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tableaux tableaux a publication for the McAfee community

from the dean TABLEAUX: plural [ta-bloh]: A picturesque group of persons around a common table Welcome to Tableaux: A Publication for the McAfee Community. This tri-annual publication celebrates what McAfee is knowing, being and doing as a theological institution. You will find within its pages news about past and upcoming events, articles on key theological issues, book reviews, featured stories on alumni and current students and an array of information to keep you connected with McAfee. As you may have noticed, we chose Tableaux as the name for this publication. Its origin comes from a 1690s Middle French word meaning “table.” We are a community gathered around a common table. We worship together, eat together, study and learn together. At this table we discern God’s will and the relationship between divinity and humanity. At this table we affirm, pray for, and care about one another. In essence, it is at the table where we learn we are one in Christ. This image of table is central to our Christian faith. We commune regularly in church around the Lord’s Table and preach weekly about God’s Messianic Banquet. A tableau is also “a picturesque grouping of persons,” and among the McAfee faculty, staff, students, alumni, and friends there are many noteworthy—not to say “picturesque”—people, so Tableaux will bring you some of their stories too. Together these two definitions mirror the McAfee experience. We are a picturesque group of persons around a common table. We invite you now to sit down with us. Feel free to join in on our conversations and contribute to that which makes McAfee so great: The journey of knowing, being and doing.

Join us at the table. R. Alan Culpepper

contents 4

“Looking Back” by Graham Walker


“McAfee is Changing” by Karen Massey


Coming Events

9 10

Recent Faculty Publications


Knowing: a focus on


“The Book of Psalms” by Nancy deClaisse-Walford


Being: a focus on Abraham Deng

19 20 21 22


25 26

Alumni Book Review


End Notes

“Life on a Raft in a River” by Dean Culpepper Ron Johnson and Larry McSwain

Center for Theology and Public Life Center for Teaching Churches Doing: a focus on Park Avenue Baptist Class Notes

Looking back: Fall 2011 Lecture Series

featuring John

McAfee was founded in 1996 as one of the schools and colleges at Mercer University; yet, in this short tenure McAfee has hosted some of the premier lecturers in theological studies today through the school’s endowed lecture series. Let me introduce you to our guests this past fall, 2011. First, in September we welcomed Dr. John F. Haught, Senior Fellow of Science and Religion at the Woodstock Theological Center of Georgetown University, Washington, D.C. Haught literally expanded our horizons as he focused on the “Evolution of Faith,” “Astrobiology and Cosmic Purpose,” and “Science and the Quest For Cosmic Purpose.” This three-day event concentrated on Haught’s most recent of eighteen books addressing Making Sense of Evolution: Darwin, God and the Drama of Life (WJK Press, 2010).

According to Dr. Perry Ginn, John Haught was exactly the right fit for the lecture series that Ginn endowed. The D. Perry and Betty H. Ginn Lectures in Christian Faith and Modern Science annually provide the Mercer community with opportunities to hear leading scientists and theologians as they explore the interface between Christian faith and contemporary science, and enhance their scientific literacy. This lecture series challenges ministers to discover the complementary tasks of science

and theology in the promotion of responsible, faith-based community as part of God’s creation. Haught drew the audience into dialogue with Charles Darwin and some of Darwin’s well-known followers. At key points, Haught engaged the evolutionary naturalist assumptions of Richard Dawkins, Daniel Dennett and Jerry Coyne noting that they “get it wrong when they go beyond the science of evolution and try to extrapolate to theology.” Haught urges us to think in terms of layered explanations, for example: both/and instead of either/or. Different levels of explanation are thus simultaneously operative without ruling one another out. He suggests that we allow for divine creativity at a more fundamental layer of explanation than that at which natural science operates noting the role of the narrative structure of meaning and purpose as integral to human understanding. Haught approvingly returns to Roman Catholic paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin’s view stating that “the intellectual context for any believable theology today is shaped primarily by science, and especially its new story of an unfinished universe.” So what is needed theologically is a thoroughgoing reinterpretation of Christian teaching about God, Christ, creation, incarnation, redemption, and eschatology in keeping with Darwin’s unveiling of life’s long evolution and contemporary cosmology’s disclosure of the ongoing expansion of the heavens. Less than two months later, November 9th, McAfee hosted N. T. Wright, the former Bishop of Durham in the Church of England and one of the world’s leading Bible scholars. When he is not on speaking tour he is serving as the chair of New Testament and Early Christianity

Haught and N.T. Wright at the School of Divinity at the University of St. Andrews. For twenty years Wright taught New Testament studies at Cambridge, McGill, and Oxford Universities, and he has been featured on ABC News, Dateline, The Colbert Report, and Fresh Air. Wright is the award-winning author of After You Believe, Surprised by Hope, Simply Christian, The Challenge of Jesus, and The Meaning of Jesus (coauthored with Marcus Borg), as well as the much-heralded series Christian Origins and the Question of God. Wright was brought to the McAfee campus in Atlanta as part of the Peter Rhea and Ellen Jones New Testament Lectures. Wright connected immediately with the standing room only community that heard him. Dr. Peter Rhea Jones noted that

volume in a projected six-volume scholarly series Christian Origins and the Question of God. Wright draws his audience in with his thesis: “There is just now a fashion for upholding something called ‘Nicene’ Christianity. But the great creeds of the fourth and fifth centuries were never intended as a complete teaching syllabus, and when used that way they screen out the central theme of the four Gospels: How God Became King (aka The Kingdom of God). Western Christianity has thus lurched between a faith based on incarnation and cross (but without ‘kingdom’) and a socialgospel ‘kingdom’-movement (but without incarnation and cross). How can we put back together what the Gospels were trying to tell us all along?”

Wright’s “fresh read on the tradition combines both head and heart in ways that address both the congregation and university.”

