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Fall 2019 | Vol. 5, No. 3


Identity Who am I?


Reflection of the Truth FROM: DR. MARK L. BAILEY


eholding the Word of God is like looking in a mirror. We see two things: We understand what God is like, and unfortunately, we also find out more about ourselves and our desires. God did not give us His Word for our affirmation and reinforcement. Instead, Scripture should motivate us to change, and one of the changes it tells us we need to make is to deny ourselves, take up our cross, and follow Him (Matt 16:24; Mark 8:34; Luke 9:23). Some of us look into the mirror of God’s Word, and don’t want to see who we are—we want to forget our sins, push them aside, ignore it all. Sometimes we distort the meaning of His Word so that it fits into our lives. James tells us, “Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do” ( James 1:23–25). Christ’s directive to renunciate ourselves is reported three times in Scripture and each writer gives us a slightly different set of details surrounding its utterance. Matthew, writing to the Jews, tells us Jesus spoke to His disciples. Matthew says, “You disciples are going to have to say no to yourselves, take up your cross, and follow Jesus because that’s a characteristic of a disciple.” Mark includes another group. “He summoned the crowd with His disciples, and said to them, ‘If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me,’” (Mark 8:34, nasb). As he records Jesus’s words, not only for the disciples but for the multitudes as well, he wants readers to know what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ. Luke puts it all together to a general audience. He writes, “Then he said to them all: ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me’” (9:23, emphasis added). Note the addition to “take up their cross daily.” Later Luke adds,


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“And whoever does not carry their cross and follow me cannot be my disciple” (14:27). Why would God ask a Christian to deny himself or herself? The answer is in Galatians 5:16–17 which says, “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want.” Remember Luke writes to tell us we’re to forsake what we want to do to follow Christ—to focus our lives on Him, every day, in everything we do. So how do we escape from wanting to do our own thing? The only way we can deny ourselves is with the help of the most powerful One in the universe. He is the One who offers us the way from sin and self. He provides the bridge from living for ourselves to following Christ. That bridge is the cross—the means by which a person comes into a relationship with Christ, and how the committed disciple finds freedom from sins and self in the ongoing challenges of the Christian life.

The Word of the Lord is a revealer of secrets; it shows a man his life, his thoughts, his heart, his inmost self. —Charles Spurgeon

DALLAS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY Our mission is to glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders for the proclamation of His Word and the building up of the body of Christ worldwide.


DTS Magazine® Fall 2019 Vol. 5, No. 3 ISSN 1092–7492 ©2019 Dallas Theological Seminary. All rights reserved. Published three times a year by Dallas Theological Seminary 3909 Swiss Avenue Dallas, Texas 75204 Mark L. Bailey, President Edward Herrelko, Executive Director of Marketing and Communications Jay E. Smith, Guest Editor Raquel P. Wroten, Editor-in-Chief


MIRROR, MIRROR ON THE WALL: MIRRORREADING OCCASIONAL LETTERS Dr. Jay E. Smith (ThM, 1989) writes about mirror-reading and how to look at statements, commands, and concerns found in Paul’s epistles in a way that will help readers understand his message.

Margaret Tolliver, Co-editor David Malphurs, Amelia Palmer, Layout and Design Debbie J. Stevenson, Production Manager Ryan Holmes, Elijah Misigaro, Don Regier, Staff Photographers Ejen Chuang, Photographer Ethel Gould, Contributing Writer Kathy Dyer, Kristi Hart, Melanie Munnell, Copy Editing Amelia Palmer, Ad Designer Aeriel Eichenberger, Greg Hatteberg, Alumni Connection


How did the church circulate facts about Jesus before recording them? Dr. Darrell Bock (ThM, 1979) and Dr. Benjamin I. Simpson (ThM, 2003; PhD, 2011) explain how the early church passed on stories and documented the Gospels.

SUBSCRIBE Subscriptions are free of charge to addresses in the United States. Go to voice.dts.edu/magazine or call 800-DTS-WORD and ask for the DTS Magazine subscription office. EMAIL Contact admissions@dts.edu for information about DTS’s graduate degree programs.







Contact rwroten@dts.edu to submit articles, request reprints, or make comments. DONATIONS For information on how you can support the ministry of DTS, call 214-887-5060. ONLINE/SUBMISSIONS Visit voice.dts.edu/magazine to view the editorial policies or DTS Magazine online. Send email address changes to jglorvigen@dts.edu or mail to DTS Magazine 3909 Swiss Ave. Dallas, Texas 75204


Dr. Samuel Chia (ThM, 1994; PhD, 2003) writes about how understanding cross-cultural insights can help students of the Word interpret the Scriptures accurately.

Dr. Joseph Fantin (ThM, 1995; PhD, 2003) unfolds the characteristics of ancient adoption and how it provides believers with helpful insights to understand more accurately what the Word says about God’s family.

Unless noted otherwise, Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®, NIV® Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.® Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.




MIRROR, MIRROR on the WALL Mirror-Reading Occasional Letters


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Reading the New Testament, especially the Pauline letters, is like listening to one end of a telephone conversation. The possibility of misunderstanding Paul’s letters looms large. If only we could eavesdrop and hear what his original readers believed, our understanding would greatly increase.

Richard Hays expresses it well. “Much is left unsaid, taken for granted. As belated readers of the letters, we are left to imagine how the gaps should be filled in.” He asks and explains, “What shared assumptions were so fundamental that they remained implicit rather than explicit in Paul’s correspondence? The letters give us some clues, but when we read them, we repeatedly encounter the tantalizing challenge of the unspoken, just as though we were listening to one end of a telephone conversation.”1 Welcome to mirror-reading. This term refers to the biblical scholar’s attempt to look at the statements, commands, and concerns found in an epistle as if these act like a mirror, reflecting the issues, problems, and theology of its original readers. Hays clarifies the practice when, in describing mirrorreading 1 Corinthians, he refers to “extrapolating the thought of the Corinthians based on Paul’s response to them.”2 Bluntly put, what Paul condemns suggests the thought and behavior of the Corinthians. What he commends hints at failures.


Mirror-reading attempts to reconstruct the situation (beliefs and practices) of a letter’s original readers indirectly from the contents of the letter sent to them. It is a subset of the more generalized attempt to reconstruct the occasion or “epistolary situation” that prompted a letter. In such reconstructions, Paul typically is thought to oppose or to correct some aberrant theology or misbehavior of his original audience. We must comment, however, on the nature of an occasional letter. Although the category “occasional document” can have broad application, 1 Corinthians provides a fruitful case study and suggests at least two fundamental observations: what constitutes an occasional letter, and what doesn’t.

First of all, 1 Corinthians is not a literary device used by Paul to disseminate views for general publication—like a modern-day letter to the editor. It is genuine correspondence—a real letter. Note, for example, 1 Corinthians 1:16: “Yes, I also baptized the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I don’t remember if I baptized anyone else.” This apparent afterthought is hard to explain if Paul’s letter is merely a veiled attempt to broadcast his views. First Corinthians is not an abstract, theological essay, or a collection of random theological musings. No, it is a letter, written to real people in real places. Second, 1 Corinthians is ad hoc—for specific needs. The letter concerns real people living in this present, evil age. It encompasses actual events and concrete issues. How else is one to understand Paul’s reprimand of the Corinthians for tolerating incest (5:1–8), his rebuke of misbehavior at the Lord’s Supper (11:17–22), or his instructions concerning the collection for Jerusalem (16:1–4)? Although Paul’s epistles can range broadly and speak generally, they do not rush to fill some vaguely perceived vacuum. They have a “situational” character and typically focus on specific issues and concerns. As an occasional document, Paul tells his readers a “sliver” of what he knows: he instructs them in light of a specific occasion. It is a well-aimed arrow from a skilled archer, not a shotgun blast from an indiscriminate hunter. Thus, Paul’s instructions are selective—not exhaustive or comprehensive—and are closely tied to the situation of his readers—the “occasion” of the letter. They are the tip of an iceberg—select words from a storehouse of divine truths, fitting for specific needs.




From this, we can glean at least three lessons:

1 2 3

Although the teaching of an individual passage should be read and interpreted on its terms—allotted its independence and own priority—it must be integrated with other passages. A Pauline letter often focuses on a single aspect of a larger, more complex issue (e.g., marriage, sin, suffering). It rarely presents full, systematic treatments of any topic, let alone in a single passage. We must integrate the truth from any given text with the teachings of others to form a coherent whole. Bible students should read Paul’s letters empathetically. They concern real people and real struggles, as well a real pastor’s response, as he communicates God’s Word to them. We must force ourselves back in time and into their “shoes.” We must make every effort to distance ourselves from modern presuppositions and understandings and to put ourselves into the context of Paul and his original readers. The study of Paul’s letters requires a cautious and carefully measured dose of mirror-reading. It is a valuable technique that can flesh out the occasion of Paul’s message—to hear the other side of the conversation. Our task is like a detective who, with a few clues, must re-create a crime scene. Since Paul’s letters resemble overhearing one side of a telephone conversation, we must try to reconstruct what the unheard partner is saying. To do otherwise involves immersing ourselves in answers without knowing the corresponding problems or questions.

Studying Paul’s letters isolated from their context and occasion is like reading the solutions at the end of an algebra textbook without knowing the questions. If the origin and nature of the concerns Paul addresses become murky, so do his answers.3 It is critical to discern what occasion prompted any of Paul’s epistles. The better our understanding of why he wrote a particular letter, the greater our chances of grasping its original meaning and its message for today.


Most people read 1 Corinthians 6:12–20 as a directive to avoid sexual immorality. If we look closer and read between the lines by eavesdropping on the other end of the “telephone” conversation, the thrust of the passage takes a slightly different turn. Note, for example, Paul’s quotation of several slogans— mottoes, rallying cries—bantered about by the Corinthians. “I have the right to do anything” (v. 12a). “I have the right to do anything” (v. 12c). “Food for the stomach and the stomach for food, and God will destroy them both” (v. 13). With this, Paul likely is recounting the Corinthians’ justification for their sexual liaisons mentioned in verses 15–16. They “have the right to do anything” (v. 12) with their body, including engaging in sexual immorality—or so they claim. In verse 13, Paul pursues their line of reasoning further, probing a more sophisticated, twofold rationale offered by the Corinthians for this (mis)use of the body. 1. They are merely following the natural, God-given design of the body. Just as the stomach is designed for food and food for the stomach so also the body is designed for sex and sex for the body.


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2. The body (represented by “stomach”) is ultimately of no moral or theological significance since it is destined for destruction by God. (Things destined to perish in the judgment do not matter and are of little or no value. See 1 Corinthians 15:32 for a similar argument based on the transience of the body.) Paul would not let this stand. The Corinthians erred on both counts. First, the Corinthians’ argument based on design is flawed. “The body, however, is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (v. 13). Second, their argument based on the transience of the body, that it has no value or ultimate significance, is likewise incorrect. The fate of the body is not destruction. “He will raise us [body and all]” (v. 14). Thus the body and its actions have meaning and value. In the remainder of the paragraph, Paul makes it clear that the body is the real issue. In doing so, he confirms that both our reconstruction of the situation and our interpretation are on the right track: • O  ur bodies are members of Christ Himself—united with the Lord (vv. 15, 17). • Our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (v. 19). •W  e are not our own; we (body included) have been purchased and are God’s possession (vv. 19–20). • We are commanded to honor God with our bodies (v. 20). Couple these observations with what Paul wrote earlier—the body being “for the Lord” (v. 13) and destined for resurrection (v. 14)—and we have a fairly convincing case that the passage concerns the value and significance of the body and its actions. It is not merely about sexual immorality per se. For the Corinthians, the body was the outer husk of the real person— merely a shell discarded at death. Thus, as a disposable entity, it could fulfill its natural design and function with impunity.

