There are many memories I will treasure of my father, Robert Saucy, but I will write about only one now that has most profoundly impacted me—I believe, for all eternity. It was Dad’s passion for God’s Word.
When I offered a new seminar course on Ecclesiology last semester, one of the books we discussed is Gregg R. Allison’s Sojourners and Strangers: the Doctrine of the Church (Crossway, 2012). This is the latest volume in the Foundations of Evangelical Theology series edited by John Feinberg. The book has several features to commend it for evangelical readers interested in ecclesiology. One characteristic throughout the book is the clear and well-organized writing style that is a model for students to see how ideas are presented, supported with evidence, and critiqued or nuanced. It is difficult to misunderstand Allison’s meaning and how all of his claims fit together.
It has been five years since my dad, Javier Esqueda, passed away unexpectedly. The huge hole my family have without him will continue for the rest of our lives and it has been very hard to get used to the idea that he is not with us anymore. I still struggle to refer to my dad in the past tense when in casual conversations his name comes up, but I am sadly conscious that the present and the future will continue without him. My mom could have celebrated her 45 wedding anniversary last December, my two brothers could have celebrated their college graduations with their proud dad, my two children could have enjoyed their granddad (who I am sure would have spoiled them a lot), and I could have had the total support of a man who would advise me always, looking for my best interest; but all of these things were not and will never be possible.
Hace ya cinco años que mi papá, Javier Esqueda, falleció inesperadamente. El gran vacío que nos dejó sigue y seguirá presente por el resto de nuestras vidas y es muy difícil resignarse a su ausencia. Cuando en conversaciones casuales sale el tema de mi papá me cuesta trabajo referirme a él en el pasado, pero estoy tristemente consciente que el presente y el futuro seguirán sin su presencia. Mi mamá habría celebrado 45 años de casada el pasado diciembre, mis dos hermanos habrían celebrado sus graduaciones de la universidad con su orgulloso papá, mis dos hijos se habrían gozado con su abuelito que estoy seguro los habría consentido muchísimo y yo tendría el apoyo y el oído total de un hombre que me amara incondicionalmente y me daría sus consejos totalmente desinteresados buscando siempre lo mejor para mí, pero todo esto no pudo ni podrá ser ...
Dallas Willard (1936-2013) has been one of the key evangelical interpreters and provocateurs regarding the important doctrine of formation into Christlikeness. Willard was professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California and a former Southern Baptist pastor. Sometimes due to Willard's spearheading the importance of spiritual practices among Protestants, he is viewed as having said little else on the topic of Christian formation (Richard Foster claimed that Willard was his mentor on that particular subject, in the acknowledgement section of Foster’s classic book, Celebration of Discipline, HarperSan Francisco, 1978). But there is much more. ... Four pervading themes in Willard’s writings on Christian formation are briefly developed below, mainly with quotations from Willard.
Although most Biola students have grown up in the church, a surprising number of undergraduates (especially freshmen and sophomores) do not attend church. Students cite a variety of reasons for this, including busyness, lack of transportation, difficulty of settling into a church, receiving Bible instruction through Bible classes and required chapel attendance, and lack of depth in relationships when they attend church. Recognizing that these students do face legitimate difficulties, I created an assignment requiring them to attend the same church four times over the course of the semester and answer a series of questions about the church for the purpose of helping them think through how they should pick a new church. I’ve included the questions below. I’d love to hear any feedback on them!
Disfrutar de una relación íntima con el Dios del universo es el propósito principal del ser humano. En Dios encontramos respuesta y sentido a nuestras vidas. El salmo 15 describe al tipo de persona que puede relacionarse personalmente con el Creador. El salmista se pregunta quién puede ser un huésped de Dios. En esa cultura, un huésped gozaba de acceso directo con el anfitrión. Este salmo de sabiduría se entonaba al entrar al templo. Los adoradores iniciaban con la pregunta y el sacerdote respondía con los requisitos y finalizaba con una promesa para aquellos que los cumplían.
A few months ago I wrote about José Bowen’s seminar and his book, Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning (Jossey-Bass, 2012). I shared that his main thrust was for teachers to use technology to deliver content outside of class sessions, and shift the use of class time to processing that information, promoting critical thinking and the application of knowledge to real life situations. There are three ideas from Bowen’s work that I think have the potential of deepening the impact of our teaching in the church. Over the next few months I’ll be writing a brief blog on each of the three ideas, beginning with ways of using technology to get students into the content of the Bible lesson/study before you meet, preparing them for a more active and deeper learning experience together.
