Who is Wise and Understanding Among You? (GRTS 2018 Commencement Address)

By David Turner on May 9, 2018

Editor's Note: Dr. Turner has faithfully served in the Bible department at GRTS for 32 years, and we are grateful for his commitment to educating and mentoring students throughout their seminary journeys. Last week, Dr. David Turner gave the commencement address to our graduating seminary students, and we wanted to have his address available on the blog as well. David's humor (which was in rare form…

The Meantime

By Bailie Rouse on April 20, 2018

This week in Chapel, Dr. Gibson encouraged students to engage in specific disciplines and led students through a journaling exercise over Acts 1: 9-11. As Christ ascends into heaven, the disciples are simply gazing at him. As the disciples look upward toward heaven, they are in the “meantime.” The “meantime” in which we are waiting is often a "mean" time, in which “one is placed in a situation where…

Who Does GRTS Serve? Reflections on 30 years of theological education (Part 2 of 3)

By David Turner on April 10, 2018

Editor's Note: We are celebrating Dr. David Turner's 32 years of ministry in the Bible department at GRTS. We asked him to reflect on his time here and to offer a parting word for students, alumni and colleagues. This is the second of three posts. Here is part 1.

When Victor Matthews' retirement led to my coming to Grand Rapids Baptist Seminary in 1986, I was told that about 60% of our students identified…

Brothers and Sisters Who Do Nothing (Reflections on King’s Letter from Birmingham Jail, Part 2)

By Jordan Grooters on April 4, 2018

Editor's Note: This week marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights activist, minister and spokesperson for nonviolent activism. He was killed on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn., but his legacy lives on today. As we prepare for our series on Justice + Unity: Toward the Healing of a Fractured Church, two Cornerstone University staff members, Jordan…

When is Tension a Good Thing? (Reflections on King's Letter from Birmingham Jail, Part 1)

By Jordan Grooters on April 2, 2018

Editor's Note: This week marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., civil rights activist, minister and spokesperson for nonviolent activism. He was killed on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tenn., but his legacy lives on today. As we prepare for our series on Justice + Unity: Toward the Healing of a Fractured Church, two Cornerstone University staff members, Jordan…

Marvin Williams: "Submitting Our Biases to Lord Jesus"

By Andrew Kischner on March 30, 2018

Editor's Note: Over the next two weeks, we are featuring several messages from Cornerstone University's undergrad chapel, which engage the topics of justice, race, reconciliation and love (listen to all CU chapel messages here). Today's message is by Marvin Williams, lead pastor at Trinity Church, Lansing, Mich. With each message, we've provided a "Talking Points Takeaway" as a point of reflection…

Kenneth Russell: "When Revelation Hits the Road"

By Andrew Kischner on March 29, 2018

Editor's Note: Over the next two weeks, we are featuring several messages from Cornerstone University's undergrad chapel, which engage the topics of justice, race, reconciliation and love (listen to all CU chapel messages here). Today's message is by Kenneth Russell, director of diversity and multicultural affairs at CU. With each message, we've provided a "Talking Points Takeaway" as a point of reflection…

Serving in the Possible, Trusting the Impossible to God

By Bailie Rouse on March 28, 2018

Editor's Note: Today, we've asked Ana Cruz, a GRTS counseling student, to share about her experience serving in her home country, Honduras, coming to the US, and leading others to continue serving. She offers a story of trust, simple obedience and God's faithfulness in hardship. She also offers an opportunity for others to join her and the team in Honduras this summer, July 2018. Prayerfully consider…

Christ-like Humility

By Bailie Rouse on March 23, 2018

This week in chapel, Jeff Lash preached a message on how we should seek to be humble as Christ is humble. Each day the media and culture bombard us with the notion that we must promote ourselves and put ourselves above others. Jeff showed from Philippians 2:1-11 that Jesus humbled Himself by becoming obedient to death­—even death on a cross. As Christ gave Himself up for His church, we as followers…

The Responsibility of Being a Witness

By Bailie Rouse on March 22, 2018

This week in chapel, Dr. Evans preached about our responsibility as believers to be a witness of Christ and to attest to the truth of the Gospel. As Isaiah cried out to the Lord to "send me," we should have the same level of conviction. We should no longer be spectators, but we are required to become an active participant and witness for the Gospel. Dr. Evans emphasized that a witness is not silent…

The Power of the Spirit + the Boldness of Believers

By Bailie Rouse on February 22, 2018

This week in chapel, Pastor Christy Lipscomb spoke on the essential need of receiving the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is the one who empowers us and enlivens us for the mission of the Kingdom of God. Her key texts were Acts 1:7-8 and Joel 2:28-29.

Pastor Lipscomb emphasized six ways the church is impacted when the Holy Spirit gives power and when believers respond in obedient boldness…

Hope is an Action Word

By Bailie Rouse on February 15, 2018

As Pastor Joe Lane began his message this week, he emphasized that first as Christ followers, we have a call to mobilization. As leaders in ministry, there must be a sense of urgency placed on our hearts and minds about living out the gospel and serving others.