For Paul, however, the body was the locus of our relationship with the Lord (vv. 15, 17, 19), an instrument for divine service (v. 20), and destined for resurrection (v. 14). The body was not ethically and theologically irrelevant—both it and its actions mattered. It must not be used with disregard for its sanctity. Thus, where the Corinthians argued for moral irrelevance because of bodily action, Paul contended for the moral relevance of bodily action. This reconstruction goes a long way in explaining the crux in 6:18: “Every sin that a person commits is outside the body” (nrsv).4 This likely represents another slogan of the Corinthians. They suggested the body was not the real “person,” which they reduced to the soul. Sin had nothing to do with the body—it was outside the body. It was tied exclusively to the immaterial side of the person. One sinned only with the heart and mind (perhaps the Corinthians misunderstood the Lord’s instruction in Matt 15:10–20 and Mark 7:14–23). In other words, sin had nothing to do with the body; it was a function of motives and intentions only. The body was morally irrelevant, and its actions inconsequential. Again, Paul would have none of this, flatly rejecting it: “whoever sins sexually, sins against their own body” (1 Cor 6:18). As the temple of the Holy Spirit, the body has value and meaning (v. 19; Rom 1:24; 1 Thess 4:4). The body’s actions are not morally irrelevant (2 Cor 5:10). Paul was opposed to sexual immorality. But his real target was deeper—the Corinthians’ justification for their actions. For the tree to die, one must kill the root (Rom 12:2). To put an end to their sexual immorality (ultimately a betrayal of the One to whom they were united, who purchased them, and whom they should glorify), Paul had to correct the Corinthians. He had to rectify their (mis)understanding and remedy their devaluation of the body that justified it. Paul’s ultimate goal was to establish a God-honoring (1 Cor 6:20) view of the body. It matters and we must embrace its theological and ethical significance.

The study of Paul’s letters requires a cautious and carefully measured dose of mirror-reading. It is a valuable technique that can flesh out the occasion of Paul’s message.

May God grant us that kind of understanding, for it will point to True North for interpreting and applying the meaning of Paul for today. _____________ NOTES: 1. Richard Hays, The Moral Vision of the New Testament (San Francisco: Harper San Francisco, 1996), 16–17. 2. Richard Hays, First Corinthians, Interpretation (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1997), 8. 3. Much of this paragraph is adapted from Calvin J. Roetzel, The Letters of Paul: Conversations in Context, 5th ed. (Louisville: WJKP, 2009), 85. 4. Similarly, CEB, NET BIBLE, NKJV; unlike English translations that supply “other”—every other sin—which is not present in the Greek New Testament, thus CSB, ESV, and NIV. 5. James Dunn, The Theology of Paul the Apostle (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 17.


We must follow Paul’s line of thinking. Our presuppositions and modern understandings often play havoc with this goal. We can partially remedy this by trying to eavesdrop on Paul’s original readers by reconstructing their end of the “telephone” conversation with Paul. By doing this, it will help us determine what occasion prompted Paul’s correspondence—to discern the implicit concerns and issues that came between him and his readers. Such reading is indispensable. As James Dunn notes, “We will not be able to understand the ‘why’ of a line of argument or of a particular emphasis, without having some awareness of the arguments being thus countered.”5

JAY E. SMITH (ThM, 1989) serves as department chair and professor of New Testament Studies at DTS. He has a special interest in the apostle Paul’s letters and New Testament theology. His current teaching and research interests include 1 Corinthians and Pauline theology. “Dr. Jay” and his wife, Kristy, have two daughters, Karissa and Dayna.





ow can a believer communicate effectively and retain the attention of a person who does not regard the Bible as inspired? If they are aware of what the culture alleges about how we got the Bible, two issues often need consideration. First, most skeptics probably do not recognize or accept inspiration as an idea. Second, they may have heard the claim that there is so much time between events and their recording in a Gospel that significant distortion took place before the written accounts. To mind the gaps of time and theological understanding takes a couple of steps. Let’s deal first with the gap in time. The book culture of the ancient world differs from today in stark ways. Most people could not read, and they didn’t strive to learn through the written word. Even the elite had books read to them. People often accessed the events of the day by hearing about them. They even preferred hearing an account from a witness to reading about that event.


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Before books in large numbers existed, accounts of events circulated mostly orally—people trusted the spoken word more. Today, if people hear breaking news, they want to read about it. In the ancient world, many would ask someone about it. Think about that for a second and add one other fact. Matthew, Mark, and Luke wrote at least three decades after Jesus’s ministry, and in the case of John, he wrote much later, probably twice that length of time. So, how did that work? Skeptics claim it didn’t—they argue that the oral character of the stories, the time between events, and the frailty of memory distorted the record. These reasons look like credible objections. After all, how much detail can a person recall about events—even the important ones—that happened thirty-plus


Orality, Memory, & the Gospels

years ago? Anyone might remember the result, and a detail or two, but a full conversation?


Sometimes understanding the background to Scripture helps readers appreciate how things worked. It also helps in another way. Many people do not share the same theological beliefs about how God worked and what inspiration is, so how can one explain an ancient process in ways they might consider the credibility of the text and the possibility of God at work? Recently, New Testament scholars have studied orality and continue to debate it. They have looked at how the ancient world passed on stories and documented history, especially when writing things down proved expensive and a rare thing to do. One way of picturing this discussion is to call this “minding the gap.” It is the temporal space between the event and its eventual recording. How did the church circulate the facts about Jesus before recording them in a Gospel? The ancient process of orality provides some answers. Some scholars contend that the ancients had ways of passing things on, preserving the core of the described events. The

stories come through loud and clear and well connected to the past. Others remain skeptical. They compare the way the church passed these stories down to the “telephone game,” claiming distortion. The telephone game is familiar to many people. The game works when someone whispers a somewhat short incident full of detail and it gets passed on verbally, person to person, one secret-telling at a time. Usually, the result gets changed. The fun is seeing how much the story changes from the beginning to the end. Now stretch that kind of loose process over decades and above a broad spread geographically. The claim is that the Gospels lose touch with the past. Is that true?


This losing touch with the past might be the case in advanced modern culture today, but several features and practices suggest different results in antiquity with the Gospels. Kenneth Bailey was a missionary in the Middle East for years and worked among Bedouins who passed their stories along orally because they did not read or write. He noticed some interesting things about the way stories and events got passed down in this long-established Middle Eastern culture.




First, he observed that the nature and importance of the story determined how carefully the details got passed down. The more important the story, the more care people gave to how they passed it on. Second, he also observed that a story’s detail could vary, but the retelling could not change its core. If a storyteller distorted a crucial detail, an elder would speak up and correct the deviation. He contended that these oral cultures seem closer to the early church than our literary culture, so no telephone game-like result. The details of the Gospel accounts might not match exactly, but the story’s point remains intact. He called this informal, controlled oral tradition. Informal in that anyone could tell the story, but controlled in that the resulting story had oversight. The possibility of authoritative persons correcting it existed if

a knowledgeable group to oversee it, a group that knew what had taken place. We will come back to the crucial role of the Spirit as that addresses the understanding gap.


Memory is another factor scholars discuss about the gap period. Skeptics claim memories fade, and lawyers will argue they do, as they examine witnesses. So if a story’s credibility depends on a single person’s recollection, the claim is that problems exist. However, we need to consider two factors. (1) The accounts recalled by several people do not rely on just one person. Hence, the role the apostolic group plays. A corporate recollection is likely better than an individual one, and this

Jesus tells each disciple that the Spirit would help them recall what He taught as they shared the stories about Him (John 14:26).

it strayed too far.1 This result introduces the role the apostles played in circulating these stories through the church. In Acts 1, when the apostles replaced Judas, they made it “necessary” to choose one of the men who had been with them through Christ’s ministry (vv. 21–22). Why require this experience as a qualification? Because the replacement had to know what Jesus taught and the events in His life and ministry. One of the apostle’s roles was to oversee the gospel message, something hinted at in the Upper Room. Jesus tells each disciple that the Spirit would help them recall what He taught as they shared the stories about Him ( John 14:26). So one of the elements that protected memory was that the church assigned


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is why journalists or courts want to hear from multiple witnesses about something before accepting it as accurate (see Luke 1–4). (2) This recollection is not merely about data recalled three decades later. Jesus changed their lives. Disciples would have repeated these stories orally, as they taught in church, rehearsing them multiple times before recording them in a Gospel. The gap of time is not as long as skeptics portray. The accounts publicly circulated as pieces of received and repeated tradition. For example, church history indicates that Mark served as Peter’s interpreter as he preached in Rome.2 Even though Mark did not actively participate in Jesus’s life or ministry, he would have heard these stories from Peter. In the retelling of the stories, he would recall essential truths.

One can compare this to the way children learn stories before they can read or write. Many kids know Star Wars almost line by line before they can understand the written word. How did they do it? They heard the story enough to know. Most people learn the words to hymns the same way. Many never sat down to memorize the words to them, but think about “Amazing Grace.” Most know all the words because they sang it enough times to have memorized the words.

How did the Gospels mind the gap between event and recording? The leaders in the church oversaw the official passing on of a repeated story involving multiple witnesses who had deep experience with Jesus. So the accounts they gave were well-connected to what had taken place. When it came time to record the Gospels, the practice of careful orality had minded the gap and retained an account’s connection to the past.

Between the reality of corporate and overseen memory and its repetition in telling, the accounts of the Gospel did not sit dormant over a three-decade period. Instead these eyewitness ministers recalled their experiences repeatedly before its recording. Some variation did exist in those retellings, as the Bedouin example suggests and as drawing on multiple witnesses will produce, but the core of the story remains consistent. What protected against excessive memory leaking are two facts: (1) that several people were involved, and (2) that official public retelling was the practice.

That is what the ancient oral process tells us. Beyond this—and crucial—is the inspiring work of the Spirit, guaranteeing the truthfulness and historicity of the full text, even in part by how things got passed on over time (2 Tim 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21). Once the unbeliever becomes open to a process that can involve trust of the core text, one can move on to consider issues tied to the presence of inspiration and the full trustworthiness of Scripture. In this way, one can mind the gap of time and theological understanding.


What does all this signify? It means that when the Gospels underscore Jesus’s uniqueness, the account reflects what He taught. Even though each Gospel writer varied how they told the Jesus story, as different witnesses will in retelling a story, they would have caught the truth of what He said or did. It was less like the telephone game, which is designed to create distortion, and more like learning a song. So when the Gospels say Jesus presented himself as Son of God or Messiah, that kind of a conclusion about the action or saying is secure, even by very normal historical standards about what was associated with the event. This is actually an important counter affirmation in a skeptical context where this kind of expression is said to be invented or projected back anachronistically. Most musicians rehearse. When they play before an audience, they might vary the emphasis in the tune or lyrics, but the core melody and story remains—a point that can be made and even focused on whether one accepts the idea of inspiration or not. When sharing with others who might have questions about how the Gospels could work, these talking points do not require a theological grid to appreciate. They are points that can draw a more in-depth discussion about Jesus and the claims He made about Himself. They can open the door to other issues tied to inspiration. After such general points, they can address the understanding of the dynamics associated with inspiration. Seeing how events could have been passed on, where repetition and multiple witnesses would have been involved, then one can raise how God may have made it possible to recall what Jesus taught ( John 14:26).

______________ NOTES: 1. Kenneth Bailey, “Informal Controlled Oral Tradition and the Synoptic Gospels” in Themelios 20 (1995): 4–11. 2. Eusebius, Church History 3.39:14–15.

DARRELL BOCK (ThM, 1979) is the author of over forty books, including well-regarded commentaries on Luke and Acts and studies of the historical Jesus. He also serves as host of DTS’s The Table podcast. Dr. Bock has been a New York Times best-selling author in nonfiction and is elder emeritus at Trinity Fellowship Church in Dallas, Texas. Married for over forty years to Sally, he is a proud father of two daughters and a son and loves to laugh with his grandchildren.

BENJAMIN I. SIMPSON (ThM, 2003; PhD, 2011) is assistant professor of New Testament Studies in DTSWashington, DC. He enjoys helping external students complete their degrees while positively influencing their ministries. His research interests include Jesus, the Gospels, and hermeneutics. He is married to Amber and they have two children: Madison and Eli.




