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LETTER FROM THE EDITOR
One of Dallas Theological Seminary’s core values encourages us to “Love others above ourselves.” The slogan of DTS, “Teach Truth. Love Well,” reminds us that truth and love are bound together in all of life, including in the proclamation of the gospel and in the ongoing discipleship and care that characterize the church. The Fall issue of DTS Magazine featured the theme “Teach Truth,” and it’s no surprise that the Spring issue follows that with “Love Well.” At the Last Supper, Jesus said, “I give you a new commandment—to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35). Jesus gave us the example of perfect love, and as we follow Him, we strive to model that kind of selfless, compassionate, God-honoring love in all we do.
In this issue, we’ll see glimpses of that kind of love in a variety of times and places. Looking at the Old Testament, we understand Passover as a festival of God’s love. In the New Testament, Paul demonstrates love in a difficult situation in Thessalonica, and Peter teaches us to love through our good conduct among non-Christians. Nearer our own time, we read of Pandita Ramabai showing love to the oppressed, and of Jim Rayburn’s continuing legacy of sharing the gospel with young people through Young Life. Love is also the foundation of engaging with the arts to bring healing to people who have been traumatized by war. And our cover story introduces us to a friendship that shows love’s response when a brother in the faith has an urgent medical need.
These stories invite us to celebrate the many ways that Christians, empowered by the Holy Spirit, have shown truthful love to the world. And they challenge us all to love well as we follow Christ.Neil R. Coulter, PhD Editor, DTS Magazine
Loving Well through Our Witness
In 1 Peter, we discover how to present a compelling witness by understanding our identity, our calling, and our struggle. In this way, everyone around us may see our conduct and give praise to God.Kraig W. McNutt
Paul in Thessalonica: Facing Challenges to Loving Well
In a city fiercely loyal to Caesar and Rome, the proclamation of the gospel brought conflict and anger. Paul faced this opposition—and responded with love. We can learn from his example.
Barnabas: A Timeless Example of How to Love Well
Our influence matters to people around us, and to God. The New Testament gives us a role model of positive influence: Barnabas, a man so known for being salt and light that he received a new name to match his character.
Dr. Jonathan Murphy
The Way Back to Abundance: Arts in Trauma Healing
God designed humans not just to survive but to thrive. When war disrupts that thriving, the path toward restoration needs to address all the senses through the arts. We love well by walking with people through that journey.
Dr. Andi Thacker & Dr. Beth Argot
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The Gift of Brotherly Love
When Stephen Bramer’s kidney was failing, his best friend Greg Hatteberg immediately responded, “I’ll give you my kidney!” The story of these brothers in Christ illustrates confidence in God’s care and a commitment to loving well.
Dr. Neil R. Coulter
Passover: The Story of Everlasting Love
The love of God has always been at the core of His redemptive work. Passover is a celebration of God’s love for His people throughout history—and a challenge to follow Christ’s example in loving well.
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.
Vol. 9, No. 1
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Definitions and displays of love abound. Yet, for all its sentiments, the world is no expert on love. The spirit of the age produces violent and broken relationships, abandoned and abused people. The world has traded authentic love for mere affection. The Deceiver has done what he does best—deceived— so that the world seeks self first in every way, delights in evil, and dishonors all who threaten these false substitutes for authentic love.
BUT GOD’S LOVE IS LOVE IN ACTION.
The previous issue of DTS Magazine explored “Teach Truth,” the first half of Dallas Theological Seminary’s slogan. This issue champions the other part of the slogan: the call to Love Well. To love well is to love with excellence and action. And Scripture is filled with examples.
There was Israel’s faithful son, Joseph. He not only forgave his brothers who sold him into slavery and subjected him to injustice but also provided for their needs when their families suffered famine (Gen 27–50). This is love in action.
Then there was Ruth, the overcomer. She turned her back on all she knew, clinging to and providing for her Jewish mother-in-law, thereby experiencing God’s abundant provision and a future blessing through Boaz (Ruth 1–4). This is love in action.
We can’t forget the humble, unnamed woman who broke cultural expectations by pouring out her expensive perfume to worship Jesus. Her action honored Him, and Jesus says to the other guests at the dinner that “she loved much” in response to the forgiveness of sins that Jesus offered (Luke 7:36–50). This is love in action.
The encouraging news for us is that God’s people learn this love from the author of love, Jesus Christ. Shortly before demonstrating love by giving Himself as a sacrifice for humanity’s sin, Jesus challenged His disciples to follow His lead: “Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples—if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). Think about that. When Jesus’s followers put love into action, other people experience God’s love. They display God to those who need to see Him.
The Apostle Paul makes active love one of his great focuses:
Love must be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil, cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another with mutual love, showing eagerness in honoring one another. Do not lag in zeal, be enthusiastic in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, endure in suffering, persist in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints. Pursue hospitality. Bless those who persecute you, bless and do not curse. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another; do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly. Do not be conceited.
Perhaps Paul thought of Jesus when he wrote these words under the leading of the Holy Spirit. After all, Jesus remains the perfect example of love in action. Jesus loved the lost, the outcast, and the needy. But He loved with more than words and sentiment—He sacrificed Himself for others. We see God because of Him.
Believers worldwide continue to see thousands of people coming to faith daily, especially in the Global South. There is no doubt that God is working through believers who put love into action in the name of Jesus Christ. To love well continues to be the heartbeat of DTS as we seek to equip godly servant-leaders to reach the world with the gospel. Join us in Jesus’s call to love one another.
Love in Action LOVE
Recent issues of DTS Magazine reminded us how to engage wisely with outsiders of the faith (Summer 2022) and how to be prepared to give an answer to those who ask about our hope (Fall 2022). In this issue, we review how to become a compelling witness to those around us. To that end, let’s unpack three keys found in 1 Peter 2:11–12.
Dear friends, I urge you as foreigners and exiles to keep away from fleshly desires that do battle against the soul, and maintain good conduct among the non-Christians, so that though they now malign you as wrongdoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God when he appears.
Peter reveals the first key to a compelling witness: understanding our identity. Why is this important? Our identity is rooted in our new birth (1 Pet 1:3, 23). Because of this new birth, we are to be obedient children (1:14), become holy (1:15), and have a sincere love for one another (1:22). Peter writes to encourage “foreigners and exiles” who were displaced from their homes but not from God. We must understand that life right now is not God’s final plan for eternity. He will make all things new (Rev 21:5), including renewing the present heavens and earth. Until then, we are to live as God’s “foreigners and exiles” who give others a glimpse of what’s to come.
The second key to a compelling witness is understanding our calling. The foundation for loving others well is our understanding that God has chosen us to proclaim His virtues (2:9). Our lives should testify that God’s plan is to reconcile all things to Himself. God wants everyone to receive a new heart through faith in Christ. So He calls us to love those who presently walk in darkness (as we used to do).
The third key to a compelling witness is understanding our struggle. Life during our “temporary residence here” (1 Pet 1:17) is a battle. Prof. Howard Hendricks used to say, “The Christian life is not difficult. It’s impossible.” We do not have the power within ourselves to live the Christian life and be a compelling witness. The Holy Spirit empowers our witness.
Though this present life is a struggle, Peter urges Christians to “maintain good conduct among the non-Christians” (1 Pet 2:12). How? By becoming holy (1 Pet 1:15), abstaining from the desires of the flesh (1 Pet 2:11), and using our freedom to serve others (1 Pet 2:16). Peter encourages us to let our good conduct—how we love others well— be our witness.
The early church father Tertullian tells us in his Apologeticus (chapter 39, section 7) that people outside the faith were amazed at how Christians loved one another. A compelling Christian life, lived well before others, can be a powerful invitation to ask, “Why do you love others so well?” This issue of DTS Magazine features amazing stories of how followers of Jesus invite others to ponder sincere love.
Will we be maligned? Misunderstood? Persecuted? Yes! However, as children of light, our good conduct should shine by understanding our identity, calling, and struggle. Our conduct should stand out in such a way that everyone can see our good deeds and give honor to our Father in heaven (Matt 5:16; 1 Pet 2:12). May our lives increasingly present an authentic coming attraction of the new heaven and new earth!
