As promised: “Not the Answer I wanted; But Certainly the Answer I Needed”
Nov 28, 2018 CSU Chapel: Job 38-42 part 1
Nov 29, 2018 CSU Chapel: Job 38-42 part 2
I had the privilege of sharing in Clarks Summit University CSU Chapel this past week for three days. I spoke on Disappointment with God from Job. My chapel was more of a testimony of my journey w/ pain and suffering. For those who are interested the video is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FNqDnDF-joA#action=share. I will post the 2nd and 3rd when they post the videos.
Review of Ruth A. Tucker, Black and White Bible, Black and Blue Wife: My Story of Finding Hope after Domestic Abuse (Zondervan, 2016) 206 pages.
Ruth Tucker of Jerusalem to Irian Jaya fame, has penned a personal, heart-wrenching account of years of domestic violence at the hands of her “charming, articulate, and intelligent” husband and once beloved pastor. Her ex-spouse (who is never named in the book) inflicted untold physical and emotional horror on her and their son for years. Sadly, Tucker’s experience is not unique in the church. Women and their children like her and her son (Carlton) should not have to suffer in silence and alone. The church needs to read this book to be motivated to come along side others like Tucker.
What Tucker suffered at the hands of her husband was terrible and inexcusable. Her ex’s use of the Bible to cower Tucker into submission was not only violence inflicted on his wife, Ruth, but also abuse of the worst kind on the biblical text itself. And this is where Tucker does not differentiate between what the Bible actually teaches and what her husband inflicted on her based on his warped hermeneutic. For Tucker they are one in the same. Since her husband demanded total and unquestioned submission and would physically and/or emotionally make her tow that line, any male who supports and practices loving biblical submission (i.e. complementarianism) in marriage is like her husband.
While there is certainly a danger that the doctrine of biblical submission in marriage has (and will be) used as a vicious club (23), Tucker misses the point that God never intended this doctrine to be wielded in such fashion. Sadly, she also confuses the perpetrator with the teaching when she writes, “Yet the doctrine of male headship demands that an independent single woman turn into another woman—a woman under subjection” (53). Tucker’s horrendous experience was at the hands of her ex who had violated the biblical text long before he had abused her.
For those interested in how seminary education should be delivered need to read Paul R. House’s, Bonhoeffer’s Seminary Vision: A Case Study of Costly Discipleship and Life Together (Crossway, 2015).
House uses Bonhoeffer’s seminary model as a way to evaluate the current shift of seminary education away from resident programs to online. While House recognizes the need and value of online seminary education in a few incidents, these are only for emergencies where a potential student is unable to attend a residential program.
House argues that the delivery system of seminary education should be driven by theology and not cash flow that some have suggested online programs promise. He writes, “Thus I believe that a biblical theology of pastoral formation makes face-to-face community-based seminary education a priority, not a preference. (I also believe that the same is true for a Christian liberal arts university, but that is a subject for another time.) Online education for degree credit (at per-credit fees) may be reserved for true emergency cases, but not be accepted as normative or used regularly for pastoral formation” (15).
Most seminary professors would applaud House’s call. However, it is not the professor who needs to be convinced but the potential student. One of my seminary students, who left today for his paid internship, stopped by yesterday and rehearsed all that he learned and experienced by being in a residential program. He recognized that while he could have taken his degree online, he realizes that his educational experience would not have been as full or as rewarding if he simply did his courses online. While this student had a family and steady job, he was unique in that he had the finances and medical occupation that was transferable to almost any geographical area. Many students do not have these same blessings. Contrary to House, online seminary education is a strong, viable (and biblical) alternative for many students. However, seminary faculty, administration and potential students need to recognize the strengths and weaknesses of each delivery system.
While not everyone will agree with his premise or conclusions, House raises thought provoking questions that seminaries need to wrestle with as we train others for ministry in the local church.
I have a chapter in a new book forthcoming from Weaver Publishing this October. The title of my chapter is “Redeeming Chronic Pain: When Surgery Doesn’t Work” in When Suffering Is Redemptive: Stories of How Anguish and Pain Accomplish God’s Mission. I share my journey with God through Trigeminal Neuralgia. Dr. Larry Waters from DTS is the editor and a contributor as well. Joni Eareckson Tada has written the forward. See the rest of the chapter titles and book blurb here. Here is a working cover of the book.
Came across this article that echo’s what I have been saying about the church’s response to same sex marriages for awhile. Canadian Cary Nieuwhof’s five points are spot on. In his blog post he cautiously offers advice to his American counterparts on how the church should respond to same sex marriage, especially in light of the recent Supreme Court ruling. (Same sex marriage has been legal in Canada for 10 years). See his blog post here: “His Some Advice on Same-Sex Marriage for US Church Leaders From a Canadian.”
His second point, “It’s actually strange to ask non-Christians to hold Christian values,” is especially poignant for Christians to consider. I have been saying the same thing since the Southern Baptist Convention voted to boycott Disney in 1997. Then I said it was unrealistic to expect “Mickey” to hold Christian values and practices since “he” was not a believer.
I wonder if “we” are upset over the loss of being the nation’s “conscience.” No longer are Christians able to insist that people act sort of “Christian” under the force of law. Now it seems that people will only have an opportunity to act Christian if they are truly saved. I get the sense from reading the NT that the early believers had to live and speak from a truly minority position as well. They did it with love, not comprising the truth and within that position the church flourished. Maybe modern Christians need to take a page from their “playbook.”
While in not so many words, Douglas Webster offers an advertisement for Baptist Bible Seminary’s PhD program in his recent review article of a new book: The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision by Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson. In his review, “Calling All Augustines” Christianity Today (July/August 2015 see article here) he notes that the authors call for a return of the pastor theologian. They rightly see the need for the academic and pastor to be combined in one man and he in the local pastorate. In our PhD program (see here) we are designed to do just that. All of our professors have extensive pastoral or missionary experience, are currently involved in their local church and all possess terminal academic degrees within their fields from DTS, TEDS and BBS. A number of our graduates and current PhD students are fulfilling this book’s vision. I am thinking of Dave in Canada; John in California; Jay in Delaware and Mike in New Jersey just to name a few. These men are pursing this degree to simply be a better pastor for their flock. These men are not “passive conveyors of insights from theologians” but are men who combine academic rigor at the highest level with a pastor’s heart. Webster concludes his article by recognizing the need for more men such as these. I agree completely. Local churches should be looking for such men as these and supporting their pastor who wants to pursue such a course.