From the Dean

News items, published articles, and reading recommendations from Dean Timothy George

Page 2 of 186

The Dean Recommends: The New Christian Zionism

By Thomas S. Kidd
October 24, 2016

The esteemed historian of theology Gerald McDermott has published a fascinating and provocative new volume, The New Christian Zionism: Fresh Perspectives on Israel and the Land. McDermott and co-authors, including Craig Blaising and Mark Tooley, are concerned that too many Christians, on the one hand, either neglect Israel entirely or join mainline denominations in a rush to denounce Israel as uniquely oppressive.

On the other hand, those in the dispensationalist tradition elevate the modern state of Israel as a transparent and uncomplicated fulfillment of prophecies related to the restoration of Jews to the promised land, and now await the commencement of the rest of the details of the eschatological timetable, such as the rapture, rise of the Antichrist, and the tribulation.

McDermott thinks there is a better, more biblical way between these extremes, a way he and his press (IVP) describe as the “new” Christian Zionism in the title. But McDermott thinks his Zionism is really getting back to old-fashioned Christian Zionism, the Zionism of Scripture. Read the rest at The Gospel Coalition.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Tuesday, October 25, 2016
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Christos-Wahab Realizes Dream of Studying, Teaching Theology

By Kristen Padilla
October 2016

When Yannick Christos-Wahab was 10 years old, his father changed his family’s surname.

Previously, Yannick’s last name was Wahab, a common Muslim surname that means “servant of the Giver.” But years after his father’s conversion from Islam to Christianity, he added the Greek word for Christ, “Anointed One,” to Wahab, making his son Yannick one of five people in the world with that surname.

Christos-Wahab smiled as he retold the story. His dad did not know Greek but “he knew I was going to end up studying theology.”

But for Christos-Wahab, studying theology was a bit of an anomaly given his African Pentecostal context. He grew up in a Nigerian home in a Nigerian community in a borough of London. While worship services were vibrant and its people zealous for the Lord, the prosperity gospel (the belief that the ultimate sign of God’s blessing is health and wealth) had taken root in some forms of African Pentecostalism.

According to Christos-Wahab, the ministers he knew had no theological training and feared that being academic meant a loss of faith. When Christos-Wahab went to the University of St. Andrews in Scotland to study theology for his undergraduate work, he was the first person he has known to do so.

While at St. Andrews, he took a New Testament and Greek class from Scott Hafemann, a professor whom Christos-Wahab credits as having changed how he now reads and interprets Scripture. For the first time, he began seeing that the Bible is not a collection of isolated stories and thoughts, but rather is one large narrative of Jesus Christ redeeming the world.

“All of a sudden, I was realizing, ‘Wow! This fits,’ and what he’s saying is actually biblical,” Christos-Wahab said about Hafemann’s class. “It helped me to recover my Bible because I’ve always read my Bible, but now I was reading my Bible in a different way.”

It was also Hafemann who first encouraged him to go to seminary and mentioned Beeson Divinity School.

Christos-Wahab was impressed by Beeson Divinity School’s stress on biblical languages, studying theology historically and not just systematically, studying in an interdenominational setting, and personal education.

“I wanted to learn theology in a setting where people were being trained for ministry,” he said. “I just prayed about it, and in the end, Beeson was the only place I applied to. I was really certain that’s where God wanted me.”

Now beginning his third year at Beeson Divinity School, Christos-Wahab continues doing what he wanted to do as a boy — studying theology. But now he is tapping into his other passion — teaching theology to those who need it.

Through the newly formed School Ministries of Birmingham, Christos-Wahab teaches a Biblical Worldviews class to 16- and 17-year-old Spain Park High School students weekday afternoons except Thursdays. School Ministries of Birmingham is a released time education program that offers a Bible class to public school students off campus during a class period. On Saturdays, Christos-Wahab teaches Hebrew at a Jewish Messianic Center to people in their 40s and older.

Christos-Wahab says it’s a great privilege to be able to teach what he is learning during his classes at divinity school.

“The professors have been great examples, not just in their knowledge, but in how they teach,” he said. “It’s refreshing to be in a setting with believers, to be in an interdenominational setting where I get to have conversations with Anglicans and Lutherans, to be in a setting where I can have great relationships with my professors and to learn from their teaching.”

Christos-Wahab is so “passionate about theological education” that he feels called to teach theology to people who have not been taught, people who, once like himself, grew up with the prosperity gospel and who do not know anything different. One day, he hopes to go to Nigeria to teach theology to his people.

“I’m very passionate about theological education among people who don’t have it,” Christos-Wahab said. “I cannot imagine not teaching.”

This story was originally published in the Fall 2016 issue of Samford University's Seasons Magazine.
Posted by Hunter Upton at Monday, October 24, 2016
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The Dean Recommends: The reality of Christian Genocide in the Middle East

By Caitlin Bootsma
October 19, 2016

How many of us grew up believing that the Holocaust would never happen again? After listening to our parents or grandparents recount war stories, empathizing with stories such as that of Anne Frank’s, and learning of the horrific ways Jews and other minorities were degraded, tortured and killed, we thought we could safely say that we had learned our lesson. Of course, that is not the case. There have been a number of genocides since the 1940s; in fact, one is happening right now.

I’m speaking of the elimination of Christians in the Middle East. Consider that in 2003, Christians were one of the largest minorities in Iraq, equaling 1.5 million. By 2014, that number had diminished to about half a million, due to the many who had fled from violence or been forced out. Since ISIS has targeted them however, only 200,000 Christians remain in Iraq, one of the oldest Christian communities in the world (In Defense of Christians 2016 Briefing Book). That’s about 87% gone in a mere 13 years.

And as you may know, it’s not just Iraqi Christians who are suffering persecution. In Iran, over 550 Christians have been arrested and detained arbitrarily since 2010 (U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom 2016 Annual Report). In Syria, churches are being closed or destroyed by ISIS, Christians are being attacked and kidnapped—including two orthodox archbishops. Even in Turkey, Christians continue to struggle against inequality. Read the rest at Aleteia.

Posted by Kristen Padilla at Thursday, October 20, 2016
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