Paul’s ministry throughout the cities of the Mediterranean world was marked by his deep affection not only for the local believers but also for Jews and Gentiles who did not yet believe the gospel. As Paul traveled and preached the gospel, he repeatedly endured severe persecution from people who rejected his message. Paul shows us that loving well comes at a cost; no sacrifice is too great in light of the worth of Christ. As elsewhere, Paul’s experience in Thessalonica provides an example of sacrificially loving well.
Located on the Macedonian coast overlooking the Aegean Sea, ancient Thessalonica was the capital of the Roman province of Macedonia. As the intersection of two major trade routes, it was strategic in the spread of the gospel across the region and was significant to Paul’s second missionary journey.
In Acts 17, Paul went first to the local synagogue to expound from Scripture why Jesus is the Messiah. For three consecutive Sabbaths, Paul preached the death
and resurrection of the Messiah, bringing a mixed response. However, jealous Jews allied with anyone who would join their opposition to Paul and his message. They sought government intervention, exposing their preference for prosperity and the status quo through loyalty to Caesar. The crowd cried out to the authorities: “They are all acting against Caesar’s decrees, saying there is another king named Jesus!” (Acts 17:7). These words capture the city’s political tensions.
As a free city within the Roman Empire, Thessalonica enjoyed the privileges of minting its own currency, codifying its own laws, and governing itself under local authorities rather than Roman officials. This freedom came from Thessalonica’s loyalty to Rome and opposition to rebellion. Any challenge to Rome’s authority would threaten to disrupt the favor that the empire bestowed on the city.
The Thessalonians expressed their loyalty to Rome through their participation in emperor worship. In the
second and third centuries, the Romans constructed a new forum over the previous Greek agora. The forum was the center of city administration and business, and evidence suggests that a terrace adjacent to the northern end of the forum was dedicated to the imperial cult. Excavations in this area reveal evidence of what are believed to have been cultic structures. In the twentieth century, archaeologists discovered statues of emperors, further validating the area’s possible use for the imperial cult. First-century inscriptions mention the existence of a temple of Caesar.
These remains help us understand Paul’s hardships as he proclaimed the gospel. Jews who rejected Paul’s message of Christ as the Messiah stirred up a mob. Others in the city who pursued prosperity through loyalty to Caesar and the imperial cult were drawn into the conflict. Thanks to the intervention of friends, Paul escaped to Berea. He spent only three weeks in Thessalonica, but his affection for the people endured. His steadfast care and desire to give the gospel and
his very life to those people who had driven him out (1 Thess 1:8) emulate the example of the sacrifice of Christ. In Paul’s example, we see the foundation of loving well.
i Apostolos F. Kralidis, “Evidence for the Imperial Cult in Thessalonica in the First Century C.E.” European Association of Biblical Studies, Thessaloniki Meeting , 2011, 93–95.
Makay is an MBTS student and web content coordinator at DTS. She graduated with a BA in history from the University of MissouriKansas City in 2019 and participated in graduate studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem before joining DTS. Currently, she and her husband live in Kansas City, MO, and are honored to partner with their local church in furthering the gospel in their community.Makay Bergthold The photo is of Heptapyrgion, also known by its Turkish name—Yedi Kule. It is a Byzantine/Ottoman–era fortress and former prison. It's located in upper town Thessaloniki, Greece, by the Acropolis.
AND COUNTERCULTURAL LOVE FOR THE POWERLESSBY NEIL R. COULTER
Fulfilling our responsibility to love well often directs us to act counterculturally in a society that more typically rewards self-centered actions. Loving well means taking seriously the Bible’s many commands to care for widows and orphans (Exod 22:22; Deut 14:29; Isa 1:17; Zech 7:9–10; Jas 1:27). Throughout history, exemplars of the faith step outside of cultural expectations and stand up for the powerless through the love of Christ. Over a century ago, Ramabai Dongre overcame personal tragedies and applied her education and status to improve life for women and children in India.
Born to a scholarly, high-caste Hindu family in 1858, Ramabai always understood the value of education. Against cultural expectations, Ramabai’s father taught her Sanskrit—a rare education for a woman at that time. But when Ramabai was sixteen, tragedy struck: her parents died during a famine. Just a few years later, her brother died. In 1880, she married outside of her caste and her region, which was regarded as improper. Less than two years after the wedding, her husband died. Thus, at age 23, Ramabai was fatherless, brotherless, widowed, and caring for her infant daughter as a single mother.
At that moment, when she was as powerless as a woman could be in that society, she applied her one remaining tool—her education—to speak out about the unfair, unequal treatment of women in India. Her skill in Sanskrit led to an invitation to Calcutta, where she received the title Pandita (a specialist in Hindu knowledge and religious writings). She used her influence to bring international attention to the treatment of women and children in India, and she started the Arya Women’s Society to promote women’s education and eliminate child marriage. In 1883, she traveled to England, hoping to attend medical school, become a doctor, and bring fairer health care to women in India. Her progressive hearing loss closed that door to her. But what Ramabai lost while in England paled in comparison to what she gained. Burdened by increasing frustration with Hinduism’s poor regard for women
and inspired by the compassion of Christians she met, Ramabai accepted Jesus Christ.
From England, Ramabai traveled to North America. There she wrote her first English-language book. She also met fellow Christians and social reformers Frances Willard and Harriet Tubman. Funds Ramabai raised through speaking engagements and book sales paid for the opening of a school in India for child widows (girls who were married very young and left destitute when their older husbands died) when she returned in 1889. Through the vibrancy of Ramabai’s Christian witness, numerous students at the school also chose to follow Jesus—which brought severe criticism from Hindus. By 1900, the school sheltered 1,500 children, widows, orphans, and others without a voice in society. Ramabai applied her linguistic skill to translating the Bible into her first language of Marathi. Her days were busy! “People must not only hear about the kingdom of God,” she said, “but must see it in actual operation, on a small scale perhaps and in imperfect form, but a real demonstration nonetheless.”
Ramabai ensured that her daughter, Manorama, received an excellent education, and she assumed that Manorama would someday take over her work. Sadly, Manorama died in 1921, and less than a year later, Ramabai also died. Yet her example lives on. Ramabai’s life of loving service continues to inspire us today. Following Jesus in a life of loving well will sometimes mean choosing differently from society’s norms. But caring for the powerless in our midst is not optional.
Though God often led her through dark valleys of personal tragedy, Pandita Ramabai continually stepped across cultural boundaries to model a life of serving others so that every person she encountered might know the love of God. “The only thing that must be done by me,” she wrote, “is to tell people of Him, and of His love for sinners, and His great power to save them.”
Barnabas: A Timeless Example of How to Love WellBY JONATHAN MURPHY
Influence matters. It happens all the time and all around us. It’s not a question of whether it occurs but only of the type of influence that is occurring. Some of it is positive. But sometimes it can feel like influence tends to be negative. Either way, influence matters in human affairs . . . and it matters to God!
That’s a key idea in Jesus’s first recorded sermon, the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5–7). In this sermon, Jesus calls His followers to influence the world with such an attractive display of God’s way of life that it causes praise to God. Jesus uses two ordinary, everyday items as metaphors to show us how to influence the world: salt and light. Both salt and light make a massive difference to life around them. They affect their environments, and that is God’s will for our lives. Christians are to be as influential as salt and light!
But what does that look like? I understand how salt and light influence the food on a plate or the darkness of the night, you might say. But what does a salty, bright life of influence for Jesus look like through me?
God provides a timeless and practical role model for us in the book of Acts: a man called Barnabas. Through Barnabas, God gives us a picture of a life that modeled influence. Barnabas shows us rather than tells us how to love in a way that naturally and unapologetically influences those around us for God. He was an ordinary, everyday believer who modeled how to influence the world for Christ from right where you are. Barnabas lived out truth through love in a way we can all copy.
We first meet him in Acts 4:36–37, where he shows us three ways we can love well today:
So Joseph, a Levite who was a native of Cyprus, called by the apostles Barnabas (which is translated
“son of encouragement”), sold a field that belonged to him and brought the money and placed it at the apostles’ feet. (Acts 4:36–37)
BARNABAS LOVED WELL THROUGH HIS WORDS
This is what he is best known for today—words of encouragement. It’s also the reputation he had in the early church. He was a person whose words put a spring in another’s step, a smile on another’s face, and hope in another’s heart. His character is even the reason he acquired the nickname Barnabas; that’s not his birth name! So we leave the name Joseph behind (sorry, Mom!) and instead go with Barnabas. That’s what he was to those around him. He was “Mr. Encouragement,” and encouragement matters. Encouragement expresses God’s love to a discouraged world. And a life of encouragement is very accessible to followers of Jesus Christ. On average, a person will speak around 860 million words in a lifetime. That’s plenty of opportunity to join Barnabas and influence others with words. Your encouragement will love others well.
