January 24, 2013 by
Categories: Interviews | Pastors College
What is the role of the Mosaic Law?
Where are people most vulnerable to misinterpretation of Scripture?
What priorities should pastors have for their ongoing study?
These questions (and many others) were answered by Dr. Stephen Wellum in a recent interview with Jeff Purswell, Dean of the Sovereign Grace Pastors College. For 45 minutes they explored covenant theology, hermeneutics, and biblical theology with application for the busy pastor in mind. This interview concluded a very fruitful week in the Pastors College where Dr. Wellum served as our guest hermeneutics instructor.
|An Interview with Dr. Stephen Wellum
|Covenant Theology, Hermeneutics, and Biblical Theology
[0:01] Dr. Wellum: husband, father, student, pastor, and professor
[4:18] A discussion on Dr. Wellum’s latest book, Kingdom Through Covenant
[6:50] Where does Dr. Wellum's understanding of the covenants fit among Dispensationalism and Covenant Theology?
[12:46] What is the role of the Mosaic Law?
[15:46] What about the Sabbath command?
[19:08] Is the Mosaic Law normative for us?
[22:30] A discussion on hermeneutics
[26:22] Where are people most vulnerable to misinterpretation of Scripture?
[29:38] Wisdom for the young preacher/exegete
[32:16] Wisdom for the busy pastor who recognizes his need to grow in putting the whole of the Bible’s teaching together in his preaching
[35:42] 3 prioritizes for a pastor's ongoing study
[40:05] Every pastor should read these books...
[41:48] How has Dr. Wellum’s pastoral experience influenced his academic work?
January 11, 2013 by
Categories: Pastors College
Journeys, no matter how large or small, bring with them uncertainties and surprises. Our road to the The Pastors College was no exception.
Beyond the obvious challenge of leaving everything familiar behind to move into the uncertain, the class of 2013 also encountered some more unusual surprises. But multiple vehicle breakdowns, snowstorms impeding progress, and last minute housing changes did not shake our awareness of God’s faithful provision each step of the way.
Things that were uncertain to us just days ago are becoming less so. By the grace of God, friendships are already forming through the times our class has shared together over meals and fellowship groups. And while we’re just four days into the coursework, we’ve been richly blessed by our instruction in Systematic Theology I with Jeff Purswell, our Dean. Each one of us has been, not surprisingly, overcome by the glory and beauty of God found in Scripture. The richness of the teaching we’ve received this first week has been evidence of God’s certain plan to reveal more of himself to us through our studies here.
This journey we’re on (and for that matter, the journey you find yourself on), is sure to be filled with many things that are unexpected. It may seem that we’ve entered this year with uncertainties about our financial stability, our intellectual capacity, or what lies beyond the Pastors College year. But there is one thing that is certain. It’s that one thing we all must absolutely lean on: the love of God toward us in Christ Jesus and his faithfulness to give us everything we need to listen, learn, read, study, parse Greek, care for one another, and see Jesus with more clarity. This first week has been filled with rich teaching and an abundance of opportunities to depend on God. And that, not surprisingly, is God’s plan not just for the families at the Pastors College but for each one of his children.
Steve is a student in our 2013 Pastors College Class. He has served in pastoral ministry since 1993 and on staff at Sovereign Grace Church, MN since 2008.
January 10, 2013 by
Categories: Pastors College
During the Sovereign Grace Pastors College year, students benefit from a wide variety of instructors, both seasoned pastors within Sovereign Grace Ministries as well as outstanding guest instructors. Next week, we are pleased to welcome Dr. Stephen J. Wellum as our instructor of Hermeneutics.
Dr. Wellum is Professor of Christian Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and editor of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology. He has written many articles, book reviews, and contributed to works such as Beyond the Bounds: Open Theism and the Undermining of Biblical Christianity and Reclaiming the Center: Confronting Evangelical Accommodation in Postmodern Times.
Most recently, Dr. Wellum and Dr. Peter J. Gentry authored Kingdom Through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants, which has garnered much attention for attempting to stake out a middle way between dispensationalism and covenant theology.
We are deeply grateful for the opportunity to host Dr. Wellum next week and benefit from his instruction and example.
For further information about this year’s guest instructors, including an exceptional trio of Church History instructors, read here.
