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Many in the sports world who follow basketball were glued


to their television set as LeBron James made his grand announcement that he would sign as a free agent with the Miami Heat. Season tickets for the Miami Heat games surged, LeBron game jerseys became a hot item at the local sports equipment store and the Heat organization popped the champagne, toasting their new team addition.


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With the signing of Dr. Jim Belcher, I now know how the Heat management felt when they signed LeBron. Dr. Belcher will head up the Practical Theology Department here at Knox. I only hinted at the possibility in my previous article, but now I can make it official. Dr. Belcher is every bit a superstar in Christian education. His book, Deep Church, is a staple in the curriculum of many American seminaries. Dr. Belcher brings an impressive resume which includes serving as the Senior Pastor at the Redeemer Presbyterian Church, a very large PCA Church in Newport Beach, California. A powerful voice in Reformed circles, Dr. Belcher will be a key player on the team of an all-world faculty we now have at Knox. When I look at the faculty at Knox, I know that it is among the best in the world. Students who study here are going to have a major impact for Christ—if He tarries. Your gift of any amount will go directly to training students and paying for faculty. LeBron wasn’t cheap; we need your help!

The faculty and staff of Knox Theological Seminary extend their condolences to the family of Dr. Cortez Cooper who went to be with our Lord on October 25, 2011. Dr. Cooper was President of Knox Theological Seminary from July, 1994 through December, 1995. He served on the KTS Board of Directors from the summer of 1994 through the fall of 2007.


Dr. Jim Belcher Joins the Faculty at Knox Theological Seminary

The Board of Directors at Knox Theological Seminary is pleased to announce that Dr. Jim Belcher will be joining the faculty as an Associate Professor of Practical Theology. Dr. Belcher’s responsibilities will include teaching in the areas of pastoral theology, preaching, missional theology, worship, and church planting. He will chair the Practical Theology Department and give leadership to the Doctor of Ministry program. “Our desire at Knox is to be Christ centered, gospel driven, and mission focused in all of our programs. That is precisely why we are thrilled to have Dr. Jim Belcher join us as resident faculty and chair of our Practical Theology program,” said Dean of Faculty, Dr. Warren A. Gage. “Jim’s heart for Christian unity is Spirit driven, yet it is a passion informed by a deep commitment to the church and to the Reformed faith. Jim brings many unique gifts to our faculty and we believe that he is God’s choice to help us cast the pastoral vision here at Knox Theological Seminary.” Dr. Belcher taught a Doctor of Ministry course at Knox in August entitled Mission and Tradition: Seeking a Balance in Ministry where he was greeted warmly by faculty, staff, students and local pastors. He said, “What excites me about Knox is their commitment to church planting in South Florida, missional Christianity, and an international focus.” Assistant Professor of Systematic Theology Dr. Michael Allen, who co-taught the Doctor of Ministry course with Dr. Belcher said, “We are thrilled that Dr. Belcher will join our faculty. He will bring many new talents, gifts, passions, and experiences to our faculty, even as he shares our common commitment to Christ-centered, gospel-driven, mission-focused theological education.” Dr. Belcher is best known for his widely-acclaimed, award-winning book, Deep Church: A Third Way Beyond Emerging and Traditional (InterVarsity Press, 2009). Tim Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, applauded the book: “Jim Belcher shows that we don’t have to choose between orthodox evangelical doctrine Continued on page 4


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on the one hand, and cultural engagement, creativity and commitment to social justice on the other. This is an important book.” Deep Church argues that faithful Christian ministry must learn from the great tradition of classical and Reformed theology as well as engage in the practice of discerning and creative contextualization. It illustrates this commitment by considering a host of issues, ranging from worship to evangelism. Christianity Today awarded the book its 2010 Book Award in the Church/Pastoral Leadership category. It continues to be read widely and is used as a textbook in many seminaries and colleges. He is currently completing its sequel, Deep Christianity (InterVarsity Press, forthcoming 2012), which presents a contemporary defense of the gospel in conversation with the great tradition as well as various modern critics of the faith. Preparation of this new volume has involved a year of research and writing in Europe, investigating the sources of modern doubt and skepticism as well as a number of remarkable examples of Christian witness. Dr. Belcher received his Ph.D. from Georgetown University, having done earlier study at Gordon College and Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the founder and former lead pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Newport Beach, California, where he served from 2000-2010 and led a period of steady growth. He is the co-founder of the Restoring Community Conference: Integrating Social Interaction, Sacred Space and Beauty in the 21st Century, an annual conference for city officials, planners, builders and architects. Jim previously led the TwentySomething Fellowship and co-founded The Warehouse Service at Lake Avenue Church in Pasadena. He has served as adjunct professor at Azusa Pacific University and Reformed Theological Seminary. He has been published in Leadership Journal and re:generation quarterly. He and his wife, Michelle, have four children. Dr. Belcher’s appointment will be effective December 1, 2011, and he will begin teaching in the January, 2012. If you would like more information about Knox Theological Seminary, please visit, their official Facebook page, or on Twitter @ knoxseminary. For more information about Jim Belcher, please visit www. or you can find him on Twitter @jimbelcher. 4