BARNABAS LOVED WELL THROUGH HIS WALLET
Many things could be said of Barnabas, but God wants the record to show that our role model loved well through his possessions. That’s as practical as it gets: sacrificial giving. Barnabas owned a piece of farmland— presumably on the island of Cyprus—and sold it. He didn’t just think of selling it. He didn’t plan to sell it one day or leave it as part of his estate when he couldn’t take it with him. No, he sold it. Why? Because he saw needs in the lives of those around him. He wanted to be a part of God’s work right away.
Expressing love to others through giving is what this introduction to Barnabas most strongly emphasizes. His story presented a contrast to the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 5:1–11). Like Barnabas, they were Christians and part of the local church. Like Barnabas, they owned land, sold it, and then gave the money to
the apostles. But Barnabas gave generously out of love for those around him, whereas Ananias and Sapphira wanted to appear generous. Genuine love for people expresses itself in selfless generosity, which indicates a grateful life to God. Barnabas is generous because he understands the generosity of God in the giving of His Son. Your giving will love others well.
BARNABAS LOVED WELL THROUGH HIS WALK
Barnabas pursued a life of humility, selflessness, and self-abandon. He gave of himself, not just of his stuff. Consider what selling land meant back then. At that time, a minority of people owned all of the land. Most people worked the land for those few owners. And those landowning elite made all the important life decisions for the rest; therefore, you couldn’t get your hands on a piece of land easily. There were no real estate offices to walk into, no online listings, no open real estate market, and no bank mortgages for the average person. Land transactions took place among the elite and represented status and importance. The minority who owned land sold it at great cost to themselves—a sacrifice of personal status. It cost them a seat at the table of importance in that world’s structures. Barnabas didn’t just give up an asset in selling that farmland; he gave up his high standing in the social hierarchy. He entrusted the distribution of the money received from the sale to preaching apostles. That’s because he valued and was submissive to God’s structures in the church. Barnabas pursued a walk of humility, not personal status. Your humble walk will love others well.
Influence matters today.
Influence matters today. God wants to influence the world for Christ through you in a way that honors Him. He’s provided a practical and timeless role model for
us on how to love well as salt and light. Barnabas-like love through your words, your wallet, and your walk will make a difference in the lives of those around you. It will influence the world with an attractive picture of God’s way of life that results in praise to God.
Scan here to watch Jonathan’s DTS chapel message about Barnabas and encouragement.
To read more, check out Jonathan’s new book, Authentic Influencer, and be encouraged to walk with Barnabas, learn from God, and shape the world for Jesus Christ, one life at a time.
ISBN 978-1-4003-3330-1Dr. Jonathan Murphy (ThM, 2004; PhD, 2009) Jonathan was born in Belfast, Northern Ireland, raised in the Canary Islands, Spain, and educated in Northern Ireland, Edinburgh (Scotland), and Dallas, Texas. As associate professor of pastoral ministries at DTS, Dr. Murphy has a vision to encourage and shape leaders for the local church worldwide.
UKRAINE’S WAR: TRAUMA IN LIFE
On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a military invasion of Ukraine by land, sea, and air. Within a week, more than a million Ukrainians had fled the country as refugees, and those who remained faced devastation and destruction as attacks continued. The attacks ruptured people’s confidence in basic, everyday life. Instead of seeing an abundant, fruitful life, people faced impossible decisions about their families and their physical safety.
In response to such obvious needs, people around the world rallied to offer assistance. But the effects of the trauma that Ukrainians have endured linger, even when physical needs are met. To love well means not only addressing the Ukrainians’ external physical needs but also fostering healing beneath the surface.
GOD'S IDEAL LIFE
God designed humans not only to survive but to thrive , living in connection to one another and to their Creator. The creation narrative in Genesis 1 lavishly describes superabundant thriving. After creating “plants yielding seeds . . . and trees bearing fruit with seed in it” and giving animals the charge to “multiply on the earth,” God then creates man and woman. “Be fruitful and multiply,” God says to them (Gen 1:28). Then sin entered the world and led to disconnection instead of community, pain and suffering instead of wholeness, and fears of unmet needs. “Every human being who has ever lived knows that that garden once existed,” says DTS President Mark Yarbrough, “because every human being is trying to get back to that garden where everything is right.” Jesus speaks to this deep human yearning when He assures His listeners, “I have come so that they may have life, and may have it abundantly” (John 10:10).
TRAUMA IN HUMAN LIFE
Part of our role as people known by our love for one another (John 13:34–35) is to aid in the healing process of those who suffer trauma in this fallen world. The word “trauma” originates from the Greek word troma ,
which means a physical wound. According to one definition, trauma “happens when any experience stuns us like a bolt out of the blue; it overwhelms us, leaving us altered or disconnected from our bodies.” i The effects of trauma disrupt development, interfere with relationships, and significantly hinder everyday life. Past trauma continues intruding in the present, tainting every experience. Trauma becomes a filter through which a person views all of life.
God’s intricate design of the human body includes a sophisticated bodily alarm system called neuroception: a subconscious monitor of our internal and external landscapes. ii When our brain senses danger, our body prepares for survival through flight or fight. If those responses aren’t possible, our body shuts down, immobilized. Beyond the traumatic event and the immediate responses it triggers, the trauma continues to reside within the nervous system—and daily life becomes increasingly difficult. The body becomes sensitive to any shift in the environment that suggests the possibility of danger. This makes it difficult for a person to engage in everyday relationships and work; the nervous system focuses on detecting threats and surviving. Living in the confidence of God’s promise of thriving and abundance seems impossible.
THE ARTS: TRAUMA HEALING FOR LIFE
In response to the present opportunity to show love to Ukrainians, Dr. Robin Harris (visiting professor, DTS; professor, Dallas International University) began thinking about a way to adapt existing training in trauma healing to the urgent need in Ukraine. Robin had lived in Siberia for nearly ten years, working in music and the arts, and had visited Ukraine just before the war started. Seeking to help people affected by the war, she gathered a team of arts and trauma healing specialists to design a training program for Ukrainians and those who are ministering to them. The result: a weeklong training specific to Ukraine.
In July 2022, twelve people from around the world gathered at Dallas International University for the training workshop in arts and trauma healing. The
group represented churches and other organizations and networks. The four Ukrainians in the group contributed their perspectives from several months of war in their home country. Others drew on experience in the mental health profession, care for missionaries, doctoral studies in worship and world arts, and outreach to refugees and orphans from Ukraine.
Distinctively, this training workshop applied artistic expression to every facet of healing the wounds of trauma. The arts connect with the whole brain, especially with the right hemisphere, where many memories and traumatic experiences can become stuck. Amidst all the other broken connections that trauma brings, traumatized people also suffer a lack of brain integration, affecting their ability to verbalize what happened or how they feel. Words alone are insufficient to bring healing; people need activities that draw on artistry.
Culturally appropriate artistic expression enables people to process their feelings as they work toward the whole-brain integration that leads to healing from trauma. The traumatized people choose the art forms used in their trauma healing, including options such as music, visual arts, dance and movement, drama, and more. The familiarity of the art fosters deeper engagement than words alone. Trauma healing facilitators affirm that the creative process is more valuable than the product . The traumatized people guide this process, enabling them to express their pain.
During the week of training in Dallas, people learned the definitions, effects, and scope of trauma, addressing questions like, “If God loves us, why do we suffer?”
“What can help our heart’s wounds heal?” “How do we bring our pain to the cross?”
Each lesson began with a Bible story or contemporary story. Discussion included the importance of understanding cultural values in each topic. The group explored Scriptures relevant to the topic and then worked through expressive arts exercises. Those who gathered to learn how to care for others found an opportunity for connection and healing. People completing the course received “apprentice facilitator”
certification from the Trauma Healing Institute, allowing them to lead healing groups under the supervision of a mentor.
When asked what lesson in the course was most significant, one person said a lesson in the “grief journey” was deeply moving because what others wrote was what she had wanted to express but had been unable to put into words. Another person said, “The grief session was very helpful because it showed me how common grief is in human experience and the benefit of going through the work of healing together in community.” For many, the experience of the war intensified this feeling of community.