Years from now, those who were able to attend these endowed lectures will be able to reflect with favor one more reason why they chose to be a part of the McAfee community.

Dr. Jones further elaborated that we are living in a rare age when some of the most prolific New Testament scholars have turned their attention to a critical and confessional view of Jesus and two of those scholars have been featured here at McAfee in this lecture series: James Dunn (2009) and N.T. Wright (2011).

Wright’s lecture: “How God Became King: Why We’ve Misread the Gospels” urges the church to wrestle with ways to regain a kingdom footing and end its empire heritage. He asks us to reshape both what we think about Jesus and how we follow him in our world. The lecture itself is a prolepsis of his forthcoming text (March 2012) by the same title as the fourth

_Graham Walker

McAfee is


First major revision in fifteen years. Needed More adaptable than ever and timely. Dean Culpepper

This new curriculum combines breadth with depth. Dr. Karen Massey


Dr. Dock Hollingsworth

Designed with students’ diverse needs in mind. Dr. Dave Garber

The most balanced and integrated curriculum to date. Dr. Graham Walker

implementing new curriculum fall 2012 Birthdays, anniversaries, and other milestones are great opportunities for celebration, but they can also be good opportunities for looking forward and making changes. During its 15th anniversary this past year, McAfee took time to celebrate its accomplishments as well as evaluate where changes might be needed. One area that was identified as needing change was the MDiv curriculum. While the current curriculum has served McAfee well for 15 years, it was noted that students’ needs and interests have changed in recent years. With the approval of the faculty, Dean Culpepper appointed a committee to develop a new curriculum for the school. For almost a year, the committee conducted various focus groups in order to gather input from current students, graduates, and the Board of Visitors. The committee also gathered information

Required Courses

[Revised Curriculum] Credits

Intro to Theological Thinking & Writing 2 Spiritual Formation 2 Choose One: Intro to Biblical Languages 3 Hebrew Exegesis I or II Greek Exegesis I or II Advanced Language elective Foundations in Old Testament* 3 Foundations in New Testament* 3 Foundations in Church History* 3 Foundations in Theology* 3 Ethics* 3 Preaching* 3 Faith Development* 3 Baptist Heritage 2 Missional Theology 3 Pastoral Care 3 Worship 3 Leadership 3 Capstone 3 Required Core Hours: 45

from other seminaries and divinity schools, and considered current trends in adult teaching and learning. The new curriculum was introduced and approved by the faculty this past September. Major changes in the new curriculum include: (1) more student choice in both core and elective courses; (2) more advanced options for students with religion or Christianity degrees; (3) more emphasis on foundational courses for students with non-religion degrees; (4) the addition of a required first semester course in theological thinking and writing; and (5) more emphasis on peer learning and faculty mentoring through placement in track communities. _Karen Massey

Prescribed Electives


Spirituality Old Testament New Testament Church History Theology Contextual Ministry**

3 3 3 3 3 3

Required Prescribed Elective Hours: 18

Free Electives: 12 hrs Track Electives: 15 hrs TOTAL HOURS FOR M.DIV: 90 *Advanced elective may be taken instead ** Different tracks require specific types of placement (i.e. CPE, overseas, etc.)

William L. Self Preaching Lectures Feb 27 & 28 - Atlanta, GA - featuring

brian mclaren “Preaching Peace in a Crumbling Empire”

for registration and more info, visit the McAfee website:

coming events Spring Preview Conference Explore your sense of call by

engaging with faculty and students experiencing classes learning about academic programs & financial aid

interviewing for merit-based scholarship

A [Baptist] Conference on Sexuality and Covenant

April 19-21 - First Baptist Decatur “Participants will be encouraged to consider what it means to live as covenant people the contemporary and emerging situation. Everyone is welcome.” Co-sponsored by the CBF Resource Center and the Center for Theology and Public Life, Mercer University

joining us for community worship

Feb 26 & 27 To read about the conference from David Gushee: For more info on the conference: To register for the conference:

May 12


recent faculty publications R. Alan Culpepper

Working Preacher lectionary commentaries online: “Mark 6:17-29 in Its Narrative Contest: “Isaiah 50:4-9a” Kingdoms in Conflict,” in Mark as Story: “Ezekiel 37:1-14” Retrospect and Prospect, ed. Kelly R. “Exodus 17:1-7” Iverson and Christopher W. Skinner “1 Samuel 16:1-13” (Atlanta:  Society of Biblical Literature, 2011), pp. 145-163.

David P. Gushee

“The Rationale for Missions,” (coauthored with Hugo H. Culpepper), in On Mission with God: Free and Faithful Baptists in the Twenty-First Century, ed. Pamela R. Durso, William O’Brien associate editor (Atlanta:  Baptist History and Heritage Society, 2011), 2134. “A Sample of Baptist Contributions to Johannine Scholarship (1940-2010),” in The “Plainly Revealed” Word of God?  Baptist Hermeneutics in Theory and Practice, edited by Helen Dare and Simon Woodman (Macon:  Mercer University Press, 2011), pp. 30-71.

Review of Imperfect Believers: Ambiguous Characters in the Gospel of John, by Susan E. Hylen (2011) in Review of Biblical Literature.

Nancy L. deClaisse-Walford

“Can Anything New Be Said About Abortion?” Associated Baptist Press, January 18, 2012. “The Evangelical Candidates Fizzled.” New York Times, December 13, 2011.

Garber, Jr. David G. “A Vocabulary of Trauma in the Exilic Writings.” In Interpreting Exile: Displacement and Deportation in Biblical and Modern Contexts. Edited by Brad E. Kelle, Frank Ritchel Ames, and Jacob L. Wright, 309-22. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011.

1,2 and 3 John (Macon: Smyth & Helwys, 2009).

Karen Massey And Your Daughters Shall Prophesy: Sermons by Women in Baptist Life (Macon: Mercer Press) May 2012.

