having relationships of accountability for spiritual direction.



Most ministers don’t burn out because they forget they are ministers. They burn out because they forget they are people. — Archibald Hart, Christian Psychologist The notion of self-care may be surprising and even sound selfish, especially for those in vocational ministry. How does our Lord’s call to self-denial (Mark 8:34) square with the idea of self-care? As Christians we are called to die to our old lives of self-centeredness and rise to new lives of holiness. If the old life included slothful or obsessive activities—such as inconsistent sleep habits, crazy work hours, poor or neurotic exercise, or an excessive diet—then self-denying self-care might include getting to bed on time, setting aside periods for Sabbath and sabbatical, responsible exercise, and a healthy diet. After all, we are limited creatures. We must ask ourselves: How is the health of our social, emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual lives? One of the most important ways we build self-care into our lives includes having safe relationships. Leadership is inherently isolating. Leaders need to share their struggles with a trusted confidant. In their book Leadership on the Line, authors Ronald Heifetz and Marty Linsky suggest that “The lone warrior strategy of leadership may be heroic suicide. . . . When battling loneliness, insecurity, stress, or other pressures, the need to open up to someone can be almost overwhelming.” These same authors provide the important distinction between a confidant and an ally. An ally is a friend or co-worker whose interests and loyalties overlap with your own. A confidant, however, allows you to “say everything that’s in your heart, everything that’s on your mind,” sharing freely without risk. We all need both types of relationships outside our families.

Every disciple—and every pastor—must pursue a deep personal relationship with Jesus Christ and nurture it regularly. The dangers of not doing so are many...



Emotional and Cultural Intelligence

Without [emotional intelligence], a person can have first-class training, an incisive mind, and an endless supply of good ideas, but he still won’t be effective. — Mark Gerzon, mediation conflict expert and author of Leading Through Conflict: How Successful Leaders Transform Differences into Opportunities Emotional intelligence (EQ) is the ability to identify and manage our emotions proactively and to discern and respond appropriately to the emotions of others. The Pastors Summit identified several aspects of emotional intelligence needed for pastors to thrive in ministry. Scripture confirms this need for EQ skills. For example, in Ephesians 4:26, Paul tells the Ephesians to identify their feelings (“Be angry”), manage their feelings (“do not sin”), and express their feelings responsibly (“do not let the sun go down on your anger”). Those not gifted in EQ can help themselves by watching and learning from those who are. It is vital to our ministry to understand cultural norms and nuances in order to discern between what we accept as correct in culture and what is truth as defined in Scripture. — Pastors Summit Participant Cultural intelligence (CQ) is the ability to understand, acknowledge, and appreciate current contextual forces as well as the cultural background of oneself and others. Most of us draw on our limited CQ just to engage our neighbors in conversation or to share a movie with teenagers. Building our CQ involves becoming more aware of regional, ethnic, socioeconomic, and generational differences. Our childhood often defines our expectations on how “things ought to be.” When another’s way of life or way of doing church is different, we first must withhold judgment. Only then can we appreciate the differences and humbly evaluate them. To work on CQ, try going out with friends to an ethnic restaurant, watching a foreign film, or worshiping at a culturally different church. Increasing CQ is vital for the health of the church and the spread of the gospel in our increasingly multicultural environment. We see a good example of the application of this principle in Acts 11:1–4 as the disciples begin to learn that the gospel is for everyone, not just the Jews: “Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, ‘You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.’ But Peter began and explained it to them.”

24 COVENANT Spring · Summer 2012


Marriage and Family

The most effective way to develop a healthy church is for me to be healthy and maintain the health of my marriage. — Pastors Summit Participant Maintaining happy, healthy marriage and family relationships is important in any walk of life. We’ve already noted the importance of safe relationships within which we can open our hearts without fear of rejection. For many, the one confidant we have is our spouse. God has designed marriage to be a partnership, so it is right that spouses fulfill this strategic role. However, spouses often end up as the only ones with whom we open up. This burden can add enormous stress to the family. Part of the healthy function of the body of Christ is to provide intimate friendships and mentors for ourselves and our family members. It can be freeing for everyone to realize that part of the pastor’s job is to take care of his relationships with his wife and children and to do so confidently, not sheepishly. Jesus taught that the world will know that we are his disciples by the love we demonstrate toward one another (John 13:35). This love should be visible in the home before anywhere else.


Leadership and Management

Few laity give much weight to the pastor’s administrative tasks. — Jackson Carroll, Author, God’s Potters

The responsibilities of leadership and management are integral to the pastoral task of congregational oversight but are rarely discussed in seminary training. In general, leadership is about seeking adaptive and constructive change, while management provides order and consistency to organizations. Most ministry leaders are surprised by how much leadership and management responsibilities are part of their work. They often learn how to do these things on the job—not always very effectively. Pastors Summit research reveals that for people to thrive in ministry, they need to accept that leadership, management, and administration are essential parts of ministry.