Several people expressed joy at now having concrete tools and a plan to implement in helping Ukrainians find healing. Before the course, they had experienced frustration at their inability to do something that would make a difference. This was especially true for the Ukrainian participants. They relished a special session to express their grief, and in return, they experienced love and compassion through the prayers of others.
RESTORING ABUNDANT LIFE
Although the ultimate result of this training is still in the future, all participants have already been affected deeply by the principles learned, by their own healing through the expressive arts exercises, and by the community of healing and compassion they experienced throughout the week of training in Dallas. For those affected by the war in Ukraine, the road back to abundance will take time and faithful perseverance to restore. Although assistance for physical needs will continue to be an important first step, true spiritual thriving requires healing from the trauma of war.i Peter A. Levine and Maggie Kline, Trauma through a Child’s Eyes: Awakening the Ordinary Miracle of Healing (Berkeley, CA: North Atlantic Books, 2006), 4.
ScanDr. Andi Thacker (MABC, 2006)
Andi is a professor in the Counseling Ministries department at DTS. She is passionate about teaching her students to integrate Scripture and psychology and apply those concepts to real-life situations. She also maintains a small private counseling practice specializing in children and adolescents.Dr. Beth Argot
Beth teaches at Dallas International University, where she serves as the Arts and Trauma Healing liaison, PhD coordinator, and associate director for the Center for Excellence in World Arts. She is an Arts and Trauma Healing Master Facilitator and has received training with the Global Trauma Recovery Institute at Missio University in Philadelphia, PA, and Trauma Informed Expressive Arts Therapy with the Trauma-Informed Practices and Expressive Arts Therapy Institute. Her current research focuses on the neurological aspects of worship and healing through the arts.
Greg Hatteberg and Stephen Bramer have been best friends for over twenty-five years. Their paths crossed at Dallas Theological Seminary in 1997. Greg became a student in 1984 and worked in Admissions, later moving to his current role as the executive director of Alumni Services. Stephen first came to DTS in 1992 for PhD studies, and after some time ministering in Canada, he returned in 1997 as a professor of Bible exposition. Over the years of serving together at DTS, Greg and Stephen built a friendship that became a brotherhood. Their work together expanded beyond the campus when Stephen invited Greg to co-lead tours to the Holy Land, since Greg had already been there numerous times and had written The Christian Traveler’s Guide to the Holy Land (co-authored with Dr. Charles Dyer; current edition, 2014). These two brothers prayed each other through difficult times, including the years Greg cared for his wife, Lisa, as she endured multiple sclerosis, passing away in 2018. It’s also been a brotherhood filled with laughter, Bible study, and mutual care for their students and colleagues.
But it was a conversation during lunch one day in early 2022 that began a remarkable demonstration of brotherly love, an act that would resonate outward from these two friends and model the kind of love Jesus talked about with his disciples: “Just as I have loved you,” Jesus said, “you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples— if you have love for one another” (John 13:34–35). At lunch that day, Greg looked across at his friend and said, “You’re not looking so good. Is everything okay?”
“Well, no, not really,” said Stephen. “My kidney levels are off, and if they keep going down, I’m going to need a new kidney.”
Without a moment’s hesitation, Greg replied, “I’ll give you my kidney!”
A FAMILY’S LOVE THROUGH A MEDICAL HISTORY
Though Greg wasn’t aware of Stephen’s current difficulties, he knew the story up to that point. In 1984, Stephen went to a doctor because he wasn’t feeling well. The diagnosis: immunoglobulin A (IgA) nephropathy, or Berger’s disease. IgA nephropathy is a kidney disease in which the buildup of the IgA protein damages the blood vessels in the kidneys that filter waste from the blood. When this damage progresses to a dangerous level, the result is end-stage kidney disease; the only options are dialysis (blood-filtering treatments) or a kidney transplant. It may be genetic—though this doesn’t seem to be the case for Stephen’s family—or it could be an immune system’s response to respiratory or intestinal infections. Males in their teens to late thirties are at greatest risk; Stephen was thirty-seven at the time of his diagnosis.
After receiving the diagnosis, Stephen called his mother and told her he would need a kidney. “I don’t want to ask my siblings and put them on the spot,” he said to her. She replied, “They’re all coming over for a family meal tonight. I’ll ask them.” Later that night, Stephen’s father called and told him that all six of Stephen’s brothers
and sisters—all believers in Jesus Christ—volunteered to give him a kidney. Initial screening showed that four of them were eligible, and the doctor chose Stephen’s sister Eleanor.
TRUSTING GOD’S HELP AND TIMING
The first live-donor kidney transplant took place in 1954. By the end of the 1960s, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada, had become a major center for kidney transplants; more than ten percent of kidney transplants worldwide were performed there. When Stephen received his diagnosis in 1984, he was living in Caronport, Saskatchewan, within driving distance of the transplant hospital. His transplant wouldn’t take place until five years later, when his kidney function had declined to six percent. “Those five years were rough,” Stephen remembers. They were years that included physical discomforts such as fatigue and swelling. “I wouldn’t say it was worrisome, but it was very sobering,” he says. During that time, Stephen asked two questions. The first was an examination of his spiritual life: God, is there any unconfessed sin in my life that you might be addressing through this situation? Through prayer and counsel, nothing became apparent, and so he knew that this was not God’s way of getting his attention about sinfulness. His other question was about his family. His three children were then under five years old, and Stephen asked, Will I live long enough to see my children get married? He trusted God, whatever the outcome.
TRUSTING GOD AGAIN
When Stephen received his sister’s kidney, doctors expected it to last ten to fifteen years, since antirejection medications were still being developed. Remarkably, Stephen’s kept working for thirty-two years! When he and Greg began building their friendship in 1997, the kidney was going strong—as was Stephen! “I knew that he’d had a kidney transplant,” Greg says, “but he had more energy than anybody.” Greg remembers one of their early Israel tours together: “People asked me, ‘What was Israel like?’ And I just have this image in my mind of the back of Bramer, because that’s all I saw of him. He was always ahead of me!” But in 2021, the transplanted kidney was failing,
and Stephen knew he would need a second transplant. When he and Greg had lunch, Greg felt confident that he would be the donor.
“It’s not that simple, Greg,” Stephen said. “You have to have the right blood type, the right tissue type, and the right antibodies.”
“I’m sure I am giving you my kidney,” Greg repeated. “What blood type are you?”
“ I’m O! ”
Greg completed an online application for living donors, and later test results showed a near-perfect match. He continued to insist that his kidney would be the one, even as more than twenty other people also offered to be Stephen’s donors. “Past and present students from DTS called to offer,” says Stephen. “Eight men from my church offered. And, of course, family members offered.” In February 2022, Greg went in for further tests, and at the end of March, it was official: Greg was chosen to give a kidney to Stephen.
Kidney surgery carries little risk—the hospital staff who worked with Greg and Stephen perform this procedure multiple times every week—and the success rate for the transplanted kidney is 98%; five years after the surgery, 88% of transplanted kidneys are still functioning. But it is an invasive procedure, and for the donor, it’s elective. It is natural that people close to the donor might question this decision. When the date of the surgery drew near, Greg’s kids had a serious talk with him. They were supportive, but they also asked, “Of all the people in the world, why are you giving a kidney to Bramer? Isn’t this something you’d only do for family?”
Greg’s reply: “Wouldn’t you do it for a brother? There are only a few people I would do this for, and Bramer is one of them. I have two kidneys that are healthy, but he is sick. How can I not help?” Even so, there were difficult times. “Spiritually, I had to deal with the fears, the realities. Physically, I had to lose some weight and endure the tests and the surgery itself. Emotionally, I understood that Stephen could lose his life if his body
rejected my kidney.” Greg knew that it was God’s grace that strengthened him to walk this path for his friend.
Though Stephen looked forward to the surgery and finally feeling better again, he also depended on God’s will. Having preached through the book of James, he knew that “God doesn’t always give us our desires, though we are to make our desires known to Him. And so I was praying for God’s will to be done—and I sure was praying that it would be a successful kidney transplant.”
