DTS Magazine Winter 2016

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Winter 2016 | Vol. 2, No.1







Till Heaven and Nature Sing FROM THE PRESIDENT: DR. MARK L. BAILEY


ome 2,600 years ago, Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon, invaded Judah. Consequently, after a siege lasting about eighteen months, the Gentiles conquered and destroyed Jerusalem, plundered the temple, and hauled most of the city’s residents into captivity. Only the poorest of the poor remained. Watching these events unfold, Jeremiah recorded what God said: “A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and wailing. It’s Rachel crying for her children; she refuses to be consoled, because her children are no more” ( Jer 31:15, CEB). The Lord’s description of Rachel weeping in Ramah, a village suburb near Jerusalem, focused listeners on the emotional response of Israel’s mothers as they mourned the loss of their future. Six centuries later in another suburb near Jerusalem, Israel’s mothers wept anew over their children who died at the hands of Herod the Great. Having heard of the Magi’s desire to worship the king of the Jews, Herod lashed out at the boychild he perceived as a threat to his dynasty. Can you imagine the parents’ anguish as soldiers spilled babies’ blood, striking down all the male toddlers two years old and younger? Matthew quotes Micah as he compares the two events—the first foreshadowing the second (Matt 2:6). Yet interestingly, in both writers’ narratives, what follows is not despair, but hope. In Jeremiah’s account, the threat that the nation will be “no more” is answered with the promise of the New Covenant ( Jer 31:31–40); in Matthew’s, readers learn of a voice crying in the wilderness to prepare the way for the Lord (Matt 3:3). As Matthew’s story unfolds, he reveals that Christ is the means by which God fulfills the promised New Covenant. The hope of a glorious future is thereby secured for all who respond to Jesus through faith. Still, the one who said “Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (5:10, NASB) also warned of oppression that would happen while his followers await their deliverance. And he instructed, “Whenev-



er they persecute you in one place, flee to another” (Matt 10:23, NET). Across the world many of our brothers and sisters in Christ mourn as they flee their homelands and watch their children beheaded. By some counts, 100 million Christians are enduring mistreatment for their faith, and many predict the worst is yet to come. Yet these “of whom the world [is] not worthy” continue to revel in the reality that in Christ they are the blessed. They are free indeed. Let us stand with the members of our spiritual family— until Christ comes to bring joy to the world and “make his blessings flow far as the curse is found.”

Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. —Matt 5:10 (NASB)

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® Winter 2016 Vol. 2, No.1 ISSN 1092–7492 ©2016 Dallas Theological Seminary. All rights reserved. Published three times a year by Dallas Theological Seminary 3909 Swiss Avenue Dallas, Texas 75204

In “Captives Living in Liberty: Persecuted but Not Abandoned,” JULIE LYONS (married to Larry, ThM, 2001) reports on the state of international religious freedom. She tells what believers who enjoy great freedoms can do about the persecution of our brothers and sisters. Julie is an award-winning writer, editor, author, and investigative reporter who resides in Dallas.

Mark L. Bailey, President John C. Dyer, Executive Director of Communications and Educational Technology Sandra L. Glahn, Editor-inChief Keith D. Yates, Director of Creative Services and Publications, Layout, and Design Debbie J. Stevenson, Production Manager Karen Grassmick, Kathy Dyer, and Linda Tomczak, Copy Editing

SUBSCRIBE Subscriptions are free of charge to addresses in the United States. Go to 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 sglahn@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 dts.edu/magazine to download writers’ guidelines or to view DTS Magazine online. Send email address changes to jbeck@dts.edu, or mail to DTS Magazine 3909 Swiss Ave. Dallas, Texas 75204 Unless noted otherwise, Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version, © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011, by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House.

In 1980, TOM DOYLE (MABS, 1983) and his wife went from their honeymoon straight to Dallas Theological Seminary. Their kids starting arriving one year later, and didn’t stop until the couple had six in eight years. They love to travel and ride bikes, but they say their kids and four “grands” are their hobby. Tom serves with e3 Partners and loves to tell the good news from the Middle East. In “Persecution: The New Normal,” he brings stories from the front lines of those standing strong—with a message of hope for us all.


DR. SUSAN CHAUDOIR (MACE, 1997) is a researcher,

14 Marnie Legaspi (ThM, 2014) lives on the coast of California with her current-student husband, Josué, and son. She delights in beachcombing, French-press coffee, homemade blueberry muffins, and stamps in her passport.


teacher, writer, editor, and consultant in higher education. For eleven years, she lived abroad in four countries. Here she profiles Jordan’s Nabeeh Abbassi (ThM, 1993; DMin, 2002), who works among refugees in war-torn Arab countries. He provides suggestions for how churches can respond to events in his part of the world.

Ben Simpson (ThM, 2003; PhD, 2011) serves as associate dean and assistant professor of New Testament Studies at the DTS-Houston campus. He writes from England, where he is at Tyndale House spending his sabbatical.


Kelley Mathews (ThM, 2000) is managing editor at christianparenting.org and editor at the Denison Forum. She describes herself as a “lover of Jesus, fiction, words, friends, family, and dogs. Oh, and coffee.”


ON THE COVER This issue of DTS Magazine focuses on international religious freedom and what we can do to help those across the world who suffer for identifying themselves as Christians. At last count in mid-April of 2015, all church structures in Mosul had been destroyed, and 400 churches in Syria had been bombed, burned, or reduced to rubble. Photo: Syriac Church in Deir Al-Zor, courtesy of The Middle East Media Research Institute, 2013. DT S .E DU /M AG A Z I N E DA L LA S TH E O LO G ICAL SE MI N ARY //



The Blood of the Martyrs… Should Drive Us to Pray



ue to war and persecution, the number of the world’s displaced people has reached 60 million—half of them children. This number represents more people than at any time since World War II. With persecution making headlines, believers frequently hear a familiar quote: “The blood of the martyrs is the seed of the church.” Some of us have heard this so often that we have to remind ourselves it’s not from the Bible.

It comes from The Apology, chapter 50 (c. AD 197), by Tertullian, a church father in the then-province of Africa, who wrote to his governor to refute false charges against Christians. Tertullian argued that the followers of Jesus, being subjects of the empire, should not be persecuted. Yet even if suffering persisted, he said, “kill us, torture us, condemn us, grind us to dust; your injustice is the proof that we are innocent. . . . The oftener we are mown down by you, the more in number we grow; the blood of Christians is seed.” Beautiful words. And words that have often sustained the persecuted. Yet they’re words that have sometimes desensitized us. Because many of us, on hearing of our brothers’ and sisters’ suffering for the faith, rejoice in the potential for church growth. And, sadly, our response stops there. The reality is that the effect of persecution is not always church growth. The late Glenn Penner, who spent his life advocating for the persecuted, raised the question, “Is the blood of the martyrs really the seed of the church?” In an article with the same title, he made some sobering observations: n By 1993, under intense persecution, members of the Evangelical Christian Baptist denomination in the former USSR dropped from about one million people in 1926 to just under 249,000 in 1993. n Only a dozen or so Christians were found to have survived Albania’s attempt to create a completely atheistic state when a policy of religious liberty was reinstituted a decade ago. n Some Communist nations almost succeeded in wiping out the church within their borders. We could add, among other things, persecution-related exoduses of Christians from majority-Muslim countries. Such migrations shrink already-small minorities of Christians. Meanwhile, many who enjoy religious freedom exaggerate



offenses committed against us. Some view every “Happy holidays!” as an anti-Christmas slam, and cry foul when a coffee shop uses a religiously neutral design for holiday cups. Not long ago, Alan Noble, cofounder of Christ and Pop Culture, wrote an article for the Atlantic titled, “The Evangelical Persecution Complex.” In it he noted that Christians tend to see victimhood as an essential part of our identity—even when our suffering is minimal (after all, our Lord said we would suffer). That’s not to say Americans live free of religious discrimination. But as members of the largest faith group in America, we are more often accommodated than actively harmed. We also sometimes remain oblivious to the oppression of minority religious groups in our midst, failing to show empathy and also failing to see that a threat to freedom of any faith’s religion ultimately hurts us too. By focusing attention on real and substantial incidences of persecution, Noble believes, evangelicals will be much more effective at educating our neighbors and fighting for truly important matters of religious liberty. So in devoting an issue of DTS Magazine to international religious freedom, our goal is neither to drive us to despair as we read of suffering nor to engender persecution-complex thinking. It is also not intended to weaken our resolve when our own freedoms do truly deteriorate. Rather, our hope is that we will become more honest, more prayerful, more inspired by the testimony of our spiritual family, and more involved in rendering aid—whether on the front lines or assisting from the back. With all this in mind, we encourage you to read this issue with a prayer on your lips: “Father, please make us loving, wise, and bold. Help our brothers and sisters who suffer to stand strong. Increase Christ’s church. And help us to do justice, love mercy, walk humbly with you, and persevere faithfully until Christ returns.”

Absence “They tied me to the stake.

Village children piled brush at my feet. The priest’s hands didn’t shake. He struck the match and took his seat with the other clergy. The children pinched their noses as my skin began melting. Roasting human flesh imposes a stench that makes you gag while you burn. I stood for truth. I spoke to angels. I gave the poor every penny I earned, prayed mountains to move and crumble and learned as much as I could. I poured out encouragement. But nothing ends like it should, so flames were my payment.

“I was surprised to find

I now lived on the outskirts of heaven— I, the one who led the blind, my garments handwoven from camel’s hair and righteousness. He didn’t care that I slaved for Him. I enjoy His presence, but from afar, where the light dims, and I wonder at my company— those who never did enough. Why be grouped with such as these? Because I had not love.”

—Annette Ensz, MAMC candidate DT S .E DU /M AG A Z I N E DA L LA S TH E O LO G ICAL SE MI N ARY //


Captives Living in Liberty

Persecuted But Not Abandoned

These women mourn the loss of husbands killed for their Christian faith. Relatives of those beheaded often speak openly about the privilege of having a family member who was martyred for Christ. ly about the




he world couldn’t look away. Twenty-one men stood on a Libyan beach, hands bound behind their backs, heads bowed—in resignation or surrender. Or in a moment of intense, silent prayer. Behind each was a masked man, clad entirely in black, wielding a short, hilted knife.

Most of us stopped right there. News reports fill in the rest: The twenty-one men, whom we learned were Coptic Christians, migrant workers from Egypt, could be seen mouthing the word “Yasou,” or Jesus. Others could be heard singing and praying. Then they were forced down. This time, the camera didn’t cut away as the men were beheaded. Their blood flowed into the waters, churning red. The image of these Christians martyred by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for refusing to convert to Islam forced the issue of religious persecution into the world’s eye. Though most of us had hardly given a thought to our fellowship with the Copts, adherents of an ancient Christian tradition with whom evangelicals have significant doctrinal differences, we saw that we were viewed by Muslim extremists as one and the same—infidels, worthy of extermination by the most brutal means.

The time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God.

—John 16:2

Jesus prophesied to his disciples that “the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God” ( John 16:2). After the release of the beheading video last February, and of other ISIS atrocities that followed—crucifixions, orchestrated gang rapes, beheadings of children—many Christians realized that time had already come. Yet there is hope, because history has proven that persecution of Christians never really works. In October 2015, the US government stated that terrorists are the biggest threat to religious freedom. And there is a consensus that 2015 was one of the worst years on record for persecution of Christians, and for the assault on religious freedoms worldwide. Dr. Kurt Nelson (ThM, 1984), president and CEO of East-West Ministries, based in Plano, Texas, concurs. “Jesus was pretty clear on indicating that things were going to go from bad to worse,” he said. “I think we are seeing that played out in the twenty-first century. Persecution of Christians is clearly on the rise.” It is impossible to come up with the number of Christians martyred in a given year. Todd Nettleton, spokesman for Voice of the Martyrs, which monitors and supports the persecuted church, notes just one of the difficulties: Are we talking about born-again Christians, or are we talking about Christians by culture or heritage? Other measures, however, document the decline in religious freedoms worldwide.



