Monthly Archives: August 2016

Immerse “Fence Posts”

Unlike course-based educational models where formal instruction is delivered in the context of semester-by-semester attendance in the classroom, context and competency-based educational models require alternative ways for students to take in intentional instruction.

For Immerse, Northwest has developed a system of Workshops and Seminars where students will typically come in to a specified centre and absorb two to three days of intense instruction on a particular topic. The students then return to their ministry contexts and put into practice the instruction they have received. Their mentors interact with them on the material and ensure that the students have indeed grasped the instructional material and are mastering the implementation of what they have learned into their various ministry contexts. We view these instructional opportunities like fence posts – carefully selected for strength, intentionally spaced, and firmly cemented – keeping the fence wire taut.

These times of coming together for seminars and workshops have provided our students the additional benefit of developing friendships and sharing their ministries and lives with one another.

Here are some photos of our Immerse faculty and students as they participate in the Immerse Instructional Seminars and Immerse Exegetical Workshops.

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Northwest Alumni – Kingdom Leaders serving at home and around the world

Charlie Nishi:

Tell us how your ministry leadership has developed over the years?

P1160013a My years at Northwest were instrumental in shaping my service for God’s Kingdom. The Canadian Japanese Mission introduced me to the Christian faith. After my Engineering degree, I led bible studies for the Japanese mission and mentored young adults. The Lord led me to study the Scriptures, so I returned to BC to attend Northwest. The many mentors and friends at Northwest led me to serving with the Fellowship for the past 40+ years.

What elements of your Northwest education and leadership development have you found helpful in your life?

My love and commitment to Christ, the leadership development from Northwest and my training in biblical studies, theology, apologetics and church history have been invaluable for my teaching/preaching ministry at Marpole Baptist Church. Above all, this has been helpful in leading the Baptist Housing board and ministry over the past 30 years.

Thank you for serving faithfully. God has blessed you richly with mentors from Northwest – can you tell us more?

I am grateful for Professor Don Hill, Professor of Theology whose clear teaching of theology and application has been life changing. Dr. Jack Pickford, Dr. Harold Dressler, Dr. Howard Andersen and Dr. John Richards were significant influences and I am thankful for them as well.

Graham Crawford:

You attended Northwest Baptist Theological College several years ago. Was it foundational to your current ministry?

Northwest was foundational to my faith. At Northwest my faith in the Lord was solidified and I was given the training to share my faith with others. I now serve God as a missionary!

You were the youth pastoral intern at Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church years ago. Tell us more.

The leadership team, staff and congregation at Parksville Fellowship Baptist Church were exceptional. Practical ministry experiences gave me confidence and my apprenticeship made me the man I am today! I am thankful I was given the privilege to serve with PFBC.

Where is God directing you to serve now?

I’ve been an SIM missionary for the last 12 years serving in Botswana for the “Flying Mission”.  In March 2015, I met Kathleen, and plan to marry this May. God is directing us to serve the Lord together with SIM in Benin, West Africa as “Project Coordinators” in 2017.

Sea Dogs1

Northwest Alumni serving God at home and around the world – we thank you! We are sincerely thankful to our friends, partners and investors for their faithful support. Please prayerfully consider how you will partner and “Invest with Northwest.”

We have a lot to celebrate

This continues to be a fruitful time for us at Northwest as we pursue our mission of ministry leadership development. I am very excited about the addition of Don Chang to our faculty, our first faculty hire in more than ten years. Our Korean programs are growing quickly and it is important for us to support this work with great people. Don’s credentials, his pastoral experience, his bilingual language skills, and most of all his strong Christian commitment and his heart, will make a tremendous contribution to all of our work here at Northwest.

It has been amazing to see how God has chosen to use us through our work in competency-based education models like Immerse. The Lilly foundation recently gave several million dollars to the Association of Theological Schools to study the future of theological education. It was quickly acknowledged that this kind of educational model is the most hopeful direction for seminaries leading into the future. As Northwest is the only school so far approved to offer this kind of education, and given that we have been doing so successfully for five years, we have been asked to lead a group of seven schools under this grant, to develop a series of recommendations that will change the standards by which seminaries are evaluated for this kind of work. This is a tremendous honour and responsibility. We see this as an opportunity for us to steward the things the Lord has taught us for the good of his Kingdom.

