The American Church Has Some Reckoning To Do (A Response to Charlottesville and More)

By Timothy Gombis on August 21, 2017

On Saturday, August 12, various groups marched in Charlottesville, Va., in support of white supremacy, to express their desire to establish a white nation and to intimidate and denounce Jewish and black people. It is important to recognize these ideas and behaviors as evil and to denounce them as an offense to God, who created every person in his image (Genesis 1:27; James 3:9) and who does not show…

Is Christ on the Couch?

By Scott Courey on August 7, 2017

Throughout the middle of every week, tens of thousands of Christians bring their deepest life troubles to a private therapist, and most likely, keep quiet about it on Sunday morning. Here's my question: When Christians go to therapy, is Christ on The Couch? "Well of course he is! Christ goes where ever his people go"! I agree. But what I'm asking is this: Do Christians go to therapy expecting to be…

How Traveling the Land Has Brought Me to Worship

By Jennifer Greer on May 3, 2017

Years ago, I took my first trip to Israel. We visited many of the biblical sites, but the tour also included traditional sites and tourist attractions and shops. Then, during my seminary student days, I traveled with a professor on a very different trip, studying the history, geography and archaeology of the land. I didn't realize until that trip how much I had missed the first time.

A Detailed Account of the Israel Study Tour

By Jennifer Greer on May 1, 2017

A Fitbit or iWatch registers 5,000-7,000 steps a day walking the land of the Bible on our annual Israel Study Tour. For eight days, we literally step into the world of the Bible and immerse ourselves in the geography, history, culture and archaeology of the Old and New Testaments, as well as the "Intertestamental" period. We then step back into our modern-day context, bridging this ancient biblical…

The Pastor is Between Two Worlds

By Darrell Yoder on January 25, 2017

Almost 10 years ago, I sat in my office listening to Dr. John Stott share his heart about preaching. I wish he would have been in my office himself so I could ask him questions. Alas, I was listening to a recording of a course he taught many years prior. At the time, I was serving at the Institute of Theological Studies, developing a "legacy" course to make Stott's material available again. It was…

Calling All Christians: Love Your Enemies

By Josh Maurer on November 28, 2016

Recently, many excellent articles have been written addressing the election and the many implications for us as Christians in this "brave new world." I am under no illusion that this brief post will be sufficiently nuanced to engage all the necessarily specific questions that must be asked and answered. Yet, I do believe it will be another helpful and challenging contribution to the discussion.

Voting Anxiety: Is There Another Choice in My Political Menu?

By Sergio da Silva on July 18, 2016

I grew up in Brazil. I reached voting age at a time in which the country was under military dictatorship. We did not vote for president, but we were legally required to vote for other offices. There were only two options: we could vote for candidates from the government-supported party or for candidates of the opposition party. During my college years, I reached a political conundrum: I did not want…

What Does Compassion Really Look Like? Part 2: A Compassion Revolution

By Kizombo Kalumbula on June 13, 2016

In my last post I closed with two questions. First, could there be more true compassion going on in Grand Rapids than what meets the eye? Second, could it be that God is beginning to do something new in my city? There seems to be a paradox playing out here. On the one hand, Grand Rapids is ranked 51st out of the 52 largest cities in America where African Americans are doing the best economically, and…

What Does Compassion Really Look Like? (Part 1 of 2)

By Kizombo Kalumbula on June 6, 2016

In January 2015, Forbes Magazine published an article, "The cities where African-Americans are doing the best economically." My city, Grand Rapids, Michigan, ranked 51st out of the 52 largest cities in America—second to last. Then in October, the Huffington Post, published another article ranking Grand Rapids 5th among the top 10 worst cities for Black Americans to live. It's hard to be Black in Grand…

Finding Common Ground: Can complementarians and egalitarians flourish together?

By Darrell Yoder on April 13, 2016

In today's post, I'd like to highlight the Intercultural Lecture Series event that took place last month. Carolyn Custis James spoke on "The Blessed Alliance," which asked the question: How does the Gospel transform relationships between male and female and restore the "Blessed Alliance" that God envisioned for his sons and daughters from the beginning?

If you have wrestled with the role of women…

To Spank or Not to Spank

By Catherine Mueller-Bell on April 4, 2016

One of the most common challenges for parents is deciding how to respond when a child misbehaves. Caregivers who are parenting don't always agree; they each bring their own experiences and assumptions and have to work out what they will do in their own family. As we explore this issue from a Christian Worldview, I would suggest that the Word of God from the Christian Bible is our greatest resource…

What Does Christian Parenting Look Like?