PREACHING CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT: A Powerful Message From the Pulpit That is Connecting With People in the Pews.

Jesus said that when he is lifted up he will draw all men to himself (John 12:32). It was always God’s purpose to unify his people to himself by the suffering and glory (the gospel) of his Son, the Lord Jesus. Jesus was lifted up to suffer death on the cross and to suffer the shame of death and burial.

By Dr. Warren Gage

But as Isaiah the prophet foresaw, Jesus was “raised, he was lifted up, and he was exalted very high” (Isaiah 52:13). Christians have long read Isaiah’s prophecy to speak of Christ being raised from the grave, of his ascension into heaven, and of his being exalted to the right hand of the Father himself. That message–of the triumph of the Savior over death and the grave and his glorious resurrection, ascension, and exaltation—is the testimony of the sacred scriptures and the heart of the apostolic preaching of the cross. It is the greatest source of hope a dying world could ever know. It speaks of the greatest love there could ever be. Its message summons us to the greatest adventure of faith we could ever imagine. Our challenge at Knox Seminary is to kindle a bright and warm love of the scriptures in our students, whose minds are trained to see the gospel in all of the scriptures, Old Testament and New Testament, just as the Lord Jesus directed (Luke 24:27). With such a vision of the scriptures as Christ centered, their hearts, like Jeremiah’s, will burn within them, driving them to share the gospel. That universal message of the calling forth of the elect people of God will challenge them to go, as the Savior commanded, into all the earth. That is our calling here at Knox. It is our commitment to be Christ centered, gospel driven, and mission focused—until He comes!


A FRESH VISION by Dr. Michael Allen Every so often churches and ministries reassess their mission statements, asking if they most fittingly express their real passions, core principles, and sense of calling. Knox Theological Seminary has recently gone through such a process, involving the development of a new mission statement. At their October meeting, the Board of Directors approved the following statement of mission: “Knox Theological Seminary equips servant leaders for effective Reformed ministry that is Christ centered, gospel driven, and mission focused.” This new statement reflects those commitments that mark our faculty and our prayer is that it will describe each and every one of our graduates. It will be our privilege over the course of this year and the next three issues of Legacy to unpack each of the three new phrases used to describe our goals here: Christ centered, gospel driven, mission focused. You will have noticed that many of the terms in this new statement are straightforward: equipping, leaders, effective, ministry. Such terms, or close synonyms, probably appear in almost every seminary mission statement. They are important words and serve a purpose: we are training folks for ministry, not for a million other things in life; we want people to be equipped and effective, rather than


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unprepared and unproductive. Yet each of these terms is fairly abstract and vague. We believe that these three particular phrases – Christ centered, gospel driven, and mission focused – add real depth and distinctiveness to what we seek to do here at Knox Seminary. These commitments define ministerial excellence and effectiveness and, by extension, they shape what it means to be theologically educated in a way that genuinely equips one for a lifetime of service. We cannot assume that the standards of business practice or therapeutic approaches set the bar for pastoral ministry – ministry leaders are not called to be bureaucrats or therapists but heralds of the Word. Therefore, ministerial excellence must be defined by that Word and according to its faithful transmission. We did not make up these principles on our own, and we did not borrow them from secular disciples. We believe they mark God’s priorities communicated to us in the Bible. Because they are to shape individual Christians, churches, and Christian ministry, we are steadfastly committed to ensuring that they shape our educational goals. We believe they describe our approach to our three major areas of theological curriculum: biblical studies, theological studies, and pastoral studies. We look forward to sharing more with you about these principles and passions in the coming months: what they mean, how they affect our teaching, and how they play out in the ministries of our graduates in churches and cities. In the meanwhile, know that we are here and that we are committed to this mission – we hope that you will partner with us.