We are also very encouraged to receive the BC Ministry of Advanced Education’s gold standard Educational Quality Assessment seal of approval. This is the highest level of government scrutiny we have ever received and we came out of it with flying colours. Please continue to pray for us as we seek a similar response from the Quebec ministry with relationship to our work with SEMBEQ.

As you will have read elsewhere in this newsletter, we will be holding our first Northwest-specific graduation in more than 15 years on September 23rd. We trust that you will consider joining us. We have a lot to celebrate, including our first group of Immerse graduates from Fellowship Pacific and elsewhere. We are now at the place where our efforts have born actual fruit in the life of our churches and for the good of God’s Kingdom.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers and for your support of this great work that God has given us to do together.

Can Christians use human language to speak about God?

Can Christians use human language to speak about God?

Dr. Archie Spencer seeks to answer this question in his recent book: The Analogy of Faith: The Quest for God’s Speakability. (Available for Kindle and print from Amazon, Chapters, and IVP Press). Paul T. Nimmo from the University of Aberdeen says “This is a rigorous and generative Christian dogmatics of an impressive order and deserves to be widely attended.”

I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Spencer on his book for Northwest News.

What is your book about?

Archie Book coverThe book is about the function of language in theology. In turn, the book is a defence of the normal use of our language to express our theological statements. How we use language is an important idea because today people question the truthfulness of language to express the being of God.

What were some challenges for you when writing this book?

Staying ahead of the flood of literature for the past ten years has been one of the biggest challenges I faced.  The amount of interaction I had with classical Greek and Medieval literature was another major challenge. The last main challenge I faced was the exegetical part of my research. Getting a grasp where Scripture affirms and supports the possibility of language to speak about God was a challenge. Needless to say, there is lots of biblical exegesis to support the book.

Why write this book?

I wrote this book in anticipation of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. The core motive for me was to reaffirm the basic Protestant commitments to theology. Particularly, the principles of Sola scriptura, Sola fide, and Solus Christus.

What are your hopes for this book?

It is difficult to publish with a semi-popular press as an academic writer. So having IVP publish this book is like getting a monkey off my back. A door has opened in front of me to consider writing more populist theology, and there is interest by publishers in this area. I also needed to establish myself and my method and now I can move forward.

Any parting words for aspiring theologians?

Theology is a nose-to-the-grindstone task. So the church needs good pastor/theologians. But pastor/theologians need to be willing to make the time and commitment to become good theologians. My encouragement is: Every pastor a theologian and every theologian a pastor.

 

New Northwest Faculty – Dr. Dongshin Chang

Many people say they were born and raised in the church. But for Dongshin (Don), this is literally true. He was born in a room of the church which his father pastored for 34 years. The church was built first. Pastoral housing next.  Like many of us, Don attended DVBS in his elementary years and was deeply influenced by it. He accepted Christ in grade nine and was baptized the same year.

What were some of the influences in your life as a young man?

I went to Chung-Ang University, one of the major universities in Korea with about 38,500 students enrolled. After finishing there I felt called to go to seminary to prepare for ministry. In the first year of seminary, two Old Testament courses in particular really piqued my interest. I was surprised and amazed at how powerful good interpretation of the Bible could be.  It was at this time that God kindled my passion for the Word of God and I have devoted my life since then to the study and sharing of the Scriptures.

My seminary years were very eventful. In my first year I married my wife Dukjoo (“DJ”), a very bright and active young lady.  A big bonus is that she turned out to be a great chef! We now have 3 children, Joseph (16), Una (13), and John (12).

During my second year of seminary I had an opportunity to study in Canada for a while.  So I spent a year at Canadian Theological Seminary in Regina, Saskatchewan (now Ambrose University College in Calgary, Alberta) and then returned to Korea to finish my MDiv.