The idea of our identity with Christ is an important topic in my class on spiritual formation. We spend several class sessions looking at Colossians 3:1-17 from a variety of angles and often return to thinking about how our identity with Christ is foundational for our spiritual life and maturity (the students also memorize Colossians 3:1-17 over the course of the semester). The capstone to this section of the class is an assignment helping the students to reflect on their own identity. Here are the instructions ...
A few evenings ago, we hosted a delightful group of ten Biola students at our house for dinner. During dessert, we launched into a lively discussion about how we should celebrate Christmas as Christians. We discussed various sub-topics under this broader question, but we spent the largest portion of our time talking about how Christians should—and should not—talk to their children about Santa Claus.
Every year Bible scholars from around the world gather for a series of conferences about the Bible and related topics. This year the conferences are being held in San Diego, making it convenient for many Biola faculty to attend the conferences, present papers, see friends, and wander the book tables. The following list (thanks to David Roberts for compiling it) includes the presentation titles by those associated with Biola. As you can read, our professors are engaged in research in many different and interesting areas!
This series of posts presents several of my active assignments from the required freshman class Biblical Interpretation and Spiritual Formation. This one has the students examine their use of time and money, and usually students are surprised at the results. Here are the instructions ...
Since students often come to me asking about doctoral work after Talbot, I thought it would be helpful to share my personal experience in obtaining my own doctorate. Perhaps some will find my experience helpful as they prayerfully contemplate whether the Lord is leading them to pursue further studies in a doctoral program.
Recuerdo que mi padre solía decir con frecuencia “cada cabeza es un mundo” cuando se refería a las diferentes maneras de pensar y actuar entre las personas. Por esta razón, la comunicación es parte básica de las relaciones humanas. No se puede establecer ninguna relación importante y duradera sin que exista una comunicación fluida en la que se intercambien ideas y opiniones. La diversidad de percepciones nos abre la puerta a las relaciones saludables a través de la comunicación, pero al mismo tiempo crea la posibilidad de conflicto. Así que, es importante que todos en general, pero esencial para los líderes, que aprendamos a disentir sin ofender.
Are you as concerned about the growing problem of biblical illiteracy as I am? We Christians have more Bible-focused resources available to us than has any generation of Christians in the history of the world. Despite this we are literally—from a spiritual standpoint—starving ourselves to death. Would you like your church, adult Bible class, youth group, or small group to reach Bible fluency by pursuing an Old Testament Fluency in 12 Weeks class or a New Testament Fluency in 12 Weeks class using the free resources at biblefluency.com? Here’s how.
What does it take to achieve Bible Fluency? In my next two posts I will guide you through how to use a brand new free resource called Bible Fluency: Sing it, See it, Study it, found at biblefluency.com. This first post seeks to answer the question: How can I use music, visuals, and a workbook to help me learn to think my way through the Bible?
Now there is a provocative title for a blog! But it’s probably not what you think. This past spring I attended a faculty development seminar at Biola University led by José Bowen, author of the book, Teaching Naked: How Moving Technology Out of Your College Classroom Will Improve Student Learning (Jossey-Bass, 2012). The main thrust of his sessions with us, and of his book, is that with information being so readily available through mass technology, we need to leverage that technology to maximize classroom interaction with students, shifting our roles from presenters of information (which students can get more readily online) to coaches who help students process that information, promoting deeper learning, critical thinking, and application of knowledge to life situations. As I reflected on Bowen’s ideas, I think we may need to start “teaching naked” in the church. Let me tell you what I mean.
Half of my teaching load each semester consists of teaching the required freshman class Biblical Interpretation and Spiritual Formation. Although I thought the combination of these two topics in one class was strange when I first read the job posting, the class has grown on me and I now love teaching it. I see the connection as leading from proper reading of the Bible to spiritual formation: the very structure of the class helps prevent us from merely reading the Bible in an academic fashion. We spend a large part of the semester looking at the different genres of the Bible (law, prophecy, etc.) and then we reflect on spiritual formation topics related to those genres (such as legalism and idolatry).
This past Sunday (September 14, 2014), my fourth daughter, Ana, was baptized as a believer in Jesus Christ at Corona Del Mar beach with 15 or so others from Redemption Hill Church. We have heard from so many about the impact of her public testimony, so I thought that I might share it as an encouragement to you as well. The testimony is hers, written by her and read out before she was baptized.
A family had a priceless family heirloom – a vase – that was passed down one generation to the next generation. One day, the parents of the family who had possession of the vase, left the teenagers at home while they went out shopping for the day. When they returned home, their children met the parents at the door, with sad faces, reporting: “Mother, Father… you know that priceless heirloom our family passes down one generation to the next… while our generation just dropped it”
I recently came across an excellent list of questions that every missionary thinking of joining a missions agency should ask before signing up. This list, and the introductory paragraphs, were written by Dan Crane from the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton. They are reprinted with permission.