DEMONSTRATING BROTHERLY LOVE
That posture of brotherly love radiated outward from Greg and Stephen and exerted its beautiful influence on everyone around them throughout the transplant process. On the morning of July 28, 2022, they went to the hospital for the surgery. The procedures went perfectly. Over the next few days, the joy and love they share were evident to everyone on the recovery floor of the hospital. One time, Greg walked from his room to Stephen’s and said, “Hey, Bramer—I lost a kidney, and I think it’s in here!” Their joking, back-and-forth banter as they recovered together drew the attention of nurses, who would come in from the hallway just to listen. They couldn’t believe all the interaction between these two patients! At one point, Stephen’s wife pulled out her phone to record it.
For Greg, one moment sums up the importance of what he had done. An eleven-year-old boy walked into his hospital room, carrying a small box. “He handed me this box,” Greg says, “and in it was candy, a handwritten card, and a blanket. ‘I wanted to bring you something,’ he said. Then he looked at me and said, ‘Thank you so much for giving me my grandpa back.’”
Greg sees that in donating his kidney to Stephen, he has a part in Stephen’s continuing ministry. “You give money to missionaries, and they go out with the gospel to places you never would,” says Greg. “In giving Bramer my kidney, I could have a part in extending his ministry to so many people. He’s able to go places now because he has energy and health. I feel a joy because of that.”
“My life verse is now Psalm 71:17–18 (ESV),” Stephen says. “‘O God, from my youth you have taught me, and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds. So even to old age and gray hairs’—and I add, ‘with my new kidney!’—‘O God, do not forsake me, until I proclaim your might to another generation, your power to all those who come.’”
The story Greg and Stephen have lived now resonates among their students and colleagues at DTS. Students have told them, “We’ve heard our profs tell us the truth of the Bible. Now we see our profs living the truth of the Bible. DTS is not just ‘Teach Truth,’ but it’s also ‘Love Well.’”
“I want people around me to know how great God is,” Stephen says. “God has given me some years, and these are special, extra years that I might not have had. So I’m just very committed to saying ‘Lord, your way is perfect. What do you want me to do? And what can Greg and I do together?’”
The love of God, celebrated regularly during holy festival days such as Passover, should naturally strengthen His people’s love for Him. A concluding section of the seder, in the second half of the Hallel, quotes Psalm 116:1–2: “I love the L ord because he heard my plea for mercy, and listened to me. As long as I live, I will call to him when I need help.”
This psalm is attributed to David and is specific to his circumstances. However, the Jewish Passover tradition also relates this text to the redemption from slavery in Egypt. It affirms that God’s redemption will produce love from the redeemed to the Redeemer. Being loved by and loving God should naturally encourage people to love others. The annual remembrance of the Exodus story helps cultivate that attitude.
You must love your neighbor as yourself. . . . The resident foreigner who lives with you must be to you as a native citizen among you; so you must love the foreigner as yourself, because you were foreigners in the land of Egypt. I am the L ord your God. (Lev 19:18, 34)
During Passover, Jewish people read the Song of Songs, a passionate, romantic, explicit, and even erotic love poem that describes the relationship between a man and a woman. The Jewish perspective sees a deep connection between this poem and Passover. Since ancient times, Jewish rabbis saw in the Song of Songs an expression of the covenantal love between God and the Jewish people. This poem adds passion and romance to the great love story of Exodus.
That story is meaningful to all Christians. Something extraordinary happened about two thousand years ago during the celebration of Passover: God miraculously manifested His love again. “For this is the way God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). It is no coincidence that Yeshua (Jesus), the Messiah, died and was raised to life during Passover—the feast of love. Jesus acted out of love.
His resurrection is the ultimate affirmation of God’s love to all nations. God gives this Passover love story to all people, and by God’s grace all who follow Christ are now part of this story!
As Christians, Passover reminds us, as it reminded the Messiah’s first disciples, to follow His example in loving God and loving other people. God loves us compassionately and unconditionally. His love is seen in what He says and does. He loves us well—let us go and do likewise!
Scan this code to learn more about the Master of Arts in Jewish Studies program at DTS.
Vladimir Pikman (ThM, 2006)
Vladimir is the founding executive director of Beit Sar Shalom, the largest Messianic Jewish ministry in Germany, and rabbi of the Messianic congregation in Berlin. For almost thirty years, Vladimir has ministered internationally, reaching out to the Jewish people, teaching, equipping new ministers, and starting new Messianic ministries in various countries. Currently dividing his time between two continents, Vladimir serves as adjunct professor and director of Jewish studies at Dallas Theological Seminary.
Godly Servant LeadershipBY MARK L. BAILEY CHANCELLOR, DALLAS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
Far too many ministry leaders fail, fall, or forsake their calling in ministry due to burnout, ego, or a lapse of common sense. In every case, the root of such collapse is a spirit of selfish entitlement—the idea that somehow, some way, they could proceed with exception or immunity. Our beloved friend and colleague Dr. Howard Hendricks often quipped, “Spiritual failure is never a blowout, but always the result of a slow leak.” Intermittent private compromises always precede a more publicized collapse.Dr. Howard Hendricks
In their book Everyday People, Extraordinary Leadership: How to Make a Difference Regardless of Your Title, Role, or Authority (2021), James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner explore the idea that leadership is not defined by rank or authority but is achieved through everyday behaviors and actions. In the second chapter of 1 Thessalonians, Paul creatively warns against two pitfalls of failure and commends three patterns of everyday faithfulness that befit a godly servant leader. What occasioned this portion of the letter were the spurious attacks against Paul’s message and motives in Thessalonica and Berea (Acts 17:1–15). His defense tells what he and his ministry partners didn’t do, as well as what they did do, to make sure the gospel remained central.
The pitfalls of failure that Paul successfully avoided were the loss of truth and the loss of integrity. Truth is lost whenever erroneous speculation, impure motives, or intentional deceit become the methods used to manipulate others in the ministry (1 Thess 2:3). Integrity is lost when flattery, greed, and ego motivate the ministry (1 Thess 2:5–6).
By contrast, in 1 Thessalonians 2:7–12, Paul illustrates his approach of ministry among the Thessalonians with three everyday examples. All three endure as great models for God’s understanding of godly servant leadership. The first model is that of a nursing mother who lovingly and tenderly cares for her baby (1 Thess 2:7–8). She delights in showing her affection with great sensitivity and personal sacrifice. Paul says that he and his companions shared not only the truth of the gospel but also their very lives with the Thessalonians. With mother-like love, godly servant leaders are people of compassion who provide an atmosphere of nurture.
The second model pictures the efforts and ethics of a faithful worker (1 Thess 2:9–10). Paul and his team worked long, strenuous hours so that the Thessalonians would not be disadvantaged in any way. Their service was above reproach as they demonstrated the integrity of a holy, righteous lifestyle. Like faithful workers on the job, godly servant leaders build trust through the credibility of their efforts and ethics.
The third model of godly leadership is that of a guiding father (1 Thess 2:11–12). His intentionality is evident in the time he spends with each of his children and in his passion to see them walk in faithfulness to God’s calling. With an eye on God’s kingdom and glory, the good father’s commitment is seen in his constant encouragement, consolation, and challenges. Like this conscientious and committed father, godly servant leaders cast a vision of hope for the future that challenges the next generation to live up to God’s calling in the present.
When, like Paul, we adopt the godly servant leadership values of compassion, credibility, and a commitment borne of genuine love and loyalty to God’s Word, those who follow are encouraged to grow, trust, and share in the vision of pursuing God’s kingdom and glory.
Spiritual failure is never a blowout, but always the result of a slow leak.
Introducing All Kids to Jesus: A Partnership between DTS and Young LifeBY NEIL R. COULTER JIM RAYBURN, FOUNDER OF YOUNG LIFE
Loving well means loving every generation and introducing all people to Jesus Christ. Many churches feature programs to engage young children, and youth groups welcome teens into a journey of faith. But still some kids will be missed. That’s where parachurch ministries like Young Life can assist, connecting with teens who haven’t yet begun a journey with Jesus. And Young Life’s history with Dallas Theological Seminary has now led to an innovative partnership to train leaders.
For more than eighty years, Young Life has lived out its vision to “introduce adolescents to Jesus Christ and help them grow in their faith.” As the organization’s founder, Jim Rayburn, liked to say, “It’s a sin to bore a kid with the gospel.”i So Young Life’s leaders build relationships with kids and earn the right to share the gospel by inviting them into a community that meets together to learn, have fun, and serve in their local areas.
