Author Archive

Incarnate the Love of Christ: Refugee Ministry Opportunities

If you’re interested in mentoring, counseling and simply incarnating the love of Christ to others, then think about refugee ministry!  Hospitality is a defining feature of the Christian life, and almost nothing portrays hospitality more clearly than welcoming strangers in a strange land (Matt 25).

Pairs of students visit newly arriving refugee families from Iraq, Congo, Burma, etc. each week for an hour or so. Volunteers need a love of people, a desire to help, and a sense of humor. It is not necessary to speak a foreign language or have travel experience. Transportation is provided (the ministry is located in the Rogers Park neighborhood).

Contact Prof. Amit Bhatia (zabhatia@tiu.edu), faculty adviser for Trinity’s Refugee Ministry, for further information. There will be a four-hour training session on Saturday, January 24, from 9 a.m.–1 p.m. in Lower Waybright. This opportunity can also be used toward undergraduate Service Learning credit or graduate Field Ed. credit, so stay tuned for further announcements or reach out to Prof. Bhatia.

Check out the video on walking this road together:
 

 

Special Inauguration Issue of Trinity Magazine Now Online

Winter_TrinMag

A special winter 2014 issue of Trinity Magazine was produced in response to the inauguration of Trinity’s fifteenth president, David S. Dockery. Here’s a look at what’s inside:

    • “Heritage & Hope: David S. Dockery’s Inaugural Address”
      —On October 23, 2014, President Dockery delivered his inaugural address to the Trinity community. He moved from Trinity’s blessed heritage, today’s challenges, our confessional framework, practicing faithful, effective and efficient oversight, all with an eye on a hopeful and hope-filled future.

“‘. . . one faith, one hope, one Lord’ have been the hallmarks of the best of Trinity’s heritage through the years. Today we dedicate ourselves afresh to claim or reclaim those markers for our forthcoming journey.”

~ David S. Dockery, p. 5

 

    • “Forging the Future”
      —Trinity welcomed several notable evangelical figures to campus during the week-long celebration of President Dockery’s inauguration. Among these were three chapel speakers—Cherie Harder, Timothy George, and John Perkins—who represent different, but complementary, points along the spectrum of evangelical cultural engagement. Each of them offered reflections that illuminate Trinity’s legacy and illustrate Dockery’s vision for continuing Trinity’s global influence.

“Justice is a stewardship issue. One problem I’ve seen with Christianity is that we’ve reduced God—he’s too small. We’ve over-individualized him.”

~ John Perkins, p. 17

 

    • “Theologians of the Roundtable”
      —As part of Trinity’s weeklong inauguration celebration, several evangelical pastors, scholars, and authors were invited to participate in a roundtable discussion on the state of evangelical Christianity and its future prospects, both in the US and abroad.

“For the sake of the church, there are only two words: Christology and
courage. Christology, because Jesus Christ is the center and the reason for it all; courage, because in the context of what many brothers and sisters in Christ are experiencing and suffering around the world, our own suffering pales into insignificance. I want us to build those ties of solidarity and pray for those who belong to us as they belong to Christ.”

~ Timothy George, p. 20

Check it out below:

 

Prof. John Feinberg Honored with Festschrift

A Festschrift in honor of John Feinberg provided the capstone for Trinity’s presence during the 66th annual meeting of ETS in San Diego, CA, on November 19-21, 2014. Feinberg is professor of biblical and systematic theology at TEDS, where he has served for 31 years. He also served as an associate professor (1983-1990). Twice he served as the chairman of the Division of Biblical and Systematic Theology (1985-1992, 1999-2012). He holds degrees from UCLA, TEDS, Talbot Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago. Feinberg has published numerous books and articles, and has served as a consultant for Crossway Books since 1985.

“The Trinity community joins me in offering our sincere congratulations to Prof. John Feinberg on the volume of essays that have been written in his honor,” said President Dockery. “We are truly grateful for the three decades that he has invested in the lives of students at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Moreover, we are thankful for the large contribution he has made not only to the Trinity community, but through his writings and extended ministry to the entire evangelical movement.”