Where did God lead you from there?

With a strong passion for pursuing the Word of God my family and I moved to Langley, B.C. and entered the MA program in Biblical Studies at Trinity Western University. And a few years later I entered a doctoral program at the University of Manchester in England where I graduated in 2015.

What kind of church ministries have you been involved in?

I’ve been involved in all kinds of church activities and mission trips as well as student and young adult leadership. I have worked as pastoral staff (both paid and unpaid) often as a youth pastor or as a worship pastor for more than 16 years. In 2004, my home church, where my father was the lead pastor called me to fill in for my father whose health was deteriorating. I started working as lead pastor and my father passed away the following year. It was a challenging leadership position in a church of over 400 people.

I put my biggest efforts into preaching and into small group discipleship.  I was there for five years and many of those I discipled are still serving and leading in the church.  The church grew to 550 in the time I was there.

I, along with the pastoral team and lay leadership from the church, targeted the community around the church, reaching out to young people in mandatory civil service at the local police station, helped elementary students with a lunch program, reached out to local business leaders, supported the elderly, and provided study carrels for students after school.

What will your work at Northwest be?

I will be teaching mostly Old Testament Studies, especially but not exclusively for Northwest’s Korean programs. While I was completing my doctorate, my family and I went through some stressful times financially and otherwise. I see the opportunity at Northwest as a whole new and exciting chapter of my life, and our lives as a family.

The spiritual situation of Korea and Canada are similar in many ways.  Both countries are affluent and  generally well educated. Secularism is a strong force and the church has many challenges.

NBS FacultyWe welcome you to the faculty of Northwest, Don, and we trust you and your family will know God’s blessing as you begin this new journey. We will support you and encourage you and we are confident you will make a great contribution to God’s kingdom work in this new chapter of your life.

 

Commencement 2016

A momentous event is on the horizon for Northwest Baptist Seminary.

It has been fourteen years since Northwest Baptist Theological College and Seminary hosted its own graduation celebration. That is about to change.

On Friday, September 23, Northwest will once again host a Commencement Celebration, our 56th, and we couldn’t be happier.

Since 2002, when NBTC/S hosted its 55th Commencement Celebration, we have been celebrating student commencement with the partner schools of the ACTS Consortium, based on the Trinity Western University campus. We are still proud to be a part of the ground breaking, collaborative, theological educational partnership that is ACTS. Our relationship with ACTS is healthy and our work together is thriving as we seek to provide theological education and training to students from different denominational backgrounds. But the work at Northwest has been growing.

Artboard-2Northwest’s commitment and vision has always been to serve well our primary partners, Fellowship Pacific and the Fellowship of Evangelical Baptist Churches across Canada. In these last 4 years, the close partnership between Northwest and Fellowship Pacific has been leveraged in another ground-breaking and collaborative effort to develop Immerse, a program and educational model of context and competency based education that is influential in changing the face of theological education across North America.

What began as a dream and developed into the Immerse program, is now an officially recognized “experimental model” of competency based education by The Association of Theological Schools (ATS), the accrediting agency of Theological schools across North America. We are currently the only school accredited to grant a Master of Divinity degree through this context and competency based model – and our first students are nearing the completion of their program of studies.

While graduating a few Immerse Masters of Divinity students doesn’t seem like a huge splash in today’s academic world, this is indeed a momentous occasion for Northwest. First, graduating students from programs unique to our vision of providing quality and innovative context based ministry solutions is important to our historical identity as a Theological College and Seminary. Second, our Immerse graduates represent the first of what potentially is the next significant wave of advanced theological education – and Northwest is leading the way. Regardless, we are excited to have our school once again graduating students independently.

In all this, we continue to be most grateful for our friends and partners in ministry – our Fellowship Baptist family. We invite you to join us in our celebration of the future of our movement. To God be the Glory!

Northwest Baptist Theological College and Seminary will host our 56th Commencement Celebration at SouthRidge Fellowship in Langley on Friday evening, September 23rd, 2016.