The Pew Research Center has reported that more than 70 percent of the world’s population live in countries with a “high or very high” degree of religious restriction. The US Commission on International Religious Freedom in its 2015 report has identified seventeen countries “whose government engages in or tolerates particularly severe violations of religious freedom that are systematic, ongoing, and egregious.” Among those are China, Iran, Syria, Iraq, North Korea, and Saudi Arabia. Another ten countries are listed as “Tier 2” for their deteriorating freedoms—including India, Russia, and Turkey. Every year, Open Doors Ministries publishes its influential World Watch List of the fifty nations where persecution of Christians is most prevalent. North Korea tops this year’s list, followed by Somalia, Iraq, Syria, and Afghanistan. A unique case with its bizarre combination of Communism and a cult of personality surrounding the ruling family, North Korea severely represses all religions. But nearly three-fourths of the countries on the World Watch List are Muslim-majority, and this is where East-West Ministries, which supports indigenous Christian workers in fifty-four nations, is seeing the greatest erosion of freedoms. Hindu-majority India is another nation exhibiting a sharp downward trend. Prominent Hindu leaders have called for the eradication of Christianity (as well as Islam) in India, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has sent mixed messages on whether he supports religious freedom. In countries where religious freedom is challenged, repression takes two forms: top-down and bottom-up. China, whose government is reasserting authority over all Christian churches, is a good example of top-down controls. Albania, where the government has an official policy of tolerance for all religions, sees the opposite: social repression of Muslim converts to Christianity. Afrim Karoshi (MABS, 2009; MAMC, 2013), who works in his native Albania with the Cru-affiliated New Life Institute, says that three of his fellow staff members were disowned by their Muslim families, though the breaches have since been healed. In a number of severely repressive Muslim-majority nations, such as Sudan and Saudi Arabia, persecution of Christians comes from both directions—community and government. The paradox is that, in many repressive nations, the gospel is spreading quickly, and the church is growing stronger. Dr. Nelson observed this dynamic when he interviewed thirty Cuban pastors who’d suffered under Fidel Castro. To a person, they said their congregations became stronger and more united amidst persecution. Iran remains one of the world’s most repressive environments for Christians, with severe persecution of Muslim-background believers who attend the country’s rapidly multiplying, illegal house churches. And Dr. Hormoz Shariat, founder of Dallas-based Iran Alive Ministries, believes that the United States’ nuclear deal with



Iran will make matters even worse. With the lifting of economic sanctions, Iran’s rulers “now have money to oppress their own people even more,” Dr. Shariat said. Nonetheless, Dr. Shariat, a former Muslim whose ministry broadcasts evangelistic television programs into Iran twenty-four hours a day, sees an acceleration of the Iranian people’s disaffection with Islam and openness to the gospel. “More pressure on the people of Iran, especially from the government, makes people more hungry spiritually,” he said. Iran Alive has connections with hundreds of house-church leaders, and they are seeing a huge wave of decisions for Christ. One young man—we’ll call him Hassan—left behind a life of alcohol addiction, drugs, and illicit sex when he came to Jesus Christ through Iran Alive’s programming. He contacted Iran Alive at great risk to tell his story. When he turned to Christ, he said, his father locked him in a room in their house and told him he couldn’t come out till he recanted. He would rather have a drug addict for a son than a Christian, he told Hassan. The young man, seventeen years old at the time, stood firm: “No, Dad—Jesus has changed my life. How can I deny that?” The father, a war veteran with government connections, responded by turning his son over to the authorities. His parting words: “I hope that they hang you. And if they do, I will be the one to put the rope around your neck.” Arrested and jailed, Hassan endured weeks of torture. The young man calmly cataloged his injuries: numerous beatings, forty lashes, and a broken finger that ended his guitar-playing days. The authorities destroyed his education records, so he couldn’t go back to school. Then they broke his leg and released him. In much pain, Hassan contacted Iran Alive again with a question: Should he pursue contact with one of his torturers who was interested in Jesus, or could this be a trap? After that contact, Hassan disappeared. Dr. Shariat said he recently heard from the young man’s cousin—who had become a believer through Hassan’s witness. Hassan, now nineteen, was back in jail. These are the stories of courage that Dr. Shariat hears often, and they hit close to home, he said. His niece, Naghmeh, is married to Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American Christian leader who was in prison in Iran for three years. He was released after his cause was taken up by international human-rights organizations. Increasing persecution has changed the ways free-church ministries do their work. Tom Doyle (MABS, 1983), vice president of e3 Partners, based in Plano, Texas, said his organization expects to send out some two hundred short-term missionaries to the Middle East this year, and they will work closely with indigenous leaders who know the places “where Americans can be an attraction [to the gospel], not a distraction.” Likewise, East-West Ministries will send more than seven hundred American believers this year into the world’s spiritually darkest places to partner with national believers in heralding God’s kingdom of light.

Since the frequency of persecution is greater when workers are known to be associated with Western missionaries, part of EastWest’s strategy “is to be much more discreet,” Dr. Nelson said. Though Christian workers in these countries cherish the “presence” of fellow believers in the free church, presence is offered in new ways—through email, texts, and material support. “We’ve got to figure out how to do presence without creating risk,” he said. Instead of shrinking back from the challenge, Dr. Nelson urges the free church to send more workers to repressive countries. “The best defense is a good offense,” Dr. Nelson said. “The reason persecution exists is because of spiritual darkness. The goal is to turn the tide—for enough people to come to Christ where you’ve got a presence of witness that begins to transform the culture.” JULIE LYONS is a freelance writer and editor. She and her husband, Larry, and son, Conor, attend Trinity Church Dallas, where Julie leads a women’s Bible study.

The reason persecution exists is because of spiritual darkness.

WE CAN HELP THE PERSECUTED CHURCH. HERE’S HOW. 1. Pray. Prayer really is the most practical, effective thing we can do, East-West Ministries’ Dr. Nelson said. Pray targeted prayers, consulting resources such as the Joshua Project’s Unreached People of the Day, which highlights people groups located primarily in repressive countries (www.joshuaproject.net); and Open Doors’ prayer calendar (www.opendoorsusa.org). 2. Go on a short-term mission trip. Organizations such as e3 Partners (www.e3partners.org) and East-West Ministries (www.eastwest.org) have years of experience sending American teams to nations where religious freedoms are under challenge. Missionaries connect with local leaders, serving alongside them in meaningful evangelistic work. 3. Read or reread Foxe’s Book of Martyrs. The “Pure Gold Classics” edition is updated through the twenty-first century. It is “a very hard book to read,” Dr. Nelson noted, but it will transform your faith—and increase your passion for the persecuted church.

4. Write letters urging release of specific prisoners. The Voice of the Martyrs site (www.prisoneralert.com) is an excellent resource, explaining exactly how and where to send letters. You can write your own or send a form letter—in Farsi, for example. It makes a difference to the authorities, Dr. Shariat said. When they see that a prisoner has support from the outside, that support often results in better treatment. 5. Respect the work of international human rights organizations that fight religious repression, even if they’re not faith-based. Such groups are often the ones who compile on-the-ground documentation of abuses and negotiate privately for the release of prisoners.




The New No





s a new believer in high school, I fell in love with Jesus and began to devour his Word. One of my first stops was the book of Acts. I envisioned myself as one of the disciples spreading the gospel around the known world. I vividly remember thinking, “I’m glad the Roman Empire collapsed, and we live in a more civilized world now. Thank you, God, that all that persecution is over and done with.” Whatever made me think such suffering was off the table? Especially when Jesus clearly promised persecution for his followers. Just look at contemporary headlines. Even secular news sources now regularly cover the growing inhumane treatment of Christians throughout the world: n Forty Egyptian churches burned to the ground. n House-church leaders sentenced to Iran’s infamous Evin Prison. n Eighty Christians murdered in North Korea for merely owning a Bible. n Believers nailed to crosses in Syria. And that’s the news from just one month in 2014. After that, it got really bad. In summer 2014, a shocked world witnessed the phenomenal rise of ISIS, now known as The Islamic State. Within weeks, a path of destruction swept through Syria and Iraq, leaving unimaginable carnage in its wake. The brutality of ISIS and its global Jihadist agenda is reminiscent of the Assyrian Empire in the Old Testament. The Assyrians leveled villages and cities with such ferocity that, in the eighth century BC, the mere mention that Assyrians were on their way prompted some villages to commit mass suicide rather than be taken as slaves, allow women and children to be abused and kidnapped, to be impaled, or skinned alive. In a fascinating twist of history, ISIS was birthed in the same region as the Assyrians, and one of its major objectives is now clear: to eradicate any presence of Christianity. But ISIS is not alone in its quest against biblical faith. Christianity is under fire across the globe. Jesus-lovers are hated in dozens of countries and often pay a gruesome price for following him. Killing fields have become common. But I do not write this to sound the alarm for the persecuted church. Others have already sent out the alert, and thankfully many are listening. What the alarms can’t tell us, though, is the internal human cost of following Jesus in the twenty-first century. Jesus said his followers would experience persecution for merely being associated with him. He also predicted an escalation of intensity over time. On the night before he went to the Cross, Jesus spelled out the details to his disciples: “They will put you out of the synagogue; in fact, the time is coming when anyone who kills you will think they are offering a service to God” ( John 16:2).

DANIEL (c) 2000 by John August Swanson Serigraph 21” by 29.5” www.JohnAugustSwanson.com DT S .E DU /M AG A Z I N E DA L LA S TH E O LO G ICA L SE MI N ARY //


RESOURCES FOR SUPPORTING THE PERSECUTED By Marnie Legaspi (ThM, 2014) Looking for additional resources to help you become more aware of persecution? Here are a few that can help: n Open Door Ministries equips the persecuted church through biblical training, ministry to women and children, and community restoration. www.opendoorsusa.org n Christians in Crisis serves as an advocacy ministry devoted to serving the persecuted church through intercessory prayer. www.christiansincrisis.net n The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is a branch of the Southern Baptist Convention committed to engaging in public-square issues related to the protection of religious liberty. www.erlc.com n The Liberty Institute works to defend and restore religious liberty across America in schools, for churches, and throughout the public arena. Kelly Shackelford (attended DTS in 1996) is president and CEO. www.libertyinstitute.org n One with Them is an initiative of Open Doors designed to unite the body of Christ with those who suffer persecution. www.onewiththem.com

WHAT ROLE CAN WE PLAY IN THE CURRENT SITUATION? n Write a letter of encouragement to a fellow brother or sister imprisoned for their faith. www.prisoneralert.com n Be informed by reading blogs, newspapers, and magazines such as “Christians in Crisis.” www.christiansincrisis.net n Purchase an “action pack” of hygiene items, clothing, and Scripture to be given to families of persecuted Christians. www.persecution.com/actionpacks n Recommit yourself to the church. Relish our freedom to fellowship.

The message of Jesus’s words to his followers then can certainly be applied to Christians in threatening situations today. In areas rife with Muslim fundamentalism or controlled by sharia law, agreeing to return to Islam is the only way of escape for a believer with a knife to his or her throat. In places such as Iran, only a full confession of apostasy, a complete list of names of underground house-church leaders, and a reconversion to Islam can unlock the prison gate. In Mosul, Iraq, ISIS gave Christians four choices: convert to Islam, pay a large and unaffordable Jizya tax, leave, or die.