By Catherine Mueller-Bell on March 30, 2016

So, what does this look like day-to-day when one is parenting a biological or adopted child or caring for a child in an orphanage, foster home, or correctional facility, or reaching out to children who are homeless? I would recommend that our best example is how Jesus treated children, and I invite you to investigate this issue with me.

Spanking: A Father's Perspective

By Darrell Yoder on March 28, 2016

In my own experience, spanking has at times seemed effective, and at other times it has failed miserably. There are times I may have used spanking too quickly, as a first choice in punishment, without considering other options, only to later wonder if it really was the best method. This was even more pronounced when my children didn't respond to spanking in the way I thought they would.

The Cross and Christian Identity

By Kris Rolls on March 23, 2016

It doesn't take more than five minutes of watching network news to convince a person that we live in very dark and confusing times. American culture is deeply divided along fault lines of race, politics, economics, religion, and human rights. The world is longing for justice and significance, but more importantly, it is looking for answers and searching for identity.

A Story to Tell, A Story to Live

By Jennifer Greer on March 21, 2016

We are new friends with different backgrounds, but we share one thing in common: we both have children with medical issues. Though I have faced emergency medical situations with our son for 10 years (and his genetic condition will continue to present lifelong struggles), this momma is in a new battle with her infant. Someone who knows a little of my story introduced us and thought I might be an encouragement…

Responding to the Opioid Epidemic and Shortage of Addictions Counselors

By Catherine Mueller-Bell on March 14, 2016

Last month, NPR ran a story about the opioid (e.g., heroin) epidemic and the shortage of addiction counselors to respond to the problem. New Hampshire had been in the news as having an acute addiction crisis with politicians calling for more treatment options. It's good news that addiction and the need for treatment are getting attention (although we should acknowledge the tragedy that communities…

The Gospel vs. Resolution

By Kris Rolls on December 30, 2015

New Years is an interesting holiday that is loaded with all sorts of meaning. Around this time a few years ago I listened to a sermon from popular Christian philosopher James K. A. Smith. He titled his sermon, "Giving Up on Resolution." I remember it well because it was such a stark critique of what I thought to be "harmless" New Year's resolutions. Why wouldn't I want to lose weight? Get a gym membership?…

The First-Year Seminary Student

By Jo Anna Kelly on December 28, 2015

You'll know us when you see us. We're pretty easy to spot. We're usually the ones walking around with a look of bewilderment on our faces, reeling from the impact of the day's most recent class discussion. Teetering on the edge between enthusiasm ("education is a gift!") and panic ("I'm in over my head"), we are actively addressing topics that force us to answer the question, "What do I believe?" We…

Fear and the Loss of Compassion

By Darrell Yoder on December 21, 2015

It's Christmas, and millions of people are on edge. Those living in the Middle East are familiar with this fear, but it's new (or at least more intense) for many of us. We've watched with horror as ISIS fighters commit atrocities and export their violence to Africa, Paris and (perhaps indirectly) San Bernardino. We hear about the growing domestic threat in the US.

With everything coming closer to…

Traveling and Digging into Redemption

By Kris Rolls on October 14, 2015

In 2012, my wife and I packed up our things—well, two suitcases each—and moved to Israel for graduate school and a ministry opportunity. Our time in the land, and living in a small Palestinian village just outside of Bethlehem was one of the most amazing seasons in our lives.

Connecting the Seminary and the Church

By Darrell Yoder on August 17, 2015

I was raised in the Church. I came to faith around 10 years old in a rural Mennonite church in Northern Indiana. Thirteen years later, when I decided to go to seminary, many people around me had no idea what a seminary was (none of our pastors had ever gone), and they wondered about the value of "going to school for so many years."

During seminary, then, I was both inspired and disillusioned. I was…

What to Expect...

By Darrell Yoder on August 3, 2015

I'm excited to participate in this new Talking Points blog! I will be engaged in this conversation primarily as a practitioner, a pastor who spends a lot of time thinking about and engaged in the practical issues we face in the Church. My role at GRTS though—working with and mentoring future pastors; planning and coordinating our Talking Points conferences—offers me a unique glimpse at what the seminary…