I never thought about my calling as a leader until I was already in the pastorate. — Pastors Summit Participant Another aspect of leadership sustainability requires trusting God with challenging expectations from others. Pastors tend to be people pleasers. At the same time, the most significant leadership challenges pastors face are the expectations of people in their congregations. What can help ministry leaders handle in a healthy way all the demands and expectations placed upon them? Here are a few key points to keep in mind:

• Stay close to the Lord through prayer. • Remember that God is in control. • Seek the help and advice of other church leaders. • Seek to understand everyone’s interests and fears. The Bible consistently teaches that when God’s leaders—or any of his people—are in difficult circumstances, the first thing they must do is turn to the Lord. When David found himself facing hardships, his immediate response was to “strengthen himself in the Lord his God” (1 Sam. 30:6). Jesus himself, under stress as he awaited arrest and crucifixion, retired to Gethsemane to seek comfort and strength from his Father (Matt. 26:36–46 and parallels). If you’ve ever wondered how to pray more specifically for your pastor and the other leaders in your church, the five themes we have looked at here are places where they need our support to remain fruitful in ministry for a lifetime. Although the Summit research focused on pastors, the same conclusions apply to all believers. We, too, need to pursue growth in these five areas in our lives for the lifetime of fruitful work to which the Lord has called us. DR. ROBERT W. BURNS AND DR. TASHA CHAPMAN Dr. Bob Burns is the former director of Covenant Seminary’s Center for Ministry Leadership; he now serves as senior associate pastor and head of staff at Central Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, Missouri. Dr. Tasha Chapman is dean of academic services and adjunct professor of educational ministries at Covenant Seminary. This article is adapted from a booklet based on the first chapter of a forthcoming book about the findings of the Pastor's Summit (see sidebar).

The findings from the Pastors Summit will be examined more fully in Resilient Ministry: What Pastors Told Us about Surviving and Thriving, co-authored by Drs. Bob Burns, Tasha Chapman, and Donald Guthrie, scheduled for release in spring 2013. Look for more information soon. The intent of sharing these findings is to aid in furthering the health of the church and its leaders. We pray that the Lord will use this information so that:

Pastoral couples will enjoy a measurable increase in healthy, sustainable ministry practices over a lifetime of ministry.

Churches will increasingly help ministry leaders and their families maintain these practices by providing time, resources (including finances), and accountability.

These goals will be accomplished as pastors, spouses, church leaders, and students preparing for ministry come to appreciate the powerful, long-term benefits of attending to the five themes of pastoral sustainability.

"Of this gospel I was made a minister according to the gift of God's grace, which was given to me by the working of his power." —Ephesians 3:7

Dr. Robert W. Burns

Dr. Tasha Chapman

Dr. Donald Guthrie


An Interview with Dr. Greg Perry

Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, a complaint by the Hellenists arose against the Hebrews because their widows were being neglected


oving God with all one’s heart, soul, mind, and strength, and loving one’s neighbor as oneself is the calling of every Christian. But within the church, this calling

takes a special form in the office of the deacon. Dr. Greg Perry,

in the daily distribution. And the twelve

associate professor of New Testament and director of the City

summoned the full number of the disciples

Ministry Initiative at Covenant Seminary, recently taught

and said, “It is not right that we should

a weekend course called Diaconal Training for the Missional

give up preaching the word of God to serve

Church. Here he shares with us some of his thoughts on the

tables. Therefore, brothers, pick out from

mission and ministry of the deacon in today’s world.

among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we will appoint to this duty. But we will devote ourselves to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” And what they said pleased the whole gathering, and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolaus, a proselyte of Antioch. These they set before the apostles, and they prayed and laid their hands on them. — Acts 6:1–6

26 COVENANT Spring · Summer 2012

What is a deacon? “Deacon” can mean different things in different denominations. For Baptists, deacons function more like what we might think of as an elder board. In Reformed churches, including Reformed Baptist churches, there is more of a distinction in roles between elders and deacons. Elders are more involved in teaching and discipling the congregation in the content of our faith. Deacons are more involved in serving the material needs of the congregation and in helping to equip and lead the congregation in serving their neighbors by showing them the love of the gospel. What is the role of the diaconate, and what are some of the most common misconceptions about deacons and their ministry in the church? In general, the diaconate models the deed ministry of the gospel both to the church itself and to the community. In our different traditions we develop particular frameworks for what the diaconate should be. In some traditions, for example, the role of the deacons is mainly to formulate the church budget and care for the church facilities. But this tends to reduce the biblical view of a broader range of service to the needs of the congregation. The diaconate is really a spiritual ministry that recognizes that