THE NEW FACE OF CHRISTIANITY Oppressors over the centuries have never recognized that persecution routinely accelerates the spread of the gospel and the growth of the church, because Jesus’s message of love and reconciliation thrives in a climate where hostility, danger, and martyrdom are present. Persecution and the spread of the gospel are often as inseparable as conjoined twins. Suffering often propels the growth of Jesus movements around the world. So in the Hamas-controlled Gaza, former Muslims worship Jesus right under the noses of terrorists. In Syria and Iraq, ISIS may grab headlines with beheadings and inhumane torture, but underground churches are flourishing. In Saudi Arabia, Muslims worship Jesus in Mecca and Medina, the heart of Islam. As inconceivable as it is to Christians who have not faced life-threatening persecution, the suffering often produces immense blessing through the radical transformation of individual believers. Each person comes away marked, never truly returning to the same life. Sometimes survivors are difficult to recognize even by their own families because, in the midst of their brutal affliction, they have experienced Christ in an hour of need like few of us ever do. Persecuted believers have become the new face of genuine Christianity. They are filled with passion to live or die for Christ, and we in the West have much to learn from them. Our brothers and sisters who live in prison, persecution, and danger have learned to cling to Christ. Like a drowning person clutching a life preserver, the believer has only Jesus. And what have these believers discovered? That Jesus alone is always more than enough to take them by the hand through trial after life-threatening trial—not around the pain, but all the way through it. The families of the twenty-one Egyptian Christians beheaded on a beach in Libya last February at the hands of ISIS now speak openly about the privilege of having a family member who was a martyr for Jesus. Jamal from Jordan recently visited the families of the martyrs, and one mother said: “To think that Jesus could have chosen any family in the world for the high honor of dying for him, and yet he gave us this great honor. I would give all of my sons to die for him.” Malik, a Christ-follower from the Middle East, once told me, “Every Christian should go to jail at least once in life because of their


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faith in Christ. It’s good for you!” Can you relate to that? This former Muslim adds, “You’ll never be the same after experiencing the loneliness of a jail cell. But then there is great elation that comes when you realize Jesus is capable of filling 100 percent of that loneliness—and more. My deepest spiritual lessons were learned on the cold floor with no one there—but Jesus and me.” Malik is not alone in this conviction. A new generation has arrived. Widespread persecution can’t stop the faithful who spread Jesus’s love in the face of grave danger. Check out the news, and note the places where war, poverty, racism, seething religious violence, and killing seem to own the day. Right in the middle of it all, Jesus’s church is thriving.

A MESSAGE TO YOU If we were to take our worldview from the news, it would be easy to conclude from the acceleration of Christian persecution that followers of Christ are on the run. We might think that our brothers and sisters in the faith are systematically being crushed by the forces of Islamic terrorism, fanatical dictators, and hostile nations. Yet the opposite is actually true. In 2010, Operation World made some startling observations about Jesus’s church. After years of objective on-the-ground research, they were able to determine that the fastest-growing evangelical church per capita is in . . . are you ready? Iran. The second fastest-growing per capita church is in Afghanistan. And here’s some news you may not have heard: more Muslims have come to faith in Christ in the past fourteen years than in the past fourteen centuries of Islam. A new Jesus movement is erupting around the world, and persecuted believers are leading the way. They have been given a gift from God that most of us would not want: the ability to endure enormous suffering and emerge even stronger. Church leaders in obscure places—outposts for the faith—are fully aware that passionately following Jesus has them on a collision course with hardship. They will be beaten, imprisoned, tortured, and maimed. Some will be killed. But unfazed, they move forward, even more in love with Jesus Christ.

SO, IS CHRISTIANITY WINNING OR LOSING? Perhaps, the final harvest of souls is in full swing before Jesus returns, and as our twenty-century history makes clear, when the gospel spreads, so does persecution. Yet, stories of victory that sound like something straight out of Hebrews 11 are coming in from the front lines of the war raging around Jesus’s church. The battle is fierce, and it’s not letting up. Yet, this is one of our finest hours.

TOM DOYLE (MABS, 1983) is the Middle East director for e3 Partners and has authored seven books, including Killing Christians: Living the Faith Where It’s Not Safe to Believe (Thomas Nelson).

“We Have Never Been So Free.” by Tom Doyle A group of underground church leaders has committed to reach both Muslims and Alawites for Christ in Syria until these leaders are martyred. To seal their commitment, they gathered money together to buy a graveyard in which to bury each other. Farid is the leader, and he tells us in Killing Christians: Living the Faith Where It’s Not Safe to Believe, “As of this writing, none of us have died yet. We rejoice by greeting one another with the words, ‘The graveyard is still empty!’ We all know it will not stay empty, but meanwhile, we’re grateful. “Satan is on the rampage through Syria, the lion fighting to annihilate the church. Torture and killing continue every day, and each month, we hear of new terrorist groups forming. All seem intent on outdoing one another in committing unspeakable evils. Death on a cross is gruesome, and on top of that, crowds mock and torture the believers, leading up to actually nailing them onto crosses. Some who face such suffering are new in the faith, and I don’t blame them for being frightened, but it would be an honor to die for Jesus in this way. “Just think, the Lamb of God went to the cross in Jerusalem only 135 miles from Damascus. Now, two thousand years later, the prospect hangs over our heads as a real possibility. Even Paul—who was converted right here in Syria—proclaimed, ‘I am crucified with Christ.’ “I used to think I lived a life of sacrifice, but that changed when the war broke out. What I thought was sacrifice was actually just inconvenience. “Once we bought the graveyard, we gave up our right to live as we pleased. We consigned ourselves to a violent death— whether a sudden bullet in the brain, beheading, or a torturous crucifixion. “Pray for us in Syria, but please do not feel bad for us. We have never been so free. And even though we’re willing to die, our graveyard is still empty.”

Excerpted from Killing Christians: Living the Faith Where It’s Not Safe to Believe (Thomas Nelson). Used with permission. Go to www.dts.edu/magazine to read a full chapter.





Profile of Nabeeh Abbassi (ThM, 1993; DMin, 2002)

Jordan provides refuge to more than half a million displaced people. Dr. Abbassi and his team see the presence of these hurting people as an opportunity to fulfill the Great Commission. THE UNITED NATIONS (UN) HAS DECLARED SYRIA’S CIVIL WAR ONE OF THE WORST HUMANITARIAN DISASTERS IN HISTORY. The number of civilians suffering religious persecution—more than 11 million thus far—have fled the country in a mass exodus. Most Syrian refugees have ended up in Jordan and Lebanon, the region’s two smallest countries. On the receiving end in Amman is Jordanian national Nabeeh Abbassi (ThM, 1993; DMin, 2002), who directs the Arab Center for Consulting and Training Services (ACCTS). His organization encourages the healthy growth of the global Arab Christian Community, seeking to improve its position in its neighborhoods, nations, and regions by facilitating common-ground dialogue and training future leaders. Nabeeh works in partnership with Arab Women Today (AWT), a radio, website, and training ministry established by his wife, Ruba, with a vision to see Arab women reconciled with God, themselves, and society. Every day Ruba shares the gospel through broadcasts that reach into every one of the Arab nations. In their ministries, Nabeeh and Ruba Abbassi work together to help meet the overwhelming needs at their doorstep.



Nabeeh said, “The masses are here, and they are not only suffering religious persecution. They are also suffering from trauma, violence, homelessness, and hunger.” Even five years ago, Syrian refugees were not part of their ministry objectives. But now, he said, “this problem has come to us, and we are not turning away from it.” When Christ saw the masses, he had compassion for them, seeing them as sheep without a shepherd (Matt 9:36). And “sheep without a shepherd” is how Nabeeh and Ruba see the Syrian refugees. Nabeeh, the former provost and professor at Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary, explained that religious persecution among rival Muslim sects results in displacement and exile. In the Middle East, Syrians have witnessed the horror of war and violence of Islam. They have seen their homes destroyed and their loved ones killed. For most Syrians, the only way out has been to walk to Jordan—a journey in which the risk of danger is often as high as the risk of staying. Families have walked through the

night to avoid being shot by snipers or caught by soldiers. But even if they make it safely across the border, they arrive without food, clothing, or shelter. And most have lost all hope in human compassion. In this context, Nabeeh, Ruba, and their staff members are ministering the love of Christ. “I see the humanitarian perspective, because their pain, suffering, and death are at my doorstep,” Nabeeh said. “This is a practical opportunity with a spiritual dimension. We are here to witness for Christ. We are here to show love, compassion, respect, and human dignity.” Through local churches, the Abbassis coordinate the efforts of Christian volunteers who provide food and nonfood items such as soap and mattresses to more than seventy thousand families. By doing so, the volunteers help fellow believers as well as serve and witness to Muslims. Most Syrian refugees are Muslims, many of whom are so traumatized by war and violence that they have denounced their faith and claimed themselves as atheists. “More Muslims than ever are living with no peace, no shelter, no homes, and this is the time when we can give them the love of Christ,” Nabeeh said. By working out of local churches, ACCTS can freely give away Bibles and pray with those yearning to breathe free. Nabeeh said, “We treat refugees with great care, dignity, and compassion.” As a result, many place their faith in Christ. “They come with bitterness and anger, and they see that those serving them are loving and caring. They realize that what they thought about Christians is not true and slowly come to respect Christians and Christianity. They take the Bibles we give them, and they read them in secret. Routinely, we find them spaces in our churches where they can read the Bible in peace, and we pray with them.”

is a practical “This opportunity with a spiritual dimension. We are here to witness for Christ. We are here to show love, compassion, respect, and human dignity.

As part of their ongoing ministry, staff members provide support for the refugees’ psychosocial and spiritual recovery. AWT sponsors a three-month social and emotional recovery program for Syrian refugee women. Nabeeh explained that the challenges of displacement are greater for women than for men. Without husbands or a male family member, women cannot secure housing or finances and, as the primary caretaker of children, women often neglect their own health in favor of their children’s. AWT staff, volunteers, and coaches have taught more than 2,300 Syrian women how to respond to such challenges through Bible study and social-emotional recovery training. The coaches tenderly, patiently help these women cope with trauma, grieve the loss of loved ones, find solutions to limited resources, work together with other refugees, and focus on constructive activities to rebuild the family. These women “have experienced brutality, punishment, and the pain of displacement and rejection,” Nabeeh said. “So continued on next page



we teach the Bible gently, because they have suffered so greatly, and we do not want them to resist Christ. Slowly, they learn the power of forgiveness, how to bless—and not curse—and to reconcile with those who have persecuted them. They come with tears, and they leave with a smile. We can see the forgiveness in their hearts and the joy on their faces.” Yet he observes, “Rarely do I see support for Syrian refugee women, and I do not know why.” Caring for them is strategic, Nabeeh believes. He shared some ways the average person can help: n Learn. Nabeeh implores Westerners to be open to learning about religious persecution in Arab countries. Refugees flee by the tens of thousands daily, and people should understand why. n Invite. Westerners can invite those on the front lines to speak in their churches to share directly what is happening in the Middle East. Technology such as Skype and FaceTime can bring people such as Nabeeh, Ruba, and their staff members into any church to offer firsthand accounts, perspectives, stories, and on-the-ground issues. n Discern. Nabeeh discourages believing traditional media sources, as they tend to misrepresent viewpoints and have biased agendas. He wants Christians to receive accurate, truthful accounts of the Syrian refugee crisis in Jordan.

n Support interreligious dialogue. As one living in a culture where Christianity is not the majority religion, Nabeeh urges Western Christians to recognize the imperative need for interreligious dialogue (a term used by the UN) that can enhance cultural understanding, harmony, and cooperation among different faiths and religions. ACCTS and AWT participate in World Interfaith Harmony Week, an annual event held the first week of February, as a way to promote peaceful dialogue between Christians and Muslims in Jordan. Churches across the world participate as well. n Pray, give, go. If more believers visited an Arab country at least once, Nabeeh believes, their entire perspective of the gospel would change. Leaders would gain a comprehensive view of the world with better-informed opinions about religious persecution and what it means to have freedom in Christ. He adds, “Humanitarian aid is our chosen venue to spread the gospel and to fulfill the Great Commission. We gladly welcome anyone to come and help us fulfill that mission. This is about saving lives. When I read the Great Commission, it tells me to go to all the nations, not just the easy nations. Arabs are a part of all nations.”

SUSAN CHAUDOIR PhD, MSc (MACE, 1997) is a researcher, teacher, writer, editor, and consultant in higher education. For eleven years, she lived abroad in four countries, inspiring educators to embrace lifelong learning with wisdom, beauty, integrity, care, and a little bit of humor. She leads workshops on teaching, writing, and research, and loves to tutor graduate students.