Brett Younger

“A Warm Spot for Benchwarmers,” Baptists Today, January 2012. 31.

“The Contemporary US Torture Debate in Christian Historical Perspective.” Journal of Religious Ethics 39:4 (December 2011): 589-597.

“A Wrinkle in God’s Palm,” and “Choices,” Lectionary Homiletics. February/March 2012. 7-8, 54-56.

“Children Who Knew God” and “Christian Politics Create Unholy Alli“Parables of the Kingdom,” Formations ances.” USA Today, November 7, 2011. Commentary, Macon, Georgia: Smyth & Helwys, January-May 2012, 24-68. “The Sacredness of Human Life.” Asso- “Guess Who Should Be Coming ciated Baptist Press, October 10, 2011. to Dinner,” “Counting the Cost,” “Feeling Lost,” and “Crying God’s “An Open Letter to America’s Christian Tears,” Abingdon Preaching Annual 2013, David N. Mosser, ed. Nashville: Zionists,” with Glen H. Stassen. New Abingdon Press, 2012. Evangelical Partnership, September 13, 2011. Reprinted as “Christian Zionism,” Christian Ethics Today 19, no. 4 (Fall 2011): 3-6.

“A Word About . . . the Tongue.” In Review & Expositor 108/3 (2011): 36365. “9/11 and the Paradox of Christian Patriotism in America.” Associated Baptist “Psalm 145: All Flesh Will Bless God’s Press, September 7, 2011. Holy Name.” In Catholic Biblical Quar- terly 73/1 (2012). “A Former Catholic Returns to Ash Working Preacher lectionary Wednesday Mass.” Associated Baptist commentaries online: Press, March 14, 2011. “Psalm 22:23-31” “Common Sense and Common Ground.’ “Psalm 25:1-10” Washington Post On Faith, March 3, “Psalm 70” 2011. “Psalm 96” “Psalm 97” “Seeking the Truth about What Our Na“Psalm 107:1-3, 17-22” tion Did.” Prism 18, no. 2 (March/April 2011): 6.

David Garber

Peter Rhea Jones

Religious Faith, Torture, and Our National Soul. Co-editor and Contributor, with Jillian Hickman Zimmer and J. Drew Zimmer. Macon: Mercer, 2010.

“Service with a Smile,” Baptists Today, February 2012. “1.6 Billion Served,” Baptists Today, March 2011. 24. “A Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Church Behavior,” Baptists Today, September 2011. 31. “A Preacher Looks at Fifty,” Baptists Today, April 2011. 28. “A Worshipping Church,” Lectionary Homiletics. October/November 2011. 45-47. “Bluff the Reader,” Baptists Today, August 2011. 31. “Bread of Heaven,” Baptists Today, October 2011. 31.

R a a f t n i n o a e e R f i i v L g e the r chall enges of chan The ancient sage of the second century B.C., ben Sirach, commented, “from morning to evening conditions change; all things move swiftly before the Lord” (Sir 18:26, NRSV). Never has change been more pervasive. We are all racing to understand and adjust to the changes that impact our lives, hence the image of guiding a raft down a fast-flowing river. American society is changing. The demographics, economics, and politics of American culture are changing. The middle class is eroding, and African-Americans have experienced disproportional losses. Under the headline, “AfricanAmericans See Gains Reversed,” David Markiewicz reported that “black Americans continue to have markedly higher unemployment rates than other ethnic groups.”1 The report continues, “persistent joblessness among African-Americans—and its effect on home ownership and wealth building—is raising

concerns about the future of a black middle class that had grown to become a potent economic force in cities such as Atlanta.” Similarly, asset disparity is 47-1 for older vs. younger Americans, five times what it was a quarter-century ago, and the greatest disparity ever recorded: “The median net worth for the younger-age households was $3,662, down by 68 percent from a quarter century ago, according to the analysis by the Pew Research Center,” reported Hope Yen.2 Coming changes in Medicare, regardless of who wins the elections this year, will also impact Americans over 65.3

Churches are changing. Les Robinson, Jr., in a column for the Center for Congregational Health documents what we are all aware of: “Organized religion in America is in a slump. Numbers of regular attenders are down

e across all denominations and many congregations are struggling with dwindling attendance and shrinking finances.” The decline has been especially dramatic among mainstream Protestant denominations. In the period between 2005 and 2010, “the median Oldline Protestant congregation saw their average worship attendance move from 179 to 73”—a 59 percent decline!4 Family and leisure activities, including league sporting events, for example, are now regularly scheduled on Sundays. In urban centers the effects are especially visible as congregational life no longer occupies the place it once did in the social life of its families.

Theological education is changing.

search processes that will lead to the appointment of new professors for Missions and Pastoral Care in July 2012. Last year McAfee began offering courses at Mercer’s regional academic center in Henry County, and its first on-line courses. The Center for Teaching Churches is steadily becoming more robust, offering resources for ministers and congregations and support for McAfee graduates in congregational ministries. These changes at McAfee illustrate the school’s approach to the challenges of our time. • This is a time for informed leaders and strategic thinking. Stressful times require that we have good information, plan carefully, and make strategic choices. Changes invariably create new opportunities and needs. Those who are in a position to meet those needs will prosper and succeed. To meet new needs with limited resources, however, we must reduce investments in lower priorities, as painful as that may be.