Look for us:


Who is This God who Comes to Rescue Sinners in Jesus?: How This Question Informs My Teaching Theology can sound like a high-flying enterprise, but if Martin Luther was right that “all Christians are theologians” it’s probably worth pausing to think about what theology is and why seminaries offer an education in it. Here’s one well-known by Dr. Jonathan Linebaugh definition from an even more well-known theology professor: “Theology is the Church’s work of testing its proclamation by the standard of Holy Scripture.” Packed into this terse description are three crucial characteristics of theology, all of which identify something integral to the vision of Knox Theological Seminary: 1) theology is the Church’s work; 2) the norm or standard for theological thinking is Holy Scripture; 3) theology’s goal is the proclamation of the gospel. It’s important to emphasize these three facets of theology because it puts a seminary education (and a seminary professor!) in its proper place. The final frontier of seminary is not the exam at the end of each course or even the handing over of the diploma at graduation. Rather, seminary is a servant – it serves the Church by being a place in which to do the hard and worshipful work of listening to God’s written and living Word so that the gospel of God’s love for sinners can be declared afresh. Another way to say this is to say that seminary is a place where theology happens – theology that is

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practiced as the prayerful labor of learning the gospel and theology that is practiced for the mission of making the gospel known. What this means for Knox is that our mission is not reducible to passing on information and giving out degrees. The elements of a theological education – reading till your eyes close, writing till your hands go numb, and thinking till your head hurts – have an endgame: we want to graduate men and women who are Christ centered, gospel driven, and mission focused. Seminary is Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, a time to slow down baptizing them in the name of the Father and listen to the Word and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, of God, not so that we have a database of facts Matthew 28:19 in case a biblical edition of Trivial Pursuit breaks out (how fun would that be!), but so that having slowed down and listened, we can go out and speak. To quote again the professor introduced above, “the Church’s task is to proclaim the Word spoken by God.” Such a task means first attending to what God has said, and seminary provides a space to do that in a sustained and deep way. But Jesus sends his disciples to go and make disciples (Matthew 28), so the listening and learning of seminary is always moving towards the act of speaking in witness to the world and in witness to God.


Seeking the Peace of the City by Jonathan G. Smith

What will it take for your city or neighborhood to flourish? Does this question strike you as odd? This past summer, sixteen pastors and business professionals, hosted by Knox Theological Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry program, gathered in Dallas, Texas to discuss this very issue. The course was entitled, “Assist Leader: When the Church Leads the League in Assists.” The purpose of the course was to learn how the local church can positively influence culture by assisting neighboring institutions in flourishing. Dr. Michael Metzger, president of The Clapham Institute, was the course instructor. He taught that institutions are the center of cultural production and the primary reason why the church has failed to positively affect culture rests in its withdrawal from institutions. Over the past twenty years, evangelicals have focused most of their attention on national politics with the hope of changing the country. But has it worked? In a recent book entitled, To Change the World, James Davison Hunter argues that the idea of getting a large enough political base to affect change will never succeed in changing the culture. Rather, true change occurs “when networks of elites in overlapping fields of culture and overlapping spheres of social life come together with their varied resources and act in common purpose.” In other words, culture – the sum total product of ideas, products, and media – is shaped by a select few. If you have an impact on them, you will have an impact on many. William Wilberforce is the classic example of such positive influence. Through his career as a member of British Parliament, Wilberforce changed the culture of England through his networks of Clapham colleagues who achieved over sixty societal reforms, including abolishing the slave trade as well as reforming banking laws and education. 10