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A SAMPLING OF PEOPLE IN THE BIBLE WHO SUFFERED PERSECUTION FOR THEIR FAITH Susan Chaudoir (MACE, 1997) Stephen (Acts 6, 8)—persecuted for proclaiming the gospel and rebuking unbelievers, who became so enraged that they mobbed Stephen, drove him out of the city, and stoned him to death Apostles (Acts 5:40)—flogged and beaten unjustly, and commanded by members of the Sanhedrin to refrain from speaking in the name of Jesus Barnabas (Acts 13:50)—expelled with Paul from Pisidian Antioch Gaius and Aristarchus (Acts 19:29)—dragged into the theater in Ephesus by opponents Hanani (2 Chr 16:7–10)—imprisoned by King Asa after revealing the evil of the king’s behavior James (Acts 12:2), elder brother of John, son of Zebedee and Salome—executed (by sword) by King Herod Agrippa I of Judea Job ( Job 1:13–19)—lost his wealth, property, children, and way of life in one day because he was righteous before God John the Baptist (Matt 14:3–11)—arrested, imprisoned, and killed by Herod for openly rebuking his incestuous relationship with Herodias, Herod’s niece and wife of his brother, Philip. John was outraged that a ruler in Israel blatantly violated the Law about having sexual relations with a brother’s wife (Lev 18:16). John the elder (Rev 1:9)—banished to the island of Patmos because of his faithful preaching of the gospel. Persecution was in full fury against the church in Smyrna, which was dear to John’s heart (2:10–13). Lazarus ( John 12:10–11)—threatened with death by chief priests Men and women of the church in Jerusalem (Acts 8:1)—displaced by a great persecution that scattered them throughout regions of Judea and Samaria Micaiah (1 Kgs 22:17–27), a whistle-blower on false prophets—punished by King Ahab, imprisoned and fed only bread and water Nameless men and women of Hebrews 11:37 (KJV)—“They were stoned, they were sawn asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword: they wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins; being destitute, afflicted, tormented.” Prophets and righteous messengers—Jesus described Jerusalem as those “who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you” (Luke 13:34). Saul/Paul (Acts 9:29; 13:50; 14:5, 19; 16:22; 18:12; 21:35–36; 22:22; 23:10; 1 Cor 4:12; 2 Cor 4:9; 11:24; 2 Tim 2:9)—endured extensive and extended suffering, from which, he claimed, “out of them all the Lord rescued me” (2 Tim 3:11, NASB). Silas (Acts 16:22–24)—accused, stripped, beaten, shackled in inner prison stocks, and held without food for preaching and living the gospel










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During the DTS alumni breakfast at the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) annual meeting in Atlanta, Dr. Elliott E. Johnson, senior professor of Bible Exposition, was honored with a festschrift titled, The Theory and Practice of Biblical Hermeneutics: Essays in Honor of Elliott E. Johnson (Lampion Press). H. Wayne House and Forrest S. Weiland (ThM, 1980; PhD, 2001) served as editors. The book recognizes Dr. Johnson for more than forty years of ministry at DTS, and for his influence in the field of contemporary biblical hermeneutics. Contributors include Johnson’s present and former colleagues, and former students—Wayne House, Forrest Weiland, Norman Geisler, Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Charles Baylis (ThM, 1989; PhD, 2005),* president Mark Bailey (PhD, 1996),* Stephen Bramer (PhD, 1997),* and Stephen S. Kim. E. D. Hirsch provided the foreword. The focus of several chapters is the theory and method advanced by Johnson in expository hermeneutics. 1. Juan C. Heredia (ThM, 2010), from Quito, Ecuador, is pastor of Spanish ministry at Sugar Creek Baptist Church in Sugar Land, Texas, where he ministers to Spanish-speaking congregants in an English-speaking context.


2. Philosopher and author Esther Lightcap Meek was the 2015 Arts Week speaker in October. She talked about epistemology (how we come to know). Go to www.dts.edu/chapel to view her four messages. 3. Family law attorney Julie Waters (ThM, 2015) mobilizes Christians in the fight against modern-day slavery. She founded Free the Captives, which works to end human trafficking nationally and internationally. 4. Blake Wilson (MACE, 2007—holding Bible) serves as pastor of Crossover Bible Fellowship in Houston. This photo is from a meeting of his staff and some students at the DTS-Houston campus, where he took classes. More than half of all students at the DTS-Houston campus belong to minority groups; more than one-third are women; and the average age is 40. 5. Rebecca Carrell worked for a decade at 96.3 KSCS in Dallas with the Dorsey Gang. Later, Rebecca moved to Dallas’s Christian radio station 90.9 KCBI, where she is now the morning show cohost while also attending DTS. 6. New Testament professor Michael Burer (ThM, 1998; PhD, 2004) throws a kick at Mark Harris (ThM, 2000) during an October karate tournament. 7. For more than forty years, DTS professor Dr. Lanier Burns (ThM, 1972; ThD, 1979—second from right) has served as president of the American Council of Asian Christian Academy in India. Dr. Joy George (ThM, 1976; ThD, 1984—left) has served as president of the Indian ministry since 1986. The school recently dedicated the Burns Library and Research Center in Dr. Burns’s honor.


8. Duce T. Branch, “The Ambassador” (ThM, 2004), at the invitation of DTS professor Glenn Kreider, presented an academic paper on contextualization of the gospel in hip-hop at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS)—doubtless the first time an ETS presenter has delivered a paper partially through a hip-hop performance. 9. Matthew Williams (MABC, 2011) works in D. R. Congo serving as director of operations for Exile International (EI), which focuses on the world’s 300,000 child soldiers and children orphaned by war. Matthew works with victims as young as seven years old who have been forced to perpetrate violence—murder, rape, torture, and all forms of abuses. Go to www. dts.edu/media to view his story. * Denotes DTS professor



CAMPUS NEWS MEET THE NEW STAFF MEMBERS DTS has welcomed two familiar faces back to the Dallas campus in key leadership positions— chaplain Joe Allen and director of chapel music Patrick Thomas, both alumni of the seminary’s ThM program. With the retirement last spring of Bill Bryan, DTS’s longtime chaplain and worship leader, DTS leaders decided to split the chaplaincy duties into one full-time chaplain position—dedicated to counseling and supporting seminary students, faculty, staff, and alumni—and one part-time director of music position focused on creating a rich worship experience during daily chapel services.

During the school year, chapel is held every Tuesday through Friday, from 10:40 to 11:15 a.m. in the Campbell Academic Center. Services are open to all, and past chapels are viewable in the DTS media archive online. www.dts.edu/media

Dr. Joe Allen Chaplain After pastoring churches for more than thirty years, Dr. Allen returns to DTS from First Baptist Church of Cairo, Georgia, where he served as lead pastor for twelve years. He earned his ThM from DTS and his DMin from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Dr. Allen is married to Lindsey, and they have two children—Bethany, who is married to David McCleaf; and Joey (ThM, 2007), who is married to Christy (ThM, 2004). Joey and Christy have two children, Claire and Joe Joe .

Mr. Patrick Thomas Director of Chapel Music and Worship A skilled musician, singer, songwriter, and producer, Mr. Thomas began his preaching ministry in 1997. During his time as a DTS student, he served as chapel musician, choir director, Student Council member, Black Student Fellowship president, and director of men’s housing. Mr. Thomas has served with Reunion Church in Dallas since September 2001, where he will continue as associate pastor of music, worship, and marriage ministries while being a part-time employee at DTS. He is married to Tiffany, and they have four children—Nehemiah Andrew, Judah Elizabeth, Benjamin Daniel, and Esther Amariah.

Dr. Michael A. Ortiz Director DTS en Español Attorney Michael Ortiz has practiced law in Sarasota, Florida, since 1988. He graduated from the University of South Florida with a BA in business finance and completed his law degree from Southern Methodist University before earning his ThM from DTS. He graduated last September with a PhD from DTS’s partner school, Seminario Teologico Centroamericano (SETECA), in Guatemala. Michael and his wife, Kathy, have two children, Michael Jr. and Alyssa.

We’re Growing DTS has added New York City to the list of places where the seminary offers classes. If you live in or near New York and are interested in taking classes, contact admissions@dts.edu.


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Congratulations! Dr. Abraham Kuruvilla was recently promoted from professor to research professor of Pastoral Ministries. His book, A Vision for Preaching (Baker, 2015) won Preaching Today’s “Editor’s Choice” for the magazine’s 2016 Book Awards.

The Table Podcast on Salem, Bock joins Back to the Bible Salem Media Group now carries The Table podcast hosted by DTS professor Dr. Darrell Bock. Salem is America’s leading radio broadcaster, Internet content provider, and magazine and book publisher targeting audiences interested in Christian and family-themed content. Check your local radio listing to find out if your station carries The Table. Also, Dr. Bock recently joined Warren Wiersbe and David Chadwick as part of the Back to the Bible broadcast team. Back to the Bible is a worldwide Christian ministry that uses media and technology to help people to grow in Christ daily by equipping and motivating them to engage Scripture. With every twenty-five-minute study, listeners have the opportunity to gain a better understanding of what the Bible says, what it means, and how to apply it. Chapels: You’re Invited DTS invites speakers from across the world to minister to students, faculty, staff, and friends. Throughout the spring semester, chapel is held every Tuesday through Friday from 10:40 to 11:15 a.m. in Lamb Auditorium. Recordings are available online unless restrictions apply to the speaker(s) or content. Recent video additions include Dr. Esther Meek, speaker for Arts Week, and Dr. Scott Cunningham, speaker for the Missions and Evangelism lectureship.

Grand Opening: Mark Your Calendar The construction trailer is gone, workers have buffed tile floors, and a few departments are moving furniture. DTS’s new administrative building and its global outreach center are now open. In the latter, professors and

students in Dallas can connect with students and guest lecturers from around the world. Davidson and Stearns have been completely renovated with new offices, conference rooms, and learning spaces. The facade that students have known since the time of Lewis Sperry Chafer,

DTS’s founder and first president, has remained the same, but the insides of both buildings have been modernized. The public is invited to celebrate with us the goodness of God in his provision at the grand opening ceremony to be held on March 31.



Alumni spotlight: Joseph M. Stowell (ThM, 1970), president of Cornerstone University in Grand Rapids, Michigan, is an internationally recognized conference speaker and author of more than twenty Christian books.

Join us on the Dallas campus for Seminary Preview Day: March 4 April 8

Alumni spotlight: Matthew Williams (MABC, 2011), director of operations at Exile International, ministers to former child soldiers in Africa. Alumni spotlight: Dorothy Burton (MACL, 2013), founder of Christians in Public Service, ministers to politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Speakers: (March) Dr. Charles Swindoll (April) Rev. Tom Nelson Our Error In the last issue we said Australasia was a combination of Asia and Australia. But Australasia actually includes New Zealand, Australia (including Tasmania), and Melanesia: New Guinea and neighboring islands north and east of Australia in the Pacific Ocean.

Go to www.dts.edu/media to view them telling their stories.