From 2006 to 2010, the total enrollment of all ATS accredited schools has declined from 80,388 to 75,898.5 All enrollment increases have been in new schools, persons of color, and women students. The average student debt is over $20,000, and many schools are spending capital from the corpus of their endowment. The number of students in 30• Change offers the opportunity to prioritize what 50 age range is shrinking: fewer mid-career adults is important, make differences that matter, and are changing careers. Schools have responded by position our families, churches, and communities catering to the needs of students with intensive, shortfor the future. Networking is more important than term courses, evening courses, weekend courses, ever, so stay connected—and stay connected to courses offered off campus, and on-line and hybrid McAfee. We may be hurtling down a river on a courses. Predictably, at the biennial ATS meeting this raft, but we are on the raft together, and summer, policies related to residency requirements if we paddle together we can steer and the length of the M.Div. program are up for the raft through the current. debate. • The changes occurring all around us require renewed faith and faithfulness. Our faith provides McAfee is constantly changing. strength and perspective. James voices assurance The faculty has adopted a new curriculum (the first of God’s constancy: God is “the Father of lights, major overhaul since the school opened), which will with whom there is no variation or shadow due go into effect in the fall. The new curriculum reduces to change” (Jam 1:17 NRS). And the Psalmist the number of required courses while requiring all said, “therefore we will not fear, though the earth M.Div. students to choose a track. Areas that have should change, though the mountains shake in had two semesters of foundational courses (OT, NT, the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and CH, TH, EVM) will now have a one-semester survey foam, though the mountains tremble with its course. A new introduction to theological research tumult. Selah” (Ps 46:2-3 NRSV). God has called and writing will be implemented. Students who have us to be leaders and ministers at a time when taken religion courses as undergraduates will bypass people need “the assurance of things hoped for” foundational courses in these areas and move on (Heb 11:1). to elective courses. The faculty is also experiencing changes. Drs. Ron Johnson and Larry McSwain retired Paddle hard. There are more rapids ahead! at the end of December—and we will sorely miss _R. Alan Culpepper them! Dr. Dock Hollingsworth will become Assistant Professor of Leadership, and the faculty is conducting

Larry McSwain and Ron Johnson an interview

Dr. McSwain

What has been your most memorable experiences as a professor?

As I look back on my time, the collegiality of the faculty has been extraordinary. We really are friends as well as teachers, and that has been very meaningful for me. There is more community here than in most seminary environments.

Dr. Johnson

Of course, I must say the students. Their stories and struggles and the times when students came to my office to talk gave me an opportunity to share a few encouraging words with them outside of class…The faces of these students will ever be important to me.

Which of your courses has

That one’s easy – Change and I have really enjoyed teaching influenced you personally the most? Missiology. Getting students Conflict in the Church. I developed this course over my years to understand God’s missional of teaching. In short, this class influenced me the heart is vital in my mind. Bringing others to the knowlmost because it’s where I personally learned the most. edge of Jesus as Lord and helping churches partner with God in redemptive ways is what we should be about.

It’s diversity. I taught What do you think is distinctive about McAfee? There really are many things…however, I for 23 years at Southern Seminary and the difference in the makeup of the would have to point to the faculty. Friends who teach at other places tell me that what we have at McAfee is student body here is night and day. There’s a much greater gender and racial inclusiveness and theologispecial. To have a faculty where we love one another and respect one another is a gift. I think it shines cal variety at McAfee that makes for a yeastier kind of through to the students. learning environment.

What have you found most rewarding and

The freedom of expresThe most rewarding meaningful about teaching at McAfee? sion. McAfee is a very part to me has been the free place where faculty philosophy of Alan Culcan explore new ideas without fear of some adminis- pepper. He has viewed the faculty as a baseball team trator coming down on them. This academic freedom where each one of us has certain strengths. He lets is amazing and a little scary, but a wonderful strength. us play our position and use our talents with freedom. It’s changed in variety of How has theological education changed over I hate to sound like an students attending semi- the course of your teaching career? What has old geezer...but I think naries. More women, some things have inbeen gained, and what has been lost? older students, and more deed changed: smaller minority students are attending than when I began schools, more part-time students, increase in cost of teaching. The biggest gain birthed from these chang- seminary education, and grade inflation! But we have es is a renewed focus on globalization. Theological gained something very significant...more women in education is more ethnic. It also has more specializa- seminary who have a real chance to shape ministry in tion in the practice of ministry. Unfortunately, there is creative ways for the future. less focus on the classical disciplines. Students today are less focused on the core biblical, theological, and historical coursework that was more central in theological education fifty years ago.

What advice, challenge, or encouragement

First, we must be open would you give to current students and alumni? My challenge would be to global experiences. to let God write your In our line of world, more students and alums need resume. You were called by God into this ministry; now let to invest their lives God direct you in every way. in overseas ventures. Don’t kick open any doors... Secondly, the church is instead, let God open them not perfect. Congregafor you. Approach it all in a tions are clay pots. But spirit of humility and prayer. I believe in the church Let God lead. Walk through more now than I ever the doors God opens. And have. Keeping the in the end, after you have church central is my been in ministry for 30 or encouragement. 40 years, you will look back over your shoulder and be amazed at the resume that God has written. Find the full interview here:

influence of the e th in st re te in an e, m me ti I have had, for quite so s. In 2010, lm sa P of ok bo e th of g e shapin wisdom tradition on th the commentary te ri w to ss re P al ic rg u it L I signed a contract with Commentary.” om d is W e “Th ed tl ti es eir seri 11, I spent a on Psalms 90-150 in th 20 r fo ll fa e th r fo e av le bbatical When I was granted a sa y, dialoguing with an m er G , rg bu ar M in ty ersi month at Philipps Univ ok of psalms. bo e th d an n io it ad tr e wisdom reflection of their professors about th th on m at th of n io at e the culmin The reflections below ar mentary. m co ss re P al ic rg u it L e for th in Marburg and fodder