: T H g i s n I l a r u t l u C Cross

w e i V r a e l C a t Ge


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Modern translators have done a great job in rendering the text from the original language into English.


s a non-native English speaker, it often fascinates me how language can communicate different things, especially in a cross-cultural setting. For example, the color red in the West is often associated with a negative outlook. Consider the news headline, “Wall Street Sees Red.” The title communicates the stock market has experienced a decline. In the Chinese culture, however, red usually means positive, courage, or good luck. So, it’s not surprising to see the color red used to show a rise in the stock market in China, Hong Kong, or even Taiwan! This simple example shows that cross-cultural communication is more than a word-for-word translation. In the same way, studying the Word of God is an act of cross-cultural communication, albeit all done in a nonverbal format. The Bible has several themes that may not make sense to Western Christians. For this reason, it is important for those reading and studying the Scriptures to get a good handle on the background scenes of the New Testament. How can students of the Word accomplish this?


One meaningful way of tackling the New Testament background scenes is to explore its social and cultural contexts. Subdivisions of this exploration come in four critical categories.1 In the first category, interpreters explore through the social description of ancient literature, artwork, inscriptions, archaeological excavations, coins, and so forth. In the second category, they attempt to construct a social history of a particular period or group. In the third, interpreters seek to explore the underlying social and cultural scripts that influenced the group(s) in concern. In the final category, they apply current research in social theory and sociological models. They do this to the biblical texts attempting to analyze their meaning specifically to determine what was written for their first-century audience.

A careful reader will notice that in this approach, interpreters rely on cultural anthropological insights. At first, it might cause some people to raise their eyebrows. It does not need to, however, if these insights gain appropriate utilization. The New Testament original autograph is the inspired, inerrant Word of God. The task of any twenty-first-century interpreter should require a wrestling with how the original audience might have understood the Scripture’s meaning in their social and cultural contexts. These cultural insights are useful if they prove relevant to the biblical period. It is important to note that the observations and theory (and whatever entails within this approach) must explain the biblical data and not the reverse. Modern translators have done a great job in rendering the text from the original language into English. These translations have led today’s readers, especially those with a busy schedule, to dismiss the potential cultural barrier they need to cross over to understand the text. And sometimes, the modern translators may miss it even though they have the best intention to make Scripture more understandable for the contemporary reader. Those who study the Word do not consciously remember that they unconsciously read today’s twenty-first-century cultures and mind-sets into the biblical texts. Is that true? Let’s look at two examples to illustrate the usefulness of this aspect of the importance of New Testament background studies.


In Matthew 6:22–23, Jesus talks about a person with either a good eye or bad (“evil” in Greek) eye. Most translations render the term “evil” into “unhealthy,” “diseased,” or “sick,” and the corresponding word “good” into “healthy.” For most, the




interpretation of the text, then, would communicate that a healthy eye means a strong focus on God’s Word, resulting in a body “full of light”—that is, in deeds that glorify God. However, first-century Mediterranean cultures did not share today’s modern-day concepts of eyesight. At the risk of oversimplification here, for them (and many ancient cultures), besides the normal function of a “seeing” eye, it proved more of an “active” organ than a “passive” organ as most understand it today.2 “Evil eye,” then, characterized a person’s evilness. A superstitious person would go so far as to trust that an evil eye could even harm another person. Now, that is not what Jesus Himself believes here. He is using the same Mediterranean cultural concept to bring out the idea that a person’s eye will commit the body to its actions. Perhaps, after understanding the ancient concept of the eye, some will use “intention” for its modern-day understanding. A good eye, in the context of Matthew 6:19–24, focuses on, and hence is committed to, actions that work toward “storing up treasures in heaven” and that serve God. On the other hand, an evil eye does the opposite. Darkness is not the absence of light, as we know it today from the scientific point of view. Darkness, in the mind of the ancients, and as one scholar puts it, “was an objectively present reality.”3 No wonder Jesus explains it in their context. “If then the light within you is darkness, how great is that darkness!” (Matt 6:23).


In Luke 10:38–42, the issue of honor and shame is another example. It’s beyond the scope of this article to describe the meaning of both words in the ancient Mediterranean society.4 Here is a simple, functional way of understanding honor. It is a status that relates to one’s worth as perceived by oneself, one’s family (especially relatives), and their social circle. Ascribed honor could be inherited or acquired. For example, honor could be gained through various means such as athletic competition or military exploits. People who experience shame lose their honor for multiple reasons. For example, they had a loss in battle or they lost their wealth. When someone lost his or her honor, to a certain extent shame followed close by because, to the ancients, honor is like a limited commodity. Shame, however, was not always bad. Shame made people aware of their appropriate social boundaries, and therefore, it encouraged them to live and act within such social prescriptions. Positive shame, therefore, is essential for people to function properly in a given society. And this proved especially true when it came to the role of gender in Scripture. Let’s apply this insight of honor and shame to Luke 10:38–42. Space does not permit detailed exegesis of the passage here, but one should certainly consult a technical commentary for such discussions.5


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The goal is to show how this Scripture helps illuminate certain features of the text’s meaning alongside what most readers have already ascertained. It is a central, pivotal Mediterranean cultural value that students should look at closely.

understanding cultural insights can help students of God’s Word interpret the biblical text accurately.

Luke describes Mary as taking the traditional place of a disciple (cf. Acts 22:3). Modern-day readers may have already noticed that while this is the usual posture of a male disciple learning from a master, it was not a place for a woman. When Mary decides to take a seat at Jesus’s feet, according to the sociological model of honor and shame, she crosses the social boundary of shame defined for a woman. In the eyes of the other male disciples and her sister, she does not know or remember her rightful place. She has behaved shamefully! The narrator now directs the reader’s lens to look at Martha. She at first acquiesces to her sister’s action. In her service to Jesus, she gets more and more “distracted.”6 Martha’s questioning Jesus (“Lord, don’t you care…?”) and subsequent demanding that He put things in order (“Tell her to help me!”) implies that Mary’s rightful place is not at Jesus’s feet like the other male disciples. Instead, she should be like Martha, her sister—taking up a woman’s role as a hostess, and helping in meal preparation.


Jesus responds by calling Martha’s name twice, gently yet firmly affirming Mary’s decision.7 He tells Martha that Mary chose the better portion—spiritual blessings and all that they entail. With Jesus’s affirmation, and the honor acquired to learn at His feet, Mary could trust that moment would never be taken away from her. Indeed, one should not read too much into this account. Scripture does not name Mary among the Twelve—that was never the case, and it was never understood that way by the original audience (see Acts 1:13). What this passage means to the first-century audience is that, through Jesus, discipleship is open to all, without gender discrimination. It was a liberating message to Mary, and hopefully to Martha as well. The passage further points out that discipleship for the firstcentury believer, both male and female, is first and foremost getting close to Jesus. It means all could sit at His feet to learn from Him instead of being occupied with busy work and trying to do things for Him. The above example only illustrates how understanding cultural insights can help students of God’s Word interpret the biblical text accurately. It helps people appreciate the various nuances, which otherwise would get lost due to the distance of time and language and cultural barriers. It’s not surprising to see that even those who have studied the Scriptures over many years can still discover the different

cross-cultural aspects of the Bible. Studying the Word of God and its cross-cultural contexts can transform thinking, values, and behaviors of a believer as well as of the people they engage. ______________ NOTES: 1. The following description is adapted from John Elliott, What Is Social Scientific Criticism? Guide to Biblical Scholarship: New Testament Series, ed. Da O. Via (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1993), 7. 2. John Elliott, Beware the Evil Eye: The Evil Eye in the Bible and the Ancient World (Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2015), 1:20. 3. Bruce J. Malina and Richard L. Rohrbaugh, Social-Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels, 2d ed. (Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2003), 50. 4. The description here is a very simplified form adapted from Bruce Malina, The New Testament World: Insights from Cultural Anthropology (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001), 27–51, and Jerome Neyrey, Honor and Shame in the Gospel of Matthew (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2001), 24–34. 5. I would highly recommend reading through Darrell L. Bock, “Luke: 9:51– 24:53,” vol. 2, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 1996), 1037–44. 6. Or “overburdened,” occurred only once in the New Testament. See Walter Bauer, Frederick William Danker, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (University of Chicago Press, 2001), 804. 7. If “good” in Greek is taken as superlative adjective, then it would mean “best.” See the NET Bible translation.

SAMUEL CHIA (ThM, 1994; PhD, 2003) serves as an assistant professor of New Testament Studies at DTS and regularly teaches classes related to a variety of New Testament topics and issues. He has served as a lecturer, assistant professor, or adjunct professor at seminaries in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and the US. Dr. Chia currently serves as the director for Chinese Online Education at DTS. He and his wife, Sunny, have one son.




CAMPUS NEWS DTS Achieves Record Enrollment for the Second Year in a Row DTS is excited to announce that our fall semester has recorded the highest master’s and doctoral enrollment in our ninety-five-year history, with a total enrollment of 2,470 students. John Dyer, dean of enrollment, announced the encouraging news. “It has been wonderful to see the seminary grow in a variety of ways under Dr. Bailey’s tenure as president. With the additional degree programs, extension sites, and languages, DTS is fulfilling its mission to train godly servant-leaders in more ways and more places than ever before.”

One of the largest areas of growth was in new students. Admissions saw an increase from 396 in fall 2018 to 451 this fall, which is a 12 percent increase from a year ago. Some factors contributing to the increase include substantial growth at our Houston campus, in the DMin and DEdMin programs, as well as in the Spanish-language program, which grew from sixtyfour students to over a hundred for the first time. The online distance education program has also experienced a notable increase.

In response to the news, DTS president, Dr. Mark Bailey, shared, “We are delighted that God continues to bless the seminary. Every new school year, we get to see a microcosm on campus, in the regional locations and extension sites, and those who join us by digital online. It is an incredible variety of representation of the body of Christ. We have a unique opportunity to know one another and hear each other’s stories and experience spiritual life together, which is one of the hallmarks of DTS. It is the most exciting time

for us, and we are grateful for the way God has remained faithful to us.” DTS has a ninety-five-year history of training students to have a desire and an understanding of what it means to follow Christ and to do— as Dr. Chafer often expressed—an “independent exegetical study of the Word of God.” DTS continues to work diligently to remain faithful to the mission and the purpose of the seminary, making it possible for more ministry leaders to reach the world with the truth of God’s Word.

DTS Expands to Fort Worth with Partnership individuals who are participating in the unique Christ Chapel Leadership Residency (CCLR) program.

Dallas Theological Seminary and Christ Chapel Bible Church are excited to announce a new partnership which is bringing DTS’s rigorous, biblical-centered seminary education to the greater Fort Worth, Texas, area. Starting this fall, DTS began offering courses onsite at Christ Chapel for two of its most popular master’s degrees. The thirty-six-hour Master of


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Biblical and Theological Studies (MBTS) is designed for business professionals, lay leaders, or those interested in personal spiritual development. This program offers a high degree of flexibility and is popular among working adults. The sixty-six-hour Master of Arts in Christian Leadership (MACL) degree is a premier leadership degree designed for a variety of ministry applications. The MACL is available to all, including select

Christ Chapel was founded in 1980 and is a multisite church located in the cultural district of Fort Worth, Parker County, and Johnson County. It is among the largest churches in Tarrant County. As it continues to grow, Christ Chapel has taken steps to create more opportunities for people to receive advanced training in biblical and theological studies. “We’re excited about the opportunity of offering DTS classes to the Fort Worth community,” Dr. Cody McQueen, Christ Chapel’s lead pastor, explained. “DTS has had a huge impact on my own life, and I hope that many more students of God’s Word will be

able to benefit from having firstclass seminary training.” DTS president, Dr. Mark Bailey, who also attends Christ Chapel, said, “I couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Christ Chapel to offer biblical and theological education in Fort Worth. The plans to serve the surrounding areas anticipate many years of fruitful ministry, and DTS is honored to be a part of it.” To learn more about the classes, visit explore.dts.edu/fortworth. For more information about the residency program at CCLR, go to ccbcresidency.com.

Meet the New Adjuncts DR. JOHN BITAR Adjunct Professor in World Missions and Intercultural Studies Originally from Lebanon, Dr. Bitar has fourteen years of experience teaching Christian missions within the Islamic culture. He received his PhD in missions with an emphasis on Islamic Studies from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Dr. Bitar also serves as the executive director of Good News for the Crescent World. He and his wife, Dhiyaa, currently live in Dallas, Texas.

