Thursday, March 26, 2015

Theology and Missing the Forest...

John Piper's recent article entitled, "Is Theology Your Idolatry?" reminded me of a sermon I heard at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2003 from Danny Akin entitled "The Danger of Loving a Theological System More Than Your Savior."  In this sermon, Akin responds to a rude anonymous comment from a hyper-Calvinist.  

Both of these are great messages for seminary students, in particular, who are spending a great deal of concentrated time studying theology.  As those of us involved in seminary education become convicted of certain theological positions, we can begin to become very uncharitable towards Christians who disagree with us at any point. We can also completely forget the primary goals of the Christian life which can be obvious to even the newest of Christians, but lost to those who are missing the forest for the trees.  

From John Piper: Is Theology Your Idolatry?

We have often loved what we’ve learned about God more than God himself.
The Bible warns us about the dangers that come with our knowledge of God, especially for the theologically refined and convinced. “You cannot serve both God and theology.” Good theology is a means to enjoying and worshiping God, or it is useless.
Has your theology turned into idolatry? Has your knowledge of God ironically and tragically drawn you away from him, not nearer to him? Here are nine questions that might help you diagnose theology idolatry in your own heart and mind.
Click HERE for the rest.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Missiography 2015

As the Global Center prepares to celebrate World Christianity Focus Week (April 13-17th), we are inviting other schools on campus to participate in an event called Missiography. Last year the event went very well and featured over 40 photos from Samford employees, students, and alumni illustrating world Christianity and global needs. 

Each photograph is to be accompanied by a short description and the name of the photographer. The Global Center will pay for them to be enlarged, printed, and prepared for the gallery. Students, faculty, and staff from all departments of Samford are invited to participate. We would love to see campus-wide participation. 

As stated above, we are looking for pictures that illustrate world Christianity and/or global needs. More specifically, we are looking for photos that tell a story and have an artistic bent towards them. In other words, less staged group photos and more in the moment pictures with multiple meanings. Think "National Geographic meets missions." Photographs will need to be at least 1 mb in size (2mb and above is preferable). The deadline for submissions is March 30, 2015. 

During World Christianity Focus Week, these pictures will be displayed in the halls of the Divinity School. However, if your department wishes to house them in your own halls, please notify us. On Wednesday, April 15 at 12pm, we would like to gather all the Missiography photos and their photographers in the Global Center for a Missiography Greet & Eat.

After the Missiography event, a number of these photos will be selected to be displayed in the library from April 20 to May 1.

Please send your pictures to the Global Center by emailing them to global@samford.edu 

For more information, please contact Colton Conrad via email (cconrad@samford.edu).

Thank You,

David

P.S.  There is a fine line between highlighting global needs in a way that motivates people to glorify God by meeting those needs and simply taking advantage of a situation to get a picture that people will like. Most of you already know this, of course. I just wanted you to know that we will try to be discerning in this process.  

Monday, March 2, 2015

Islam in Short Shorts

Want to know how strict a particular Islamic society is?  Just look at the women.

During my time in Southeast Asia, I met many young Muslims who were clearly not practicing Islam as historically prescribed.  They were also doing things that are clearly listed as sins in Islam - sex before marriage, getting drunk, dressing immodestly, etc. Normally, the last thing to go, interestingly enough, was eating pork. I always say that it would make more sense to me to start with pork and work my way up, but I guess that's just me.

It's important for us to realize their incredibly difficult situation. There is no guarantee in Islam you can be forgiven even if you are perfect from today forward. Additionally, legalism has little power for inward transformation. So this idea in the gospel that you can KNOW you're forgiven is extremely attractive. I've literally seen people risk their lives for it. Personally I've never felt the gospel so relevant and palpably freeing as I have while sharing with Muslims.

I'm linking to the article below to provide some insight from a young lady desperately clinging to her Islam even though she knows Islam rejects her.  For those of you who are familiar with postmodern attempts to believe whatever they want and Christianity at the same time (a la the Emergent church), it may interest you to see a postmodern attempt to do the same with Islam. It just doesn't work and the attempt is sad to witness.

This article was posted on Facebook by a young Muslim girl I know. She's a friendly young woman who identifies with the writer.  She's also trying to reconcile who she is with Islam.  Please pray for my friend and for the writer as you read. Pray that she will remember the gospel she heard years ago through a student ministry and pray that she will believe. Also, pray for the millions of young Muslims throughout the world who don't know the grace of Christ and whose only choices seem to be radical legalism on the one hand and outright liberalism on the other.

From truestories.gawker.com 

The scenario I'm about to describe has happened to me more times than I can count, in more cities than I can remember, mostly in Western cities here in the U.S. and Europe.
I walk into a store. There's a woman shopping in the store that I can clearly identify as Muslim. In some scenarios she's standing behind the cash register tallying up totals and returning change to customers. She's wearing a headscarf. It's tightly fastened under her face where her head meets her neck. Arms covered to the wrists. Ankles modestly hidden behind loose fitting pants or a long, flowy dress. She's Muslim. I know it. Everyone around her knows it. I stare at her briefly and think to myself, "She can't tell if I'm staring at her because I think she is a spectacle or because I recognize something we share." 
I realize this must make her uncomfortable, so I look away. I want to say something, something that indicates I'm not staring because I'm not familiar with how she chooses to cover herself. Something that indicates that my mother dresses like her. That I grew up in an Arab state touching the Persian Gulf where the majority dresses like her. That I also face East and recite Quran when I pray.
"Should I greet her with A'salamu alaikum?" I ask myself. Then I look at what I picked out to wear on this day. A pair of distressed denim short shorts, a button-down Oxford shirt, and sandals. My hair is a big, curly entity on top of my head; still air-drying after my morning shower. Then I remember my two nose rings, one hugging my right nostril, the other snugly hanging around my septum. The rings have become a part of my face. I don't notice them until I have to blow my nose or until I meet someone not accustomed to face piercings. 
I decide not to say anything to her. I pretend that we have nothing in common and that I don't understand her native tongue or the language in which she prays. The reason I don't connect with her is that I'm not prepared for a possibly judgmental glance up and down my body. I don't want to read her mind as she hesitantly responds, "Wa'alaikum a'salam."

For the full article, click PRACTICING ISLAM IN SHORT SHORTS

Monday, February 2, 2015

Beeson alumnus Dr. Seth Tarrer on Theological Education as Missions

Global Voices 2015 got off to a great start as Dr. Seth Tarrer sharing about the importance of training international leaders.  Seth is a Beeson alumnus with experience living and teaching in Latin America.  He provides a great overview of the importance of the importance of providing sound theology in the areas of the world where the church is growing the fastest.  Currently, as Seth explains, the areas of the world where Christianity is growing fastest are also the areas where solid pastoral training is disproportionately unavailable.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Tom Lin at Go Global



I greatly appreciated Tom Lin's testimony and challenge to missions during Go Global!

Tom Lin is the Director of the Urbana Missions Conference and Vice President of Inter-Varsity.  It was a privilege to get to know him while he was here.

Helping Porn Addicts

Last month we were privileged to have Michael John Cusick (Surfing for God) in the Global Center. In this training session he focused on equipping leaders to help people struggling with this issue.