Nancy L. deClaisse-Walford

“The Book of Psalms: Reading Backwards from the Beginning” I have been a student of the book of Psalms for twenty years. During the past ten years I have extensively studied Book Five of the Psalter, Psalms 107-150. I maintain its “shape” provides clues to the overall “shaping” of the Psalter. What do I mean? Let us read a literary piece, say a book of the Bible, from its beginning to its end and proceeded backward through it-seeking the meaning of the in-between from the way it ends and begins. Might we gain a deeper understanding of its meaning? Thomas Mann, in The Book of the Torah: The Narrative Integrity of the Pentateuch, writes this about the Pentateuch, “The meaning of a story is often significantly determined by the way it ends.” The Pentateuch ends with Moses’ death and the people camped outside the land of promise; the Pentateuch’s ending informs our reading of all of Genesis through Deuteronomy. In like manner the ending of the Psalter informs our reading of the entire book. Two terms are key to understanding this study: shape and shaping. By “shape,” I suggest that every biblical book is a unified whole with a

logical arrangement of texts within it; we can read each from its beginning to its end and find coherence. By “shaping,” I maintain that the biblical books are products of communities of faith and that understanding who those communities were is crucial to fully understanding the texts. Such an approach may seem rudimentary-we certainly read, say the books of Genesis and Matthew as connected wholes. But the Psalter is a collection of individual hymns and prayers, each a discreet unit with its own “story-line.” We study individual psalms with little or no regard for their contexts within the book itself. But what if we approached the book of Psalms like the book of Genesis, as a connected whole, a story with a beginning, middle, and end? Those who study the Psalter think they have come up with its story-line: Book One consists of psalms of David (Psalms 3-41) to which Psalms 1 and 2 are added as introductory words. Psalm 1 presents two paths in life—the wicked or the righteous. Its opening words are “Ashre (usually translated “happy”

Lecture at Philipps University in Marburg, Germany November 9, 2011 or “blessed,” but better rendered as “content”) is the person who does not follow the advice of the wicked.” The wicked person is like chaff that the wind blows away, but the righteous person, through diligent meditation on the torah, is like a tree firmly planted by a stream; it grows and flourishes. Psalm 2 introduces the theme of royalty— for ancient Israel, royalty from the line of David. But in Psalm 2 the theme has a twist: God, not humanity, determines who will be king and what role that king will play. Psalm 2 ends with the same word with which Psalm 1 begins--“Ashre are the ones who take refuge in God.” The remainder of Book One (Pss 3-41) and Book Two (Pss 42-72) recount the Israel’s life during the kingship of David and David’s naming of Solomon as his successor. The majority of the psalms in the two books are attributed, in their superscriptions, to David. Book Three (Pss 73-89) reflects the time of Solomon, the period of the divided kingdoms, the fall of the Northern Kingdom to the Assyrians in 721, and the eventual fall of Jerusalem to the Babylonians in 586. Book Four (Pss

90-106) addresses the time of the Exile in Babylon. Book Five (Pss 107-150) recounts the return from Exile to Jerusalem, the rebuilding of the Temple, and life in postexilic Jerusalem. The Israelites are permitted by the Persians to return to the land; they rebuild the temple; and they are allowed to resume their religious practices, so long as those practices do not contradict the laws of the Persian Empire. Thus, temple and cult are restored, but the Israelite nation is not. We may conclude, therefore, that the story of the Psalter is a summons to postexilic Israel to review its history, to understand that in its new lifesetting having an earthly king like David is no longer possible, and to see that the way to survive in the present circumstance is to acknowledge God, rather than a Davidic king, as sovereign. Thus we have the shape of the Psalter. To read more click here:

abraham focus on a current student

st year r fi a m a I am Deng. h a r b one of A s is a l e l e m w s a My na t McAfee a t n e t Boys of d s u o t L s e y h r a T “ in m s se ations call N d e it n U e whom th my story. is e r e H .� Sudan

deng It is a great miracle that I am still alive today! I was six years of age when I was separated from my parents in 1987 due to civil war between Christians and Muslims in Sudan. I was at the cattle camp tending cows when Sudan’s government military and militia forces attacked my village of Duk in southern Sudan. Due to the confusion of war, I joined the groups of other children and we all ran into the jungle to seek protection. I walked in the jungle barefoot for three months, which was over a thousand miles.

In spite of the extreme conditions, some of us were able to persevere. There were, however, times when

I cried.

I kept thinking about my parents and siblings whom I thought to be dead as a result of the military and militia attacks on my village. There were other times that I saw the extremities and other remains of the kids eaten by the lions and hyenas. I also cried when I saw dead bodies placed horizontally on the paths and others tied on the trees.

not believe when I participated in digging my cousins’ and friends’ graves.

I still remember putting soil on their dead bodies. I was seven years old.

Unfortunately, life became more difficult due to the civil war in Ethiopia. We were forced out of Ethiopia at gunpoint back to Sudan in 1991 when the new regime came into power. We trekked six months across Sudan barefoot to Kenya in I was only wearing a pair of 1992. We were chased into Gilo shorts and had no shoes. We slept during the day and walked River back to southern Sudan. I did not know how to swim I did not carry any food with me, at night. There were over 20,000 and had decided to die on the which forced me to survive from of us, who got separated from our leaves, roots, fruits, birds, dead parents and forced to seek refuge other side of the river. animals, and whatever I could for our dear lives. But another older Lost Boy find. In extreme situations, I drank encouraged me to hold on his I finally made my way to dirty water and wet mud in order Ethiopia after three months shoulder and to have faith in God. to stay alive from thirst. Trekking I immediately recalled Daniel’s of walking, in the jungle with other thousands story when he was thrown into the of unaccompanied children and I settled in a Pignudo Refugee lions’ den and was rescued by the from southern Sudan, I was also Camp. Fortunately, the United Angel of the Lord. By faith, we both subjected to aerial bombardments, Nations provided us humanitarian jumped into the water while holding disease, starvation, rains, extreme relief through the Ethiopian on his shoulder and kept kicking cold and mosquitoes. At various government. I had to live on my legs into the water. Only by the occasions, I became exhausted individual kernels of corn and a few Lord’s grace, love and mighty power, to the point that I did not want to beans every day. I would still go to both of us made it to the other side walk any further. My feet were so the jungle to get leaves, roots and of the river safely. Unfortunately, rough they constantly kept bleeding fruits. Sadly, my world of hope was about 2,000 other children died in despite how many times I tried to turned upside down when I lost Gilo River on that day as a result of wrap them with tree bark. my cousins and friends as a result enemy shootings, crocodiles and of disease and starvation. I could drowning.