The foundation of Young Life’s mission includes a solid understanding of the whole Bible, thorough competence in Bible exposition, skillful relationship building, and a lot of prayer. Jim started Young Life almost immediately after completing his Master of Theology (ThM) degree at Dallas Theological Seminary. The teaching of founding president Lewis Sperry Chafer drew Jim to the young seminary; Chafer’s book He That Is Spiritual had changed his life. At seminary, Jim was overwhelmed by Chafer’s enthusiasm about “the fact that the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ was what Jesus Christ
had done for man plus nothing else in the whole world.” Jim said he would sit in class and think, “If I don’t do something about this, I’m going to burst!”ii
Using Jim’s knowledge from seminary classes and his eagerness to share the gospel with everyone, the Lord opened the door to ministry among kids the church wasn’t reaching. Jim’s idea to bring the gospel to this next generation through a structure that became known as the “four C’s” of Young Life: C ontact with kids; a C lub that meets together; weekly C ampaigner meetings; and Camp. (A fifth C, the Committee of adults, is now included.) The first Young Life club started down the street from the DTS campus. From there, the idea grew and thrived, and Young Life now operates in all fifty states and more than one hundred countries worldwide.
In honor of the early and ongoing friendship between DTS and Young Life, and thanks to the generosity of a donor, the Jim Rayburn Full-Tuition Scholarship launched in the fall semester of 2022. Young Life staff members can now continue their education at DTS free of financial burdens. And because the seminary offers a robust selection of online courses, Young Life staff members can take advantage of this opportunity while remaining in their place of ministry anywhere in the world.
“Dallas Theological Seminary and the Young Life organization have a rich history together,” says DTS President Mark Yarbrough. “Through the Lord’s generosity, we are eager to see how
the Lord will use the Jim Rayburn Full-Tuition Scholarship to make the name of Jesus known!”
The Rayburn Scholarship now benefits Young Life staff members, and the benefits go beyond just the students attending DTS. Landen Swain, a staff associate in Young Life’s Garden State Region, is pursuing a master’s in apologetics and evangelism. He is excited to be a part of Young Life’s Servant Leadership Project, which gives kids hands-on training in serving others by following Jesus. “Because of the training I am receiving from DTS, I am better equipped to address the million questions that middle and high school students ask,” Landen says. Jared Sutton, area director in Texas for Southlake Young Life, agrees. “I have wanted to attend seminary for a long time,” he says. “I’ve always appreciated Jim Rayburn’s desire to share the gospel in an engaging way. He met kids where they were and shared the gospel. The knowledge I’m gaining in the ThM program at DTS will help me be a better, more accurate communicator of the gospel to the kids I minister to in Southlake.”
To learn more about the Jim Rayburn Full-Tuition Scholarship, scan this QR code.i Char Meredith, It’s a Sin to Bore a Kid: The Story of Young Life (Waco, TX: Word Books, 1978). ii Jim Rayburn, The Diaries of Jim Rayburn, edited by Kit Sublett (Houston, TX: Whitecaps Media, 2008), 45.
NEWS STAFF & FACULTY
For twenty-seven years, Michael held a faculty appointment at Talbot School of Theology, teaching courses in leadership, organizational development, and nonprofit management. During those years, he also served a variety of administrative appointments, including department chair, associate provost, and vice provost.
Michael has a PhD in educational administration from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and a PhD in developmental psychology from Claremont Graduate University.
He has served on the staff of five local churches and as the senior chaplain for the Irvine Police Department. For the past seven years, he has served as COO and CFO at the Dream Centers in Colorado Springs.
Michael is the author or editor of thirteen books, including the Evangelical Dictionary of Christian Education and Management
Essentials for Christian Ministries
He and Michelle have been married for thirty-five years, and they have two adult children and two grandchildren.
Sten-Erik loves helping others think Christianly about their faith, ministry, and daily lives. This desire led him out of a career in human resources and legal compliance to study at Dallas Theological Seminary. While a student at DTS, Sten-Erik served for four years in the Spiritual Formation department. In his final year of the ThM, he was awarded the Rollin Thomas Chafer Award, for his work in apologetics, and the H. A. Ironside Award in Expository Preaching. After graduating, he served as the director of Spiritual Formation and pastored Redeemer Bible Church in Dallas, and in 2022 became assistant professor of pastoral ministries and spiritual formation at DTS. Sten-Erik and his wife, Lisa, have four daughters. In addition to his teaching at the seminary, he continues his writing and research. His academic interests include spiritual formation, divine attributes, theological aesthetics, and apologetic method.
Brian loves sharing with students about God’s glorious deeds in the Old Testament and, most importantly, God’s mission to redeem His people, restore their access to His presence, and renew their broken relationship with Him. He takes special delight in teaching Hebrew language and exegesis courses, particularly in wisdom literature. He has written articles on Hosea, Job, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Songs, and he is currently working on commentaries on Esther and Song of Songs. Before joining the DTS faculty, he taught at Columbia Biblical Seminary in South Carolina for ten years. He and his wife, Cara, have two beautiful daughters and one very energetic little boy.
Joe’s educational journey took him from San Jose State University as an undergraduate to Western Seminary and then to Dallas Theological Seminary for his ThM and PhD. Before joining the faculty at DTS, Joe served in local church ministry for more than six years and taught as an adjunct professor in theology at DTS and Criswell College. His research interests include Jonathan Edwards, anthropology, hamartiology, and theological ethics. Joe wants to see students embrace the journey that is the Christian life and thrive in the right ministry position. He is married to Mollie, and they have two children. He enjoys a good cup of coffee, reading, hiking, rooting for Bay Area sports teams, and spending time with his family.
Originally from Honduras, Williams serves the seminary as director of DTS en Español. The Lord has given Williams opportunities to serve in a variety of ministries, including in pastoral ministry of Hispanic churches and in theological education. He has also enjoyed visits to over fifteen countries in Latin America and Spain to share in seminaries and churches. His passion for training leaders for the glory of God motivates him in his work at DTS, as it did when he was a student here.
He finished his STM program at DTS in 2015, and in the spring of 2017, he took on the role of assistant director for DTS en Español. He completed a PhD at Centro American Theological Seminary in 2021 and then became director of DTS en Español, in 2022.
He’s also an adjunct professor for the EML department. He enjoys spending time with his family— his wife, Julie, and their three children—walking in nature, and, of course, traveling.
Michael entered DTS in 1993, completing a ThM in 1998 and a PhD in 2004, with specialties in Greek language and exegesis, the Gospels, and Jesus studies. After working as an editor at Bible.com and assistant project director for the NET Bible, he joined the New Testament faculty at DTS in 2004. In 2022, Michael took on the additional role of dean of faculty development. In that role, he plans to lead faculty in professional development consistent throughout their time at DTS in publications, pedagogy, and knowledge of their fields. As dean, Michael’s vision is to help each faculty member become all that God desires them to be.
NEWS STAFF & FACULTY
I have a job at Dallas Theological Seminary because of Dr. Aubrey Malphurs. I know that’s a strong statement, but that is my personal testimony to the legacy of Aubrey in my life.
thirty-four-year-old associate pastor to come lead alongside him. He saw something in me, and I am truly eternally grateful.
Dr. Aubrey Malphurs (ThM, 1978; PhD, 1981) passed away on December 6, 2022. He taught in the Educational Ministries and Leadership and Pastoral Ministries departments at Dallas Theological Seminary. Friends, colleagues, and students remember him as a beloved mentor, favorite author, and inspiring teacher. Dr. Malphurs founded The Malphurs Group to provide services to pastors around the world through resources, training events, and on-site consulting. He wrote more than twenty books on church leadership and strategic planning topics, including Advanced Strategic Planning: A 21st-century Model for Church and Ministry Leaders (2013). Dr. George Hillman, vice president for education and professor of educational ministries and leadership at DTS, remembers Dr. Malphurs:
Though I didn’t attend DTS, I developed a friendship with Aubrey when he was leading the seminary’s Field Education department. I was an associate pastor at a church in the area, and I had DTS students every year as interns. I’d read one of Aubrey’s books in my MDiv seminary classes years earlier, so I was aware of him as an author. But I got to know Aubrey as a person through those initial interactions in internship supervision training. Aubrey and I hit it off as friends. He took an interest in my doctoral studies (I was finishing a PhD at the time), and we started having quarterly coffee meetings at a coffee shop in the Lakewood neighborhood. No agenda—just conversation. I really loved those times with Aubrey and looked forward to them.