Crossway will publish the Festschrift in 2015 under the title Building on the Foundations of Evangelical Theology (a riff on the series for which Feinberg currently serves as general editor). According to its website, the book will contain “three sections focusing on the architecture, foundation, and superstructure of evangelical theology [that] offer a coherent, helpful framework for these important essays.”

Proceeds from the book will benefit the Huntington’s Disease Society of America in the name of John and Pat Feinberg. Gregg Allison and Stephen Wellum, both TEDS graduates, are co-editors of the volume. There are 10 contributors who are either current or former TEDS faculty members.

John Kilner Receives the 2015 Paul Ramsey Award for Excellence in Bioethics

John F. Kilner, Professor of Bioethics and Contemporary Culture and director of bioethics degree programs at Trinity International University, was recently awarded the 2015 Paul Ramsey Award for Excellence in Bioethics by The Center for Bioethics and Culture Network.

The annual award is given to those who have demonstrated exemplary achievement in the field of bioethics. “In the important effort to think in Christian terms about bioethical concerns, John Kilner has for decades been a significant figure,” said Gilbert Meilaender, the CBCN’s Paul Ramsey Institute Scholar. “Both in his own writing and, perhaps even more, in his ability to draw others into shared projects, John has helped us all reflect seriously on the ways in which Christian belief can respond to issues raised by clinical and research medicine.”

From 1994–2005, Kilner served as President and CEO of The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity at Trinity, and presently serves as a Senior Fellow in their Academy of Fellows. He holds the endowed Forman Chair of Christian Ethics and Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.

Kilner has been interviewed in such television venues as NBC (with Tom Brokaw), FOX News (with Bill O’Reilly), CBS, CNN, and PAX, such radio venues as National Public Radio, Moody Broadcasting Network, and Salem Network, and such newspaper venues as the New York Times, Washington Times, and Chicago Tribune. His articles have appeared in the Hastings Center Report; Journal of Health Politics, Policy & Law; American Journal of Public Health; Archives of Internal Medicine, Hospital Practice; and Ethics & Medicine. He has written or edited more than 20 books, including the forthcoming Dignity and Destiny: Humanity in the Image of God (2015).

The Paul Ramsey Award is named for one of the most important American Christian ethicists of the twentieth century. Ramsey’s writings and commitment to the sanctity and dignity of human life decisively shaped moral discourse and reflection in the areas of theology, law, politics, and medicine. The award honors those who have made an outstanding contribution to the bioethics discussion and are actively engaged in society; facing the challenges of the 21st century, profoundly defending the dignity of humankind, and enthusiastically embracing ethical biotechnology for the human good.

“All of us who are involved in the work of the Trinity community offer our heartiest congratulations to Professor Kilner on this prestigious and well-deserved award, Trinity President David S. Dockery said. “John Kilner always represents Trinity with excellence. He is a most worthy recipient of this award, representing well those attributes that characterized the brilliant work of Paul Ramsey.”
 

TEDS @ Princeton: Proclaiming the Gospel at the Ivy League

TEDS Feature


by Andrew Koenig (BA ’14)


When it comes to the idea of academic excellence in the United States, likely nothing comes to mind as immediately as the Ivy League. The image of these eight universities—among the oldest in the nation—elicits visions of stately buildings, sprawling campuses, and the gathering of brilliant minds. Chief among these institutions is Princeton University in New Jersey, which has produced a prodigious number of world leaders in its long history.

Despite the university’s original ties to the church and initial mission of preparing ministers for gospel ministry, recent years have seen a sharp decline in Christian influence on this prominent campus, thus leading to the common assumption among the general population of students and staff that the existence of God is irrelevant. While many ministries have sprung up at Princeton in response to this shift in worldview, there are four Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS) alumni—Matt Bennett (MDiv ’01), Joel Ristuccia (MDiv ’10), and Chris and Danielle Sallade (MDiv ’02)—who are seeking to make an impact for the kingdom of God at one of the nation’s most prominent universities through their ministries. In hopes to shift the campus back towards a God-centered view of life, these leaders have taken on the responsibility of bringing the good news of Jesus Christ to Princeton’s student population.