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The Clapham Sect recognized that at the center of these overlapping networks of social life are institutions that produce culture. They are businesses, schools, hospitals, and universities. They are associations, country clubs, sports teams, and children’s programs. The Clapham colleagues understood that, in a nutshell, culture is the sum total output of all of the institutions within society. Put another way, institutions define reality and establish boundaries. In the book of Jeremiah we see the faith community in exile. The people of God had been taken into captivity and removed from their promised native land. Because they had turned from God and not loved their neighbors (Jeremiah 1:1-3:5), God had brought them into exile. Their instructions were as old as Genesis, to love their neighbors by making culture. In Jeremiah 29:7, we see these words, “Work to see that the city where I sent you as exiles enjoys peace and prosperity. Pray to the LORD for it, for as it prospers you will prosper.” In other words, the ancient faith community only flourished as their pagan captors flourished. This kind of mission means the people of God were not narrowly focused on evangelism but rather they had to redefine reality for the Babylonians--what biblical peace and prosperity looks like in the “real world.” Like the Clapham Sect, the Jews could not ignore institutions but rather worked alongside and in the Babylonian institutions that shaped the culture. This challenge can only be accomplished through redefining reality through the Christian story of Creation, Fall, Redemption, and Restoration. A different way of understanding the four-chapter gospel story is simply to understand it in the form of the verb “to be”: Creation (ought), Fall (is), Redemption (can), and Restoration (will). As Christians, we understand the world as it “ought” to have been, but because of sin, we understand and recognize the world as it “is.” Through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ we believe it “can” be better and because of the promised return of Christ, we believe that Jesus “will” make “all things new” (Rev. 21:5). Therefore, cultural change is only possible by helping people re-imagine life with new lenses in order to see that there are answers to problems. The mission of Jesus was to change the world, and he has commissioned us, through the rich power of the Holy Spirit, to do the same. 11

Seminary Advantage As a former baseball player, I know there has always been one aspect of the game of baseball that differs from most other professional sports. It’s called the minor leagues. Most professional sports desire to showcase the most talented athletes that they can find; however, baseball develops its talent and allows them to shine in markets that can’t support a major league team.

by Rev. Al Jiron

While serving here at Knox I have come to realize that about 80% of the people serving in evangelical churches today are not able or qualified to go into a master’s program at an accredited seminary. However, they are still serving in churches and on the mission field because they are convinced that God has called them. They are faithful to go into the field of ministry even without training. It is the awareness of the need for training these brethren that has motivated me to develop a “minor league” system for theological training. Using a certificate program that reaches across denominational lines, while holding fast to the essentials of the faith, we have created Seminary Advantage. In this program we place the certificate training back into the local church. In many cases it will be our graduates from Knox who will facilitate these classes. We offer ten core classes that take one year to complete. Much of the training is face to face with a mentor while some is by distance learning. What really separates us


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graduate from Seminary Advantage with a certiďŹ cate in practical theology from Knox, a student not only completes the class work but they must also start an evangelistic work that will feed into their local church, or they can plant a new church. Our hope is to introduce and encourage students to continue in their theological training by giving them a taste of what is offered. Seminary Advantage is also partnering with a church plant ministry called The Timothy Insitiative. Out of each student’s tuition a portion will be given to help plant three churches in India or Africa. Seminary Advantage is a win, win, win situation. Knox wins by cultivating students into theological training. The students win by receiving practical and theological training that they desperately need. The Kingdom wins by the planting of new churches and evangelistic works through our students. We want all Christians to have trained ministers and all ministers to have the opportunity to be trained.


The faculty and staff of Knox Theological Seminary wish you a Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year. 14


DM868 Deuteronomy: Theology and Exegesis 3 credits • January 2-6 Fort Lauderdale, FL Knox Theological Seminary A study of Deuteronomy, this class focuses on its literary and canonical argument, drawing on the history of interpretation and considering its implications for Christian doctrine and ministry. In so doing, we consider a number of major issues in theology and ministry: the people of God and the place (kingdom) of God, the importance of remembrance in the life of faith, worship, social ethics, Christian formation, and the relationship of faith and obedience. Taught by Dr. Mike Allen.


GIVING TRIBUTE A gift made to honor or in memory of a family member or a treasured member of the body of Christ is a meaningful way to support the ministry of Knox Theological Seminary. Your tribute gift will be recognized in the next issue of Legacy. The following tribute gifts have been received since our last publication:



Mr. James D. Barty, Jr. Mr. Dean Clineman Mr. Robert Clineman Mr. Chris Copley Mrs. Audra Copley Mr. William F. Haring Mrs. Helen Jaworsky Dr. D. James Kennedy Dr. D. James Kennedy Dr. Collins Weeber

Mrs. Rita H. Barty Mr. R. Scott Clineman Mr. R. Scott Clineman Mr. & Mrs. James C. Copley Mr. & Mrs. James C. Copley Mr. & Mrs. Clark Cochran Mr. Matthew Jaworsky Mr. Harry G. Rohr Mr. & Mrs. Howard H. Wolfe Mr. & Mrs. David S. Wyatt



Mr. Steve Jester

Mr. Edward Unser