January 9, 2013 by
Categories: Pastors College
“No work can possibly confer a greater benefit upon mankind than the training of ministers who God has chosen, for around them spring up churches.” —C.H. Spurgeon
The Sovereign Grace Pastors College
By God’s grace, the Sovereign Grace Pastors College has trained 243 men for ministry since opening in 1997. At the Pastors College these men invest time in their studies, their families, and each other to return better equipped to serve their local church.
Class of 2013
This week we welcomed our fifthteenth Pastors College Class to our new location in Louisville, Kentucky. In addition to our lineup of Sovereign Grace instructors, this year's class will benefit from many outstanding guest instructors: Dr. Stephen Wellum, Dr. Mike Bullmore, Jerry Bridges, Dr. Michael Haykin, Dr. Steve Nichols, Dr. Ray Van Neste, Dr. John Woodbridge, and Dr. Iain Duguid. As you can imagine, the Pastors College program is an intense experience. We invite you to take a moment to look over the class roster and to pray for these men and their families.
|Student name||Sending church|
||Sovereign Grace Church (Bloominton, MN)
||Covenant of Grace Church (Copley, OH)
||Covenant Fellowship Church (Glen Mills, PA)
||Sovereign Grace Church (Gilbert, AZ)
||Solid Rock Church (Riverdale, MD)
||Cornerstone Church of Knoxville (Knoxville, TN)
||Grace Church (Frisco, TX)
||Grace Church (Frisco, TX)
||Sovereign Grace Church (Louisville, KY)
Training Pastors And Our Mission
Training future pastors is so important to our mission that the Pastors College receives 25% of our annual Mission Fund. In this video, the 2012 graduating class recounts how this academic instruction with an emphasis on pastoral care and spiritual growth served them in preparation for pastoral ministry.
By God’s grace, the Sovereign Grace Pastors College has trained 243 men for ministry since opening in 1997. The 2012 graduating class alone included 23 men, eight of whom returned with their families to church planting residencies.
Later this month, we’ll welcome the 2013 Pastors College Class. For those of you less familiar with our Pastors College, it is a ten-month pastoral training program for men in Sovereign Grace churches. It combines academic instruction with an emphasis on pastoral care and spiritual growth. The Pastors College also provides ongoing training for current pastors in Sovereign Grace Ministries.
In this video, the 2012 graduating class recounts how this academic instruction with an emphasis on pastoral care and spiritual growth served them in preparation for pastoral ministry.
Training future pastors is so important to our mission that the Pastors College receives 25% of our annual Mission Fund.
November 16, 2012 by
Categories: Pastors College
At this year’s Pastors Conference in Orlando, Jeff Purswell announced an exciting new opportunity for Pastors College graduates to pursue further studies to strengthen their pastoral ministry. A degree completion program established between the Sovereign Grace Pastors College and The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) now provides a viable means for Pastors College alumni to pursue a Masters of Divinity degree from SBTS without disrupting their church ministry. Here are the basic facts:
- Up to 35 credit hours transfer from the Pastors College to SBTS. An M.Div. in Christian Ministry at SBTS requires 94 total credit hours, so hypothetically a PC graduate is over a third of the way towards an M.Div. (The briefer but more demanding Advanced M.Div program requires only 86 credit hours). Of the remaining 59 credit hours, 41 are elective hours in the Christian Ministry program. (In the Advanced M.Div program, only 21 of the remaining 51 credit hours are elective hours). Transfer credit will depend upon the actual work completed in the PC.
- Flexible learning options make it possible to complete an M.Div. without moving to Louisville. Southern offers a wide array of learning options, from on-line courses to brief intensive classes at SBTS, making it possible to further one’s education without leaving a ministry position. (For more information on distance learning options, go here).
- The Ministry Apprenticeship Program. Through the Ministry Apprenticeship Program, PC graduates can earn up to 18 credit hours for doing a qualified post-graduation pastoral internship at their local church. (Pastors can also participate in this program). For more details, go here.
- Pastors College alumni are eligible for scholarships to lessen the financial burden of pursuing their degree. (Sovereign Grace pastors who have not graduated from the Pastors College and who wish to be considered for such a scholarship should contact email@example.com)
Here’s the upshot. If you graduate from the Pastors College and do the Ministry Apprenticeship Program throughout your pastoral internship the following year, you will only have 41 credit hours left to complete for an M.Div in Christian Ministry at SBTS; 23 of those remaining hours will be elective hours. You can complete those credit hours while continuing your ministry in your local church.