As I struggled to save my dear life through whatever I could find in the midst of my subjection to such horrible conditions without parental supervision and care, I became quite inquisitive in questioning my existence and God’s superpower over the creation. I had been down to earth with streams of tears rolling down from my eyes as I prayed to the Lord to provide answers to my questions as to what had become of my life. In the darkest days of my life, I would ask myself these questions:

“Where is God?”

“Why would God do this?” “Why did God separate me from my parents?” “How do I survive on leaves, roots, and fruits, birds and dead animals?” To read my full story:

_Abraham Deng

Engage your call mcafee school of Theology mercer universiTy

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3001 Mercer University Drive, Atlanta, Georgia 30341 (678) 547-6474 • (888) 471-9922

Offering courses in Atlanta, McDonough and online, McAfee offers you a fully integrated curriculum, nationally recognized Christian scholars, a broad network of partner churches, and a beautiful campus in one of the nation’s most popular cities. Visit us year-round when classes are in session.

Center for Theology and Public Life


The Center for Theology and Public Life was founded in 2010 by Dr. David Gushee at Mercer University. Though it is located at McAfee School of Theology on the Atlanta campus, the CTPL serves the wider Mercer University community, often co-sponsoring events on the Macon campus.

Feb 27-28

2012 upcomingevents

Self Lectures Co-Sponsored by CTPL and McAfee Featuring Brian McLaren “Preaching Peace in a Crumbling Empire”

Apr 19-21

A [Baptist] Conference on Sexuality and Covenant Co-Sponsored by CTPL and CBF First Baptist Church, Decatur

We hope to show, through all of our events and activities, that religion, and in particular the Christian ethical values so central to the history of the United States and the historic vision of Mercer University, can make an indispensable contribution to a better country and better world. The common good – moral passion – love of neighbor – service to the marginalized – human dignity – these are the themes taken up by Center events. We hope you will find ways to participate!

past events

David Gushee

Oct 4, 2011

Christian Faith, Moral Values, and Public Service: Two Views from Capitol Hill Featuring Joshua Trent and Katie Paris

Oct 11-12, 2010

Latino Evangelicals, Immigration, and Global Church Conversations with Rev. Gabriel Salguero at Mercer University in Macon

To learn more, visit us at Go here to read more about Dr. David Gushee:

What is a Teaching Church? Churches play an essential role in the preparation of new ministers. No school can do the job by itself. To be successful, ministers need the knowledge, experience, skills, and encouragement that they can only acquire in a local church. A teaching church, as the Center uses the term, is one that affirms that teaching new ministers is part of its mission and joins with McAfee in developing the institutional structure to support new McAfee graduates as they make the transition into ministry.

Participation in For recent McAfee Minister Support Committee programs graduates, the Theological Reflection and feedback by the Center

Center provides Monthly consultation with trained ministry coaches benefits including: Peer group Established curriculum for spiritual memberships

Having a ministry coach to walk with me through new leadership experiences has proven to be invaluable. Young ministers may be able to get by without a coach, but I’m not sure why anyone would take such a critical risk. Rev. Rusty Grace (‘10), Associate Minister: Youth Haddock Baptist Church, Georgia

How do I get our church involved? Email or call Dr. Ron Grizzle, Director of the Center for Teaching Churches to explore how your church can become a Teaching Church. (678) 547-6479


missiology with Trey and Jennifer Lyon


Lydia’s House began as a ministry of Park Avenue Baptist Church to offer housing to churches and mission groups coming to serve the city. Since we’ve joined

The body of Christ is at its best when we ackowledge the gifts, talents and resources God has given us and put them together to help bring the Kingdom here and now.

the process, we’ve expanded the scope of Lydia’s House to facilitate missional engagement in Atlanta through an urban immersion program. Our new goal is to offer a field lab for churches to cultivate missional awareness. Both Jen and I grew up in and around Atlanta. As we began to discern God’s will for us as missionaries, we realized CBF had no active field personnel living and serving in Atlanta. We began to

consider that God was up to something new—something

that fused the two aims of CBF to create missional churches and foster involvement among the “least of these” around the globe. That’s when we decided, thanks in giant part to Park Avenue Baptist, to pursue becoming CBF Field Personnel. And at the 2011 General Assembly, our dream became a reality. Much of the first six months has been spent renovating Lydia’s House and preparing space for our After-School Program. With the help of multiple volunteers and donations, we have renovated Lydia’s House and have created rooms for the after school program.

Mercer University’s Atlanta Campus donated 49 twin-size mattresses to Lydia’s House, which not only provides mission teams a more comfortable stay, but also adds to our total capacity. We can now house 70 people thanks to the generosity of Mercer! In the next few months we look forward to bringing Jen on as fulltime field personnel, which requires us to raise an additional $19,000— quite a challenge. Bringing her on full-time, though, will help us fulfill our vision to expand our AfterSchool program to a 5-day a week schedule. We definitely covet the prayers and financial support of the McAfee community during this exciting time! In terms of Lydia’s House, our biggest surprise has been the response we have received whenever people find out about us. There’s a hymn that says “There’s a Wideness in God’s Mercy.”