God has made us as whole people; our bodies, our money, our jobs, are all part of what he is doing to redeem and reconcile all things to himself. It’s important for deacons to be able to flourish in that broader role and not just be limited to making sure the grass gets mowed or the budget improved. Those things are necessary, but they’re part of something much bigger that God is doing to address the material needs of the church and the community through the gospel. The deacons are meant to lead us in this service. What is the biblical foundation for training deacons? That really starts with Jesus and the way he called people to follow him. Jesus taught not only by giving speeches, but also by having people come with him as he was healing, as he was caring for the outsider and the prostitute, the lost and the least. When he sent out his disciples with the gospel, he told them not only to teach as he had, but also to do what he had done, which was to heal, to cast out demons, and to seek after the least of the world. So diaconal training begins with Jesus. But we also see it in the growth of the church, in a place like Ephesus, where, in 1 Timothy 3, the apostle Paul gives instructions for people to be tested for the office of deacon. We have mention here of both men and women. Some read that passage as referring to wives of deacons, others read it as referring simply to women in the church. But whichever way you read it, these are people serving in a diaconal way, and they are to be tested in terms of their character. This is important because deacons get involved very personally in people’s lives regarding health issues, job issues, financial issues, and such. They need to be people of good character who can keep confidences so people can feel comfortable letting them into their lives and know they’re not going to spread their family business. Why is training deacons important for the church, and what is involved in such training? Training deacons is important for several reasons. First, in the history of the church there are a lot of different perspectives on what deacons do. In the Catholic and Episcopal traditions, for example, and somewhat in the Methodist tradition, deacons have been viewed as sort of a steppingstone to the priestly office or the office of pastor, or as the pastor’s assistant in worship. The Reformed tradition sought to recover the broader role of deacons in ministering to the material welfare of the church body and to our neighbors and neighborhoods. Calvin and Luther undergird the ministry of all believers in the idea that God gives gifts to all believers, such as in 1 Peter 4, where we see a distinction between the gifts of speaking and teaching and the gift of serving. Of the latter, Peter says, “Serve with the strength of God to demonstrate to one another the variegated grace of God, both in word and in deed.” The Reformers also drew attention to Acts 6, where the Jerusalem church was growing both numerically and in cultural complexity. Because of the need to continue to provide both word and deed aspects of gospel ministry, the apostles had to have help. Wisely, they chose Stephen, Philip, and five others with Greek names to care for the Greek-speaking widows of the Jerusalem church in the daily distributions of food and other resources. This decision allowed Peter and the other apostles to focus on their ministry of prayer, teaching the Word, and

caring for the Aramaic-speaking congregants. In other words, both vital aspects of gospel ministry—word and deed—were held together. We can also learn from examples in history and from those in contexts other than our own. I think again of Calvin and the church at Geneva and how they organized deacons to assist the many refugees coming into Switzerland from France. They tried to understand who had which skills so they could help place them in jobs; they sought out those who were disabled so the church could help support them; they worked to create schools for children who needed them; they even worked to get these ministries funded by contributions. There are many other examples, including the work of Thomas Chalmers among the poor, elderly, and disabled in Glasgow, Scotland, two centuries later. So we learn from the Scriptures and from examples, but I think most of all we learn by doing. If I were a pastor in a local church shepherding a process of nominations for deacons, I would teach my congregation to observe people in their spheres of influence. I’d say, “Look at those around you who are already ‘deaconing.’ Who is already serving? These are the people who should be nominated.” Then as the deacons lead the congregation, they teach us from the Scriptures, they model service for us, and they invite us and equip us to serve our communities and one another. In a culture as individualistic and self-serving as ours, how can we—and the diaconate especially—cultivate a spirit of compassion and empathy in the church? There’s a lot of pressure through the media and American culture to be independent, to look out for ourselves. That’s certainly important, but many other branches of the church in different parts of the world see people more as part of a community, as those who have gifts and contributions to make to their families and their communities. It’s interesting to me that in 1 Timothy 5 Paul speaks of the younger widows of the church as being self-absorbed in seeking after a life of pleasure, while the older widows are marked by their service to the saints and their hospitality. Really he’s talking about the whole church here, not just the widows. He’s defining what the character of Christians should be, explaining that we shouldn’t be just absorbed in our own concerns but see ourselves as part of a wider community. That’s really what a deacon’s role is—to help lead the church with that outward face, to go beyond oneself to care for others, and to help us recognize that at times we each will need the community to serve us and care for us as well. As image-bearers who are being redeemed, what cues can we take from Christ’s ministry about meeting physical needs? When and how does evangelism come into play? Every Christian is called to follow Christ’s example. Jesus asked, “Who is the greater, the one who reclines at table, or the one who serves?” And he said, “The one who reclines at table is greater, but I am among you as one who serves.” That’s about addressing the physical needs of people and loving our neighbors; that exemplifies God’s grace and mercy. Sometimes I’m concerned when we use the term “mercy ministry” because it can communicate that ministering to material needs is somehow something “extra” that we add on to what we do. But really it’s an essential part of gospel ministry, of demonstrating God’s mercy to