A LU M N I C O N N E C T I O N In Memory Estil Schale (ThM, 1951; ThD, 1960) passed away on July 9, 2015. Estil started First Mennonite Brethren Church of Wichita, KS. Following seminary, he pastored Bethany Mennonite Brethren Church in Fresno, CA. Subsequent moves and ministries included church planting in San Jose and teaching. Lewis J. Knight (ThM, 1953) died on June 24, 2015. Lewis served as a minister in the United Church of Christ in a number of locations in California. He was the founding pastor of Parkside Community Church in Sacramento. Dr. Lee I. Bruckner (ThM, 1954) died on August 1, 2015. Initially turned down for missions work due to asthma, Lee went on to serve as principal of Ahlman Academy of Kabul, Afghanistan; to minister in Japan, Canada, Thailand, and the US; to assist in the development of Nashville Bible College; and to serve as a founding member of PIONEERS, which honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Dr. W. Robert “Bob” Cook (ThM, 1955; ThD, 1960) died on October 3, 2015. After pastoring and then teaching at Northwestern Seminary in Minneapolis, he returned to DTS to earn his ThD. At Western Seminary in Portland, he served for thirty years—as a systematic theology professor, aca-

demic dean, and then vice president. He wrote a number of books, including The Theology of John, which is being edited for re-release. In recent years, he was active at Eastmont Church in Bend, OR. Howard Dobson (1955–56) died on September 3, 2015. He spent twenty years as a US Air Force chaplain, attaining the rank of lieutenant colonel. He served several churches as pastor or interim pastor. He also served as chaplain for the civil air patrol. Paul Schilperoort (ThM, 1956) died on November 27, 2014, following a twenty-six-year battle with Parkinson’s disease. Paul held several positions following graduation at DTS, including work at The First Bible & Missionary Conference Center, Young Life, Search Ministries, Mt. Park Church staff in Lake Oswego, OR, and Outreach Network. Warren Bathke (ThM, 1957) passed away on March 11, 2015. He spent twenty years in ministry and twenty years in education. Most of his time in education was at Calvary Bible College in Kansas City, MO. He also served as president of Grace College of the Bible in Omaha, NE. Part of his legacy was the creation of The Meadows Assisted Living Community. Roger Clapp (ThM, 1958) passed into the presence of the Lord on September 25, 2015. He served as academic

“I will forever remember my last Hebrew class with Dr. Gordon Johnston because we started and ended each session on our knees praying. If ever there was an example of teaching truth and loving well in the classroom, that was it. “The most impactful class was ecclesiology with Dr. Svigel. Having been frustrated with church my whole life, I found his class corrected my faulty views and rebelliousness. He encouraged me that there is no perfect church or organization this side of heaven. I am indebted to his theological insight, emphasis on history, and ultimately his love for the local church.” Matthew Bailey (ThM, 2003)


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dean, dean of students, and professor at Mid-South Bible College/Crichton College for nearly forty years. He was also pastor of Evangel Baptist Church for about twenty years. Dr. Clapp was a mentor to DTS professor James Allman. Yancey Myres (ThM, 1959) passed away on September 11, 2015. After a brief time in the US Navy, Yancey sensed God’s call to ministry. He served as pastor of the Evangelical Free Church in Houston before working in information technology. He assisted in founding Ellerbe Road Baptist Church in Shreveport, LA. Leslie Purl Madison (ThM, 1960; ThD, 1963) died on October 13, 2015. After completing his doctorate, he served as the first pastor of Northwest Bible Church in Fort Worth, TX. From 1974 to 1991, he served as president of Calvary Bible College in Kansas City, MO. He also served as the school’s chancellor. Lawrence G. Fetzer (ThM, 1962) passed away on August 6, 2015. Lawrence spent more than forty-five years serving churches in New Jersey, Ohio, and Michigan. He also served on the boards of the Association of Baptists for World Evangelism, Cedarville University, and the Institute for Biblical Leadership. James Klubnik (ThM, 1962; DMin, 1984) died on August 23, 2015. For more than thirty years, he served as pastor or interim pastor in many churches. Jim also hosted the weekly, live, call-in Questions and Answers program on a local radio station for more than forty years. Jonathan S. Smith (ThM, 1965) passed away on July 12, 2015. He served as a pastor in Arkansas, Texas, and Colorado churches—especially enjoying student mentoring that allowed him to watch young people mature in their faith. Wally Yew (ThM, 1968) died on June 7, 2015. Rev. Yew served as general secretary and ministry ambassador of the California-based ministry Chinese Christian Mission (CCM). He represented CCM around the world and published two books. James L. VanHecke (MABS, 1971) passed away on July 6, 2015. James’s missionary service spanned more

than forty years, establishing churches and The Christian Academy on a number of Caribbean islands

Eddie B. Lane Sr. (ThM, 1974) DTS’s first African-American student and the first African-American faculty member, died on October 15, 2015. He was senior pastor of Bibleway Bible Church, which he founded and where he pastored for forty-eight years. He also founded and served as president of the Institute for Black Family Renewal and was founder and president of Black Family Press, which published his numerous books. Additionally, he served as president of the National Black Evangelical Association. Having held a number of positions at DTS, he served most recently as associate professor emeritus of Pastoral Ministries. During his time at DTS, he was instrumental in developing the Urban Ministries emphasis in the ThM program, and he was a sought-after and beloved adviser to many students. F. David Spruance (STM, 1978) died June 11, 2015. David served as a missionary for WorldVenture in Tucuman, Argentina, for twentyseven years. While there, he established a seminary. He finished his active ministry at Chelten Baptist Church in Dresher, PA, and Seminary of the East, where he was professor and dean. Gary L. Sammons (ThM, 1981) died on August 20, 2015. Gary’s true joy was in teaching God’s Word, and for twenty-five years, he ministered in two Bible colleges—Faith Baptist Bible College in Ankeny, IA, and Piedmont International University in Winston-Salem, NC. Vickie Kraft (MABS, 1985) went to be with the Lord on September 15, 2015. She was the first director of women’s ministry at Northwest Bible Church, as well as president of Titus 2:4 Ministries and author of women’s ministry resources. Vick-

ie loved and taught thousands of women in churches, retreats, and in her home. She was a mentor and friend to many women who now serve in ministry all over the world in churches and parachurch ministries. Vickie was also a frequent guest in DTS classrooms, having mentored many members of the DTS family. “Don” Segundo Espina (ThM, 1991) passed away on June 27, 2015. He pastored Filipino American Baptist Church in Dallas before moving back to the Philippines to serve on faculty at Febias College of Bible and at WorldTeach Ministries, Philippines. Chase Moore (attended 2008) was born in 1982 and passed away on November 9, 2014. Chase studied the violin from the age of four. He received his bachelor’s in music performance and was a public school orchestra director. He was also a member of the Amarillo Symphony Orchestra.

1960s Cary Milburn Perdue (ThM, 1962) and his wife, Verna Mae, recently celebrated their fifty-seventh anniversary. Cary has authored a number of helpful Christian resources. Larry Richards (ThM, 1962) published an article on Crosswalk. com titled “How Satan Can Use the Law against You.” America: The National Catholic Review mentioned DTS professor Dr. Ron Blue (ThM, 1965) in an article about best practices for short-term missionaries. Dr. Blue said, “The community that is being served must be included in the plans.” He said it requires humility to ask a group of people for suggestions, because it gives them governance, ownership, and control, and “those of us in the North American empire are rather slow to yield control to others. Yet that loss of control is essential to effective mission work.” Three years after the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in Newtown, CT, Daniel Bacon (ThM, 1966) reports that God is changing lives there in the church where he serves—the Christian Formation Commission. The congregation is praying for guidance, and researching how God would have them work in their community.

The Bible mentions prison, prisoners, or imprisonment more than 130 times. Seeking to share the heart of God with prisoners, following fifty-eight years of ministry, Tommy Simmons (ThM, 1968) has taken the post of chaplain of the DeSoto County Jail in Arcadia, FL. He continues as professor and Theology department head at SouthWest Florida Bible Institute. He also serves as pastor of Community Christian Fellowship, which he helped to plant in Arcadia.

1970s Bob Barber (ThM, 1970) has spent much time this year visiting and updating individuals and churches involved in his ministry in Scotland. He looks forward to returning to continue ministry with BCM International, Inc. The 2011 census in Scotland revealed that while more than half (54%) of the people in Scotland listed “Christian” as their religion, this number represented a decrease of 11% since 2001. Those identifying themselves as having “no religion” numbered 37%—an increase of 9% since 2001. Jack O’Brien (ThM, 1973) praises the Lord for eternal results from a VBS held for Latino immigrant families in Kennett Square, PA. He reports that Bible studies have been well received and several people have made professions of faith. Forty-one years ago, Craig Prather (ThM, 1973; DMin, 1999)—before going to Spain—was advised first to gain experience by planting a church in the United States. He partnered with Pantego Bible Church, which resulted in the establishment of Grand Prairie Bible Church. Recently Craig spoke at their anniversary celebration. Roger Doriot (ThM, 1974) returned to Indonesia in the spring to find more opportunities than ever to share with Indonesian Christians, churches, and schools. When entering Hungary at the southern borders, refugees are—if possible—registered as asylum seekers and sent to one of the Hungarian refugee camps. Most refugees have come from Afghanistan, Syria, Iran, or an African country. They arrive accompanied by family members,

and they have traveled a long way without enough money, food, and hygiene. Ed Murray (ThM, 1974) is serving Christ in Hungary, hearing and watching this “migration story” unfold. Sensing an urgency to leave a legacy of spiritual influence in Sweden, John Breneman (ThM, 1975; DMin, 1995) was convinced of the direction and the expediency of using modern technology, but felt incompetent. While John continued doing ministry, he saw the Lord clearly provide to bring ministry partners who are helping his vision become reality.

Carey Childrey (ThM, 1976) took part in the Asian Christian Academy Missionary Leadership Conference. He met with all of Paraclete Mission Group’s missionaries and church planters throughout India, who met at the campus in Bangalore, India. DTS and Asian Christian Academy have a long history together; currently an Asian Christian Academy Scholarship Fund provides tuition, books, and some living expenses for qualified Indian students at DTS. Our Story…His Story: One Couple’s Encounter with the Grace of God in the Crucible of Affliction (Xulon) is a new book by Rick Rood (ThM, 1976). Rick writes, “This is really the story of how the Lord carried us through my late wife Polly’s twenty-year journey with a neurodegenerative illness, until her home-going in 2003. My prayer is that the Lord might use it to encourage others who are suffering afflictions of various kinds, as well as those who care for them.” Joined by his family, Arlen Steele (ThM, 1976) returned to the USA from Bolivia for a six-month home assignment. After DTS, Larry Anderson (MABS, 1977) went on to earn his PhD from the University of North Texas in Counseling with a specialization in Marriage and Family Counseling. He served on staff with Cru and later as a counseling therapist before serving as a pastor of Christian education at an evangelical church in Grand Junction, CO. He was also an

administrator at the Family Research Council in Washington, DC. Now, after teaching psychology at Liberty University for twenty-seven years, he has retired. Steve Rodemann (ThM, 1977) taught Romans 8 to ninety teens in Spain. The theme was “Living Out Heaven on Earth,” and he challenged his listeners to make significant choices to walk with Christ. He also traveled to Barcelona to speak at a retreat for graduates of the IBSTE seminary; he reports that men’s discipleship meetings are moving forward in Madrid. A trip to visit a friend in Mexico became a ministry opportunity for Ben Bakker (MABS, 1978) as he was able to answer questions for many visitors. The Wall (CreateSpace) is a new book by DTS–Houston’s dean, Dr. Bruce Fong (ThM, 1978). The topic is racial reconciliation. Fong writes, “The church, formed out of reconciliation to Christ should practice the same acceptance of whoever has been reconciled. God does the inviting. The guests simply enjoy not only having been invited but also the thrill of enjoying others who are invited guests as well.”

Hal Habecker (ThM, 1978) has transitioned out of the pastorate at Dallas Bible Church to launch a new ministry, Finishing Well Ministries, encouraging older people to keep running the race of faith. Jeffrey Richards (ThM, 1978) found pastors in eastern Congo hungry for the study of the Bible and knowledge of how they can be more effective in their ministries. His audience was comprised of a unified group of Methodists, nondenominational Christians, and Pentecostal believers. DTS professor Daniel B. Wallace (ThM, 1979; PhD, 1985) led the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM) this summer





in Athens at one of the world’s top five locations for New Testament manuscripts. In three months, CSNTM digitized 135 Greek New Testament manuscripts—62,000 images—as the Greek financial crisis hit. Dr. Wallace is also the new president of the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), replacing Scott Rae (ThM, 1981), the outgoing president.