DR. MILAD DAGHER Adjunct Professor in Old Testament Studies Dr. Dagher currently serves as the director of the Christian Alliance Institute of Theology Beirut where he also teaches in the area of Old Testament, systematic theology, and biblical theology. He earned a ThM from DTS in 2000 and a PhD in 2013. He is the senior pastor of Evangelical Christian Alliance Church in Beirut and currently serves as the vice president of the Alliance Churches in Syria and Lebanon. MR. BRENT MCKINNEY Adjunct Professor in Educational Ministries and Leadership Mr. McKinney has over twentyfive years of experience in student ministry. He earned an MACE from DTS in 1997 and served as pastor of student ministries for Crossroads Bible Church in Double Oak, Texas, for sixteen years. Mr. McKinney is completing his dissertation on spiritually formative practices for high school teenagers. Brent and his wife, Tracy, are empty nesters and love connecting with friends in their neighborhood.

DR. GARY BRANDENBURG Adjunct Professor for Doctor of Ministry Dr. Brandenburg is the founder of Sheepkeepers International, a coaching ministry for pastors and church leaders. He grew up in California and attended Oklahoma State University on a baseball scholarship. He earned an MDiv from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 1981 and a DMin from Gordon-Conwell Seminary in 2009. He has been married to Jana since 1977 and has three children and five grandchildren.

DR. JAMES R. FROHLICH Adjunct Professor in Old Testament Studies Dr. Frohlich developed a passion for the study of the Bible while majoring in biblical languages at Northland International University. This passion for the Bible led him to complete an MDiv at Virginia Beach Theological Seminary in 2009 and a PhD in biblical studies from DTS. Dr. Frohlich and his wife, Jessica, live in the Houston area. He teaches Old Testament Studies at the DTS-Houston extension. DR. STEVEN SANDERS Adjunct Professor in New Testament Studies Dr. Sanders earned his ThM in pastoral leadership from DTS in 2007 and a PhD in New Testament in 2019. He believes that the ability to hear God’s Word is critical for personal spiritual health and effective service in ministry. His academic interests include exegetical method, the Prison Epistles, and New Testament backgrounds. He and his wife, Danielle, have one daughter, Kate.










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Over the summer Dr. Celestín Musekura (STM, 1998; PhD, 2007), president and CEO of ALARM in Dallas, Texas, challenged believers to remember the meaning and duties of being ambassadors of Christ. During chapel, he spoke about forgiveness, reconciliation, and suffering, and our calling to love others as we continue to seek to understand this time and this age. Go to voice.dts.edu/chapel to view all of this summer’s chapel messages.

1 Stephen Bramer (PhD, 1997), Greg Hatteberg (ThM, 1992; DMin, 2014), Vic Anderson (ThM, 1986), and Michael Grisanti (ThD, 1993) stand on Azekah over the Elah Valley in Israel.


2 Current associate director of DMin studies, Jeanne Ballard (MACE, 2009; DMin, 2013), welcomes over thirty guests at the first ever DMin/DEdMin Seminary Preview Day in July. 3 In collaboration with the Texas Baptists Great Commission team, current ThM student Marlon Rios lectures on the problematic passages in the Bible at an apologetics conference in Jacksonville, Texas. 4 He did it! Dr. Michael Burer (ThM, 1998; PhD, 2004) stands next to his sensei of Renbudo Karate-do (empty hand) and Renbudo Kobodo (weapons) after completing his final test. After ten years, he now has a black belt in each style. Congratulations! 5 Empowering education all over the world, Dr. Darrell Bock (ThM, 1979) poses in Soweto, a suburb of Johannesburg, South Africa. Over the summer Dr. Bock traveled to speak in Australia, the UK, Switzerland, South Africa, Sri Lanka, and Canada. 6 Following the completion of DM825 Ministering to Women in Pain course (clockwise from back row, left), Donna Williams (MACE, 2013), Cynthia Hester (MACE, 2017), Joy Pedrow Skarka (MACE, 2018), Maggie Rodriguez, Patricia Holton (MACE, 2015), Chong-Ae Shah (MACL, 2017), Anna Clagett (MACL, 2018), Dr. Sue Edwards (MABS, 1989), Keisha Jones (MACE, 2017), and Dr. Joye Baker (MACE, 1999; DMCE, 2005) pose together after diving deep on topics of suffering including trauma, abuse, addiction, crisis counseling, and more.

7 6

7 8

7 Dr. Vic Anderson (ThM, 1986) and part of his team hang out in a coffee shop in Addis Ababa. Every summer, Dr. Anderson takes a group of students to Ethiopia to teach Bible and theology classes at a school there. 8 After finishing up a great week meeting with the 2019 Committee for Bible Translation (the group responsible for the NIV), Dr. Dan Wallace (ThM, 1979; PhD, 1995) enjoys some time with one of his heroes of the faith, Dr. Bruce Waltke (ThM, 1956; ThD, 1958) at the Parliament building in Belfast.







t eighty-seven years old, Dr. Henry Breidenthal continues a spiritual discipline that began with the phrase, “No Bible, No Breakfast.” This saying may seem familiar to some, but when Henry first heard it at Youth for Christ, it challenged him to commit to reading the Bible daily. Even now, he refuses to take nourishment until he feeds upon the Word of God. Henry grew up as the youngest of six siblings in Kansas City, Missouri, during the war years. He studied medicine and while he did his residency in Dallas, Texas, he attended Scofield Memorial Church. It was there that he would challenge the young people to attend DTS. Someone later asked him, “Why don’t you attend DTS?” After receiving his medical degree, Henry enrolled at DTS and earned a ThM in 1962. Once ordained, he ministered working in the local church. It was in 1965, however, when he made missions his lifelong work or, as he often explains, “Jesus made the decision for me.” At the age of thirty-two, Henry joined Overseas Missionary Fellowship and chose to go to central Thailand—the heart of Buddhism—to help lepers. “The people of Thailand are very self-sufficient,” Henry explains. “They didn’t feel they needed God. The lepers, however, needed the hope Christ offers.” This year Henry celebrated fifty-five years serving in the mission field in Thailand with OMF International. The Thai people who know him well refer to him by the Thai title “Mor Henry.”


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THM, 1962


Larry Dinkins (ThM, 1979), who ministered alongside Henry for forty years, nominated him because of his dedication to working with the Thai people. “I first starting praying for Dr. Breidenthal in 1974 when I was a first-year student at DTS. I later met him and taught with him from 1986 to 1993 in Thailand. We also worked together in establishing Chiang Mai Theological Seminary in 2001.” Describing the first time he met Henry, William Merry, a friend and mentee, wrote, “I first met Dr. Henry in the hills of North Thailand. Single men were needed to work among the tribes, so he was sent to a tribal group and traveled widely to evangelize.” William visited a village where Henry lived and could not find Henry. Instead William visited Henry’s small hut with barely any furnishings, no food, and very few clothes. “He was supposed to be fed by a tribal family, but at that time of year, they worked in their fields and could only provide a few meals. He didn’t mind living simply and going hungry at times. He was reaching people who had never heard the gospel.” When other people tell of all of the accomplishments Henry has achieved in Thailand, he often explains, “The gospel is the power, not me.” Larry wrote that in 1971 Henry saw the need for a distinctively evangelical Bible college in the Thai capital. “He served as the founding director of Bangkok Bible College, a school which serves as the flagship institution of theological education in Thailand to this day.”


Henry has also worked with Wycliffe Bible Translators. He helped bring Bibles in the Thai language to the people he serves. He once commented that while Africa has the highest number of people without Bibles, the second most significant number is those in Southeast Asia. “It’s like if you are going to help hungry people, they are better off if you teach them to fish than if you give them fish.” The current director of Chiang Mai Theological Seminary, Daniel D. Kim, wrote, “I have never met any missionaries whom Thai people respect as much as Dr. Henry. He has influenced lots of Thai leaders in Christian circles in one way or another. I have heard from many of them of how Dr. Henry has personally impacted them. He has been God’s special blessing to Thai Christianity for the last fifty years. His impact on raising leaders for Thai churches is immeasurable.” Even though he has retired, Henry still lives and works in Thailand, and continues to share his faith. He is as dedicated to evangelizing as he is to teaching God’s Word. For the past forty years, Henry has had an unwavering commitment to hand out gospel tracts in local parks every Sunday afternoon. He has been arrested and removed from two Asian countries while evangelizing. In 2004, while in Vietnam, he was interrogated for three days after getting caught with a tape recorder. “I told people I was doing a study on language,” he explains with a grin. “And I was. I had on tape the people from Thailand speaking in the Mien language to the people who spoke the same language in Vietnam. What I didn’t tell them was the tape I played for them was all about Jesus.” William wrote, “He was always an evangelist. Some criticized him saying giving out tracts was not a good way to evangelize. He would reply, ‘Well, that’s my method. What’s your method?’” Henry’s passion for evangelism and God’s Word has served as a catalyst to his dedication to learning, often asking others, “What new books are you reading these days?” He has also had a prayer life that has changed people’s lives. He often stayed with students so that he could disciple and pray with them. Along with keeping a weekly fasting regimen, he is known by all his students as a true “prayer warrior.” Larry wrote, “He leads daily prayer and starts and ends most conversations with intercession. His cherished prayer book has hundreds of names which he systematically covers in a daily ritual of prayer and petition.”

Today there are about one and a half million members of the Mien tribes in China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand with no access to communications that would tell them about Christ. And so, Henry has taught them about Jesus and now they lead their churches. Still, only about forty villages have some knowledge of Christianity. For Henry, there is still work to do. “Dr. Henry is a man of incarnational principle,” Daniel explains. “He has lived among Thai people for over fifty years. He mingled among the local people, living with them, eating with them, fellowshiping with them, and speaking Thai with them.” Throughout his life, Henry has refused to accumulate anything in this world. Instead, he has invested his whole life in God’s kingdom. “He has shared his possessions with other people, especially for training the church—the Thai church leaders, church leaders, and Yao church leaders. Dr. Henry cannot stop living, talking, and teaching on missions, even at the age of eighty-seven.”


All nominations for the Alumni Distinguished Service Award come solely from fellow DTS graduates. Nominees are prayerfully considered in light of 1 Timothy 3:1–13; Titus 1:6–9; Ephesians 5:1–33; Galatians 5:22–23; and Romans 12:1–21. For more information or to nominate a fellow DTS graduate, please visit the Alumni Service Award page online at alumni.dts.edu.