Diaconal ministry addresses the material needs of the church and community through tangible applications of the gospel. In March, apporximately 50 people from the Covenant community participated in City Serve, a joint effort between the Seminary and several St. Louis city churches. Workers helped with the physical labor on various projects at six sites, including building a wheelchair ramp for a man’s home (above).

one another. When Paul was seeking to gather funds to minister to the churches in Judea that were suffering from famine, he said, “Christ who was rich became poor that we might be made rich in him.” He uses the gospel story to motivate the church’s action to relieve suffering. At the same time, I think we can go too far the other way and fail to share with those we’re ministering to that we’re doing this in Christ’s name, because of what Christ has done for us. There comes a time when we must be explicit and say, “It’s because of Christ’s love for me that I am sharing this love with you.” Evangelism and social action, teaching the gospel in word and doing the gospel in deed, really must come together. You need both for faithful gospel witness. How can deacons sustain their ministry over time? Is it important to set boundaries or limits? And how does a church budget for diaconal ministry? Our church budgets represent our priorities as a congregation; they reflect what we really care about. Ideally, they should show that we’ve studied our community and gotten to know it well. Who’s coming to the church? Does the church draw from a region, or does it mainly serve its own neighborhood? Are there immigrant families in our community? Are there disabled or elderly people who live among us who could not only use a visit or helping hand, but who also could teach us about our heritage and the sacrifices it takes to build a community? Are there institutions like special schools for the deaf or those with learning disabilities? Once we know who’s in our community, we need to be prepared to budget for ways to serve that community. Obviously, we can’t do everything. We have to know our own limits. We have to understand how God has gifted and called each congregation to serve a particular part of a city or region. Because the Lord is a good Creator, resources are available in our communities, not just in the 28 COVENANT Spring · Summer 2012

church, but outside it too. Once we have inventoried the assets of our communities as well as assessed their needs, then we can prioritize our resources and our budgets in ways that partner with, serve, and learn from others best. We can’t do that all at once, but we can start to build bridges and see how the Lord leads, blesses, and guides us in our next steps. Then we can reevaluate in a year and begin the process over again. How would you encourage diaconates to come alongside other Christian or non-Christian organizations in the restoration of the community? One of the things we find when we get involved in the lives of people is that what we have to give just isn’t enough. We see that in our own needs, we see it in the needs of our colleagues at work, and we see it in the needs of or in our neighbors. It’s so important that we are part of a larger community, that groups of churches are part of something bigger, and that we’re connected as human beings with other organizations in our neighborhoods. Of course we have to be wise in how we go about partnerships, but partnership itself acknowledges the fact that there are limits to our time and resources and that the problems our communities face are larger than any one church or denomination or nonprofit can deal with alone. Many small churches are realizing how they can work together for things like tutoring programs and big brother and big sister programs that enable volunteers to do more together than they could do by themselves. My family and I have been involved in the pro-life movement for some time, and we’ve been so impressed with how organizations like Catholic Charities USA, Lutheran Social Services, and Baptist Children’s Homes are serving and encouraging at-risk children and finding ways to place special needs children in adoptive families. These are only a few ways that evangelicals have been used to partnering with others. Wouldn’t it be great if we could expand our partnerships to serve our communities in many other ways as well? How can the diaconate—and the church at large—work to restore human dignity? Many times we can be very well intentioned in wanting to help others, but we do it in a way that hurts in the long run because we undermine both their dignity and ours. It’s sometimes appropriate to simply give food and other forms of immediate relief to people who need them, but more often it’s appropriate to build a relationship and get involved enough in the lives of people to understand what’s really going on behind their more obvious needs to find practical, loving ways to address the root causes of those needs. Real love and service can only come through relationship. We’re all made out of the same stuff. Everyday we need to receive one another as friends. Sometimes, when we are ill, disabled, unemployed, or as we get older, we will need to receive more. At other times we will have more opportunities and resources to give others. So as we train deacons, I think it’s really important that we do it in a way that affirms the dignity of human beings as image-bearers of God who need both to give and to receive the love of God in very tangible, material ways. View video clips from our interview with Dr. Perry at