1980s “The Seminary of the Future: Trends and Challenges in Majority World Theological Education” was Scott Cunningham’s (ThM, 1980; PhD, 1994) topic when he spoke in the DTS Missions Week chapels in November. He said that as the center of Global Christianity shifts from the North and West to the South and East, it’s vital that North American seminaries intentionally seek understanding of the church in the majority world and partner with like-minded seminaries overseas. Dr. Noel Enete (ThM, 1980) helps people learn to study the Bible by means of an easy-to-use, free, Bible app for iPhones (WAVE Parallel Bible). The app makes it possible for readers to swipe and switch from English to the original language. God opened doors for Ken Hall (1980) to travel to the United States. His visit home from Kenya, where he serves with Africa Inland Mission International, allowed him to see family and friends across the country. Curtis Hayes (ThM, 1980) has served as a missionary with Sudan Interior Mission in Liberia. He also taught Bible courses at the Carver Bible Institute and theology at the Liberian Baptist Theological Seminary. Additionally, he pastored in four US churches before retiring in 2000. He has since authored several books. Gordon Penfold (ThM, 1981) serves as executive director of Fresh Start Ministries, which focuses on bringing health to plateaued, declining, and conflicted churches. He is also treasurer of Turnaround Pastor, Inc., a ministry that trains and equips pastors for more effective ministry.



es. The Nicholses are working to help churches better understand and care for the missionaries they send out.

Dr. Bill E. Brown (ThM, 1981; PhD, 1984) has been named the national director of the Colson Fellows Program (formerly the Centurions Program). Brown joins the Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview after having served as president of Bryan College and Cedarville University. He is the executive producer of the award-winning DVD series re:View, a worldview curriculum for high-school students and adults that continues to influence new generations of Christians. Steve Smith (ThM, 1981) thanks God that the third class of the missionary training school in Ivory Coast has fourteen students, many of whom have come from neighboring Guinea. He taught a spiritual renewal course called Grace for Life during the first week of classes, and students evidenced a fresh understanding of God’s grace in the gospel of Christ. Cru staff member Gary Fredricks (ThM, 1982) held an end-of-the-year retreat for Lake Hart Stint during which many individuals shared how God used the ministry to affect positive change in their lives. During a conference with Cru staff, Gary was honored for fifty years of ministry with Cru. GraceLife Ministries founder and president Charlie Bing (ThM, 1984; PhD, 1991) is pleased that a fiveyear writing project, Grace, Salvation, and Discipleship: How to Understand Some Difficult Bible Passages, is at the publisher’s. It aligns with his ministry to provide clear teaching to ill-equipped pastors GraceLife reaches in other countries. OMF International personnel managers David (ThM, 1984) and Doris (MABS, 1987) Nichols worked to cast a vision among churches and to help them start (or continue) missions movements within their church-

People in international ministry, like all believers, need love, encouragement, and good allies throughout their lives. Steve Spinella (ThM, 1984), who serves in Global Care at TEAM, encourages readers, “As you engage with people who have served internationally, take time to listen, hold your assumptions loosely, and welcome them into your world while entering theirs.” In Yankton, SD, Redeeming Grace Bible Church is the resulting name of a merger between Cornerstone Evangelical Church and Kingsway Christian Church. DTS grad Steven C. McHone (ThM, 1985) serves Redeeming Grace as the associate lead pastor. Bob Lundgren (ThM, 1986) has experienced much heartache including the death of his son and terrible church splits. In the providence of God, he wrote his DMin dissertation on burnout, which has proven therapeutic for himself and others. Bruce Miller (ThM, 1986) recently published Same Sex Marriage: A Bold Call to the Church in Response to the Supreme Court’s Decision. Although Steve Crawford (ThM, 1987) is convinced that God wants him full-time in Astorga, Spain, the expected leadership transition has not materialized. But he cannot continue shepherding two churches long term. He asks prayer for the Lord to send forth laborers. Roman (1988) and Carolyn Hostetler enjoyed a summer of RV-ing around the United States. They have since returned to Australia to work with Wycliffe Bible Translators.

1990s Bakke Graduate University has officially relocated to Dallas, TX, and Sukhwant Bhatia (ThM, 1991) and his team have been busy setting up their office as materials arrive from the Seattle, WA, office. Meanwhile, the academic year at the North India Institute of Theological Studies— with which Sukhwant is associated—

is going well. The school has partnered with sixteen local churches in Chandigarh, India. Two of their church plants will soon become self-reliant. (See more on p. 34.) Craig Biehl (ThM, 1993) published an article for Crosswalk.com titled “5 Reasons Atheists Can’t Know that God Does Not Exist.” Rusty Hayes (ThM, 1995) is proud of his wife, Judi, who leads five Weight Watchers meetings per week. Recently she was one of five service providers in the US flown to corporate headquarters in NYC to shoot a training video. Dr. Christy Thomas (ThM, 1995) published An Ordinary Death: Where Grief and Relief Hold Hands. Ministering in Haiti, Gersan Valcin (ThM, 1995), serves as senior pastor to the Evangelical Community Church of Haiti in Port-au-Prince. He also oversees the camping ministry and radio/television ministry at Jacob’s Well in Limbe, Haiti. Gregg Scarato (ThM, 1996), senior pastor of Living Hope Community Church in Broomfield, CO, received an honorary doctorate of divinity from Carver College in Atlanta, GA. As president of Grace Adventures, Michael Sprague (DMin, 1997) recently keynoted the Louisiana Municipal Convention prayer breakfast at the Ragin’ Cajun Dome in Lafayette, LA. More than five hundred people attended, including mayors and elected leaders serving throughout Louisiana. Michael spoke on the topic “Is There Hope for America?” (He believes there is.) Michael Tsang (DMin, 1997) has retired from North York Chinese Baptist Church after serving there for thirteen years. He is now general secretary of Sacred Logos Resource Centre (SAGOS) of Canada, teaching Bible study methods and promoting the ministry of SAGOS. Leading a team of Americans and working with Polish colleagues, Jim Kessler (MABS, 1998) ministered to Polish teens during “SpeakOut! Poland,” an evangelical camp in Poland hosted by Cru.

Serving in Berlin with Christian Associates International, Melinda Means (MACE, 1999) spent her summer connecting with ministry partners. She attended a leadership summit for the regional team and an annual conference for staff serving in Europe. Dr. Brent Strawsburg (DMin, 1999) published Footprints of Faith: Defending the Christian Faith in a Skeptical Age.

2000s Serving as international ministry director with WorldVenture in Ghana, Lloyd Chinn (ThM, 2002) and his family returned to Ghana, where he met with colleagues from across Africa and made a trek to Shiare so that this community would know that WorldVenture Ghana still cares for them, even after the death of the community’s fetish priest. DTS prof Dr. Abraham Kuruvilla (ThM, 2002) continues his website series on preaching, recently featuring an interview with Dr. Paige Patterson. You can access it at www. homiletix.com. Aaron Samuel (ThM, 2005) in SE India reports that Harvesters Theological College has applied for accreditation, which means their library needs 5,000 new or used books.

book, Women in the Church: An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9–15.

Dentist Stan Cobb (MABS, 2003) serves as Dallas director for the Christian Medical and Dental Associations. A professor at Texas A&M’s Baylor College of Dentistry, he writes, “My wife, Pam [attended 2004–2006], and I made Monday company night, inviting strangers or barely known acquaintances to supper. When we started working with dental and medical students in Dallas, . . . Pam’s table became Christ’s table. At last count, more than 10,000 meals have been served to the kids and doctors that graced our home.” Timon Bengtson (ThM, 2006; DMin student) of Adelaide, Australia, recently published Pure Love: Pursuing Purity in a Sex-Obsessed World (Westbow). Jason (ThM, 2006) and Candice Mayhall welcomed a new daughter, Julep Marie, through the joy of adoption. Jason helped to plant a new church, Redemption Bible Church, in Cincinnati, OH. Gloria Furman (MACE, 2007) participated in a roundtable discussion included in the third edition of the

Paul Williamson (ThM, 2007) is serving with his family in West Asia reaching out to the Kohi people through Bible translation and language development. The current focus is language learning, orthography development, and literacy. Douglas K. Brown (MACE, 2009) released the book Shotgun Rider: Restoring Passion for the Ministry Trail (Deep River Books). Bobbie Sparks (MACM, 2009) is working with the Senegalese government and a university to begin food-processing manufacturing plants as well as large-scale renewable energy projects, and to meet agriculture and manufacturing needs. In addition to Senegal, Bobbie is working in Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, Lithuania, and China.

2010s On October 26, Beth Horn (ThM, 2011) appeared as a contestant on “Jeopardy!” She went home $300 richer. As spiritual director at the organization heartsoulspirit.org, Michael Popovici (CGS, 2011) walks alongside individuals, one-on-one and in workshop settings, assisting their spiritual journeys. The ministry

helps those suffering from stress, illness, and, especially, cancer. Duke Preston (MACE, 2013), spent four seasons with the Buffalo Bills as an offensive lineman. Following his DTS days, he went to work for Notre Dame, but the Tampa Bay Bucs hired him last February as their director of player engagement. A feature article in the Tampa Bay Times included these words: “With a football pedigree from his days of college and NFL play and a master’s from Dallas Theological Seminary, Duke Preston has just the right skills and demeanor for his post, helping players navigate traumatic times and beyond.” Christianity Today ran an interview with Caleb Kaltenbach (DMin, 2015) about growing up in a home in which both parents later came out as gay. The article was titled “A Pastor’s Journey from Gay Pride Parades to the Pulpit.” Haley Lee (ThM, 2015) has developed her own YouTube channel, “Rooted” to help theologicallyminded women think and thrive through the partnership of spiritual and intellectual growth (youtube. com/haleyleerooted). One of her recent five-minute videos is about how to choose a Bible translation.


is the New York Times best-selling author and star of “War Room”—the faith-based film that had the biggest opening weekend of any independent evangelical Christian movie ever. Shirer told Entertainment Tonight that she cried with nerves on her first day of filming, adding, “I’m grateful that God let me be a part of this project that is obviously blessing and touching so many people. It’s less about the hoorah of being in a movie and more about the opportunity that it is to be a part of a movie that’s drawing people toward spiritual things and toward the importance of prayer.” In an interview with CBN, she said, “Sometimes the greatest adventures in our lives come when we step outside of the comfort zone to which we think we are specifically gifted or called.”




A LU M N I C O N N E C T I O N New Ministries Glahn, “Bob” Gale (ThM, 1980), field leader: East-West Ministries, Addis Ababa, ETHIOPIA. Coffey, R. Michael (ThM, 1986), pastor/adult generations: Burke Community College, Burke, VA. Elliott, Robert Earle (ThM, 1987), pastor: Calvary Bible Church, Nassau, BAHAMAS. Miller, Jeffrey J. (MABS, 1988; MACE, 1988), interim senior pastor: Emmanuel Evangelical Free Church, Hermann, MO. Lee, James K. (ThM, 1991), director of Spiritual Formation and Discipleship: Christ Presbyterian Academy (CPA), Nashville, TN. St. John, Matthew (ThM, 1995; DMin, 2007), senior pastor: New Hope Church (Evangelical Free), Minneapolis, MN.


Davis, Robert K., III (ThM, 2009), pastor: Grace Fellowship Church, Woodstock, IL. Cochran, Joey (ThM, 2010), pastor of Middle School Discipleship and Communication: Calvary Memorial Church, Oak Park, IL. Krieger, Jeremiah A. (ThM, 2012), lead pastor: First Baptist Church, Holyoke, CO. Britton, Nathan (MABS, 2013), pastor: Faith Baptist Church, Bidwell, OH. Godwin, Curby T. (ThM, 2014), business administrator: Grace Bible Church, Dallas, TX. Rouse, Henry (ThM, 2014), lecturer: Adelaide College of Ministries, Adelaide, AUSTRALIA. Folks, Jared (MACL, 2015), pastor: Faith Baptist Church–Vinemont, Vinemont, AL.

Weaver, David S. (ThM, 1995), pastor: Westfield Evangelical Free, Westfield, MA.

Kinsley, Justin R. (ThM, 2015), student ministries pastor: Faith Bible Church, Edmond, OK.

Rodgers, Michael (MACE, 1996), CFO and VP for finance and administration: Howard Payne University, Brownwood, TX.

Lackey, Sheryl (MACE, 2015), pastor, community of women: Grace Chapel, Lexington, MA.