ALUMNI CONNECTION In Memory Robert E. Hawkins (ThM, 1947) passed away on April 27, 2019. He taught at Dallas Bible College in Dallas, Texas. After his time teaching, Robert and his wife, Florine, served as missionaries and Bible translators for almost thirty years to the WaiWai Indian tribe deep in the jungle of Guyana, South America. Today a WaiWai Indian church reads and preaches the Bible that he translated into their language. Howard F. Vos (ThM, 1947; ThD, 1950) died on April 8, 2019. Howard published books on history and archaeology, taught at The King’s College in New York for twenty-four years, Trinity College, and Moody Bible Institute. In Pennsylvania, he was a member of the Tenth Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia and was associated with the Penn Museum at the University of Pennsylvania. Harvey W. Cutting (ThM, 1951) passed away on May 31, 2019. Walter M. Dunnett (1951) died on February 24, 2019. Walter served as a college professor in Bible and New Testament Greek for forty years. As an ordained priest in the Episcopal Church, he also served as priest associate at Church of the Messiah in Minnesota for five years and St. Mark’s Episcopal Church for twenty. James A. Stahr (ThM, 1952) died on July 4, 2019. Jim built churches in fishing villages on the rugged coast of Newfoundland. He later pastored in Prince Edward Island and conducted a weekly radio broadcast. James directed Emmanuel Bible Camp and also served as regional director for the Emmaus correspondence school. He worked as the editor of Interest Magazine for fifteen years before returning to preaching and writing. He served on the executive board of Emmaus Bible College in Dubuque, Iowa. Eugene Marshall Southard (ThM, 1953) died on May 4, 2019. He faithfully served thirty-nine years as a missionary with UFM International/ Crossworld Mission in Congo, Haiti, and Quebec, Canada. Upon retirement,


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Marshall served as a chaplain at Penney Farms Retirement Center and Helm Funeral Home in Florida. He played the French horn with Clay County Community Band and volunteered as a groundskeeper for the Penney Community. Walter Dingfield (ThM, 1954) passed away on May 3, 2019. He pastored a small country church in Startup, Washington, before serving at Church of the Open Door in Los Angeles, California, and two churches in North Dakota. He also pastored Immanuel Baptist Church in Kankakee, Illinois, and First Baptist Church of Lodi, California. Walter moved into a retirement home and continued his pastoral care ministry at Village Baptist Church in Beaverton, Oregon. Arthur R. Goodrich (ThM, 1955) died on May 5, 2018. Art served in the US Navy before pastoring Euzoa Congregational Church in Steamboat Springs, Conference Baptist Church in Evergreen, and Mountain Valley Baptist Church in Indian Hills, Colorado. During retirement, he oversaw the development of Meadowdale Ranch near Estes Park and became the associate pastor for senior adults at Mission Hills Baptist Church in Littleton, Colorado. Melvin Keierleber (1957–62) died on December 1, 2018. Melvin pastored in east Dallas before owning and operating Mel’s Electric Company for thirty-two years. He was a member of the Grace Fellowship Bible Baptist Church in Wills Point, Texas. Howard D. Park (ThM, 1960) died on May 17, 2019. Mickey served as the director of Lake Forest Ranch in Macon, Mississippi, and as a teacher at French Camp Academy. He then pastored Bethany Bible Church in Knoxville, Tennessee, before serving as senior pastor of Shades Mountain Bible Church in Birmingham, Alabama, for twenty-nine years. Mickey formed GlobalServant Ministries to provide pastoral care for Christian workers around the world. Pastor and friend to many, his legacy of love extends among countless lives through his biblical teaching, wise counsel, big

smiles, contagious laughter, and heart for others. David R. Klock (ThM, 1962) passed away on March 29, 2019. He served in the US Army, attaining the rank of SP3 and earning the Good Conduct Medal. David served as a principal/ teacher at Riverside Christian High School and worked at Southern California Edison Company while pastoring Calvary Bible Church in Riverside, California. He then taught at Woodcrest Christian High School for fifteen years. David also worked as a librarian and teacher’s aide at Riverside Christian Day School. He was known for being a “giver,” never wanting recognition for the kind things he did for others, and always putting others first.  George Sanderson (1963) died on July 4, 2019. During his active duty in Korea, George taught chemical, biological, and radiological defense. He continued in Army Ready Reserves for twenty-six years and taught desert troops at Fort Irwin Training Center in California. After retirement from the reserves, George led educational tours through the Veterans Museum in Sonora and worked as a chemist for the Air Pollution Control District in California. He served with Gideons International for forty-nine years and helped with the prison ministry at Sierra Conservation Center, teaching Bible in the Tuolumne County Jail.  Robert W. DuCasse (ThM, 1964) passed away on July 21, 2019. Robert pastored churches in Texas, New York, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania. Gordon F. Schroeder (ThM, 1966; DMin, 1986) passed away on November 23, 2018. After pastoring churches in Texas for many years, Gordon ministered as an ordained priest in the Anglican Church of North America, serving five years as the associate pastor at Church of the Resurrection in Flower Mound, Texas. He also mentored the people he connected with during his time as a GED and alternative school teacher for Dallas Independent School District and as a math teacher and basketball coach at American Heritage Academy in Carrollton, Texas.

James B. Raiford (ThM, 1969; DMin, 1990) died on June 7, 2019. He pastored multiple churches and directed the Gulf Coast Bible Conference. Jim taught at Bible colleges and established Calvary Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri. He also began James Raiford Ministries in 2005 and published The Camouflaged Church. He was a member of Hibernia Baptist Church in Florida. Jim was known as a faithful follower of Christ and loving son, husband, father, and grandfather. William O. Davis (ThM, 1971) passed away on May 16, 2018. Gerald A. Laursen (ThD, 1976) died on April 15, 2019. Jerry served in Guatemala with CAM International (now Camino Global) for twenty years. He taught Greek, New Testament, and evangelism at Central American Theological Seminary (SETECA) in Guatemala. He would take a student to evangelize one afternoon a week. Gerald enjoyed taking pictures around the seminary and had a great sense of humor. He started Capilla Biblica Woodside in Maywood, Illinois, and taught at Moody Bible Institute and Hispanic Bible Institute. In Spokane, Washington, Jerry counseled and answered Bible questions online for Spanish speakers all over the world with Global Media Outreach.  Douglas A. Cleeton (ThM, 1977) died on June 5, 2019. Doug pastored Faith Evangelical Free Church in Leesburg, Florida, for twenty-four years before working with Children’s Home Society. During his fourteen years there, he led fatherhood programs and ran a healthy start program while working with foster families. Doug had a passion for history, reading, and studying the Bible. He taught other people about God through Bible studies and Sunday school. Doug also participated in church and community choir and special programs. W. Randy Rainwater (1978–83) died on February 8, 2019. Randy worked for several different companies, including Mini Computer Systems, Stonehouse Telecom, NCR, and Ericsson, retiring from TXU at the age of sixty-six. He also sang in the choir of Northwest

Bible Church in Dallas, Texas. Randy participated in several amateur and semiprofessional ballet performances including many productions of “The Nutcracker” and served on the Dallas Dance Council. Lloyd A. Robertson (MABS, 1980) died on May 12, 2019. Lloyd served as the pastor of Dalby Gospel Church in Australia and was a Bible teacher at Dalby Christian School. In the US, he taught mathematics in San Antonio and Georgetown, Texas, until his retirement. Lloyd was dedicated to his job and his family but most importantly, his love for God. Darrell D. Godfrey (MACE, 1989) passed away on May 5, 2019. Darrell began his pastoral ministry at Neal Evangelical Free Church in Neal, Kansas, where he also helped set up a Christian school. He pastored Grace Community Bible Church in North Platte, Nebraska; Calvary Bible Church in Flint, Michigan; and Shawnee Bible Church in Shawnee, Kansas. W. Richard Gay (ThM, 1990) passed away on April 26, 2019. Richard served churches for forty years in Pennsylvania, Texas, and New Jersey. He spent the last twenty as the senior pastor of Central: A Christ-Centered Church in Ewing, New Jersey. His church family knew him as a loving shepherd who served and counseled those in need. Joseph P. Talone (ThM, 1990) died on May 5, 2019. Before pastoring Fardale Trinity Church in Mahwah, New Jersey, Joe worked for Interstate Batteries in Dallas, Texas, and Hackettstown, New Jersey. He thoroughly enjoyed reading, studying, and teaching God’s Word. Kurt-Edouard Neubauer (ThM, 1991) died on May 9, 2019. He served in the United States Army and National Guard before working as a licensed professional counselor for twenty-four years. Kurt was passionate about assisting others on their path to mental and emotional health and spent his career developing processes that enabled better outcomes for his patients.

associated schools. As Ken’s classes wrap up, the students will take Transformational Teaching. The ministry of iTEE Global continues to grow in India, Myanmar, Cuba, and North America. Teams have recently returned from fruitful work in both Myanmar and Cuba.

Philip Field (CGS, 1995) passed away in June 2019. David L. Davies (MACE, 2010) died on May 20, 2019. David’s love for education made his work as a professor a joyful and truly fulfilling experience. He enjoyed camping and outdoor adventures. David was an active and cherished member of Parkway Fellowship Church in Richmond, Texas. C. David Harrison (MACE, 2013) died on May 24, 2019. David pastored First Church Heights in Houston, Texas. He was known for his smile, servitude, passion, and ability to preach the Scriptures. David taught Bible studies and volunteered his time and resources at the Old Yale Adult Day Care. His church and local community dearly loved him.

Updates: 1970s Before returning to France this fall, Walt (ThM, 1970) and Pat Stuart held a marriage seminar at Leptondale Bible Church in Newburgh, New York. With various break-out sessions and discussion questions centered on change, the DISC personality system, margins, limits, and conflict resolution, the conference successfully fostered essential, heartfelt sharing. At SpeakOut this past summer, the Cru Bulgarian staff gathered with campers, volunteers, and tutors to interact in English about the gospel and how to live together in a way that demonstrates the difference Christ can make. Ed Murray (ThM, 1973) also celebrates three new staff members in Agape Bulgaria. Camino Global and Avant Ministries colleagues Larry and Jayme Hower and Jack (ThM, 1973) and Julie O’Brien report a successful trip to Cuba. They met with the children’s leadership team of the Los Pinos Nuevos Churches to introduce the new teacher-training program. They also shared the program with pastors and leaders in several other locations.

Wayne McLeod (MABS, 1980) recently retired after thirty-six years of serving with Child Evangelism Fellowship of eastern Pennsylvania. He and his wife, Sally, recently celebrated fortyfive years of marriage with their four children and fifteen grandchildren. Pictured above, Bruce Ewing (ThM, 1975; DMin, 1995) helps sandbag after Oklahoma floods caused many to evacuate their homes. Stephen Allen (ThM, 1977) is semiretired after practicing over thirtyeight years in psychotherapy. He is currently an adjunct faculty member in the psychology department for LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, teaching online counseling and psychology courses. Jeff Richards (ThM, 1978) recently returned from his eighth trip of teaching and preaching at Kiev Regional Bible College and Church of the Gospel in Ukraine. He is completing forty-one years as a fulltime pastor. Jeff has also taught at UNC-Charlotte, Shaw University, and is currently an adjunct at Columbia International University in Columbia, South Carolina. He pastors Covenant Church in Statesville (affiliated with the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church) in North Carolina. Jeff has preached in other countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Larry Dinkins (ThM, 1979) will serve as the missionary-in-residence at DTS for the 2019–20 school year.

1980s With Scott Christian University’s School of Theology in Kenya, Ken Hall (1980) sees iTEE Global include teacher training for their faculty and co-teaching pastors. They will train during term breaks at SCU’s four

Cary Clifton (ThM, 1981) has over thirty years of experience in cross-cultural training. His specialty is instructing minimally educated church leaders so they feel confident that they can turn around and teach what they learned. This teaching can potentially spark training movements that can reach many church leaders in remote, poor locations with minimal foreign influence or presence. In 2018 Mike (ThM, 1981) and Rowena McGinty completed thirty-four years of ministry as missionaries in Japan with OMF International and relocated to the States where they now mobilize others to minister in Japan. Seventeen years ago, the El Rapha Health Center in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, was created in partnership with the Union of Evangelical Churches to give quality health care at a low cost while testifying to God’s love. Steve Smith (ThM, 1981) and his team aspire to provide holistic health for their patients. Every year the Lord heals many people physically and spiritually. They are currently in the process of building a pediatric eye care center on the property, which will be one of only three such centers in the country. For more information, please visit their new website, elrapha.org. In a recent meeting with the World Ministries director for Myanmar, Dave Hine (ThM, 1982) rejoices in the pastor’s passion for evangelism that drives the ministry of equipping pastors to plant and lead disciplemaking churches. Five church planters




ALUMNI CONNECTION who have completed their training are in the early stages of the planting process. Thirteen new church planters are training with others who are in the “pipeline” to begin training in another location. Tom Doyle (MABS, 1983) recently published The Incredible Journey. It is a condensed Bible commentary of all sixty-six books of the Bible. Filled with fast facts, charts, and all kinds of information, it will help readers dive deep into the Bible and remember it too. Uncharted Ministries is using it for training former Muslims throughout the Middle East. Tom has also begun filming I Found the Truth where a series of former Muslims tell how Jesus rescued them from Islam and brought them to salvation in Christ. After forty years of ministry overseas in Asia and Europe, Jim (STM, 1983) and Lydia Munn are retiring and moving to Illinois. Their first five years of ministry were spent evangelizing and teaching in Asia with Operation Mobilization. In 1983, they joined UFM (now Crossworld) in France where God built two new local churches. In 2003, they moved to Grenoble where Jim directed the Grenoble Evening Bible School organizing courses and seminars. Lydia developed a vital ministry of Sunday school teaching and developed curriculum to train and mentor individual teachers. Ron Rhodes (ThM, 1983; ThD, 1986) recently published New Babylon Rising; The Emerging End Times World Order (Harvest House Publishers), a book about the worldwide influence of New Babylon in the end times. Don Samdahl (ThM, 1983) has self-published God’s Programs: An Introduction to Understanding the Bible (2017) and Paul: Apostle of Secrets (2018). Jerry Smith (ThM, 1983) retired after twenty-eight years of ministry with Christ Fellowship in Franklin, Tennessee, where he served to reach people, restore relationships, and equip believers. Jerry preached his last sermon, “The Cornerstone of a Changed Life” this past March. Jerry and Diane presently live in Great Bend, Kansas.