“WHAT IS BLACK?” LECTURE AT HARRISSTOWE STATE UNIVERSITY As part of Harris-Stowe State University’s Black History Month celebration in February, Dean of Students Rev. Mike Higgins shared a biblical and cultural perspective on what it means to be black today. He asked for input from many people and shared some of their feedback in his talk. “Black folks pretty much know at least what it feels like to be black in the US,” Mike reflected after the talk, “but we need more ‘outside’ voices to speak encouragement and prophetic, biblical challenges into the situation. We need our godly leaders to be seen as being as able to lead as those from any other race.” Watch a video of Mike’s talk online at Covenant Seminary's YouTube chanel: KATHY WOODARD RETIREMENT In December, after serving for 13 years as executive assistant to the president, Kathy Woodard retired to spend more time with her husband, Paul, a retired chaplain. Kathy was honored at a special staff lunch right before the Christmas holiday. Former Admissions staff member Kate Ghormley succeeds Kathy in this vital post. PRAYER REQUEST FOR INCOMING STUDENTS As our Admissions office staff works to help incoming students relocate to St. Louis for ministry training at Covenant Seminary, they increasingly encounter people who must stop or interrupt the admissions process due to difficulty with selling their homes. Please pray for such students as they continue to market their houses and ask the Lord to provide buyers for them. And pray that our Admissions staff would be an encouragement and a blessing to them during this time. JOIN US FOR A 5-STAR HOLY LAND TOUR!


13 Y 20 R A NU

HOMEGOINGS AND BEREAVEMENTS Dorothy Grant, widow of alumnus Mervin Grant (BDiv ’57/ MDiv ’78), passed away on November 19, 2011. Among her many contributions to the Seminary, Mrs. Grant served as the typist for the two-volume set of A Systematic Theology of the Christian Religion, by Dr. J. Oliver Buswell Jr., one of the founding professors of Covenant Seminary and the man for whom the library on our campus is named. Rev. Albert (“Bud”) Moginot stepped into glory in December 2011. After pastoring Westminster Presbyterian Church in Alton, Illinois, for 25 years, Bud served at Covenant Seminary for 19 years as director of building and grounds. He then became an assistant pastor at Twin Oaks Presbyterian Church in St. Louis, where he was eventually named a pastor emeritus for his long and faithful service. Bud had also served with distinction as the stated clerk of the Reformed Presbyterian Church (Evangelical Synod) and was proud of having attained the rank of lieutenant colonel in the Missouri Civil Air Patrol, in which he served for 25 years. Bud’s heart for the Lord and for those to whom he was called to minister made him well and deeply loved by many. Bud’s wife, Vivian, who preceded him in death, was also a faithful friend of the Seminary, having served on our Women’s Auxiliary for many years. Mr. Bob Thomas, whose service to the Seminary as registrar and chapel organist for more than two decades is well remembered by many of our graduates, passed into glory as the result of Parkinson’s disease in November 2011. Our fond memories of Bob include his love for our students and for jokes, hymnals, rubber-band pistols, the history of Kansas, good preaching, and old organs. Bob never married; the Seminary and its students were his bride. Bob cared deeply for our students and was frequently known to use his own modest income to assist many who were in need. An entire generation of students came to understand loyalty, humility, and service to Christ through his influence and example.

WIC Love Gift Supports Seminary Community Life Covenant Seminary was honored to receive the 2011 Women In the Church (WIC) Love Gift at the annual WIC Conference in Atlanta, Georgia, in February. The “Shaping a Community of Grace” campaign raised $33,640 to support much-needed renovations and upgrades to Rayburn Chapel and Edwards Community Center, two key community spaces on our campus. Dr. Tasha Chapman, dean of academic services and adjunct professor of educational ministries, was the featured speaker at the conference. The long-range impact of the gift was greatly multiplied even before it was received: the WIC campaign served as a wonderful catalyst that enabled the Seminary to raise more than $1 million from other gifts and pledges that will also go toward these community-enhancing renovations. Dr. Bryan Chapell, president of the Seminary, noted, “This campaign is about more than just the physical upgrades to two campus spaces. It’s about building even stronger bonds between the students, faculty, and staff as we seek to live, learn, and grow together in Christ. We are grateful to those who gave and to all those in WIC whose efforts made this campaign possible.”

We were grieved to lose these friends and will miss their kind hearts, encouraging words, and passion for what God is doing through Covenant Seminary. We rejoice, however, that they are now in the presence of the Lord they loved so much and served so well. WE'D LIKE TO HEAR FROM YOU!

Join Jerram Barrs, professor of Christian studies and contemporary culture, next January for an extraordinary tour of the Holy Land! See the Scriptures come alive as Professor Barrs opens God’s Word in the landscape where the biblical events took place. Space is limited; reserve your spot on this life-changing tour today! For more information contact Jackie Fogas at 1.800.264.8064 or

We value your feedback and ideas. Tell us what you think of Covenant magazine. How can we improve it? What sort of content would you like to see or contribute? E-mail us your thoughts at communications@

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Dr. Tasha Chapman, dean of academic services and adjunct professor of educational ministres, was the featured speaker at this year’s WIC Conference.