So if you’re a PC alumnus and you want to pursue this opportunity, what should you do? Complete the SBTS online application, and email Melissa Goins (firstname.lastname@example.org) to request a transcript from the Pastors College.
October 18, 2012 by
Categories: Pastors College
This year an exceptional trio of scholars will teach the Church History courses at the Sovereign Grace Pastors College.
Michael A.G. Haykin (B.A., University of Toronto; M.Rel., Wycliffe College and Univ. of Toronto; Th.D., Wycliffe College and Univ. of Toronto) will teach Church History I (Ancient Church). Dr. Haykin is Professor of Church History and Biblical Spirituality at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is also the Director of the Andrew Fuller Center for Baptist Studies. His doctoral work has been published under the title The Spirit of God: The Exegesis of 1 and 2 Corinthians in the Pneumatomachian Controversy of the Fourth Century (Brill, 1994). At a more popular level he has written Rediscovering the Church Fathers: Who They Were and How They Shaped the Church. Dr. Haykin has also developed research interests in Baptist history and spirituality. His numerous publications in this area include One Heart and One Soul: John Sutcliff of Olney, His Friends, and His Times; Kiffin, Knollys and Keach: Rediscovering Our English Baptist Heritage (Reformation Today Trust, 1996); ‘At the PureFountain of Thy Word’: Andrew Fuller as an Apologist; Jonathan Edwards: The Holy Spirit in Revival; and The God who draws near: An Introduction to Biblical Spirituality. 1
John D. Woodbridge (Ph.D, University of Toulouse; M.Div., Trinity Evangelical Divinity School; M.A., history, Michigan State University; B.A., history, Wheaton College) will teach Church History II (Medieval Church). Dr. Woodbridge is Research Professor of Church History and the History of Christian Thought at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His areas of expertise include evangelicalism, fundamentalism, the history of the Bible's authority, the French enlightenment and religion, the French Hugenots, and the origins of higher criticism. His published works include The History of Biblical Authority (Zondervan 1982), The Evangelicals (Abingdon, 1975), and Revolt in Prerevolutionary France: The Conspiracy of the Prince de Conti Against Louis XV (1755-1757) (Johns Hopkins, 1995). He has edited works such as Ambassadors for Christ (Moody, 1994), More Than Conquerors (Moody 1992), Great Leaders of the Christian Church (Moody 1988), and Renewing Your Mind in a Secular World (Moody, 1985). Dr. Woodbridge also frequently writes and edits books with faculty colleague D. A. Carson. Together they have written Letters Along the Way (Crossway, 1993) and edited Scripture and Truth (Zondervan, 1983). Dr. Woodbridge has received four Gold Medallion Awards for his works related to Christian history and biography. He has also coedited scholarly works published in France and Germany by university presses. 2
Steve Nichols (Ph.D, M.A.R., Westminster Theological Seminary; M.A., West Chester University; B.S., Philadelphia College of Bible) will teach Church History III (Reformation to the present). He is a professor at Lancaster Bible College and Graduate School, and an adjunct professor of church history at Reformed Theological Seminary. His published works include The Pages of Church History, Martin Luther: A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought, An Absolute Sort of Certainty: The Holy Spirit and the Apologetics of Jonathan Edwards and J. Gresham Machen: A Guided Tour of His Life and Work. He chairs the Jonathan Edwards Study Group of the Evangelical Theological Society. 3
Although their resumes do not say so, these gentlemen-scholars are three of the most winsome and unassuming academics one could ever wish to meet. All three have published extensively not simply for their academic peers, but for the edification and education of us regular Christians in the pews. Pastoral and practical lessons from history always remain near the forefront of their minds. Dr. Woodbridge has taught Church History II at the Pastors College for many years where he has been much beloved. Dr. Nichols returns to the Pastors College for a second time after a triumphant debut teaching Church History III last year. We eagerly await Dr. Haykin’s first appearance at the Pastors College, as his reputation precedes him.
For more information about the Pastors College, please contact email@example.com.
Nathan Sasser is the Assistant Director of Academic Affairs for the Sovereign Grace Pastors College. He has bachelor's degrees in English and in Philosophy from North Carolina State University, an M.Div. from Westminster Theological Seminary, and is a PhD student in philosophy at the University of South Carolina. Nathan, his wife Patricia, and their daughter make their home in Louisville, Kentucky.