Secondly, we have a call to hope. Hope is possibility. Pastor Lane used Romans 8:22-25 as a reminder that hope that is seeing, is not a hope…

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year: A Christmas Reflection

By Kenneth Reid on December 20, 2017

Editor's Note: Dr. Kenneth Reid is a new addition to the GRTS faculty, and we're grateful to have him on board. He serves as Assistant Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology and recently spoke in chapel (which you can listen to here). We invited him to offer a short Christmas reflection for the blog, which as you'll see helps us cut through the busyness of the holidays and focus our hearts…

Follow Jesus in the LGBT+ Conversation

By Darrell Yoder on December 14, 2017

For the last several weeks, we have been recapping the Fall 2017 conference on "Loving LGBT+ People with the Gospel." If you missed the previous recap posts, you can check out sessions one, two, three and four.

Today, I want to give a few highlights from the final session of the conference—a panel discussion with Dr. Preston Sprinkle, Laurie Krieg, Matt Krieg, Pastor Marvin Williams and Dr. Gerald…

The Bottom Line

By Bailie Rouse on December 7, 2017

This week in chapel, Dr. Denyes asked the question of what is the bottom line for believers. He expounded upon the theme verse Micah 6:8 as a reminder that believers are called to act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with God. As Christ followers, we cannot only pity those who are suffering from injustice in the world. We must respond and take action. William E. Gladstone once said, "Justice delayed…

When Sex Is an Idol, Holiness and Justice Are Both at Stake

By Jo Anna Kelly on December 4, 2017

During the fourth session of the GRTS Talking Points event, we heard from Matt Krieg, licensed therapist and director of Caring Well Counseling. Matt and his wife Laurie travel the world doing what many of us would never dream of doing, and yet they do it with humility and a heart for service. Both Matt and Laurie discuss their respective stories of broken sexuality and the way God has worked in their…

Responding to Persistent Structural Injustice

By Bailie Rouse on December 1, 2017

During chapel this week, Dr. Rebecca DeYoung shared two stories of individuals who have experienced persistent injustice. First she shared a story of her friend Douglas, who has been wrongly convicted and is living in the prison system. Despite the hardship of living in what seems like exile, Douglas chooses to trust God by persisting and living in victory and in peace. Then, Dr. DeYoung taught from…

Five Ways Your Church Can Join the LGBT+ Conversation

By Andrew Panaggio on November 28, 2017

In session three of the Fall 2017 Talking Points event at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, Dr. Preston Sprinkle and Laurie Krieg engaged in a dialogue to help attendees understand and join the LGBT+ conversation. They talked openly and honestly about how churches can come alongside people who struggle with same-sex attraction so that they do not have to struggle alone.

Giving Thanks When It’s Hard

By David Turner on November 22, 2017

It's easy to be thankful when things are going well, like when we ace the exam, when we get the raise, when we're healthy and our life is flourishing. It's not so easy to give thanks when we fail the exam, when we get fired or when tragedy strikes. I have yet to see an athlete point their index fingers to the sky to give thanks after striking out or getting sacked, and I'm not holding my breath. If…

Why is the Gospel Good News For Everyone Every Day?

By Andrew Kischner on November 20, 2017

Laurie Krieg delivered a stirring talk at the Fall 2017 Talking Points conference entitled "Loving LGBT+ People with the Gospel." She gave a captivating first-person narrative about her lifetime struggle with sexuality and her walk with God.

As she shared, Laurie described how behind every sin lies a heart idol, and so the good news of the gospel must reach into our hearts if we are to be truly healed…

A Change in Posture, Not Theology

By Graham McKeague on November 15, 2017

The opening session of the 2017 Talking Points event effectively laid out the major aspects of discussion. Dr. Sprinkle presented a number of important considerations for pastors, ministry leaders and others to pursue in ministry where "the greatest apologetic for the truth is love."

Remaining in Christ

By Bailie Rouse on November 10, 2017

This week in Chapel, Dr. Joy Bonnema spoke on how producing fruit occurs when an individual remains in Christ, and this remaining happens through love. Often as Christians, we often forget the importance of remaining or abiding in Christ. If we abide in Him, then God will call us into a deeper understanding and a more personal experience of His love. Dr. Bonnema's main texts include John 15:1-17 and…

Loving LGBT+ People with the Gospel (Fall 2017 Conference Highlights)

By Darrell Yoder on October 31, 2017

We took on a pressing topic this semester, one that Christians are actively wrestling with. The fall conference focused on "Loving LGBT+ People with the Gospel." We wanted to ask the question: How can churches with a historical, global and Christian view of sexuality and gender become places where LGBT+ people can find love, care and community? How can we cultivate ministries where people can share…

Mercy Not Sacrifice

By Bailie Rouse on October 6, 2017

This week, Dr. Mariano Avila concentrated the chapel message around the attribute of mercy. He stressed that mercy is the "main medicine" Jesus gave his people to receive true healing. Jesus is our example of how to live in a way that is according to the will of God, and the Gospels show us how to live as Jesus lived. In Matthew 9:13 Jesus refers to Hosea 6:6, and he stresses that God desires mercy…

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…

Waiting with Discernment

By Brittany Stichter on April 7, 2017

Lenski Llorens gave a message in chapel this week based on Acts 27, when Paul was shipwrecked on his way to Rome. Lenski shared about our need to wait with discernment, faithfully pursuing God's plan for our lives and not depending on human wisdom.

