As part of celebrating 50 years of God’s faithfulness to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School this spring, a group of TEDS faculty has asked various community members and alumni to share brief reflections in graduate chapel bearing witness to God’s faithfulness. (If you haven’t yet done so, RSVP for the May 1 celebration.) These reflections have been collected in their own section of the TEDS 50th website, teds.edu/50.
The voices and stories represented in these testimonies vary widely: a local pastor; the current head of custodial services at TIU; a current graduate admissions counselor; the assistant to the academic Dean. Men and women alike have told stories of unexpected blessings from conversations with faculty, of God’s sustenance through difficult periods of personal suffering or academic frustration, and of God’s continuing faithfulness to them long after they were a TEDS student.
Together these stories reinforce what current Dean Dr. Tite Tiénou always emphasizes when he addresses new students: TEDS is a “pan-evangelical” institution that welcomes evangelicals of all varieties and equips them for a wide variety of vocational contexts. This evangelical variety is made possible by a commitment to the centrality of Jesus’ life, death, & resurrection–the Gospel–as well as a commitment to the authority and inerrancy of Scripture and a deep connectedness to the local church.
These chapel reflections bear witness to God’s faithfulness to TEDS through faculty members who embody these commitments, through administrators & staff who serve students on the strength of these commitments, and through alumni whose vocations are enriched and enabled by their faithfulness to these commitments, which they often attribute to the deep and abiding impact TEDS has had on their lives.
Watch one below, and watch the rest at teds.edu/50.
This Friday, April 11, the Trinity Chinese Fellowship is hosting a conference titled Churches In China: Now and Future. We asked the co-leaders of the Trinity Chinese Fellowship, Arthur Ang and Joshua Xie, to give us some insight on churches in China in advance of the conference.
1. Please introduce the upcoming conference. Give us an overview of what’s happening at the conference and what some of the main discussion topics will be.
The purpose of the conference is to give those who have a burden for ministry in Mainland China an overview of contemporary Chinese churches. The topics covered are: theological education (Dr. Joseph Yang), urban church (Dr. Ezra Jin), church-state conflicts and legal framework (Attorney Kai Zhang), and future prospect (Dr. Fenggang Yang). At the end of the conference, there’s a panel discussion that focus on the tension between Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) churches and House churches.
2. What are some myths about churches in China that you perceive many western Christians believe?
Many western Christians believe that (1) churches in China are still under severe persecution from government, (2) churches are more “spiritual” and mission minded. (3) Some believe that churches in China are charismatic, (4) some believe that a certain people (e.g. Brother Yun) is an outstanding leader for all house churches. In fact, China is so big and diversified that not any single figure or movement can represent it.
3. Do Chinese churches look very different from one another depending on where the church is located in China? What are some of the differences between various Chinese churches?
As mentioned, churches in China are very diversified. Due to the long-time segregation from the world and even separated from each other, churches in China have developed very different forms. Though all denominations were eliminated by communist party, some believe that every single church is a denomination and has her own culture and context.
4. How can western Christians pray for and support Christians in mainland China?
China is in great need of theological training and mission support, but the former ways of sending missionaries to evangelize and build the church might need to be changed. It’s wiser to pour financial and human resources to develop local leaders, sponsor them to get better theological training, or go into China to train local leaders.
For those at Trinity, if you are interested, you are welcomed to join the Trinity Chinese Fellowship activities (e.g. Friday Morning Prayer Meetings or Welcome Dinners) and learn more about Christianity and ministry in China. Contact us at: Arthur Ang (email@example.com) and Joshua Xie (firstname.lastname@example.org).
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This spring, TEDS has been celebrating fifty years of God’s faithfulness. The celebration will culminate on Thursday, May 1, with a special chapel service, afternoon celebration service, and evening reception. (Get more info and RSVP.)
We’ve heard many stories of God’s faithfulness this semester. For the month of April, we’re highlighting some of those stories each week leading up to the TEDS 50th Celebration, starting with Wayne Kijanowski, Design Director at Trinity International University and TEDS MDiv alum.
Design as Pastoral Ministry
Wayne’s story–which you can watch below–centers on a crisis of calling in the midst of working as a pastor. While engaged in pastoral ministry, Wayne was also working on various projects as a graphic designer, and “the Lord was blessing both.”
In the video below, Wayne relates that he came to a place of needing to choose between these two vocations. He loved design and felt that it was kingdom work, but he struggled with wondering if he would be wasting his education by pursuing graphic design rather than full-time pastoring.
At this point, a former TEDS professor, Wayne Grudem, gave him some very specific encouragement: “Wayne, walk in freedom. It doesn’t matter what shoes you wear; just make an impact for the kingdom.” Since then, Wayne has worked full-time as a graphic designer and graphic design professor at Trinity College, and has had the opportunity to teach and mentor hundreds of students, as well as build relationships with design clients who have been impacted by Wayne’s Gospel-centered love, care, and excellence in design work. Wayne truly approaches graphic design as pastoral ministry.
Creativity, Grace, and the Cross
In Andy Crouch’s recent book Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling, Crouch encourages Christians to shape culture through, among other means, faithfully harnessing their creative power in service of long-term cultural contributions. After describing some of his closest friends and their various vocations, Crouch writes:
Frederick Buechner writes that your calling is found “where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” In all those places, at the intersection of grace and cross, these friends of mine, who are just names to you but who are the greatest treasures in the world to me, cultivate and create.