I think it may just as easily be said that there is a wideness in God’s kingdom that we often overlook. I am grateful to those who are drawn to what God is doing in Atlanta, and we embrace the diversity of God’s kingdom! So thank you to all who have supported us thus far! Within the After-School Program, we have learned what many in church already know—teenagers are teenagers regardless of context. So it shouldn’t surprise us in how open our After-School youth are in

house focus on alumni

talking about their experiences— from poverty and violence, to their abilities and dreams for the future. Their optimism and realism is contagious. It gives us a renewed sense of hope about our vocation. The single greatest challenge we face, though, is genuine ignorance—people who do not know, and perhaps are not willing, to consider the circumstances that make this work necessary. CBF’s stated mission is to seek and serve the most neglected individuals in any given community. This is exactly what we are doing. In the urban environment, amidst heavy gentrification, there are conflicting societies that rarely meet except in church or in acts of crime. It is our firm belief that we must increase church to end crime. Helping these two communities view each other as neighbor is a difficult task, yet it has its own reward as we press toward what Dr. King called “The Beloved Community.” Jesus’s answer to the lawyer who asks, “Who, then, is my neighbor?” is to tell the parable of the Good Samaritan. The short answer to Jesus’ parable is or “all of humankind.”

from their every-day context and step into a new world full of people who are soon-to-be neighbors. It is the Holy Spirit then, that sets the spark of the missional imagination—a spark which, when fanned into flame in its native context, can inspire churches and individuals to transform their communities by knowing and serving their neighbors. So come and see us! Let us show you what God is doing in our little corner of this terrestrial ball. We hope that your holy curiosity will lead you to ask new questions and dream new dreams of God’s kingdom in your community. As partner-funded field personnel, we derive 100% of our salary and ministry budget from churches and individuals who feel called to join us in what God is doing in Southeast Atlanta. If you feel God leading you to be a part, or you’d just like to find out more about us and our work, please check out and

We try to offer people a place to come and see, to learn and experience—a place to uproot

This is where we start.

We would love to dream with you about what God might be calling us to do together. _Trey Lyon

Interview with

Tony Lankford

Pastor, Park Avenue Baptist Church Tell us about yourself and how God has led you to Park Avenue Baptist. I grew up in Fayetteville, GA. I came to know Christ and was baptized in 6th grade.  I went to Shorter College and was called to my first church, Second Baptist of Cedartown, as an associate minister to youth. I stayed nearly five year till the summer before my final year at McAfee.  My wife, Tiffany, and I both felt our next call was to the pastoral role.  Truett Gannon and Joel Harrison arranged for me to preach as a supply preacher at Park Avenue Baptist.  There were eight older adults in attendance.  Those eight, however, really had a missional passion to recommit to the community and use the church building in creative ways.  So, I stayed while at McAfee, received a Lilly Grant to stay another two years, at which point the church had grown to be able to sustain a full time pastor.   When did you first feel God leading you to partner with Trey and Jennifer Lyon?  We envisioned Lydia’s House about six years ago.  Even then I had a vision of one day having someone take it to the level Trey and Jenn are beginning to do.  Also, for years I had been saying to anyone who would listen that CBF needed a field personnel presence in the city of Atlanta.   About two years ago, Trey and I began to toy with the idea of that presence being them.  Those jovial conversations eventually turned into serious, “could this really work” conversations about two years ago.  What has been the biggest surprise since bringing Jennifer and Trey on board? How well Trey and Jenn work with the teens...and how much clarity Trey has brought to the Lydia’s House ministry.  Trey has expressed goals for the ministry that I had deep down, but had never known how to express or make a reality.   

How have you been able to help the members at Park Avenue catch such a missional vision? I believe in constant vision casting. I do two things...I try to celebrate everything possible.  Every little thing we do that brings us closer to our missional goal, I believe should be celebrated.  Secondly, I try to keep our mission in front of our folks.  Constantly talking about what we are doing is important in maintaining clarity for doing God’s Kingdom work here in the city.  What are your hopes for Lydia’s House for the near future? I would love to see it grow to be a better asset for CBF churches.  I am glad for the ecumenical work of Lydia’s House.  But, I would love to see us facilitate more CBF churches working in downtown Atlanta.   How has McAfee prepared you to be where you are today? I felt very prepared to go into the pastoral role upon graduation.  I was blessed to have professors who taught with a high level of academic excellence, but at the end of the day I knew they loved and valued the local church.  I knew they would be somewhere worshiping and leading on Sunday morning.   I learned to love and value the local church because my professors loved and valued the local church. 

Review of Mark R. Wilson’s (‘00) new book: William Owen Carver’s Controversies in the Baptist South I remember the day, as a child, when our family went to the Carver’s home for lunch in 1953. Years later my father served as the W. O. Carver professor of Missions and World Religions, a chair that meant a great deal to him because of the formative influence Carver had on his life. From his student days my father was drawn to Carver’s progressive spirit, his breadth of learning, his social conscience, and his devotion to missions. This book is Mark Wilson’s dissertation, completed under the direction of Dr. Wayne Flint at Auburn University. Wilson (McAfee M.Div., 2000) sets Carver’s career in the social, intellectual, and religious movements of the early twentieth century in the South, and more specifically among Baptists, and in the history of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. Carver (18681954) was a progressive conservative and for most of his long career professor of comparative religion and missions. He stood against the champions of Landmarkism, rejecting rebaptism of those who had been immersed as believers in other denominations, and working to bring Baptists to a broader view of their place in the Christian world and its mission. He led in efforts to provide education for women. He was a leading force in the establishment of the Woman’s Missionary Training School in 1907, and he delivered the first report of the Woman’s Missionary Union to the SBC in 1913 because a woman was not allowed to speak to the convention. Wilson is careful in characterizing Carver’s nuanced views, as Carver remained committed to core Baptist principles such as the spiritual experience of the believer, the autonomy of the local church, the authority of scripture, separation of church and state, and the centrality of missions, while at the same time working to free Baptists from obscurantist, provincial, and isolationist movements in their midst. At the height of the debate over evolution, Carver articulated a mediating position, teaching that the biblical