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Professor of New Testament March—Was in Ukraine and Latvia to teach on “New Testament Canon, History, and Theology” at the Baltic Reformed Theological Seminary in Riga, Latvia. April—Published A Theology of Mark: The Dynamic Between Christology and Authentic Discipleship (P&R, 2012). May 25–June 3—In Arbroath, Scotland, to lecture on the book of Acts at the Discipleship Summer School, organized by The Navigators. Covenant graduates Dr. Mark (MAET ’07) and Jenny Stirling (GC ‘08) will join Dr. Bayer. July 15–21—Near Berlin, Germany, to present discipleshipthemed lectures for the Bible and Culture training of Eurasian students who are part of International Fellowship of Evangelical Students.

session of the Wheaton College Science Symposium 2012. He also spoke at a chapel service at the college.

tology: How Jesus Becomes God’s Wisdom for Us, by Daniel J. Ebert IV; Life Everlasting, by Daniel Barber and Robert A. Peterson (forthcoming).

July 8–13—Will be in Cambridge, England, to speak on “The Doctrine of Scripture” at the Christian Heritage Cambridge Summer School of Theology, which “seeks to rekindle an excitement about ‘big picture’ theology—the ‘height, depth, and breadth’ of the Christian view of reality laid out through the pages of Scripture.”

Serving as series co-editor with Christopher W. Morgan for Theology in Community series for Crossway. 2011 volumes: The Deity of Christ. More in process.

DR. MICHAEL WILLIAMS DR. DONALD GUTHRIE Professor of Systematic Theology Associate Professor of Educational Ministries Dr. Donald Guthrie will depart Covenant Seminary at the end of this academic year to take up a post in the educational ministries department at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago. In his new role, he will teach and provide leadership in the PhD, MDiv, and MA programs. Though we are sad to see him go, we wish Dr. Guthrie well in his new endeavor and look forward to seeing the fruit of his new ministry at Trinity.

Published “The Church—A Pillar of Truth: B. B. Warfield’s Church Doctrine of Inspiration,” in Presbyterion 37, no. 2 (Fall 2011). This piece will also appear as a chapter in Did God Really Say?, ed. David B. Garner (P&R, 2012).


Professor of Practical Theology DR. GREG PERRY


Associate Professor of New Testament and Archaeology Will publish Philippians: Thanksgiving and Rejoicing in the Focus on the Bible series (Christian Focus, forthcoming in 2012).

Associate Professor of New Testament July 16–27—In New Orleans, Louisiana, to teach the City, Mission, and Ministry DMin cohort hosted by Ray Cannata and Redeemer Presbyterian Church of New Orleans. November 17–20—In Chicago, Illinois, for meetings of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature.


Traveling to London, England, to meet with World Harvest Mission for a research/writing project.

May—Will attend the European Leadership Forum in Hungary. July 2–6—In Cambridge, England, to present lectures on “A Biblical Approach to Counseling” at Christian Heritage Cambridge Summer School of Counseling to help build a framework for Christian counseling through study of the relationship between theology, psychology, and counseling.


Professor of New Testament Professor of Old Testament Published Did Adam and Eve Really Exist? Who They Were and Why You Should Care (Crossway, 2011). Congratulations to Dr. Collins for the accolades this book has received. It was given an Award of Merit in the Biblical Studies category on the 2012 Christianity Today Book Awards list. March—Was in Wheaton, Illinois, to speak at the “Genes, Theology, and the Origin of Humanity” 30 COVENANT Spring · Summer 2012


Professor of Systematic Theology Published Salvation Accomplished Through the Son: The Work of Christ (Crossway, 2011). Serving as series editor for Explorations in Biblical Theology series for P&R Publishing. 2011 volumes include: Wisdom Chris-

Published “God’s Word in Human Words: FormCritical Reflections,” in Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith?, ed. Dennis Magary and James Hoffmeier (Crossway, 2012). Published “Inerrancy’s Complexities: Grounds for Grace in the Debate,” in Presbyterion 37, no. 2 (Fall 2011). This piece will also appear as a chapter in Did God Really Say?, ed. David B. Garner (P&R, 2012). Published “The Kingdom of God in the New Testament,” in The Kingdom of God, ed. Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson (Crossway, 2012).



Recommended Readings Looking for a few good books to read this year? Here are some that members of our faculty and staff have found interesting, inspiring, enlightening, or challenging. Happy reading!




Assistant Professor of Old Testament

Associate Professor of Historical and

Professor of New Testament

A Fine Disregard: What Makes Modern Art Modern, Kirk Varnedoe

PROF. JERRAM BARRS Professor of Christian Studies and Contemporary

Practical Theology

Calvin, Bruce Gordon God’s Grand Design: The Theological Vision of Jonathan Edwards, Sean Michael Lucas

Culture; Resident Scholar of the Francis A.