Princeton Evangelical Fellowship

Princeton Evangelical Fellowship (PEF; princeton.edu/~pef) is the longest-running ministry of the three, dating back to 1931. Chris Sallade and his wife Danielle—both Princeton alumni—joined in 2002 after graduating from TEDS.

“We were invited to return to Princeton to be a part of the very things that blessed us both during our time here: mentoring, teaching, and serving the Christian community,” said Chris.

According to its website, PEF’s mission was originally shaped by the great commission, and to this day, it is their hope that Princeton University students grow as followers of Christ and make him known on campus and around the world. They do this through emphasizing Paul’s vision of new life in Christ and the Christian community as seen in the letter to the Ephesian church.

“Ultimately, our hope is that when a student completes their time here and then moves on, they will take God’s vision and love for the church with them and that they would impact their local church and community for Christ.”

Sallade believes that the solid theological instruction and personal mentoring he and Danielle received at Trinity were critical to their leadership in PEF.

“[The professors’] callings and convictions came through in every class and lecture: to ‘guard the good deposit’ that has been entrusted to us, and they clearly communicated that to us so that we would eventually go on to teach others,” said Sallade. “Now we are at Princeton, and our role is to carefully instruct those here in the gospel and to faithfully pass on this ‘good deposit’ to this generation.”

Manna Christian Fellowship

While Manna Christian Fellowship (princeton.edu/manna) began in 1995, Joel Ristuccia, who grew up in Princeton and whose parents are Princeton alumni, took over the ministry in 2011. For him, it was not only an opportunity to return home, but also an opportunity to do compelling ministry in a unique culture that is in the midst of dark times.

“In particular, Princeton has a culture all to its own,” Ristuccia said. “The culture is filled with much sin and brokenness, and often exerts a negative affect on the students. Some examples include the pressure to achieve, the ‘work hard, party hard’ mindset, the dominance of moral relativism, and the intolerant demand for tolerance.”

According to Manna’s website, the ministry’s purpose is to “develop and engage a gospel worldview, reinvigorating the witness of the gospel in the life of the academy.” This purpose is accomplished by affirming and participating in Princeton’s mission to build “a vibrant community of scholarship and learning for the common good of society” while also allowing a biblical worldview to shape the ministry’s interaction with that mission.

Ristuccia believes that a major way to make this impact is to present the gospel in a manner that shows its immediate transformative power.“Too often, Christian students lack a compelling vision of the Christian life because they don’t see the ongoing implications of the gospel,” Riscuttia said. “We want students to realize how the gospel can literally change all areas of their lives.”

Ristuccia also mentioned how his Trinity education taught him that despite the tendency for brothers and sisters to disagree on certain issues, community among believers is the ultimate concern—that Christ will be known through his disciples’ love for each other (John 13:35). “The most important thing is that we are loving each other as the community of faith, and seeking the Lord in prayer and through a faithful study of the scriptures as we navigate these difficult issues,” said Ristuccia.

Christian Union

Matt Bennett’s Christian Union ministry (christianunion.org) is currently on seven of the eight Ivy League campuses, including Princeton, where it operates under the name Princeton Faith and Action (PFA). According to PFA’s website, the group “provides training, fellowship, and support for Christian students as well as resources to help non-Christian students learn about Christianity.”

For Bennett, the mission of PFA, as well as other Christian Union groups across the Ivy League, is heavily focused on fostering Christian leadership. “Our goal and mission is to renew the larger culture,” Bennett said, “and our way for going about that is by reaching the most influential and training them in Christian leadership, inspiring them, and helping to network them together with a common vision.”