Mathews, Kelley (ThM, 2000), managing editor: Christianparenting.org; editor: Denison Forum on Truth and Culture, Dallas, TX. Charles Savelle (ThM, 2003; PhD, 2013), assistant professor of Bible exposition: Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Fort Worth, TX. Matthew Morton (ThM, 2004), teaching pastor: Grace Creekside, a ministry of Grace Bible Church, College Station, TX. Meyer, Jeremy M. (ThM, 2005), groups life pastor: Grace Church, Greenville, SC. Rietjens, Drew L. (ThM, 2005), senior pastor: Clear Lake Church, Clear Lake, IA. McCreery, Ryan W. (ThM, 2007), associate pastor/community: Fellowship Bible Church/Waco, Waco, TX.


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Ostoich, Jed (ThM, 2015), writer/content editor: Right Now Media, Richardson, TX. Scarbrough, Ashley (MAMW, 2015), photojournalist: Children’s Relief International; Marketing Coordinator: Authenticity Book House, Rowlett, TX. Talley, Michael F. (MACE, 2015), church planting intern: Hope Church, Richmond, VA. Woodley, Lance G. (ThM, 2015), youth pastor: Israel Baptist Church, Hamilton, OH.

DTS Behind the Stories in Film A number of movies have been released lately with DTS alumni connections. Woodlawn—True story of a high school football player who must learn to embrace his talent and his faith as he battles racial tensions on and off the field. The Washington Times reported that John Erwin and his brother, “Woodlawn” codirector Andrew, “grew up with the story of Woodlawn High School in their native Birmingham. Their father, former Alabama state Sen. Henry “Hank” Erwin [MABS, 1981], was a young evangelist in 1973 when he helped diffuse racial violence at the school that had grown so bad that the FBI was contemplating its closure.” War Room: Prayer Is a Powerful Weapon—Story of a seemingly perfect family that needs the counsel of Miss Clara, a wise, godly woman committed to prayer. This film stars Priscilla Shirer (MABS, 1998). See page 25 for more. Finding Noah—Documentary in which a group of explorers climb a 17,000-foot mountain in Turkey to conduct a scientific expedition to identify the final resting place of Noah’s ark. J. Randall Price (ThM, 1981) appears as an archaeology expert in the film. No Greater Love (“NGL”)—At the Boston Film Festival, Justin Roberts (MABS, 2007; MAMC, 2007), featured in the last issue of DTS Magazine, celebrated the world premier of “No Greater Love,” the documentary he directed and starred in. At Boston, it won the Best Documentary and Mass Impact awards. At the San Diego Film Festival, it won Best Military Film; at the Lake Charles Film Festival, it won Best Documentary and “Best of Fest.” Justin was also named winner of the Santini Patriot Spirit Award at the 10th Annual Beaufort International Film Festival in Beaufort, SC. The “Santini” is awarded to the filmmaker whose portrayal of the American active duty military, veterans, or their families in a feature film, documentary, or short reflects the highest standards of service and sacrifice for the good of others. The award is named after Marine Corps Colonel Donald “The Great Santini” Conroy. NGL was also featured at the Kansas International, Napa Valley, and Rehoboth Beach Film Festivals, and Justin was featured on Fox and Friends talking about PTSD. His friend, fellow DTS-grad, and coproducer Priyank Desai (CSG, 2009) has been traveling with Justin and his family.

HENDRICKS CENTER EVENTS Wives of Men in Pastoral Ministry Retreat Speaker: Lori McDaniel, Global Missions Catalyst for the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Church and wife of a church planter in Bentonville, Arkansas Date: April 10–12, 2016 Event Times: 5:00 p.m. on Sunday evening till 11:30 a.m. Tuesday morning Location: The Woods at Pine Cove Christian Camps, Tyler, Texas Topic: Addressing the needs inherent in being the wife of a pastoral ministry worker and finding a place to use one’s gifts in partnership www.dts.edu/wivesretreat FAITH@WORK: HOUSTON Speakers: John Townsend, Darrell Bock, Scott Rae, Katherine Alsdorf, and more Date: April 23, 2016 Event Times: 8:30 a.m. till 4:00 p.m. Saturday afternoon Location: First Baptist Church, Houston Topic: Addressing the spiritual significance of our daily work

Recent Table Podcast Topics Living the Christian Life as a Cultural Minority John Dickson How to Engage in a University Context Eric Chabot Millennials and the Church Jay Sedwick* and Mark Matlock Supreme Court Decisions Rollin Van Broekhovenz and Jeff Mateer Giftedness, Faith, and Work Bill Hendricks and George Hillman* Religious Liberty in a Pluralistic Society Jeff Mateer


Dr. Scott Rae (ThM, 1981) serves as dean of faculty and professor of Christian Ethics at Talbot School of Theology. He is one of the featured speakers at an upcoming DTS-sponsored Faith@Work Conference.

I’ve been teaching business ethics for a long time. I became interested through the experience of my dad, who was an entrepreneur. He owned his own company and never connected the dots between faith and work. He came to faith later in life, and he grew in his faith as part of a wonderful Bible-teaching church, but no one taught him how Sunday and Monday connected, except that what he did Monday through Friday would generate revenue he could give. He understood running a business in a Christlike fashion, but he never seemed to understand that the actual work he did was more than incidental. I teach ethics to business students and Christian ethics to seminary students, so I hear both perspectives about how the other is perceived. Almost always the business people are viewed in church as doing “less than” for the Lord. We need to stop talking about “higher callings” and “secular jobs.” That language is hurtful. We need as well to stop referring to the pastorate and mission field as “full-time ministry” since all believers are in full-time service and enter it when they come to faith. When you talk about the pastor being the minister without qualifying what kind of minister, the business person perceives him- or herself in that as being in “part-time” or “no-time” ministry. I think it’s fair to say that women still generally face more challenges related to work than men do. There is still a bit of a double standard about how men and women are perceived. We call aggressive men “players,” and we mean that positively. But women who are assertive are sometimes viewed negatively. Women also often face a different set of challenges in balancing work and family than men do. I want people to tell me about the ministry of banking, the ministry of parenting, the ministry of auditing, the ministry of marketing, the ministry of sales and financial services, the ministry of plumbing, the ministry of being a student, and the ministry of serving tables. I want to know about people’s spiritual well-being when their water pipes break. The challenge is to get pastors and workplace people both thinking that their service to God includes the work itself. When I ask workplace people to tell me about their workplace ministry, hardly anyone mentions the work itself. They define ministry as those things they are doing when they are not doing their jobs. But that is a narrow slice of the day. If that’s the case, pastors are preparing the majority of people for the minority of their lives rather than what those people are doing most of the time. One of my friends, when his wife came out of surgery, looked at imaging software. And he said to me, “I’m so glad the people who wrote that software didn’t decide to leave their business to go ‘serve the Lord full-time.’” Bill Hendricks, executive director of the Hendricks Center at DTS, taught me that creation and redemption of the earth are an important part of God’s big-picture story. All of creation is groaning for redemption, not just our souls. The question arises: “What is salvation for?” It is for the life of the world—not just the life of the soul.

*DTS faculty members Go to www.dts.edu/thetable to access these and many other relevant topics.




THE GOSPEL OF JOHN TAKE A DTS COURSE ONLINE FOR FREE! Join more than 50,000 people who have signed up to increase their knowledge of John’s Gospel through DTS’s FREE online course. For more than ninety years, Dallas Theological Seminary has educated thousands of pastors, teachers, missionaries, and scholars—using the Bible as the central course of study. Now you can have access to this solid biblical content. President Mark Bailey teaches the complete class online that anyone may access for FREE on any device at any time. This is your chance to introduce or reintroduce yourself and your friends to DTS. The eight-week video series includes lesson points, worship reflections, quizzes, and discussion guides. Did we mention that it’s completely FREE? Go to www.courses.dts.edu to sign up.

ON THE BACK COVER: Exhibits of The Saint John’s Bible have traveled to London and museums throughout the United States. One of its stops was the DTS Book Center during the month of October. Reproductions of some of the illustrations allowed viewers to see the gold and platinum leaf on the vellum, the bright inks, and calligraphers’ marks in margins, made when testing the ink and flexibility of quills. The back cover of this issue of DTS Magazine features The Saint John’s Bible image of Isaiah 6—of God’s glory filling the temple and the Lord asking who will go for him. The image captures the response we hope readers will have after reading in this issue about those persecuted for their faith. One way we can help the persecuted church is for teams to go into the darkest places and remind our brothers and sisters that we stand with them. The glory of the Lord was all Isaiah needed to evoke the response, “Here am I. Send me!” © Vision of Isaiah, Donald Jackson, 2005, The Saint John’s Bible, Saint John’s University, Collegeville, Minnesota, USA. Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version of the Bible, Catholic Edition, © 1993, 1989 National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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JR VASSAR // THM, 2000

GLORY HUNGER: a twisted expression of a legitimate ache

By Dr. Ben Simpson (ThM, 2003; PhD, 2011)

In Glory Hunger: God, the Gospel, and Our Quest for Something More, JR Vassar (ThM, 2000), the pastor of Church at the Cross in Grapevine, Texas, shows that we all have a hunger for glory. God created us to give him glory and find our worth in him, but we strive for personal glory and base our worth on the approval of others. The problem is that we try to satisfy this hunger from people who are just as starved as we are. As believers, we know that Christ alone can meet this need, but we struggle nonetheless. Recently, JR took some time to talk about how we look at our own hunger for glory. Pastoral ministry workers often build their egos on successful ministries. How do we keep that desire for glory from getting in the way of finding our worth in Christ alone? Delighting in God’s opinion of us in Christ frees us from living for human opinion. As we choose to rejoice in our standing with God in Christ more than our ministry status, we find freedom from having our identity and joy rest on the outcomes of our ministries. What are some practical ways that Christians can check their own desire for glory? Embrace obscurity. Rest in the fact that God knows you. Don’t broadcast success via social media. Rejoice at other’s successes. What’s the one thing that Christians should stop doing to curb their appetite for self-glory? Stop the comparison game, or we will never know who we are, just who we are not. And we will hate who we are not. After writing this book, how has thinking about your own glory hunger affected you? I acknowledge glory hunger as a twisted expression of a legitimate ache I have as one made in God’s image. Desires to be known, esteemed, or exalted are hints about what we were made for and what we possessed in the Garden before sin robbed us of it. Jesus has come to win all that back for us.



B O O K S & R E S O U R C E S : F R O M T H E D T S FA M I LY Wrestling with the Violence of God: Soundings in the Old Testament (Eisenbrauns) Dr. M. Daniel Carroll R. (ThM, 1980) and Dr. J. Blair Wilgus Increasingly, scholars are focusing attention on the prevalence of evil and violence in the world, especially that done in the name of God and religion. Wrestling with the Violence of God: Soundings in the Old Testament presents empathetic, holistic, and methodologically responsible readings of the Old Testament as Christian Scripture. Chapters address explicit portrayals of divine violence, human responses to the violence of God and violence in the world, alternative understandings of supposedly violent texts, and a hopeful future in which swords are beaten into plowshares.

A complete list of new resources from traditional publishers by members of the seminary family. www.dts.edu.books *Faculty member ** Excerpt online


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A Critical Examination of the Doctrine of Revelation in Evangelical Theology (Pickwick Pubs.) Dr. Carisa A. Ash (ThM, 2003; PhD, 2012)* Dispensationalism and the History of Redemption: A Developing and Diverse Tradition (Moody) Dr. D. Jeffrey Bingham (ThM, 1986; PhD, 1995) and Dr. Glenn R. Kreider (ThM, 1990; PhD, 2000),* general editors Devotions on the Hebrew Bible: 54 Reflections to Inspire and Instruct (Zondervan Academic) Contributing authors: Dr. Robert Chisholm Jr. (ThD, 1983),* Dr. Bruce Waltke (ThM, 1956; ThD, 1958), and Dr. Brian Webster*

Messy Grace: How a Pastor with Gay Parents Learned to Love Others without Sacrificing Conviction (WaterBrook Press) Caleb Kaltenbach (DMin, 2015) People of faith often wonder how to understand the Bible as it relates to same-sex issues. Often Christ-followers want to know how to balance grace and truth. In Messy Grace, Caleb Kaltenbach tells his story of being raised in the LGBT community by gay parents, eventually believing in Christ, becoming a pastor, and looking at what the Bible has to say about sexual identity. Through a lens of love, Caleb helps readers understand how they can care well for others without sacrificing biblical convictions. In Messy Grace, he shows evangelicals how to treat people well and nurture respectful and biblically informed relationships with people in the LGBT community.