Schaeffer Institute

Associate Professor of New Testament;

A Place on Earth, Wendell Berry Gilead: A Novel, Marilynne Robinson

DR. PHIL DOUGLASS Professor of Practical Theology

Your Personality and the Spiritual Life, Reginald Johnson Personality Type and Religious Leadership, Roy M. Oswald and Otto Kroeger

REV. CHRIS FLORENCE Dean of Academic Administration

Wise Counsel: John Newton’s Letters to John Ryland, ed. Grant Gordon Distracted: The Erosion of Attention and the Coming Dark Age, Maggie Jackson

DR. DONALD GUTHRIE Associate Professor of Educational Ministries

Work Matters: Connecting Sunday Worship to Monday Work, Tom Nelson Kingdom Calling: Vocational Stewardship for the Common Good, Amy Sherman

REV. MIKE HIGGINS Dean of Students

A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings and Speeches of Martin Luther King, Jr., ed. James M. Washington

Director, City Ministry Initiative

The Word Made Global: Stories of African Christianity in New York City, Mark Gornik The Beloved Community: How Faith Shapes Social Justice from the Civil Rights Movement to Today, Charles Marsh

DR. MARK PFUETZE Professor of Practical Theology (Counseling)

The Wounded Heart: Hope for Adult Victims of Childhood Sexual Abuse, Dr. Dan B. Allender


A Guide to Biblical Commentaries and Reference Works: For Students and Pastors, John F. Evans Who Chose the Gospels? Probing the Great Gospel Conspiracy, C. E. Hill Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison: A Biography, Martin E. Marty

DR. DAN ZINK Associate Professor of Practical Theology

Emotional Intelligence 2.0, Travis Bradberry and Jean Greaves The Social Animal: The Hidden Sources of Love, Character, and Achievement, David Brooks The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are, Brene Brown Counseling Couples in Conflict: A Relational Restoration Model, James Sells and Mark A. Yarhouse

Professor of Systematic Theology

Union With Christ: Reframing Theology and Ministry for the Church, J. Todd Billings The Escondido Theology: A Reformed Response to Two Kingdom Theology, John Frame

DR. RICHARD WINTER Professor of Practical Theology; Director of Counseling Program

Home: A Novel, Marilynne Robinson Anatomy of the Soul: Surprising Connections Between Neuroscience and Spiritual Practices That Can Transform Your Life and Relationships, Curt Thompson

Add to the List... Have a book you would like to recommend to fellow alumni? Post your suggestions to Facebook at:


Jon Beane (MDiv ’02) to pastor of Covenant Presbyterian Church, Greenville, MS.

Welcome to our 2012 graduates! You now join with us in a body of Covenant Seminary alumni that is more than 3,500 strong! Whatever the nature of your ministerial endeavors— from parenting to pastoring, from the workplace to worship— we remain committed to you for a lifetime of ministry. In reading these updates, you will find that some of our brothers and sisters in Christ have died, others have been born, and all have reason to praise our God and Father of the Lord Jesus Christ. Please let me know how we can better serve, pray for, and

Chris (MDiv ’98) and Carol Bilbo Clark (MATS ’98) live in Dayton, TN, where Chris teaches film and media at Bryan College. Ed Eubanks (MDiv ’06) to senior pastor of Dove Mountain Presbyterian Church in Tucson, AZ. Ian Hard (MDiv ‘11) ordained and installed as assistant pastor and church planter, One Ancient Hope, Iowa City, IA. Clay Harrington (MDiv, MAC ’96) to Cedar Spring Presbyterian Church (EPC), Knoxville, TN, as minister for senior adults. Tim LeCroy (MDiv ’06) to solo pastor of Christ Our King (PCA) in Columbia, MO.

beforehand” that you should walk in them!

Curt Lovelace (MDiv ’81) retired from pastoral ministry on October 16, 2011. He continues as founder of Lifework Forum, ministering to families in Eastern and Central Europe.

Your servant,

Randy Lovelace (MDiv ‘97) to team leader pastor of Columbia Presbyterian Church, Columbia, MD.

encourage you in the “good works, which God prepared

Les Prouty (MDiv ’96) became the executive director of the Haiti Orphan Project in 2010.

Joel D. Hathaway Director of Alumni and Career Services

Let us know how we can serve you through this publication. E-mail your suggestions for Covenant magazine to Joel: Please join the Alumni Facebook group for more regular updates:

32 COVENANT Spring · Summer 2012

John Richardson (MDiv ‘98) to First Evangelical Free Church, Manchester, MO., as pastor of congregational care. David Salyer (MDiv ’10) to associate pastor at Trinity Presbyterian Church in Kearney, NE. Jen Simmons (MAC/MATS ‘04) to clinical staff therapist, Gastroenterology Department at St. Louis Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, MO. Jeremy Weese (MDiv/MAC ‘09) ordained and installed as assistant pastor at Pacific Crossroads Church in Santa Monica, CA. U.S. Army chaplain Capt. Christopher W. Weinrich (MDiv ’08) deployed to Kuwait to support the mission of Operation Enduring Freedom. He is regularly assigned to Fort Hood, Texas.