Aubrey was so insightful and so kind to me, very much a father figure. After three years of mentoring me, he asked if I would be interested in joining him on his internship staff at DTS. I was beyond humbled (and a little nervous), but I jumped at the chance. And the rest, as the saying goes, is history.
As a young leader, I needed an advocate to help me navigate life in an organization. Aubrey was my advocate, taking a chance on a young
Eventually the tables turned, and eleven years later I became chair of the Educational Ministries and Leadership department and Aubrey’s “boss.” Aubrey’s office was right across the hall from mine in the dilapidated old Faculty Annex Building (fondly known as “FAB”), and we discussed everything from college football (he was a huge Florida Gators fan) to trends in the church. He was ahead of his time with a prophetic voice for the church. I loved talking with him in his office. It was a safe space for me where I could ask all my questions.
Aubrey’s reputation was probably bigger outside of the campus than it ever was on campus. His books were so ahead of their time, and he influenced a generation of church leaders in the areas of church planting, strategic planning, finances, and emotional intelligence. He was in demand as a church consultant. Aubrey impacted the global church, and he impacted my life beyond words. He was my friend and mentor, whom I love deeply. It is no stretch to say that I am the leader I am today because of Aubrey. Thank you, Aubrey, for investing in me. We’ll miss you.
Clear Instructions for Staying on TargetBY CHUCK SWINDOLL CHANCELLOR EMERITUS, DALLAS THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
There’s a famine in the land, and it’s growing. It’s not a famine for bread or water—it’s a famine for the Word of God. Wherever I speak, I discover people’s hunger to know the Bible. In answering that hunger, you will encounter situations you can’t expect, predict, or know in advance. We can prepare and stay focused by returning to 2 Timothy 4, where we read Paul’s final words to Timothy. This passage is home base for people who are committed to the essential responsibility of the follower of God: to communicate His Word.
In 2 Timothy 4, we’re reading a letter written in a dungeon. Paul knew he would be executed soon, and we sense his urgency. Think of these words as though they were written directly to you. They apply to each one of us. They’re our marching orders. I think of them every Sunday morning before I drive to church. I always remember that it’s my responsibility to declare God’s Word in a way that is accurate , clear, and practical .
Preach the Word!
As I look at this passage, I see it as an inspired job profile for those who will preach the Word. Paul opens with a powerful charge: “I solemnly exhort you, in the presence of God” (2 Tim 4:1 NASB). These are serious words. They are all-important. You’re not all-important—the message is all-important. And so Paul charges us with this message.
He follows this with a command that you see all around the campus of Dallas Theological Seminary: Preach the Word . Make it known, declare it, make its truths central. Don’t hold back. Share from the Scriptures, knowing that it’s the Scriptures, not your opinion or insight, that give life. The Scriptures embody the truth. Expose people to the truth. This is real-life stuff! The Scriptures are what will bring life, hope, relief, forgiveness, salvation, great patience to endure. We certainly need all that, don’t we? So . . . Preach the Word!
Verse two continues with a series of commands: Be ready Correct . Rebuke . Exhort . These are to accompany what we do when we open our mouths to communicate the
truth. People won’t resent that—rather, they’ll respect it, because you’re giving attention to what the Lord says. In verses 3 and 4, we read Paul’s predictions of a time that will come—in fact it has already come. We live in a time when people seek those who will tell them what they want to hear, not realizing that it’s not good for them. Consider the analogy of the physician: you don’t want to see a physician who tells you something only to make you feel good. No! You want the doctor’s words to be accurate. Good physicians tell you the truth, and that’s what you need to do when you open the Scriptures. Don’t shy away from things that are difficult to hear. Your concern is not to make people feel good but to communicate what they need to hear.
Paul closes the passage with this marvelous conclusion in verse 5: “Use self-restraint in all things, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.” I don’t know what that ministry will be for you. You’ll touch lives I’ll never reach. You’ll reach people whom others will not reach. Make sure your message is authentic. Don’t deceive people. Acknowledge weakness, knowing that in ministry, failure is part of the learning process. When you make a mistake, acknowledge it. Why? Because you’re bringing people face to face with an authentic message. It’s impossible to do that through an inauthentic messenger.
Next year, I will have been in ministry for sixty years, and I still love it! I think of it in the daytime, and I dream of it at night. If I want to be known for one thing, it’s the faithful exposition of the Scriptures. Whatever ministry God leads you to, take Paul’s charge as seriously as he intended it. Preach the Word—and then get out of the way so that God can use it to meet people’s deepest hunger.
This is an adaptation of Dr. Swindoll’s chapel message at DTS on October 14, 2022.
Scan here to watch the entire message!
Thomas S. Simmons (ThM, 1968) serves as a chaplain at the DeSoto County Jail in Arcadia, FL. Tommy also teaches theology at Southwest Florida Bible Institute and pastors Community Christian Fellowship.
Allan S. Maitha (ThM, 1970) published The Coming: Our Only Hope for a Better World in September 2022 with Trilogy Christian Publishing.
Ronald R. Smith (ThM, 1977) continues his teaching ministry across the world and hosts training gatherings for people who cannot afford a theological education.
Jeffrey J. Richards (ThM, 1978) and his wife, Debbie, celebrated fifty years of marriage. Jeff has pastored for forty-five years and currently works at Covenant Church in Statesville, NC. He has lectured globally at seminaries and universities for over thirty years. Jeff launched the Charlotte Divinity School and serves on the board of Educational Resources Referrals China/China Academic Consortium and International Theological Education Ministries.
James R. Johnson (ThM, 1986) retired from Fellowship Bible Church of Longview, TX, after serving for thirty-two years. He serves as a hospice chaplain and blogs, teaches, preaches, and leads worship.
After ministering in higher education for more than four decades, Stephen R. Lewis (ThM, 1986) retired from his role as president of Rocky Mountain Bible College and Rocky Mountain Seminary. He remains with BEE World.
Lawrence E. Ford (1987) earned his Doctor of Ministry in Ministry Leadership at Liberty University. He created a Bible training ministry for lay teachers called “I Can Teach the Bible.”
Ronald L. Jones (ThM, 1994) published The Ultimate Road Trip through the Bible. The Old Testament and New Testament editions are available through his ministry, Something Good Radio.
Drawing upon his cartooning skills, Tim J. Kreiter (CGS, 1999) created a series of Christian coloring sheets. He has one hundred weekly subscribers.
Andrea R. Johnson (MABS, 2000; MACM, 2001) and her husband serve part-time as field staff of Cru City, helping believers live intentionally with their neighbors in their communities.
After attending Philadelphia College of the Bible, Glenn C. Welsford (ThM, 1974) studied at DTS and then taught at Washington Bible College. In 1984, he served with Campus Crusade (Cru) in Executive Ministries. In 1989, the Lord led Glenn and Linda to White Oak Associate Reformed Presbyterian (ARP) Church. After serving at several other small churches, including most recently Sherwood Forest ARP Church in South Carolina, Glenn and Linda retired. The Lord uses their home to bless the local church as a frequent small-group meeting location.
Since retirement, Elisha Lin-Nun Cheung (ThM, 1975) has published four books.
Norman W. Mathers (ThM, 1976) has published several books, including Epistles of Paul: Patterns for Living, Another in My Name, and When the Middle East Blows
Ronald L. Joline (MABS, 1980) retired as a pastor of Lancaster Evangelical Free Church after forty years and as coach of the swim team at Warwick HS after seventeen years. He supports small-group leadership training at Calvary Church in Lancaster, PA, and local summer swim teams.
Roy E. Moran (ThM, 1980) serves as the North American Regional Director of New Generations North America.
J. Randall Price (ThM, 1981) has twelve grandchildren and has written or contributed to over forty books. Randy directed archaeological excavations at Qumran, Israel, for twenty years.
Randy A. Buchman (ThM, 1982; DMin, 1994) retired in July as lead pastor at Tri-State Fellowship in Hagerstown, MD, after twenty-eight years.
Paul S. Dzubinski (ThM, 1988) serves as Director of Innovation with Frontier Ventures (formerly US Center for World Mission) in Pasadena, CA.
William B. Slonaker (ThM, 1989) works as a technical writer and knowledge management contractor with the US Veterans Affairs Department. In his free time, he self-publishes novels and Bible studies through Amazon.