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Books, 2017), The Bible Illuminated (Worthy Books, 2017), and Romance Behind Judaica (Worthy Books, 2019). He has also written the Rose Guide to Discipleship (Rose, 2016), Who I Am in Christ (Rose, 2017), The One Year Book of Best-Loved Bible Verses (Tyndale, 2018), and Spiritual Life Hacks (Harvest House, 2019). Pictured above, Tab (ThM, 1984) and Ellen Gray at Megiddo in Israel. After pastoring Stonebridge Church (EFCA) in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for twenty-seven years, Randy Scheil (ThM, 1984) is transitioning to two part-time ministries. As associate director of international workshops for Charles Simeon Trust, he will help equip pastors to study the Bible and preach expository sermons. As regional pastor and church health coach for the central district EFCA, he will connect pastors and churches in eastern Iowa for mentoring and discipleship. In his third year serving at MK Transition Seminar, Steve Spinella (ThM, 1984) looks forward to helping kids transition into a new environment as they leave their country, community, and family to attend college. These transition seminars are about intentionally choosing a new identity and entry posture for a unique experience. The community of gathered MK’s is almost always more important than the guides. Steve and staff serve to love and to reflect, meeting each student wherever they are at, listening deeply to what they’re bringing with them, and anticipating the challenges around the corner. Jim Johnson (ThM, 1986) retired from thirty-two years on staff at Fellowship Bible Church in Longview, Texas. He now translates the gospel as a hospice chaplain and blogger at pickleheavenpress.com. After pastoring twenty-four years at Christ Community Church/The Bridge Community Church in Ruston, Louisiana, Len Woods (ThM, 1987) began writing full-time in 2015. He’s since collaborated with scholars at the Museum of the Bible on three books: The World’s Greatest Book (Worthy

In his thirteenth year of hospital chaplaincy, David Heaney (ThM, 1988) began serving at Sanford Health Medical Center in Bismarck, North Dakota. He considers it a blessing to be of comfort to people in their time of crisis. His daughter Bethany serves with The Navigators at the University of Nebraska, where their collegiate ministry started in the early days of the Navs. Sue Edwards (MABS, 1989) and Kelley M. Mathews (ThM, 2000) recently published Organic Ministry to Women: A Guide to Transformational Ministry with Next-Generation Women (Kregel Ministry).


Through Cadence International, Mike Martin (MABS, 1992) serves US military members at Camp Humphreys (South Korea), home of 2nd Infantry Division and 8th Army HQ.

Pictured above is sculptor Paco Meraz-Delssalde (ThM, 1992). The State of Wyoming commissioned him to design and create four sculptures in bronze to fill four empty niches above the rotunda of the Wyoming State Capitol building. The “Four Sisters” of truth, justice, courage, and hope were unveiled on July 9, 2019, after eighteen months of hard work. An engineering team of two dozen men and women were superb and efficient in their assigned task of designing and accomplishing the complicated operation.

Glenn Kreider (ThM, 1990; PhD, 2001) and Michael Svigel (ThM, 2001; PhD, 2008) recently published A Practical Primer on Theological Method: Table Manners for Discussing God, His Works, and His Ways (Zondervan Academic). John J. Dwyer (MABS, 1991) recently published Mustang: A Novel of World War II (Tiree Press).A m990s Jim Neathery (ThM, 1991; DMin, 2004) has taken on the duties of board chairman and interim CEO of the North Korean humanitarian group Ignis Community. Contending for the Gospel by Mike Gendron (MABS, 1992) is an urgent call for all Christians to defend the exclusivity and purity of God’s gospel against the many agents of compromise. Walt Hammonds (MABS, 1992) retired after serving fourteen years at Grace Fellowship Church in San Andreas, California. He and his wife, Myra, are moving back to Texas to be with family and are seeking other opportunities to serve the Lord.

Pictured above, Neil Curran (MABS, 1993) greets attendees at Watermark Community Church’s Church Leaders Conference in Dallas, Texas, with 1,800 attending from around the US and the world. In a recent trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand, Randy Harris (ThM, 1993) was involved in a variety of ministry activities. He mentored Pioneers missionaries, taught a group of shortterm missionaries, and reconnected

with a Thai church. He also renewed many relationships and shared the gospel with Thai friends and families in Chiang Mai. Upon completion of his ThD in Church History at the University of South Africa in Pretoria this year, Karsten Schmidtke (STM, 1996) is applying for teaching positions in Germany. He wrote his thesis on Jonathan Edwards’s understanding of conviction of sin.

The 4th Global Convocation of Faith and Law Around the Globe (FLAG) welcomed delegates from thirty nations in Orlando, Florida. Lynn Maynard (ThM, 1999) served as the on-site program director, making sure the conference ran smoothly and on time. Despite a few translation glitches and visa difficulties, each day started with an atmosphere fostering intimacy with God.


Pictured above, while taking a family vacation in Colorado this summer, John (MABS, 1998; MACE, 2003) and Kelley (ThM, 2000) Mathews stopped by the Inn at the Lake to see their friends Dave (ThM, 1967) and Rosie Whitelock in Lake City. Dave and Rosie recently put the inn on the market and hope other ministryminded folks will continue to use it for God’s work. Priscilla Shirer (MABS, 1998) recently published Radiant: His Light, Your Life for Teen Girls and Young Women (B&H Kids). Along with Alex Kendrick, Shari Rigby, Cameron Arnett, and Aryn Wright-Thompson, Priscilla stars in Overcomer, a movie about a coach who struggles with life changes and who questions his worth.

Pictured above, John Dix (ThM, 1999) and Tim (MACE, 1998) and Lorraine Hoy at the Glendora, California, alumni dinner. Nearly twenty alumni and spouses enjoyed a great time of fellowship at Grace Church of Glendora.

The Lord provided Jason Post (ThM, 2001) and his family a new place to rent in Galway, Ireland. They had a gospel choir come from a church in Minnesota and were able to host an outreach concert at the local Catholic church with other evangelical churches. It was well received and opened doors for them to continue to minister to their community. The choir was also able to perform at a school assembly for the entire student body of the primary school in which they hold services. Jason is thankful for their community. In Nairobi, Kenya, Lloyd (ThM, 2002) and Jan Chinn visited with the dean of students at Africa International University and were asked to find more Christian professors for the school through WorldVenture. The Kenya government requires that they include a school of business to keep their accreditation. Many professors have not been able to stay, but the door is now open for more to serve. The Chinns also visited the offices of Association of Evangelicals in Africa (AEA). AEA’s purpose is to mobilize and empower evangelical churches and mission agencies for the total transformation of Africa through evangelization and effective discipleship. Professors Raul Prezas and Paul Shockley (ThM, 2002) at Stephen F. Austin University in Nacogdoches, Texas, wrote and published Thinking with Excellence: Navigating the College Journey & Beyond (2019). They wrote this book as a collaborative project aimed at first-generation students. A Spanish edition will be available later this year with current DTS student Sammy Palacios as coauthor.

As they celebrate their fifth year in Manila, Craig (ThM, 2002) and Alyse (MABC, 2002) Thompson anticipate a chaotic new school year at the International Graduate School of Leadership. They will be teaching the old curriculum to students on a threeterm schedule, and will teach incoming students the new curriculum on a two-semester program. In addition, they will be educating students, staff, and faculty about child abuse and neglect protection. Courtney Garrett (MACE, 2004) and Laura Wilcox (MABS, 2000) recently self-published Living Your Story: 10 Biblical Principles That Matter. This small group material highlights ten principles where women explore God’s truth and how it applies to their stories.

Pictured above, Troy Dandrea (ThM, 2005) and Mitch Frevert (ThM, 2015) meet at a training rotation at the National Training Center in Barstow, California. Troy is a full-time chaplain in the Nevada Army National Guard with the 1-221st Cavalry Squadron and Mitch is a chaplain with the 1-140th Aviation Battalion in the California Army National Guard. John Buerger (ThM, 2007) is a missionary to Bulgaria with Mission to the World.

Pictured above, Charlie Sandberg (ThM, 2007) and Stephen Bramer (PhD, 1997) pause for a second as they discover and tour Israel.

Annie Ferrera-Batton (MABC, 2008) recently married Thomas Batton on November 18, 2018, and is now the stepmother to four beautiful young adults with a grandchild on the way. She has her private practice with Chupik Counseling and Consulting in Cedar Park, Texas, and hopes to use the skills she learned at DTS. Commander J. Timothy Martin (ThM, 2008) celebrated twenty-four years of duty in the Navy and Navy Reserve. Tim’s retirement ceremony was a joint military effort with an Army Colonel retiring Tim on an Air Force base.

2010s. Christopher Plekenpol (ThM, 2010) is the lead pastor at Wells Branch Community Church (WBCC) in Austin, Texas. WBCC planted Eastside Community Church and also sends out missionaries to Tanzania ministering to the unreached people group of the Zaramo. They are looking to create self-sustaining businesses to support church planting. So far, WBCC has planted sixteen churches among the Zaramo. Chris has also authored five books: Faith in the Fog of War (I & II) (Multnomah); Stumbling Souls (IVP Books); Is Love Wrong? (CreateSpace); and Dating Basic Training (CreateSpace). He and Adrienne have four children. Brian J. Wright (ThM, 2010) published The Rhythm of the Christian Life: Recapturing the Joy of Life Together (Leafwood Publishers, 2019). In this book, Wright invites Christians to find pure joy as they embrace the realities of loving God and loving others and discovering how they are meant to work in tandem. From the influential and ever-growing movement “I Am Second” comes a remarkable collection of well-known lives transformed from restless to happy by the power of God. I Choose Peace (Thomas Nelson, 2019) by Doug Bender (ThM, 2011) features stories from Chip and Joanna Gaines, Kathie Lee Gifford, Shawn Johnson, and others. Dirk Hinnenthal (ThM, 2012) is currently serving in Uruguay. He is experiencing the Lord’s working as the




ALUMNI CONNECTION most significant part of their Sunday population—unchurched children— are receiving breakfast and a Bible lesson. Through Southwest Church Connection, Mark Phillips (ThM, 2012) will be planting a church in the Arizona region hopefully with a launch date in September 2020. In a new season of growth and unity at Quisqueya Chapel in Haiti, Luke Perkins (ThM, 2013) reports the church brought a new candidate for the position of senior pastor. He was warmly received.

Andrew Cress (ThM, 2016) manages assessment and curriculum for California Baptist University (CBU) as director of special projects. He is also a new adjunct professor of Christian Studies at CBU, teaching New Testament survey courses. Lynnie (MACL, 2019) and Jared Gray are taking steps to move to Spain and work with Middle East and North American refugees through Christar. As a veteran of the insurance and investment industry, Rusty Moore (MBTS, 2019) offers an in-depth perspective for merger and acquisition strategies, leadership development, and corporate governance. Rusty offers clients a biblical perspective to estate planning and investment management.

New Ministries

Pictured above, Armando Zuniga (MACM, 2013) speaks at El Instituto de Lengua Española in Costa Rica. The director asked him to look into the possibility of starting an evangelism school and having an American seminary start an extension online in English to equip and educate many of the missionaries who come through the doors of the school. They are also interested in hosting seminary level classes in Spanish, possibly online. This is in response to the great need to equip individuals in Central and South America with sound theological training. Brent Saba (ThM, 2014) recently selfpublished The Almighty: God’s Holy Attributes and Their Meaning for Your Life, a thirty-day devotional about the timeless truths of God’s character and nature. Chad (ThM, 2016) and Nancy (MACM, 2015) Bradley are ministering in northern Ethiopia with SIM. Chad teaches at a Bible college and holds countryside training for pastors who are unable to leave their families and farms for education in the city.