Bennett also points out that while there have been campus ministries in the Ivy League for years, Christian Union was partially started as a response to the increasing presence of a secular worldview. “I just felt we needed to do more given the intense secularity and influence.”

Making an Impact

For each of these ministries, the challenge begins with presenting a compelling and engaging gospel message to a student population whose focus is heavily set on academics, achievement, and the potential of becoming a recognized national and global leader.

“Our research has shown that about fifty percent of the most influential leaders in the nation went to just these eight schools,” Bennett said of the Ivy League. “So we focus on these schools because the list of graduates from these schools is really a who’s-who . . . of well-known national figures.”

Clearly, if the goal is to re-place God in the center of the lives of our nation’s leaders, the Ivy League—and particularly Princeton—is a great place to start.

While each ministry’s mission begins with presenting this life-changing message, they hope that their impact extends far beyond Princeton’s campus. According to Ristuccia, one of the purposes of Manna Christian Fellowship is to foster the future of Christian leadership.“We aim to transform the worldviews of tomorrow’s national and international leaders such that the gospel of Jesus Christ becomes the lens through which they view the world,” Ristuccia said.

Challenges

Of course, ministering in an atmosphere such as Princeton in not without its difficulties. One of the most significant challenges these ministries face is the intellectual atmosphere in which their work takes place. For example, Bennett finds that connecting with the intellectual community on religious topics requires Christian Union to staff leaders who are older and well-educated.

“We really need people who have either seminary degrees or who are older just to be able to address these students’ concerns in a deep way,” said Bennett.

Added to this is the fact that on these campuses religion and intellect are deemed mutually exclusive. “[There’s an] assumption that if you’re intellectual you have to leave this religion and Christianity stuff behind,” said Bennett. “The positive side of that is when they see a Christian, believing peer of theirs on campus, it makes them stop and think, because they know it’s not an easy school to get into and they have respect for their peers.”

Ristuccia also cites peer influence as a major challenge to Manna’s ministry. “I can invest in a student for months, and yet one comment from a parent or close peer can seemingly uproot all the seeds I have planted.”

A third significant obstacle comes with meeting highly motivated students in a way that fits into their lifestyle and schedule.

“Students are very busy,” said Sallade. “Classes are demanding and most students are involved in multiple activities throughout the week. The stress and demands of Princeton constantly compete for the students’ time, priorities, and heart.”

Long-Term Goals

While there are many immediate challenges that these ministries face, each of these leaders have their sights set on the future. Looking forward, Ristuccia hopes that Manna will continue to make an impact not only on its current members, but across Princeton’s campus.

“There are numerous ways we could engage Princeton’s campus, whether it be partnering with secular organizations with whom we share a common cause or serving the student body in practical ways,” Ristuccia said. “I want Manna to be known as a people who bless the culture at Princeton, such that if we left campus, non-Christians would be disappointed to see us go.”

According to Sallade, one of PEF’s most prominent goals in the coming years is to continue to send out alumni into every corner of the world.

“It’s amazing to consider how far and wide graduates scatter every year after graduation,” said Sallade. “Our hope is that when students leave Princeton they would go on to live for Christ in their professions, in their communities, and in their families and relationships.”

Finally, Bennett hopes that Christian Union will continue to foster a strong Christian environment for our nation’s future leaders. “We feel that if that’s the case, then the nation can’t help but be impacted positively by the students graduating,” said Bennett, who aims for at least twenty percent of the student body at each of these universities to be involved with some sort of campus ministry.

Conclusion

As mentioned above, these leaders often face a challenge in sharing the life-changing message of the gospel with a group that generally believes placing faith in Jesus Christ means abandoning the intellect that helped bring them to Princeton in the first place. Yet despite the assumption that a genuine Christian faith and participation in the academy are incompatible, these leaders have set out to prove that it’s not a matter of either/or. As TEDS equips students to proclaim the gospel message all across the world, so have Chris and Danielle, Joel, and Matt been equipped to model the intersection of faith and the academy in their lives and ministries. By directly ministering to a population that has been historically comprised of many future leaders and who have begun to lean heavily toward agnostic or atheist perspectives, it is evident that the indirect inroads TEDS has made at Princeton by God’s grace will produce fruit for many years to come.