Executive Editor Al Li Managing Editor Allison Dowlen Editors Jackie Fogas Rick Matt

Beth and Wes Alford (MDiv ‘93) welcome Weston Oldham, December 14, 2011. Karen and Seth Anderson (MDiv ‘06 ) welcome Caroline Audrey, October 24, 2011. Barry and Graham (Waterhouse) Behnke (MDiv ’03) welcome Thomas Myron, December 2, 2011. Blake and Phillip Dennis (MAET ’06) welcome Philippa “Pippa” Elise, December 3, 2010.

The Naval Chaplaincy School and Center in Fort Jackson, SC, was recently renamed for Capt. Stanley J. Beach (MDiv ’61). Ivan Truman (MDiv ’96) is celebrating his fifteenth year of ministry as the solo pastor of Grace Community Church in Yorkville, IL. Ivan and his wife, Cheryl, have been married for 27 years.

Maggie and Chris Gensheer (MDiv ‘10) welcome Luke Benjamin, November 10, 2011. Daniel (MDiv ‘08) and Emily Henry (MAC ‘11) welcome Phinehas Turner, October 20, 2011.

Laura Kate and Andrew Lupton (MDiv ‘11) welcome William Fox, January 10, 2012. Jenny and Sam Brown (MDiv’ 11) welcome Calvin Andrew, January 10, 2012. Stacey and Dane Ortlund (MDiv ‘05, ThM ‘07) welcome Jeremiah Owen, December 22, 2011. Hope and Wes Parsons (MDiv ‘09) welcome Lilyanna Joy, December 10, 2011. James (MDiv ‘08) and Kate Quadrizius (MATS ‘07) welcome Lydia Katherine, November 25, 2011. Lizzie and Danny Simpson (MDiv ’11) welcome Micah Daniel, August 30, 2011. Matthew (MDiv ’11) and Megan Terrell (MAEM ’11) welcome Eliot Brian, October 22, 2011. Charles Pettijohn (MDiv ’03) Colonel, USAF (Ret.), went to be with the Lord, November 5, 2011. He is survived by his wife, Kay Pettijohn (MAC ’00), and children. Rene (MDiv ‘00) and Lani Quimbo (MATS ’00) request prayer for their ministry in the Philippines after Typhoon Sendong. Updates available at

Editorial Contributors Hans Bayer Bob Flayhart Bob Burns Greg Perry Tasha Chapman Joel Hathaway Bo Collins Rick Matt Photographers and Photo Contributors Hans Bayer Ryan Moore Chad Brewer OrangeBlock David Cerven Cam Smith Mark Dalbey Katie Rhea Stokes Craig Doctor iStock Chris Hilton Veer Melissa Lien

BeCa and David Fisk (MDiv ’10) welcome Catherine “Cate” Anna, October 12, 2011.

Josh (MATS ‘09) and Jennifer (Rogers) Kamer (MAC, MATS ‘08) welcome Jacob Carl, October 12, 2011.

Design and Production Katie Rhea Stokes

Sam Brown (MDiv '11) and Andrew Lupton (MDiv '11) show off their sons, Calvin and Fox, respectively, born hours apart in neighboring hospital rooms in North Carolina.

SAV E the DAT ES! J OI N US for





Covenant Theological Seminary 12330 Conway Road St. Louis, Missouri 63141 Tel: 314.434.4044 Fax: 314.434.4819 Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture references are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Scripture quotations marked (NIV) are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®, ©1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Volume 27, Number 1. ©2012

ALUM NI GAT HER I NGS (By Year): Tuesday, June 19; Wednesday, June 20; Thursday, June 21 6:45–7:45 a.m. ALUM NI DI NNER Thursday, June 21, 2012 5–7 p.m. More details to follow soon.

Covenant is published by Covenant Theological Seminary, Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). The purpose of Covenant Seminary is to glorify the triune God by training his servants to walk in God’s grace, minister God’s word, and equip God’s people ~all for God’s mission.

Covenant Theological Seminary 12330 Conway Road St. Louis, MO 63141


During troubled economic times it can be hard to know where to invest your resources. Consider today how you can support the next generation of pastors for the church through a gift from your estate. Include the Seminary in your Will Create a Charitable Gift Annuity (CGA) Provide a Charitable Remainder Trust (CRT) Make a Gift of Life Insurance

Supporting the work of training leaders for the church offers a guaranteed return on your investment. For more information, please call the Development office at 1.800.264.8064. Charitable Gift Annuities are issued by Covenant Theological Seminary and only in states permitted by law. If you have received this information and reside in a state where the Seminary is not licensed or exempted from licensure to offer charitable gift annuities, please disregard. Covenant Theological Seminary does not render legal or tax advice. We recommend that before entering into any arrangement you consult your own legal and/or tax counsel.

Covenant Seminary [Spring - Summer 2012]  

Covenant is published by Covenant Theological Seminary, Presbyterian Church in America (PCA). The purpose of Covenant Seminary is to glorify...