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Paul Nyquist (ThM, 1981; PhD, 1984), vice president of discipleship and special assistant to the president, College of Biblical Studies, Houston, Texas Bill Matthews (MABS, 1982), associate pastor to senior adults, Prestonwood Baptist Church, Plano, Texas Frank Ray (MABS, 1984), senior pastor, Halethorpe Community Church, Baltimore, Maryland Tom Stout (MABS, 1987), director of pastor development, Spoken Worldwide, Dallas, Texas Benjamin Graham (MACE, 1999), growth groups pastor, Foothills Bible Church, Littleton, Colorado Courtney Garrett (MACE, 2004), director of women’s ministry, Christ the King Presbyterian Church, Houston, Texas Jeremiah Meadows (ThM, 2011), community groups pastor, Bayou City Fellowship, Cypress, Texas Carly Hallman (ThM, 2014), director of women’s ministry, New St. Peter’s Presbyterian Church, Dallas, Texas


David Barrett (ThM, 2015), pastor, Faith Fellowship Church of Fort Bend, Missouri City, Texas


Jason Custer (ThM, 2016), pastor of family ministries, Riverside Community Church, Saint Charles, Illinois Dave Hummel (ThM, 2016), pastor, Riverstone York, York, Pennsylvania Joseph Gonzalez (ThM, 2017), associate pastor, Stonebriar en Español, Stonebriar Community Church, Frisco, Texas Ju Lynn Stinton (ThM, 2017), associate pastor, The Tapestry Church Marpole, Vancouver, British Columbia

Pictured above (from left to right): Greg Hatteberg (ThM, 1992; DMin, 2014), Charlie Dyer (ThM, 1979; PhD, 1986), Andy Wileman (ThM, 1982), Lucas Rogers (ThM, 2010), Rob Armstrong (MABS, 1986; DEdMin, 2018), Jeff Sherwood (ThM, 1977), and Jerry Wagner (ThM, 2011) enjoy a tour of the Sea of Galilee.

Stephanie Williams (MACE, 2018), children’s pastor, New Life Assembly, Hurst, Texas Emily Bradberry (MACE, 2019), K-1 coordinator, Watermark Community Church, Dallas, Texas Stuart Mason (MACL, 2019), director of small groups, Oak Hills Community Church, Argyle, Texas Ryan Murphy (MACL, 2019), worship pastor, Jamul Community Church, Jamul, California

Pictured above, at the 2019 Lausanne Movement Global Workplace Forum (Manila) this summer, Bob Harp (ThM, 1985) and Bill Hendricks (MABS, 1984) met with GWF delegates from Indonesia. The Lausanne Movement connects influencers and ideas for global mission, with a vision of the gospel for every person, an evangelical church for every people, Christlike leaders for every church, and kingdom impact in every sphere of society.

Candace Myrick (MACE, 2019), student ministry assistant director, Grace Bible Church, Dallas, Texas Jonathan Shotts (ThM, 2019), spiritual development coordinator, Heritage Christian Academy, Rockwall, Texas Justin Smith (ThM, 2019), pastor, High Prairie Community Church, Polk, Nebraska

Pictured above: Alumni serving in theological education in Jordan, Philippines, and Singapore: SiangKiang Koh (MABC, MACE, 1990; DMCE, 2000) at Singapore Bible College, Imad Shehadeh (ThM, 1986; PhD, 1990) at Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary, Keith (ThM, 1971; PhD, 2000) and Jeannette (ThM, 1996; DMin, 2001) Shubert at East Asia School of Theology, Becky and Joel (ThM, 1984) Williams at Biblical Seminary of the Philippines, and Andrew Spurgeon (ThM, 1993; PhD, 2003) at Singapore Bible College.



homas Nelson Bibles, in partnership with Bible.org/Biblical Studies Press, announced the upcoming release of the New English Translation Bible (NET), the newest complete translation of the original biblical languages into English.

as part of my personal devotional time and was struck by the clarity and readability of the text. It’s an honor to partner with Bible.org to bring a full line of beautiful NET Bibles to people around the world.”

The planning and online publication of the New English Translation started in 1995, when a team of more than twenty-five of the world’s foremost biblical scholars led by W. Hall Harris (ThM, 1978), Daniel B. Wallace (ThM, 1979; PhD, 1995), and Robert B. Chisholm (ThD, 1983) shared their vision of creating an English Bible translation with a ministry mission in focus.

Dr. Harris, who served as the project director and managing editor for Biblical Studies Press, said, “We are delighted to see the NET enter an entirely new phase of print publication. It has been a pleasure collaborating with Thomas Nelson to bring this exciting project to fruition, and we can’t wait to see the impact the NET will have in the areas of teaching and exposition, theological discussion, missions, and Bible study for everyone.”

Thomas Nelson publishers shared, “No other translation is so openly accountable to the worldwide church or has been so thoroughly vetted.” More than 60,000 notes highlight every decision, outline alternative views, and explain difficult or nontraditional renderings.

Thomas Nelson reported that the first and second editions of the NET will be released by Biblical Studies Press. This partnership with BSP will help steward the publication of the NET moving forward and will also continue to be available at Bible.org.

Every draft was made public and was available on the Internet throughout the NET’s transparent translation process. People from around the world—including Bible scholars, ministers, and laypersons— logged their comments and review sessions. NET translators then filtered every question through the best in biblical linguistics, textual criticism, and their commitment to following the text.

Features include: • The newest complete English translation based on the most up-todate manuscript discoveries and scholarship • A translation that explains itself—over 60,000 translators’ notes offer unprecedented transparency • Full-color maps • Durable Smyth-sewn binding lays flat in your hand • 8.75-point print size Scripture text in Thomas Nelson’s exclusive NET Comfort Print® typeface

John Kramp, group publisher for Thomas Nelson Bibles, explained, “I’ve known about the NET online for many years and was intrigued by the comprehensive translation notes, something I’ve never seen in another Bible. Two years ago, I read through the full NET translation

NET Full-notes Editions are available.






Growth in faith does not come about in vitro. It occurs in the womb of the church and is the work of the whole community. God created us to connect with Him and others—not one or the other. He chooses to have an intimate relationship with us both individually and communally. We are to understand our lives in relation to both. We are to live perennially as people standing before God and connected to others. This interlocking interchange—alternating between time alone with God and time together with others—constitutes what we are referring to as the rhythm of the Christian life. This rhythm has nurtured believers and their believing communities for centuries as they listened and responded to the signs of their time. This reciprocal ebb and flow of spending time alone in God’s presence and then returning to time spent with people is foundational for living a full life. This timeless back and forth movement expresses what is universally valid for every believer. Sadly, believers and churches today have largely neglected the rhythm of the Christian life. Some have a constant desire to be with people; others desire the opposite. Some people run from being alone; others are uncomfortable being around others. Some do everything to find noise and distractions; others cringe at the idea of commotion. Few really contemplate the interplay between these two connected aspects of Christian living. As a result, our time alone remains unrelated to the broader body of Christ. And our time together doesn’t feed into our time alone, or it becomes something we do simply because we are required to as a member of a church.


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At least two reasons contribute to why this is the case. The first reason relates to the common myth that we can practice our faith however we want to, as long as we per­form certain core activities, even if it excludes the church community or ignores time with God. This line of rea­soning stems from a general lack of attention given to the rhythm of the Christian life and cultivates individualism. We rush to talk about the derived components of the rhythm, known as the spiritual disciplines, and occasion­ally examine our group times, but rarely are the rhythm and component parts tied together and fleshed out in tandem. The absence (or minimal mention) of their continuity is seen in popular literature today. The focus of the spiritual disciplines has become mostly (or solely) about how they benefit you; how they draw you closer to God; how they help you overcome certain issues; how they provide you peace and comfort. But the Christian life is not about you. Most books and resources—certainly not all, but most—divide the rhythm and separate the disciplines in order to explain them. The authors only point out, for instance, that Jesus pursued time alone with God in order to encourage us to go and do the same. While both points are true—Jesus did and we should—this overly simplistic approach strips those moments from their surrounding context. We miss the real gravity and magnificence of them, thereby diminishing their thrust. Jesus’s individual times with God the Father were always in the midst of and with a view toward His time with others. Scripture inten­tionally shows the intended flow between the two and how they are meant to complement each other.

A second reason seems to surface when we over-privatize and hyper-individualize many passages in the Bible. An important fact obscured in English Bible trans­lations is that almost all the second-person pronouns and commands in the epistles are plural. Paul was writing to you all or y’all, not to you individualistically, which is how we tend to interpret them when we read individually. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” is not simply a command to you individually (Phil 2:12). The “your own” is plural, and the corporate directive of working out our salvation is in the context of a Christian community. Similarly, the charge for us to “put on the whole armor of God” in Ephesians 6 is not meant to be understood as the armor you put on every day as a single soldier going out to face individual spiritual attacks (though there may be some extended implications for that). Rather, the truth that Paul conveys is that we are all to suit up together as a united front going out into battle in unison. As we stand together, we advance together. The main point in all this is that by offering some simple, even helpful, categories to think through the Christian life, a false dichotomy has arisen between our individual lives with God and corporate lives with other believers. This widespread mentality operative among churches and churchgoers has led to a fragmented and unrhythmic Christian life, especially in how we under­stand many verses in the Bible and apply them to our lives. As a result, we experience less unity and focus almost exclusively on our own individual needs. What should we do about it? God’s prescription for us is to embrace the rhythm of the Christian life in Christ. We need to investigate, appre­ciate, and apply the rhythm of the Christian life anew so we can do what Jesus instructed His disciples to do: “He said to them, ‘Come away by yourselves to a desolate place and rest a while.’ For many were coming and going, and they had no leisure even to eat” (Mark 6:31). The rhythm of the Christian life is the place where these extremes—time alone and time together—meet. The rhythm reduces remoteness from God and others, and curtails plunging into constant community that tends to exclude time with God. This is not a peripheral matter but a central one, for Christ died so that we might be reconciled with God and each other, as well as live life abundantly. Yes, the gospel reaches us personally and individually, one sheep at a time (Matt 18:12). But the gospel also places us into a community, as one flock, under one shepherd ( John 10:16). Let us also consider for a moment that the author of Proverbs instructs us to “find favor and good success in the sight of God and man” (Prov 3:4; italics added). Reuben and Gad understood this when they decided not to neglect their military responsibilities “to the Lord and to Israel” during

An important fact obscured in English Bible trans­lations is that almost all the second-person pronouns and commands in the epistles are plural. Paul was writing to you all or y’all, not to you individualistically.

the conquest of Canaan (Num 32:22; italics added). Samuel demonstrated this as a boy as he “continued to grow both in stature and in favor with the Lord and also with man” (1 Sam 2:26; italics added). Luke shares how Jesus exemplified this: “Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man” (Luke 2:52; italics added). Paul endeavored to do the same: “I always take pains to have a clear conscience toward both God and man” (Acts 24:16; italics added). He also tells us that life in the kingdom of God involves serving Jesus in a way that “is acceptable to God and approved by men” (Rom 14:18; italics added). Peter similarly instructs all of us: “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor” (1 Pet 2:17). These two pairs of four distinct commands really encompass just two catego­ries: God and others. It is not enough to say (as true as it is) that we should spend time alone with God and time together with others. We must also emphasize the rhythm between the two and how they accompany each other. We must focus on “why” we are doing each activity and what they involve. We will not become holy or whole by ourselves, or by way of others, but by both. Whatever issues might confuse us about what the Bible teaches, the rhythm of the Christian life ought not to be one of them. The relationship between our time alone and time together in Scripture is clear.

Excerpt from The Rhythm of the Christian Life: Recapturing the Joy of Life Together (Leafwood Publishers) by Brian Wright (ThM, 2010). Used with permission.