——

A recent graduate and former communication assistant at Trinity, Andrew Koenig (BA ’14) has plans to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing.

 

{This article originally appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Trinity Magazine, pp. 10–13.}

 

Academic Success at Trinity

Wright_Feat


by Peter L. Wright, associate professor of education at Trinity College and Graduate School

“Getting an education is like breaking through a wall sometimes,” a Trinity student who struggles with a disability said recently. “You chip away at each brick, and it feels like it’s never going to come down.”

For such students, just like any others, attending a university is an exciting and challenging time. Finding and experiencing academic success is a necessary component of this endeavor. For those with learning problems and other disabilities, the challenge is even greater.

“But education should be doing everything possible to knock those walls down,” notes that same student.

And so it has begun to do so. A growing number of students with disabilities are not only attending colleges and universities, but also experiencing academic success. Trinity International University, in accordance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and Americans with Disabilities Act, along with most postsecondary schools in the U.S., offers appropriate and reasonable accommodations (academic adjustments) to students with a documented disability. Unlike public high schools, post-secondary schools are not required to provide a free and appropriate education to those with disabilities. Instead, they are to provide reasonable accommodations to help ensure an equal educational opportunity and access to all aspects of university life. The reasonable accommodations serve to level the playing field, but they do not lower essential requirements.

reasonable accommodations and services

“I enjoy your class, but reading has been a challenge for me. It takes me on average four hours to finish a lesson … so reading faster will free up some time and will get me out of the jam I am in now.” ~REACH student

The number of students provided with reasonable accommodations from 2013 to 2014 more than doubled on the Deerfield campus. Each of these students received academic adjustments, the most common being extended time on tests and quizzes. Time is a “gift” as it offers students with disabilities the opportunity to demonstrate what they know and what they can do without the pressure of typical time constraints. Some may feel, however, that it is not “fair” to give some students extra time. But consider: Not all people in a group need CPR, just the one that is turning blue on the floor and experiencing the heart attack. Fairness, therefore, is giving to each what he or she “needs.” Other accommodations might include an alternate location for taking tests and quizzes without distractions, having a computer read tests and quizzes aloud, receiving a copy of the professor’s notes and electronic presentations, and the use of a computer for note taking and essay exams.

“Essentially, I am able to do in one sitting what I usually have to plod away working at all day. This is a pretty significant improvement.” ~TEDS student

Reading has been, and continues to be, a major source of information acquisition in higher education. Students who have a disability that prevents them from effectively and efficiently reading required materials are eligible to receive digital copies of textbooks. Software is available at no cost to all Trinity students, staff and faculty, which “reads” the material aloud on the computer. For some students, this is truly a lifesaver.

Post-secondary schools are not required to provide tutoring specifically for students with disabilities, but tutoring is available for all Trinity students through the newly established University Student Success Center (undergrad.tiu.edu/student-life/services; divinity.tiu.edu/student-life/student-care/student-success-center).

“My accommodations helped me feel secure and confident as a student. For the most part, I did not feel treated differently by professors or students because of them. In fact, most professors were grateful to provide a better way for me to succeed in my studies. . . . God bless Trinity for seeking to provide ways for students with learning disabilities to succeed in college!” ~Naomi Sorenson (BA ’14)

the process for students

Students are not required to disclose a disability, but when they wish to be considered for reasonable accommodations, a meeting is set up with the coordinator of services for students with disabilities. Documentation of the disability needs to be provided or an evaluation, at no cost to the student, is conducted to determine specific learning needs (all of which remains confidential). Although universities are not required to provide learning-needs evaluations, for some students, they represent the first step toward experiencing success, and so they are available on the Deerfield campus. If the student is found eligible, a Letter of Reasonable Accommodations is written by the Coordinator, in conjunction with the student, and is distributed to each professor in print and digital form each semester. It is the student’s responsibility to meet with each professor to decide how the reasonable accommodations will be utilized in each course.