Robert A. Carlson (ThM, 2002) authored Preaching Like the Prophets, published by Wipf & Stock in 2017.
After eighteen years of ministering at Ethnos Bible Church in Richardson, TX, Pablo A. (ThM, 2002) and Sara L. Morales (MABS, 2003) moved to Sara’s home city of Bangkok, Thailand. Pablo serves as the teaching and counseling pastor of the Evangelical Church of Bangkok.
David J. Largent (ThM, 2005) serves as the pastor–chaplain at Lakeview Congregation, an independent church that meets at Autumn Leaves, a senior living community in Dallas, TX.
Jennifer A. F. Larsen (MABS, 1990) serves as a certified aptitude testing specialist and life coach with 2:10 Consulting.
Anne M. Hunt (MACE, 2006) served fourteen years in the children’s ministry at First Baptist Dallas. Since then, she has served as principal at Grace Academy of Dallas in Dallas, TX.
In July 2022, Scott W. Cunningham (CGS, 2007) moved to Florida and handed leadership of Overseas Council to one of their regional directors. Scott continues part-time as a senior consultant. He currently serves with the Ukraine team in refuge relief and leadership development.
Judith Graham (ThM, 2007; DMin, 2013) spent the last few years in the fostering and adoption process after serving full-time in women’s ministry. She volunteers in teaching, mentoring, and leading worship.
Nathaniel M. Claiborne (ThM, 2011) accepted the new position of Director of Ministry Operations at NewCity Orlando. Nate studies in the PhD program at DTS. He and his wife, Ali, also look forward to serving with Life Prep Ministries, a ministry designed to help equip high school seniors transition to college and adulthood.
Kristopher A. Harrison (ThM, 2011) serves as the executive pastor at Grace Community Fellowship in Eugene, OR.
Church. Nathan now serves as Care Pastor at Grace, where he serves alongside fellow DTS alumnus Mike Standish (ThM, 2011).
Mikel L. Del Rosario (ThM, 2016; PhD, 2021) accepted the position of associate professor of Bible and theology at Moody Bible Institute. After leaving his hosting duties on the DTS The Table Podcast, he launched his own podcast on the Christianity Today Network: The Apologetics Guy Show.
Congrats to László Kádár (ThM, 2007) on his new role as director of Word of Life Hungary in 2023.
Kelly L. Lashar (MACE, 2009) serves as a marriage therapist and owner of Restore Behavioral Health.
Eric W. Davis (MACE, 2010; MAMC, 2010) serves as the Family and Missions Pastor at Green Valley Church in Hoover, AL.
Robert K. MacEwen (PhD, 2010) is academic dean and associate professor of New Testament language and literature at Tyndale Theological Seminary in the Netherlands.
Derrick Sledge (CGS, 2011; MABS, 2014) works as a support counselor in a public school district north of Dallas. He also serves as an adjunct professor at Criswell College and as a therapist at Christian Counseling Associates in Plano, TX. Currently, Derrick studies in the Doctor of Educational Ministries program with an emphasis in marriage and family ministry. Derrick resides in Allen, TX, with his bride of thirty-five years, Sheila Marie.
Meng-En W. Brooks (CGS, 2014; MACS, 2021) works with the local church in Central Thailand to see new groups and churches formed in communities through grassroots disciple-making and creative ministries like Sattha ministry, which uses sports as a tool for outreach.
E. Nathaniel Fowler V (ThM, 2014) facilitated Circle Community Church’s merger with their neighbor, Grace
Brandon P. Giella (MABS, 2016) works as Practice Director of Research and Insights at The Starr Conspiracy, and he recently started his own business called Giella Media. Brandon’s wife, Christine, is a mental health therapist with her own practice, Christine L. Giella Counseling.
Filipe D. Santos (MABS, 2016) serves with Word of Life Brazil, where he works as the dean of the academic school at Seminário Bíblico Palavra da Vida (Atibaia, São Paulo).
G. Ignacio Cerda Montalvo (MACS, 2018) is a Mexican American pastor–theologian. He serves as an associate pastor for Hispanic Ministries at Stonebriar Community Church and as a chaplain in the US Army Reserve.
Donald L. Johnson (MACE, 2019) earned a doctoral degree at Southwestern in Fort Worth, TX. He lives in Georgia and enjoys local and national evangelism. He plans to plant a church and start a training academy to teach social skills to disadvantaged youths and young adults.
Hutto Bible Church is part of the Association of Hill Country Churches, planting local congregations in the Austin area. In September 2023, Hutto Bible Church intends to send James, his family, and a core team to plant a new church in Taylor, TX.
Dan R. Heylmann (MACS, 2022; MACL, 2022) leads F.E.A.R.(Less) Ministries, an internet ministry reaching those who may never set foot in a traditional church, focusing on the topics of prophecy and spiritual warfare.
Ping Mu (MACS, 2022) pastors a church in Karlsruhe, Germany, and leads several Bible studies.
Stewart J. Severino (MACL, 2022) leverages his background in business systems to help ministries increase efficiency, safety, and processes for growth and discipleship with WorkFaith in Houston, TX.
In 2022, Mark A. Simpson (MBTS, 2022) traveled to Bolivia with IBEC, training pastors who serve in the growing churchKelly J. Bly (ThM, 2021) lives on a naval base and is a member of the women’s Bible study. James D. Foster (ThM, 2021) was hired by Hutto Bible Church in Hutto, TX, to serve as a resident in planting.
movement of Central and South America.
Destin L. Williams (MACE, 2022) serves as senior pastor at Mount Carmel Baptist Church in Gainesville, FL.
CONGRATS TO OUR LEGACY STUDENTS!
Pacific, West Asia (Middle East), and beyond.
He loved tennis and played into his nineties. His passion, dedication, and humor mark his ministry.
twenty-four years as assistant professor of systematic theology and as registrar. After DTS, Duane moved on to work as a librarian at Arizona Bible College in Phoenix, AZ.
Robbin L. Young (MBTS, 2020) with his daughter, Olivia.
José L. Cruz Parada (ThM, 1986) with his daughter, Camille.
In September, DTS alumni gathered at the General Assembly of the Asian Theological Association (ATA). The ATA General Assembly convenes every three years, gathering theological schools from across Asia, the South
(L to R): Jacob L. Li (ThM, 2013; East Asia School of Theology), Neil Ty (STM, 2011; PhD, 2019; Biblical Seminary of the Philippines), Craig W. Thompson (ThM, 2002; International Graduate School of Leadership), Imad N. Shehadeh (ThM, 1986; PhD, 1990; Jordan Evangelical Theological Seminary), Kyle Essary (PhD, 2017; Malaysian Baptist Theological Seminary), Jeannette M. Shubert (ThM, 1996; DMCE, 2001; East Asia School of Theology), Mona P. Bias (STM, 1995; PhD, 2003; International Graduate School of Leadership), Philip Co (STM, 1998; Biblical Seminary of the Philippines). Not pictured: John D. Attwood (MACM, 1991; BEE World) and his wife, Kelly.
Jack D. Lord (ThM, 1954) passed away on September 21, 2022. Jack served as a professor at several institutions, including Philadelphia College of the Bible, Dallas Baptist University, Southern Bible Institute, and Dallas Theological Seminary.
DTS Alumni Stay Connected
Martha Johnston passed away on August 14, 2022. Martha was the wife of Wendell G. Johnston (ThM, 1957; ThD, 1961). She was an active member of Grace Bible Church in Dallas and served as a Bible study leader. Martha and Wendell have three sons, four nephews, seven grandchildren, and nine greatgrandchildren.
Robert M. Koivisto (ThM, 1966) passed away on June 6, 2022. He served as a pastor at Inglenook Bible Church in Everson, WA.
Robert L. Barbour (MABS, 1985) passed away on August 11, 2022. Bob taught geography, social studies, and New Testament at Huntington High School for twelve years before pastoring Union Baptist Church in Chesapeake, OH.
Amy Rucker passed away on September 15, 2022. Amy was the wife of Robert M. Rucker (MABS, 1988; MACE, 1991), who served as the chaplain’s assistant in the early 1990s. Amy was a talented musician, studying piano, flute, French horn, and music education. She established the Musikgarten Early Childhood and Family Music Program at Park Cities Presbyterian Church in Dallas, TX.
F. Duane Lindsey (ThD, 1968) passed away on September 8, 2022. Duane served at DTS for
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