Wade was raised in a Christian church, and grew up never questioning its tenets. However, while Wade could explain that salvation from sin is only possible through Jesus Christ, it was not until his senior year of high school that he actually repented of his sin and put all of his faith and hope in Christ for salvation. His pastor played a major role in his conversion. Having truly found Christ for the first time, he exhibited zealous joy and conviction. He graduated high school and wanted to pursue whatever profession would allow him to love Christ the most, so becoming a pastor seemed the likely option. The more he thought about it, the more the ambition fortified in his mind. He would love the opportunity to be the influence on others that his pastor was on him, but he was also open to involvement in missions, biblical counseling, or any other full-time, vocational ministry. This desire became so strong the he was eventually convinced that he was called to pastoral ministry. His church was happy to see his newfound enthusiasm, and encouraged his desires. So Wade applied for the necessary student loans and enrolled in Bible college to begin pursuing his ambition of being a pastor. Continue reading
|With graduation quickly approaching I have the privilege of writing to you this final editor’s note for the 2012-2013 academic year. You could say that this is my farewell piece because very soon I will be graduating and moving on from MBI-Spokane. So, this is my final opportunity to address you as both your fellow student and as your editor-in-chief.
First, let’s deal with some business. I am pleased to announce that we are handing SOMA over to very capable hands. I want to introduce to you your new editors: Rebecca Kauffman and Sarah Spaur. They have played a vital role in the continued success of SOMA and are capable administrators and writers. I could not feel more confident in their ability to take what already exists and make it better. I hope that you support them with encouragement, prayer, and the finest articles you have ever written. When you see them please congratulate them.
I want to make my final exhortation quick and to the point, so here it is: believe the gospel. While this may sound simplistic it’s not. I am talking about truly, passionately, devotedly, putting your whole trust in the good news of Jesus Christ. For when many of my readers hear the term “gospel” they immediately think, “Jesus lived a perfect life, died the death I deserve, and rose on the third day, and if I put my faith in Him I’ll be saved,” which is great and true, but I am talking about something more expansive. The things listed above are the absolutely necessary historical components of which the gospel message is meaningless without, but it is not the entirety of the good news. What I am addressing here is primarily belief in the Christ and His accomplished work and receiving the outcome of that accomplishment through faith. Continue reading
A doubt prevails above the truth.
A song, so sad, above the noise,
Of peace, of grace, of hope, of joy.
Instead, I sink. Oblivion.
Lately, a deep, almost painful sense of nostalgia has come over me, a nostalgia that appears around this time every year. Both strange and cyclical, and existing somewhere between sadness and joy, this deep longing has been with me for some time. Each year the seasonal changes taking place around me, particularly the smell in the air, signal its approach and with the arrival of Christmas lights and music it possesses me fully. But, if I were to ever try to express the significance or even the object of my longing I would be speechless. Initially I confused it with yearning for childhood and the excitement of Christmas morning, but I quickly realized that the superficiality of presents was not enough to account for my experience. Its too deep for that, too heart breaking, too personal to be about presents under the tree. I soon realized that my nostalgia wasn’t for any item in particular, or for a moment, or even for Christmas itself, but rather for something typified by Christmas. What I was longing for was something I had lost: I longed for the time in my childhood when magic ruled the world.
When you think of yourself what do you think of? Most would reply with things that you have done, accomplishments you have made, what status you have in society, maybe even your style of dress. Would those people be right? Is that the totality of who you are? There is much more to you that happens internally that people may never know, but what do you think of when you think of yourself? In our more confident moments answers to these questions seem very obvious and ludicrous. In humbler times, we may hesitate to give ourselves more time to think.
Previously, I had discussed the parallels between our all-too-common circumstances and that of Dr. Frankenstein. The power of good fiction is the ability to create fantastical circumstances that force us to think about our very real and current situations. One does not want to commit the fallacy of reading our own story into everything we encounter, but, if a writer does well, one will find themselves connecting with a character. Quotations from Shelley’s classic illustrated not just Frankenstein’s conflict with his monster, but also our own conflict with sin; the creation of our monsters, how those around us react, and the life long struggle in ourselves.
An ironic predicament has presented itself at Moody Bible Institute-Spokane. From my various conversations with fellow classmates, professors, (and even from reflection in my own life) I have realized a common and blatant contradiction in the way students view their theological education. This contradiction is the Bible student’s use of the Holy Spirit as a means of attaining his specific theological education, and the utilization of the Holy Spirit as a hindrance to that education which he claims God “called him to,” “led him toward,” or “gifted him for.” Education, in this sense, is not the experience of college but the “systematic instruction, schooling or training given to the young in preparation for the work of life, pertaining to an institution, classes, assignments, and a grading system.” The term “education,” in this paper, will be regarded as the scholastic assignments given to students to advance their knowledge. In a formal, theological education the Holy Spirit should enhance our learning and not be used as an excuse for poor performance.
Not long ago, I watched a video in which an eight-year-old girl professed to evangelical atheist Christopher Hitchens that she believed herself a ‘free-thinker.’ I nearly wept at the tragedy. It felt as if I were watching a train that had just been set in motion, full of innocence people conversing gaily while unaware their track was heading toward a cliff, and myself too far away too help. When I remember the innocence of children, I consider the effects of damaging philosophies and philosophers with even more gravity; I often spend some time mediating on millstones. The lie of this modern philosophy entitled ‘Freethought’1 is twofold: it is neither free, nor is it thought. G.K. Chesterton appropriately labels this sort of thinking “the suicide of thought.”2 At this point, it seems best to define the notion I have portrayed so heinously; Free Thought is “thought unrestrained by deference to authority, tradition, or established belief.”3 By definition it is a contradiction in terms: the venerable tradition of human logic is accepted despite tradition having been rejected. That said, I hope to show that it is much worse than a mere contradiction: it is obliteration.