Having reasonable accommodations helped me more than I thought it would. With the accommodations, I was able to learn at my pace and take the time I needed to be able to get through tests without the worry of rushing. ~Trinity College 2014 Graduate

Such accommodations help students learn through the toughest of classes. And, in the words of the college student mentioned at the outset of this article, “using accommodations doesn’t mean that you are not able to learn, they are there to help you learn the best way that you do.” Put another way, these students show themselves time and again that they are fully capable learners who just so happen to learn differently than many of their peers.

——

Dr. Peter L. Wright (BA ’75) is associate professor of education at Trinity College and Graduate School for seven years after working in public schools for thirty-two years as an elementary classroom teacher, school psychologist (K-12), and special education coordinator. Dr. Wright is also a member of the Council for Exceptional Children.

Questions about services for students with disabilities at Trinity can be directed to the coordinator of services for students with disabilities, Dr. Peter Wright, at pwright@tiu.edu or (847) 813-8018.

 

{This article originally appeared in the Fall 2014 issue of Trinity Magazine, pp. 14–15.}

 

Prof. Younger to Deliver Archaeology Lecture at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary

On November 6, 2014, 7:30 p.m., at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, K. Lawson Younger, professor of Old Testament, Semitic languages, and Ancient Near Eastern history at TEDS will be lecturing on “The Aramaeans: The Ubiquitous People Group of the Ancient Near East.”

The Arameans, whose origins leave us with many questions, were comprised of a number of ethnically and linguistically related groups from across northern Syria and Mesopotamia. Those Arameans centered at the city of Haran, in the area known as Paddan-Aram, played an especially significant role in Israel’s ancestral history as recorded in the Book of Genesis. Isaac’s wife, Rebecca, was the daughter of Bethuel the Aramean (Gen. 25:20). Her deceitful son, Jacob, sought safety from his brother, Esau, in this same area with their maternal uncle, Laban (Gen. 28:5; 31:20, 24). In the Exodus tradition, the Israelites who entered Canaan prepared an offering before the Lord while acknowledging their Aramean ancestry (“A wandering Aramean was my father”; Deut. 26:5).

The Arameans seem never to have achieved a unified culture or centralized political system. Instead, numerous Aramean city-states arose between the 11th and 8th centuries BCE. Urban centers such as Bit-Adini, Bit-Agusi, Aram Damascus, and Sam’al represent some of the most significant strongholds, But beyond whatever political influence these states may have garnered, the Aramaic language and script, which the Arameans developed from Phoenician, clearly represent their principal contribution to ancient Near Eastern culture. As the Assyrians conquered ever larger tracts of Aramean land during the 9th and 8th centuries BCE, they deported large numbers of Arameans eastward to the Assyrian homeland. But, ironically, by the late 8th century BCE the Assyrian Empire itself adopted the Aramaic language for its own international diplomacy and trade. And in time, the Aramaic script replaced other national scripts, including Hebrew. In fact, the book script that appears in the Tanakh today descended from Aramaic letter forms.

Professor Lawson Younger, a recognized authority on the culture and language of the Aramean peoples, will provide an overview of this group as he explains its tribal structures and the complexity of its connections with nomadism. He will outline the rise of Aramean polities in the context of various regional issues and, by looking specifically at two of the many known Aramean entities (Sam’al = modern Zincirli; Gozan = Tell Halaf), he will trace the differences and similarities within the various histories of these polities. Come hear this internationally acclaimed scholar discuss a cultural group that held such close ties to the Hebrews of the Old Testament.

This lecture continues the seminary’s series on peoples of the biblical world.

The Kelso Museum of Near Eastern Archaeology will be open from 6:30–7:15 p.m. and after the lecture. The lecture and reception to follow are free and open to the public.