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Reflections on Teaching Theology Students in the 21st Century

Every now and then, the "scandal of temporal peculiarity" bites a professor in the shins. That is, our own temporal location as human beings and its natural limitations come home to roost in the classroom, creating pedagogical challenges unique to our current situation. Let me explain what I mean as a professor of theology and Christian studies. I have often caught myself referring to an event, an ideology, or a person that I assume my students are aware of, but because of their place in history, they likely aren't. I have referred to "Billy Graham Crusades" in discussions about American evangelicalism, and...

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The Longest Journey

“To receive instruction in wise dealing, in righteousness, justice, and equity” (Prov. 1:3). Think of Proverbs 1:2-7 as a stairway—from foolishness to wisdom; from thinking and acting like everybody else to thinking and acting like a Christian (Bruce Lockerbie). The first step toward wisdom is to understand “words of insight” (Prov. 1:2), to know what God approves, what God expects, what God honors and what honors Him. Wisdom is truth applied to life—so wisdom begins with truth. But wisdom is truth applied. If the first step toward wisdom is “to know wisdom and instruction” (v. 2), the second step is “to receive”...

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KNOWING WHAT TO SAY

“To know wisdom and instruction, to understand words of insight” (Prov. 1:2). During my graduate school days, I served as pastor of a church in Waco (that’s in Texas, ya’ll). One day I showed up at seminar dressed in a black suit—which struck a fellow student as just a little odd: “What’s with the black suit?” he asked, “Are ya’ goin’ to a funeral?” As a matter of fact, I was. At which my friend turned stone cold: “Boy, I’m glad it’s you and not me; I . . . I’m not sure I’d know what to say.” You have probably felt...

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