Adopted by God into His Family


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He destined us for adoption as his children through Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of his will. (Eph 1:5, nrsv)


doption. It’s how we got into God’s family and, frankly, it doesn’t get much better than this. No matter our social or ethnic background, education, or history, this is a significant upgrade. No family has ever had so much prestige, wealth, or significance. Fully participating in God’s family is truly a blessing from God (Eph 1:3). How did we become part of this illustrious family? Were we born into it? God has only one “begotten” Son. Rather, as Paul tells us in Ephesians, we were adopted. This word usually brings to mind many positive thoughts and emotions. Some of us received our earthly families through adoption. Some adoptees, however, are left wondering about their biological parents, and why they did not remain in their biological family. Nevertheless, for those involved in the adoption process—the adopter and, when old enough to understand, the adoptee—the general experience is positive, even wonderful.


Generally, modern adoption involves a couple who desires to expand their family nonbiologically. Although not necessarily so limited, modern adoption usually consists of the adoption of an infant or young child. Even in cases of older children, the essential motivation remains the same. Adults wish to nurture and care for another person, often one in need. Little concern exists about who the child is; the future parents simply wish to have a child. The focus remains on the interests of the child. This modern notion of adoption would have proved foreign to the original readers of Ephesians. Although similarities exist between the adoption practices that the Ephesian readers would have known and today’s practice, modern adoption would have puzzled the ancients. In order to help us understand Ephesians 1:5 (and Gal 4:5; Rom 8:15, 23; 9:4),

it is worth attempting to understand first-century Roman adoption. Let’s consider the purpose. What relevant differences exist between the ancient form and today? What observations impact a believer’s understanding of Ephesians 1:5 and their relationship with God? The purpose of Roman adoption did not involve nurturing a child. Rather, it provided an heir to assume the privileges, duties, and responsibilities of a son. This included accessing the inheritance, caring for aging parents, and assuring proper burial. It generally benefitted the adopters.


Given these purposes, a few select differences are worth noting. Infants and young children did not get adopted. Instead, in New Testament times, adults or nearly adult males were the usual adoptees. Many possible reasons exist for this: 1. Adult males assumed their duties and roles when needed. 2. Given the high rate of infant and child death, a strong chance that an adopted baby would not make it to adulthood existed. An adopting parent would need someone sooner rather than later. If the young parents had enough time to raise a child, they would continue to try having one of their own. 3. Only males were adopted because he would lead his own household in the first-century Roman context. The culture assumed the adoption of males to such an extent that the word “son” (υἱός) is part of the word which Paul used for adoption (υἱοθεσία). 4. Adopted individuals—often well known to their future adopting parents—already participated as part of their extended families. They were likely chosen because of their proven character or potential. 5. In light of the various emphases mentioned, the adoptee did not necessarily have an unstable home life.




What then did the adoptee and his natural family receive from this arrangement?

knew us, chose us, and provided for us to be part of the greatest family that has ever existed in creation.

The natural family likely had at least two male children. Rather than split the inheritance or give it all to just one son, the family would focus the household on one male heir (or at least have fewer potential heirs).

Second, the personal nature of adoption potentially has a theological downside. As noted above, ancient Romans adopted people based on past experience with the person, proven character, and/or potential. This suggests that some sort of personal merit or accomplished work is involved in God’s choice. This of course does not harmonize well with Pauline theology or even the book of Ephesians (see Eph 2:8–9).

Maybe less significant, the parents could take pride or comfort in knowing that two of their offspring would one day lead households. The adopted person did not have to share an inheritance, nor remain dependent upon his brother. He would assume a full inheritance in his own household. Before looking specifically at some important observations about ancient adoption, a few characteristics of ancient adoption need clarification for application today. The purpose of care for the parents does not really apply to God’s family. God, the Father, does not need our care. He never has and never will need anything (Acts 17:24–25).

God wants you specifically in His family. …He knew us, chose us, and provided for us to be part of the greatest family that has ever existed in creation.

It may seem troubling that ancient Roman adoption primarily focused on male adoptees. The purpose of this was noted above. However, Paul wrote the letters to the Ephesians, the Galatians, and the Romans which included all believers—both male and female. Thus, I cannot help but think that the women in the earliest churches would have felt an even more overwhelming sense of awe and wonder at the idea of adoption.


The characteristics of ancient adoption provide believers with helpful insights to understand more accurately what the biblical texts say about our (adopted) relationship with God the Father. This insight helps us get a deeper understanding of the meaning of the text, and it helps to see things a little bit more like Paul’s original readers would have seen them. First, this ancient perspective points to a more personal nature of adoption. Today’s modern practice of adoption is at one level personal—adopted parents want a child. However, God’s adoption takes the personal nature of adoption much further than today’s modern notion. He chose us specifically. God did not just want children (which is not bad in itself ). Rather, God wants you [insert your name here] specifically in His family. Words cannot describe this amazing reality. He


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Neither merit nor works fit in the analogy in Ephesians 1:5. Let’s return to the verse, “He destined us for adoption as his children.” It is possible that once the readers got over the wonderful shock of learning of their adoption, they might start to wonder whether or not they somehow did something to earn this. This is understandable.

Past actions would be associated with the adoption practices with which they were familiar. However, Paul does not allow this thought to take root. Look at the very next phrase, “through Jesus Christ.” Thus, Christ and His salvific work nullifies any potential merit nuance that might present itself and clearly places the means for adoption in Christ Himself.


The inmost and most secure foundation of adoption is found not in the act of humans adopting other humans, but in God— in His adoption of us. It is at the heart of the gospel (Gal 4:4–5). God did not have to use the concept of adoption to explain how He saved us, or even how believers come to be part of His family. Nevertheless, God speaks and relates to us as adopted children. Being adopted into God’s family is the highest of honors. This is the most essential foundation as God through Christ continues to build His family through the practice of adoption. He chose you and me specifically to be part of this eternal family.

JOSEPH FANTIN (ThM, 1995; PhD, 2003) serves as professor of New Testament Studies at DTS. He is committed to teaching exegetical method in order to help students understand, apply, and teach the Bible. Dr. Fantin’s research interests include the first-century world, Greek language and linguistics, exegetical method, and exegesis of the Prison Epistles. He and his wife, Robin, have two children: Jillian and David.

The Master of Theology (ThM) program offers a unique four-year curriculum that takes ministry training and infuses it with additional in-depth study of Greek, Hebrew, and a chosen discipline. Students are trained for leadership by means of biblical exposition, evangelism, spiritual formation, and service.






Left to right: Christian Williams (spiritual life board president), Ben Parker (vice president of student life), Tricia Stephens (president), Hayley Brady (vice president for academic affairs), Ramon Tavarez (vice president of business and finance), Ruth Singsit (vice president for advancement), Travis Long (vice president for operations).


rom its early days, the seminary has aimed to meet the academic and intellectual needs of its students. In 1925, out of concern for students flourishing outside of the classroom, the administration established a student organization called the Student Association of the Evangelical Theological College. In the 1970s, the seminary changed the name to DTS Student Council (STUCO). “Student Council has been part of the fabric of Dallas Seminary for decades,” the vice president of Student Life, Dr. George Hillman, explained. Members of DTS’s executive team, including the president, Dr. Mark L. Bailey, regularly meet with the members of STUCO. “More than just listening, the administration solicits students about topics that are difficult and troublesome,” said this year’s student council president, Tricia Stephens. Student care motivates the DTS administration and the members of the student council.


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It makes sense for the leadership to prioritize listening to students: “Students know what the needs are on campus,” Hillman said. STUCO was intentionally created to bring these needs to the administration. As student council president, Stephens wants all students to know their value and that they have a voice at DTS. “There is no one on campus that doesn’t belong. We are most effective when we include everyone, even those who are thought to be on the outside,” Stephens said. Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Stephens empathizes with students who’ve moved to Dallas from other countries to study at DTS. “International students are particularly challenged with visas and other issues these days,” said Stephens. “We want to be present for their needs.” Compelled out of a desire to encourage spiritual growth in their home congregations, many international

students come to DTS for a quality seminary education. The 2019–2020 student council’s theme of living voices reflects the desire of council members to listen well. “But we don’t want to end there,” Stephens said. “We want to listen well so that together, we can lift our voices to worship God.” Another priority for this year’s student council is to develop a community for students by hosting campus events including a welcome dinner, fall fest, and spring fling. Stephens recognizes that students’ schedules overflow with work, classes, and ministry responsibilities. Still, she said, “We want to minister well to student leaders who support so many others—that means being present when they’re available.” Stephens and Hillman also consider online students, those who study at the seminary’s regional locations, and those in

Washington, DC, and Houston as additional opportunities to develop community. “I’d like online students to feel more connected to DTS—we hope to host some focus groups to explore this need,” Stephens said. Hillman added, “DTS had student councils on the Houston campus before—I’d love it if some students decided to lead that again.” Since its creation, the STUCO’s ministry has grown to include international students, regional locations, and online students. Despite its progress, the leadership hasn’t forgotten its original purpose—the spiritual growth and well-being of DTS students.


Learn to Cut Straight DR. CHARLES R. SWINDOLL


everal times a year, Dr. Swindoll preaches in chapel, including Seminary Preview Day, to encourage prospective students. Here is an excerpt from one of his recent chapels.

DTS teaches many things and it remains firm on accuracy— living an accurate life, communicating accurately, and presenting biblical information carefully in a way that people can get it. The training for that is invaluable. It’s just priceless. Students who study here learn to think more in-depth than ever in their lives. They soon understand a system of interpretation they’ve not learned previously. It is a deliberate process. It’s carefully thought through, and it’s consistent. Over the years it’s been carefully honed. The reason all of it is important is because ministers of the gospel must be trustworthy. Consider what Paul wrote to Timothy: “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15, nasb). When Paul wrote this letter, he was in a dungeon. He was pulling Timothy up close, and saying, “Get this straight. I’m soon going to be gone. You’re on. As you take the baton, run well, do it right!” So I’m not surprised that he starts with “be diligent.” If there’s a profession in the world where laziness hits hard, it’s in ministry. So start by being a good student of yourself. Pay close attention to yourself (1 Tim 4:6–16). Toxic leaders have no self-awareness. They don’t care. They’re in it for the money or for the glory or for other wrong reasons. Paul tells us here, “Present yourself approved to God as a diligent workman.” Stay at it. It doesn’t matter how much time has passed, stay at the study. Continue to do solid work. Don’t cut corners. Stay away from shallow, sloppy theology. That’s lazy—dig it out, build your library. Go to the hard work of preparing well. Remain above reproach as a leader. You don’t need to copy other people’s messages; you need God’s message. Learn to be diligent when you study here.

Make certain that you’re authentic, tried, and true. And as you handle the Word, be sure you handle it accurately. Now, what does that mean? As best I can understand, it has in mind the idea of cutting something straight. It was used three different ways among the Greeks in the first century. If you drove your cart or chariot across a field, you went in a straight line. A farmer plowed a straight furrow. A stonemason would cut a rough stone straight to fit into a wall. Think straight. Talk straight. Live straight. Those who “accurately handle the Word” cut a straight path to the truth as carefully as they’re able to do. Be clear about what God has written, what it meant to the people to whom He wrote it, and what it means to us who live today. If you remain committed to do that faithfully and regularly, people will love you for it. Believe me, they are starving for accurate, trustworthy teaching and teachers! “It is blessed,” wrote Charles Spurgeon, “to eat into the very soul of the Bible until at last you come to talk its scriptural language, and your spirit is flavored with the words of the Lord so that your blood is Bibline—the very essence of the Bible flows from you.” People will love it when you take them into the Word, when you stay in the Word, when you correctly explain the Word, and then when you apply the Word. That Bibline approach is in high demand in every generation. It was when I graduated. It is now. And it will be when you graduate.

Ministers of the gospel must be trustworthy.




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Profile for Dallas Theological Seminary

DTS Magazine Fall 2019  

DTS Magazine is the official publication of Dallas Theological Seminary. It serves our students, alumni, donors, and friends by offering art...

DTS Magazine Fall 2019  

DTS Magazine is the official publication of Dallas Theological Seminary. It serves our students, alumni, donors, and friends by offering art...