NEWS & PRESS RELEASES
BBC Alumni Releases New Book
What have you been doing since you left BBC?
After graduating from the Pre-Seminary program in 2000, I attended Baptist Bible Seminary for a year and started a career as a manger with Borders Books, Music, & Cafť. After completing a year at the Seminary, the Lord led me to Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois. I enrolled in the Masters of Arts and Religion Program at Trinity in order to study adult education and learning theories while continuing with my Biblical language studies that I had started at BBC. I was able to transfer within Borders and worked in several managerial positions in multiple locations. The combination of seminary education and secular management was a stimulating and stretching experience. Along the way, I began to serve on a volunteer basis as the Director of the Students Alive! youth conference. Students Alive! is a conference for Junior and Senior Highers that is held every summer simultaneously with the General Association of Regular Baptist Churches annual conference. On January 1, 2006, I began serving in my first vocational local church ministry position. I am currently Pastor of Outreach and Discipleship at Faith Baptist Church in Mason City, Iowa.
Why did you choose to write Thinking Biblically?
I actually did not choose to write Thinking Biblically. I was asked by an editor of Regular Baptist Press (RBP) to write the book. RBP, spearheaded by my father and fellow BBC alum John Greening, had developed a comprehensive view of spiritual maturity entitled BUILD UP. This initiative attempted to provide a framework for local churches to evaluate their total church educational ministries and the spiritual maturity of their congregants. BUILD UPís foundation is the seven educational aims that correspond with the letters of the acronym: Believe the Gospel, Understand Biblical Ethics, Internalize Godliness, Learn Doctrine, Develop Life Skills, Uplift Others, and Prepare to serve. As RBP prepared to publicly lunch BUILD UP, they wanted to release seven introductory Bible studies, one for each of the educational aims. Due to a curriculum I developed for my Masters thesis on the subject of Biblical Ethics using several Torah texts, RBP felt that I would be a good fit for the Understanding Biblical Ethics aim.
How does biblical thinking influence a Christianís everyday life?
Showing the relationship between biblical thinking and everyday life was one of the major goals of my writing. All too often, a dichotomy between thinking and everyday living evidences itself in believersí lives. Nowhere in Scripture is this dichotomy found. The picture presented in the Bible is that your everyday life is synonymous with how you think. As Proverbs 23:7 says: ďFor as he thinks in his heart, so he is.Ē In writing this book, I attempted to promote a more holistic view that emphasizes the connection between biblical thinking and everyday life.
What is the relationship between thinking biblically and biblical ethics?
The word ethics in most Baptist minds conjures images of the large moral debates of todayís culture such as the sanctity of life or homosexuality. These are certainly ethical issues, but people sometimes forget that the study of ethics concerns what is the right thing to do in every situation. Every decision or action people make is an ethical decision or action. Thinking biblically is foundational to biblical ethics. If one does not think biblically, acting biblically (biblical ethics) is impossible.
How can a Christian develop into someone who thinks biblically?
The Bible is the obvious starting point. Proverbs is one of the best books of the Bible to start with. In elementary school through Senior High, my dad read to me a chapter of Proverbs every morning before I left for school. This repetitive hearing of Godís word speaking to the issues of life helped develop in me a framework of biblical thinking. I also think that meditating on themes I explored in my book will help develop an individual into one who thinks biblically. I believe the themes of Godís authority, presence, will, wisdom, judgment, and love are the top six themes in forming biblical thinking.
What are some other resources you would recommend on this topic?
People generally laugh when I tell them this, but some of the best material on this topic is the genre of Jewish Rabbinic literature. A book such as The Book of Jewish Values: A Day-by-Day Guide to Ethical Living by Rabbi Joseph Telushkin is an amazing study of how the implications of the Old Testament law should be felt in our everyday lives. While I certainly do not always agree with the interpretation of some passages, men like Rabbi Telushikin have spent their entire careers attempting to understand how the Old Testament should apply to peopleís lives. A more traditional resource is a good systematic theology book. Systematic Theology by Dr. Wayne Grudem is one I would recommend. What I like about Dr. Grudemís book is that, at the end of every chapter, he poses several devotional questions that help move the content presented from the cognitive to the active.
How did your time at BBC help develop biblical ethics in your life?
BBC played a big part in developing biblical ethics in my life. Obviously, the daily exposure of being at a school where all my professors attempted to show the connection between the content of the Bible and my everyday actions inculcated biblical ethics in my life. Two professors were especially influential in developing biblical ethics in me. Dr. Carter, whom I reference in the preface to Thinking Biblically, told us almost every daily that we needed to look at the world around us through the filter of Godís word. Colin Smith opened my eyes to the treasure trove of biblical ethics found in the Torah and wisdom literature of the Old Testament. The learning laboratory of Student Leadership Counsel provided a safe environment to attempt to apply the ethical principles I was learning in class. Having individuals such as Matt Pollock and Dr. Loescher immediately either praise or confront my attempts to apply biblical ethics to college life was just as valuable as my classroom experience.
What are your future plans?
At this point, I am excited about developing my ministry in Mason City. I continue to write and develop my skills in that area. I also have been given the opportunity to implement some of the skills garnered through my Masters program in some curriculum redesign projects. Eventually, I will likely end up back in graduate school pursuing a doctorate. On a less serious note, I am looking forward to some home improvement projects around my house this summer.
Posted on: 7/5/2006 11:39:53 AM