Wayne’s graphic design is cultivation that takes place “at the intersection of grace and cross,” and the Trinity community is blessed by his ongoing testimony to God’s faithfulness.
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On May 1, a special celebration will be held to commemorate 50 years of God’s goodness and faithfulness to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.
A special website has been set up at teds.edu/50 featuring stories from current and past members of the TEDS community, including a former Trinity president and one of the only surviving original faculty members. Alumni can go to teds.edu/50 and record short videos of themselves to tell their own story of God’s faithfulness during or after their time at TEDS, and these videos will be featured at different times over the course of the semester. Various other interviews and stories will be posted. Additionally, all semester various members of the TEDS community will be offering reflections in graduate chapel highlighting God’s faithfulness to them during their time at TEDS.
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School was officially named in the 1963-1964 academic year under the leadership of the Dean at the time, Dr. Kenneth Kantzer. His vision for the divinity school–reflected in everything from the official choice of “divinity school” (rather than “seminary”) to the sort of faculty he pursued–continues to shape the priorities and character of TEDS.
Dr. Kantzer envisioned a broadly evangelical seminary with faculty who were united on the essentials of the faith, such as Jesus’ resurrection and the authority & inerrancy of Scripture, but whose backgrounds represented a wide variety of contributions to evangelical theology and ecclesiology. Today’s faculty reflects this vision well. The excellence of the faculty’s teaching & writing, the global reach and influence of TEDS alumni, and TEDS’ continued contributions to the local & global church all represent the outworkings of God’s faithfulness set into motion by the course Dr. Kantzer charted.
Mark Your Calendars for May 1
This semester of celebration will culminate on Thursday, May 1, with a special thanksgiving chapel service at 11 a.m. and an evening celebration service at 6:00 p.m. That service will feature three keynote speakers: Dr. John Woodbridge (Research Professor of Church History and the History of Christian Thought at TEDS), Dr. William L. Kynes (Senior Pastor, Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Annandale, VA) and Dr. David S. Dockery (President, Union University, Jackson, TN). At 7:30 p.m. there will be an open anniversary reception with desserts and heavy hors d’oeuvres, providing an opportunity for alumni, current & past faculty, and students & staff to reconnect.
There are several ways to follow TEDS 50th news specifically. Sign up to receive updates when new content is posted at teds.edu/50, or follow TEDS on facebook or twitter for immediate updates whenever new content is posted.
Blogger & writer Michelle Van Loon, a regular contributor to Christianity Today’s Her.meneutics, attended the Trinity Society of Women Women’s Theology Conference on Feb. 15. On her blog she offers an excellent summary of both the conference and the broader context in which it took place. An excerpt:
Though the event was called a Women’s Theology Conference, it might just as well have been called “A Gathering Of Thinking Women”. Women often have only had two basic corporate vehicle by which they could learn in community with other women: local church-based Bible study groups or big parachurch conference events where the focus is on motivational speech and testimonies. The team from Trinity’s Society of Women hoped to take a step in a third direction with an event that formed a footbridge between the seminary classroom and the lives of thinking women in local congregations who wished for a place to engage their mind and exercise their voice in conversation with others.
Read the full story at Michelle Van Loon’s blog.
This Saturday, February 15, the Trinity Society of Women is hosting a women’s theology conference featuring Dr. Scot McKnight, Dr. Arloa Sutter, and Dr. Lynn Cohick as featured speakers.
Additionally, TSW meets each Wednesday in the Lee Fireside Room from 11:00 – 12:15. The theme for the spring semester is “Voices”. Currently there are four speakers lined up to tell their story of how God led them to discover their voice and how he has used their voice in ministry/work/teaching:
- February 12 – Rev. Amanda Rosengren, Deacon and Curate (Associate Pastor) at Church of the Redeemer in Highland Park
- February 26 - Dr. Dana Harris, Associate Professor of New Testament at TEDS
- March 26 - Paige Cunningham, director of Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity
- April 9 - Dr. Ingrid Faro
Light refreshments will be served each of these times.
Finally, the first and third Wednesdays of each month are spent in prayer. Sometimes the group prays through a Psalm, spends time in reflection on a verse or theme, or focuses on intercession for various needs on campus and around the world. Prayer times are student-led and people are free to come and go as their schedule allows.
For additional information or questions, email Kim Karpeles at email@example.com.
The final series of TEDS Lectures, featuring Dr. Dennis Magary (Professor of Old Testament & Semitic Languages), will begin posting on Tuesday, Jan. 28.
These five videos were recorded during one of Dr. Magary’s Advanced Hebrew Exegesis courses and include student contributions to class discussion. They also feature behind-the-scenes interviews in which Dr. Magary talks about his philosophy of teaching, including why he uses some of the specific resources he routinely uses for his Hebrew exegesis courses. He also offers thoughts on the importance of biblical languages and on being self-aware of presuppositions in the process of exegesis.
Each of the five videos will be released on a Tuesday. Follow TEDS on twitter or facebook to be made aware of these and other new media. Catch up on the previously-released lectures, including material by Dana Harris, D.A. Carson, and Kevin Vanhoozer.