creation story is a theological rather a scientific text (Wilson, p. 70). At times, Carver trod a fine line when he found himself on the opposite side of issues from seminary presidents Mullins and Sampey. When Mullins led in the writing of the Baptist Faith and Message in 1925, Mullins wrote in his diary, “I am wholly opposed to their making such (or any) creed” (Wilson, p. 75). Carver was similarly skeptical of the Cooperative Program because he thought there should be stronger support for missions. Later, although he was a product of the southern culture of his time, Carver criticized Sampey for not allowing African Americans attending a conference to eat in the seminary cafeteria. Wilson has reminded us how deeply the issues that still divide Baptists are rooted in the controversies of the early twentieth century, and how greatly we are indebted to the vision and courage of Carver (and before him Whitsitt), for their efforts to move Baptists in the South beyond their provincial beginnings while holding steadfastly to the Bible, Baptist distinctives, and his passion for missions. _R. Alan Culpepper

class notes ‘01 ‘06 Scott Ford (M.Div. ’01) has been serving as Operations Coordinator with Passport, Inc. since August 2009. In May 2010, Scott and Dixie (M.Div. ‘08) welcomed their fourth and final child, Anna, following Allie, Amber, and Thomas.  As of January 2012, their children are ages 1, 2, 6, & 7. W. Brent Jones (M.Div. ‘01) received a PhD in American History from the University of Virginia in May 2011.  His dissertation was entitled “Moving Mountains: Southern Appalachia and the Faith of the Nation, 1730-1835.” 


gave birth to a daughter, Annie Brennen, in November 2010. Teresa Anderson Franklin (M.Div. ’06) was ordained February 28, 2010, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), and has been serving as Stated Supply Pastor, Mount Hermon Presbyterian Church, Ila, Georgia since January 2010.

Josh Hughes (M.Div. ’06) and his wife Ginger celebrated the birth of their little girl, Ella Grace Hughes, on September 24, Barrett Owen (M.Div. ’10) 2011. She was 19 1/2 “ long accepted a call to pastor and weighed 7 lbs 12 oz. National Heights Baptist Church (Fayetteville, GA) in November 2010 and married Noelle Tina Cansler Clark (M.Div. ‘07) Spears in March 2011. has moved to Macon, GA and is working as the Director of John Rogers (M.Div. ’10) was Spiritual Care and Bereavement called as the Student Minister Services at Hospice Care to First Baptist Church Fort Options in Macon. Payne, AL



Dixie Ford (M.Div. ’08) Dixie has been serving as Minister of Youth & Children with Crosscreek Baptist Church in Michelle Brooks Garber (M.Div. Pelham, Alabama since January ’03) graduated from Mercer 2011. In May 2010, Dixie and University with a Ph.D, in Scott (M.Div. ’01) welcomed Educational Leadership and is their fourth and final child, currently serving as Assistant to Anna, following Allie, Amber, the Dean at McAfee of School of and Thomas.  As of January Theology. 2012, their children are ages 1, 2, 6, & 7.


Ginny Brewer-Boydston (M.Div. ‘04) graduated December 2011 from Baylor University with her Ph.D. in Biblical Studies with an emphasis in Old Testament.


Stephanie Little Coyne (M.Div. ‘05) is serving as a hospice chaplain in Louisiana and

Kristen Ivy is living in Cumming Georgia with her husband and two children: Sawyer (2) and Hensley (3 months). She attends Browns Bridge Community Church and is currently the Creative Director for 252 Basics and all children’s resources produces by Orange.


Andrea Dellinger Jones (M.Div. ‘02) received a D.Min. from Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond in May 2011. Andrea serves as the senior pastor at Millbrook Baptist Church in Raleigh, NC and teaches as an adjunct professor at Duke Divinity School.                               


Hospital and is currently a Ph.D. student in Counselor Education & Supervision at Mercer University.

Kara (Blankenship) Wheeler (M.Div. ‘10) married Chris Wheeler, of Charlotte, NC in May of 2011, at Smoke Rise Baptist Church, Stone Mountain, GA and served as Minister to Families with Children and Youth at Second-Ponce de Leon Baptist Church, Atlanta, GA until September 2011. She is currently serving as Minister with Preschool and Families at Central Baptist Church of Bearden, Knoxville, TN.


Michael Oliver (D.Min. ’08) accepted a call to be pastor of Trinity Baptist Church in Timothy W. Shirley (D.Min. ‘11) Madison, Alabama in December was called in November 2011 2011. to serve as the settled pastor of First Congregational United Church of Christ in Big Timber, Yolanda Fountain (M.Div. Montana. ’09) is serving as a therapist (LAPC, NCC) at Laurel Heights


from pages 10 & 11:

for all the references in these articles

Dean Culpepper’s column “Life on a Raft in a River: The Challenges of Change” David Markiewicz, “African-Americans See Gains Reversed,” Atlanta Journal Constitution, September 23, 2011, A1, A10. 1

Hope Yen, “Downturn Widens Nation’s Wealth Gap,” Atlanta Journal Constitution, November 7, 2011, A3. 2

Ricardo Alonso-Zaldivar, “Medicare Future Faces Big Changes,” Atlanta Journal Constitution, January 2, 2012, A1. 3

Les Robinson, Jr., “Honest Options for a Declining Faith Community,” The Doorpost Weekly Newsletter, January 2, 2012. 4; Table 2.2-A Head Count Enrollment – All Member Schools 5

from pages 14 & 15:

Dr. Nancy deClaisse-Walford column “The Book of Psalms: Reading Backwards from the Beginning” Thomas W. Mann, The Book of the Torah: The Narrative Integrity of the Pentateuch (Atlanta; John Knox Press, 1988), 157. 1

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Tableaux is edited by J. Barrett Owen and designed by Lesley-Ann Hix

Tableaux (Spring 2012)  

A publication for the McAfee Community featuring alumni, students and faculty!

Tableaux (Spring 2012)  

A publication for the McAfee Community featuring alumni, students and faculty!