Doubting Toward Faith: The Journey to Confident Christianity (Harvest House) Bobby Conway (ThM, 2002) Knowing Who You Are: Eight Surprising Images of Christian Identity (Wipf & Stock) Dr. Malcolm Gill (ThM, 1999; PhD, 2006); Foreword by Dr. Mark Young (ThM, 1991) Finding Joy: The Year Apart That Made Me a Better Wife (Ambassador International) Hope N. Griffin (MABS, 2005) Evidence for the Rapture: A Biblical Case for Pretribulationism (Moody) Dr. John F. Hart (ThM, 1976),

general editor; contributing authors include Dr. Nathan D. Holsteen (ThM, 1991),* Dr. Glenn R. Kreider (ThM, 1990; PhD, 2000),* Dr. Michael Rydelnik (ThM, 1983), Dr. Michael J. Svigel (ThM, 2001; PhD, 2007),* Dr. Robert L. Thomas (ThM, 1956; ThD, 1959), Dr. Andrew M. Woods (ThM, 2002; PhD, 2009) The New Pastor’s Handbook: Help and Encouragement for the First Years of Ministry (Baker) Jason Helopoulos (ThM, 2003) Brimming with God: Reflecting Theologically on Cases in Ministry (Pickwick Pubs.) Dr. George Hillman,* contributor

A Vision for Preaching: Understanding the Heart of Pastoral Ministry (Baker Academic)

The Armor of God, Bible Study Book

Dr. Abraham Kuruvilla (ThM, 2002)* **

Priscilla Shirer (MABS, 1998)

DTS homiletics professor Abraham Kuruvilla is devoting his life to equipping preachers. In A Vision for Preaching, winner of Preaching Today’s “Editor’s Choice” for the magazine’s 2016 Book Awards, Kuruvilla lays out an integrated biblical and theological vision for preaching that addresses the essentials of preaching, this most important activity in the church. Drawing on influential voices from church history, Kuruvilla reclaims what has been lost through the centuries. He offers fresh insights, showing preachers what they can aim for as an ideal in their preaching. He also helps preachers have a better conception of what it means to preach, gain a fuller understanding of the divinely granted privilege of preaching, and have a greater excitement for the preaching ministry. Concluding biblical reflections reinforce the teaching of each chapter. Go to www.dts.edu/ magazine to read an excerpt of the introduction and first chapter.

In September of 2015, the Washington Post reported that “in a year of great box office triumphs, a low-budget movie with an African-American cast and overt Christian teachings has emerged as a breakout surprise.” The movie “War Room,” which stars DTS grad Priscilla Shirer, made $11.4 million in its opening weekend, which the Post said was “nearly four times the cost of creating the movie and well beyond the expectations of most movie analysts.” In association with the film, Priscilla Shirer has released a women’s Bible study, The Armor of God. In seven sessions, Shirer provides women with more than merely a biblical description of the believer’s inventory. Her book contains an action plan for putting on spiritual armor and developing a strategy to secure victory. The Armor of God includes leader helps, prayer cards, and questions for discussion.

Agents of Babylon: What the Prophecies of Daniel Tell Us about the End of Days (Tyndale House) Dr. David Jeremiah (ThM, 1967)

The Professor’s Puzzle: Teaching in Christian Academics (B&H Academic) Dr. Michael S. Lawson (ThM, 1969)*

Waiting on God: What to Do When God Does Nothing (Baker Books) Dr. Wayne Stiles (MACE, 1991; ThM, 1997; DMin, 2004)

Mysteries of the Afterlife: Exploring Its Amazing Secrets (Harvest House) Dr. Ron Jones (ThM, 1994)

Unleashed: Being Conformed to the Image of Christ (B&H Books) Eric Mason (ThM, 2002)

The Trail: A Tale about Discovering God’s Will (Tyndale House) Ed Underwood (ThM, 1985)

The Gift of Rest: A Bible Study for the Tired, Frantic, and Discontented (CrossLink) Crickett Keeth (MACE, 2005) Wake the Bride: Facing These Last Days with Your Eyes Wide Open (Harvest House) Jeff Kinley (ThM, 1986)

If You Could See as Jesus Sees: Inspiration for a Life of Hope, Joy, and Purpose (Shiloh Run Press) Elizabeth Oates (MACE, 2005) Studies in the Pauline Epistles: Essays in Honor of Douglas J. Moo (Zondervan) Dr. Jay E. Smith (ThM, 1989)* and Matthew S. Harmon, editors

(LifeWay Christian Resources)

ALSO OF INTEREST The most-accessed article on the DTS website is Linda Tomczak’s piece on twenty ways to fight human trafficking. The most popular article by a faculty member is Dr. Barry Jones’s article titled “A Place at the Table,” which appeared in the last issue of this magazine. Also popular are Dr. Andi Thacker’s piece on parenting and play therapy, and Dr. Mike Svigel’s piece on theological approaches to “Star Wars.” www.dts.edu



FOR FREEDOM CHRIST HAS SET US FREE When I was a child, my relationship with my brother was rocky at best. Wrapped in our own me-centered worlds, we cared little for what the other preferred—whether he wanted me to share the phone or I wanted him to turn down the hard rock coming through the bedroom walls. We spent several years at odds with one another because we each held tightly to the premise of “me first.” We were free, by golly, to express ourselves as we wished, and if it came at the other’s expense then that was just the breaks. I’m grateful to have outgrown that pattern with my brother, but unfortunately the sense of entitlement remains prevalent in my life. I am, after all, a mother! With each passing year and each additional child, my job of raising four children who grow up without an entitlement mentality is more challenging. It is human nature to focus on our own desires instead of focusing on our neighbors’ well-being. Even the foundational themes of our country remind us that we live in “the land of the free”—that we possess “certain unalienable Rights … Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” As long as the courts deem something legal, we think we can live according to our own preferences. “Disapprove of my foul language? It’s a free country.” “Offended by my Facebook rant? Get over it.” This sort of behavior doesn’t surprise me, since selfishness pretty much defines the nature in which we are born. But Christians are born again—with a new nature. So using Scripture, such as Galatians 5:1—“It is for freedom that Christ has set us free”—to justify our sense of entitlement reflects a poor understanding of God’s Word. If we look closely at this passage, we discover that Paul has a different meaning. In his letter to the Galatians, he urges his audience—and, by extension, us—to live in the spiritual freedom made possible by Christ. False teachers had wooed Jewish believers to return to Moses’s Law to ensure their right standing before God. But, Paul reminds them, Christ’s death fulfilled the Law once and for all. The offering of Christ brought salvation through grace. Because of his sacrifice, those who believe are no longer bound to the Law. Instead, they are obligated only to grace. Paul dispels any idea that such grace gives believers the kind of freedom that includes an attitude of entitlement. He warns, “Do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love” (5:13). Before coming to faith, we served sin as its slaves. Christ set us free from such slavery, but that doesn’t mean he intended us to become slaves to ourselves. Rather than freeing us to serve ourselves, he has freed us to serve others. Such freedom rejects the spirit of entitlement; rather, it looks like holiness in action—love, joy, peace, patience, and the other fruits of the Spirit (5:22–23). Jesus Christ set us free for freedom. And Paul encourages us to pursue that freedom by living free from enslavement to the Law and sin. We are free to serve those around us by turning down the music, sharing the phone, and loving our neighbors on Facebook. Embracing true freedom means promoting others above ourselves, thereby reflecting the nature of the one who laid down his life for his friends. —Kelley Mathews (ThM, 2000) has coauthored four books for women in ministry.


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“L AST YEAR FREE” SCHOL ARSHIP Dallas Theological Seminary believes our integrated four-year Master of Theology (ThM) program offers deeper ministry preparation than a standard threeyear MDiv program. DTS is so committed to this model that we are offering free tuition for the final 24 required hours to every ThM student who is enrolled in classes in the fall 2016 or spring 2017 semesters. We hope the “Last Year Free” scholarship program sends out a generation of debt-free, biblically centered heralds of the gospel, equipped to meet the changing needs of today’s church and culture. www.dts.edu/lastyearfree





On the day Sukhwant Singh Bhatia removed his turban, cut his hair, and was baptized, his mother screamed, and his gun-wielding father threatened to shoot him. But eventually, his family accepted him, his mother believed, and Sukhwant came to DTS to earn his ThM (1991)—the first Sikh convert to Christianity to study at the seminary. While pursuing his studies, he said, “I made a commitment to contribute to the spread of the Word of God by making it understandable to the north Indians.” In 2001, Sukhwant earned his PhD from the University of North Texas under the joint doctoral program with DTS. And today Dr. Sukhwant Bhatia is the founder of Seek Partners Int’l (SPI) and the North India Institute of Theological Studies. He is also consultant and chief editor for Biblica’s Hindi Study Bible project and Punjabi Standard Bible Project of the Asia Bible Society. He said, “I am in the ministry not because I fear that God’s work won’t be done—but because I fear that if I were not involved, it would be done without me.” 34

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everal times a year, Dr. Swindoll preaches in chapel at DTS and engages in a question-and-answer time with prospective students. Here are some of the questions he answered recently.

How do you balance scholarship when preaching? I remember that my audience is not a group of theologians. The art and skill of preaching have to do with delivering the goods—the delivering of divine truth—in a way that is understandable and memorable. I ask myself, “Will they get this? Am I just parading my knowledge, or am I using a language observation to help listeners see the value of it?” Before I came to DTS, I worked in the marketplace, and I served in the Marine Corp. I remember those contexts, and I try to deal with people realistically. I also honor the people to whom I minister. I don’t talk down to them. If it weren’t for them, I’d be talking to an empty room. I could easily insult them—and I never want to do that—or take advantage of them because they are a captive audience. I never sell my books from the pulpit. I never mention my broadcasts. A medical doctor must know anatomy and chemistry, but when a patient is going to have a gall bladder removed, he or she wants only to know if it will hurt, how long healing will take, and how much it’ll cost. The patient usually cares nothing for the anatomy of it. The same is true of preaching. I must study to know the Word, but deliver to the audience only what they need. How do you keep your relationship with God fresh and increase your knowledge of God’s Word? I’m ever aware of the enemy. Every day I’m conscious that I have a very real enemy who would love to see me fail. And it won’t begin with a major fall—it’ll begin with a compromise, a slight hedging on the truth, a cover-up, a lack of complete honesty, an unwillingness to be accountable. On this earth, my relationship with my wife is the most important one in my life. Aside from my walk with Christ, my time with her is invaluable. She is a very honest woman. She is not at all

enamored of me—and I’m so grateful for that. She loves me dearly, but that does not mean she’s unaware of what I need to work on. When I’m preaching, if I exaggerate a little, she will say, “There were not 3,000 people at the meeting. There were 2,800.” “I know,” I tell her. “Well, then, say 2,800.” When I approach the Scriptures, I don’t go back to redo previous messages. I think anew about how to communicate, and I ask God for freshness so I won’t become predictable. Pastoring a church helps. The people in my congregation have heard all my stuff. So I have to stay fresh. . . . Which brings me to study. I am an avid student. I have a large library, and I am in it several days a week. I’m forever reading. Some books I read more than once. As with a great film in which you see more the second time around, reading again brings new insights. I’m ever aware that I’m a sitting duck to a fall. I never want that to be true of me. I’m eighty-one, and that doesn’t bother me at all. I stay accountable. I’m committed to finishing well.

I must study to know the Word, but deliver to the audience only what they need.



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