"If you look back, wherever you are now, if you honestly look back, are you able to say 'I am here because I have inquired of the Lord and He has reassured…

Waiting Well

By Brittany Stichter on March 31, 2017

Sharon Brown began this week's chapel by praying with us Psalm 130, a Psalm written by one who was waiting on a forgiving God. Sharon gently pointed out to us that, while we are frustrated when our internet takes ten seconds too long to load, we are willing to wait in a three-hour line at an amusement park. So, it must not be the waiting itself that is the problem, but instead our perception of the…

Highlights from the Talking Points Conference

By Darrell Yoder on March 30, 2017

Two weeks ago, we hosted the Spring 2017 Talking Points Conference, focusing on the theme "Bridging Worlds: Preaching the Ancient Story Today." What a fantastic day! We were blessed to have seven speakers engage a room full of pastors, teachers, and students.

Here are some highlights from the conference with audio recording links.

Knowing God is Something You Grow Into, Pt. 4/4

By Darrell Yoder on March 27, 2017

Encounter. Obedience. Intimacy. All three of these themes can easily lead us to wonder, "How much is needed in order to know God?" They seem like really tall orders. What if I don't sense God's presence? What if I've been disobedient? What if God feels distant, rather than intimate? Do I not know God then? I'm hoping this final theme will help relieve this tension.

Waiting with Compassion

By Brittany Stichter on March 17, 2017

Marco Salazar spoke in this week's chapel. He began by helping us consider that we already understand what it means to wait with anticipation. We have experienced it in waiting for a diploma, waiting before your wedding day, or waiting for Christmas morning. In the same way, we also wait in anticipation for Jesus’ return. But while we understand waiting with anticipation, we may wonder how compassion…

Knowing God is About Intimacy—Not Acquaintance, Pt. 3/4

By Darrell Yoder on March 8, 2017

To really know God is to experience deep intimacy with Him through His Spirit—the same Spirit who came into your heart when you believed in Christ and the same Spirit who knows your deepest longings and prays for you when you can’t pray for yourself. This biblical vision of walking with God is not that He is a divine acquaintance but an Intimate Lover.  Knowing God is about union, security, and transparency…

You Cannot Know God Without Obeying Him, Pt. 2/4

By Darrell Yoder on March 6, 2017

Last week's theme "encounter" reminds us that the Christian faith is not merely an intellectual journey nor an emotional or spiritual high. It's the day-in, day-out experience of God meeting us where we are and making Himself known to us in both mundane and miraculous ways. The Christian faith is about experiencing God's love and presence not as an abstract idea but in real life. How do we relate to…

Don't Lose the Wonder of Knowing God, pt. 1/4

By Darrell Yoder on February 27, 2017

If you ran the Fifth Third Riverbank Run in 2009 in Grand Rapids, MI, you received a t-shirt with a simple logo on the front: a name tag with the phrase "I Run For...." In the blank space, some people wrote the names of loved ones; others listed things like health, youth, love, etc. Each person had a different purpose that kept them going when training was hard. This question—what are you running for?…

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.

The Challenges and Opportunity of Solo-Pastoring

By Joe Wright on May 18, 2016

In my previous post, I focused on some of my expectations of pastoral ministry as I graduated seminary and some of the realities I've encountered in my first eight months as a solo pastor. In this post, I will focus on some of the challenges of solo pastoring, specifically in revitalizing a struggling church and in everyday life.

From Student to Solo-Pastor

By Joe Wright on May 16, 2016

What a journey it has been! In May 2015, I graduated from GRTS, completing my Master of Divinity degree in 4 years through the Kern Scholars Program. Then in August, at age 26, I was called to be the new pastor at Bellaire Wesleyan Church in northern Michigan. The two words that describe my emotional state upon receiving the phone call were excited and terrified. You see, throughout the job search…

Space for the Heart in Seminary: Consider the Pirsig Fellowship

By Darrell Yoder on January 18, 2016

For the last two and a half years, I've had the privilege of walking with students in the Kern Scholars Program, which provides a generous scholarship and a cohort experience for students in the Master of Divinity program (M.Div.). I've been encouraged to see the way these men and women have connected with each other in their cohorts. As the above quote from one student testifies, the journey of theological…

What we say when we call people to serve

By Darrell Yoder on January 4, 2016

Not too long ago, I was talking to a friend who was feeling guilty after hearing his pastor speak about service. The pastor's appeal was a good one. As followers of Christ, we are called to look out for others in need and to be generous with our time and resources. The message was from the story of Peter raising Tabitha from the dead (Acts 9.36-41).

Part of the story is how Tabitha was known for "always…

Listening that Leads to Hope

By Sarah Enck on August 5, 2015

We all live in a broken world. Within our churches we interact with people who are living with depression, experiencing adultery, or have experienced intense trauma and abuse. The church is not immune to this brokenness and sin. Ministry leaders are often in roles that require a listening ear for their congregants.