Posts tagged: Church

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…

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…

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…

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?…

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…

Making Sense of God's Call Pt.1: Charismas

By Royce Evans on January 21, 2016

Recently, GRTS adopted the phrase "Following God's Call" in our recruiting emphasis and missional statements. I must admit that when I first saw this phrase in seminary materials and heard it in conversations with my colleagues, I thought it doesn't get much simpler than that. In retrospect, however, the simplicity of that statement belies what is often a much more critical and complex question, not…

GRTS Chapel: "An Appropriate Presence: Living as the People of God"

By Kris Rolls on February 1, 2016

Every Wednesday morning at GRTS, we gather as a community to worship God and reflect on His word. Chapel is an important part of who we are as a seminary. It's an intentional time for us to pause our work, turn off our technology and stop our lectures to gather as the people of God in worship.

Here is the chapel schedule this semester. Chapel is held on Wednesday mornings from 9:50 a.m. - 10:30 a…

What Does it Take to Make a Great Sermon?: GRTS to Host Midwest ETS Meeting

By Kris Rolls on March 2, 2016

It should go without saying on this blog—but I will say it anyway: The Bible is essential for the life, health, and sustenance of the Church; it is the very Word of God to his people. Studying the Bible and communicating it effectively, though, requires loving, careful and hard work. Christians should love words—both written and spoken—simply because we are keepers, doers, and lovers of the Word. The…

When We Have No Words

By Darrell Yoder on March 7, 2016

A few years ago, I was invited to write for the Conversations Journal blog, which seeks to generate conversations that lead to transformation. We were discussing various things that contribute to spiritual formation in Christ. For one of my posts, I explored the role that music can play in our walk with the Lord.

I believe that music—especially worship music based on Scripture—can be one of the most…

Listening to the Voice of Creation

By Darrell Yoder on March 9, 2016

On Monday, I wrote about a time when God used music to impact me deeply and draw me closer in my walk with him. Music, coupled with God's Word, can be deeply spiritually formational. Today, I'd like to look at another practice that has been powerful for me personally—listening to the voice of creation as it testifies to its Creator.

"The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work…

The Cross: For Us, By Us and In Us

By David Turner on March 27, 2016

In many evangelical churches, Easter is relegated to a single Sunday each year. In more liturgically-minded churches, Eastertide is observed as the eight-Sunday season between Easter and Pentecost, which this year falls from March 27 to May 15. Either way, Christ's death and resurrection is the very heart of our experience of new life in him. We need to reflect on the absolute centrality of the cross…

Walls

By Brittany Stichter on April 1, 2016

In this week's chapel, Darrell Yoder gave a message entitled "Walls" from Ephesians 2:11-22. He drew our attention to walls in our personal lives and in the Church as a whole, going back even to the Jews and Gentiles in the early Church.

On the cross, Jesus demolished the walls between us and the Father. He also demolished the walls between us and those who are different than us. While it doesn't…

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…

Ten Questions About What Your Church Believes (Part 1 of 2)

By Mike Wittmer on May 23, 2016

For the past year my students have evaluated their churches' doctrinal statements, and I have learned valuable insights that might help pastors and boards improve their church's confession of faith. Such statements are increasingly important because they provide clarity, or at least guidance, when questions arise in the life of a church. Many times, however, these statements of faith are not treated…

Ten Questions About What Your Church Believes (part 2 of 2)

By Mike Wittmer on May 25, 2016

Here is part two of ten things to look for in your church's confession (click here for part one). If you want an example that illustrates most of what I'm talking about, check out the confession of Cornerstone University or Calvary Church.

6. Does it set appropriate boundaries?

One of the benefits of revising your church confession is that it forces you to discuss how doctrinally inclusive you think…

Dr. Tim Gombis Contributes to a New Book on the Apostle Paul

By Kris Rolls on June 27, 2016

This March, Dr. Timothy Gombis, associate professor of New Testament here at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, published a chapter in an edited volume along with several notable scholars such as N.T. Wright, Bruce Longenecker and James D. G. Dunn. The new book is titled, "The Apostle Paul and the Christian Life: Ethical and Missional Implications of the New Perspective," edited by Dr. Scot McKnight…

A Revelation to the Church

By Stephen Popp on September 12, 2016

The book of Revelation offers a blessing to those who read and obey its message. This blessing appears not once, but twice, in the book. It appears the first time in the opening paragraph, where we read, "Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near" (Rev. 1:3 ESV). And it appears a second time…

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.

Lent as Training in Christian Longing

By Timothy Gombis on March 1, 2017

The Season of Lent begins today. Here's a brief explanation of how this season shapes Christian identity.

The Christian calendar helps to train us in being fully and truly Christian. Many of us are used to having our brains trained to be Christian brains. We just haven't given much thought to our bodies and our loves and our longings. Most of us were raised to think Christian thoughts—that's the sum…

Waiting with Confidence

By Brittany Stichter on April 21, 2017

As Dr. Walter Gibson began his message this week (entitled "Waiting with Confidence"), he asked two introductory questions: "How does it make you feel when someone goes out of his/her way to ask how you are doing?" and "How does it make you feel when no one asks how you are doing or what is going on in your life?"

He drew a message from the text which exhorts believers to encourage each other. As…

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…

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…

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."