September 27, 2012 by
Categories: Articles | Pastors College
In my previous posts (A Simple Conversation with a Profound Presence; Biblical Institute, Seminary, and the Sovereign Grace Pastors College), I wrote about the care received and grace experience while attending the Sovereign Grace Pastors College.
I would be remiss not to write about the academic piece of the Pastors College.
The emphasis for the PC became evident during orientation. We did not attend it alone, but with our wives (where applicable). This was no mere formality, but an expression of SGM’s commitment to care for pastors by caring for their marriages. After all a college for pastors must emphasize his primary pastoral responsibility.
Here’s an annotated and sampled list of our classes:
Systematic Theology 1-7: Yeah, you read that right. SEVEN. Beginning with the doctrine of Scripture. THE appropriate place to begin any systematic theological endeavor. (Of course, I am biased considering my dissertation is entitled “The Self-Authentication of Scripture as the Proper Ground for Systematic Theology”!). We were taken up into the glory of God’s condescension in a book. Theology Proper. Christology. Pneumatology (with Wayne Grudem!). Ecclesiology. Eschatology.
Biblical Theology: How does the entire biblical narrative fit together? Yep, that’s something theologians have been discussing for centuries and we tackle in a week!
Hermeneutics: Mark Mullery did an excellent job of helping us connect dots and read genres.
Pastoral Theology: Ken Mellinger, Andy Farmer, Rob Flood, Warren Boettcher, John Loftness. These are men who are pastors. They love theology and they love people and they love God. We could ask them questions about bugbear issues as theology works itself out in the context of a local church.
Preaching 1 & 2: How do you preach an O.T. narrative without making it merely moral? Can you preach about Rahab’s scarlet cord? How about the five smooth stones David picked up? How do you simplify and drive a point home (a question I am still trying to answer!)?
Apologetics: We give a worldview when we speak of Christianity. Take your time to enumerate and to demolish other fine-sounding arguments. Be gentle, but direct and gracious when trusting the Spirit of God to bring light to blind eyes.
Galatians: (with Tom Schreiner). Need I say more than a parenthetical statement?
Spiritual Disciplines: Mike Bullmore modeled such a life as much as he talked about it.
Sanctification: Jerry Bridges stood up the whole time! And as he was standing he convicted me of my lack of the grasp of grace and offered me grace to assuage my guilt.
Okay. There are many more classes, but I won’t enumerate them here. Can I just say that the bent towards being a pastor was palpable? Every class had numerous take-aways for how it applied to pastoring people. How does the Spirit empower you in preaching and shepherding and integrated into counseling? How should eschatology affect our fervency in pleading with men and comforting the suffering? Having lunch with professors each week was pretty sweet–especially if pizza was ordered. I remember being able to take Bridges to the airport with my family and my girls giving him hugs as he boarded his plane. I remember eating at Chipotle with Craig Cabaniss and talking about church planting. I remember taking John Woodbridge to Chuck Colson’s memorial service in D.C. with Andrew and Jeff and eating at Burger King afterward. What a memory as we spoke about the development of doctrine in France and the need to defend the Christian worldview in an accessible way. . .over a double Whopper with cheese.
September 3, 2012 by
Categories: Articles | Pastors College
In my last post regarding the Sovereign Grace Pastors College, I alluded to the fact that I was in seminary before attending the Pastors College. Before that, I attended The, then, Bethlehem Institute [TBI], now Bethlehem College and Seminary [BCS], at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis. So, I guess you could say I like school. Well, at least I like scholarship set to life.
A very brief synopsis of why I thought it beneficial to go to one more year of school after having completed two degrees in seminary:
I was living in Argentina, working with Campus Crusade for Christ for two years. While I was there my love for the local church increased and my lack of theological training manifested itself. I could smell heresies, but I couldn’t name the fruit. A friend told me about TBI and I bit hard. I wanted to get trained in a church by a group of pastors I respected with a vision for mission that I was on board with. The two years we spent in Minneapolis influenced us in more profound ways than I could recount in an 800 word post. Suffice it to say that we are stamped with Christian Hedonism.
Desiring to finish up my Master of Divinity degree at a seminary that understood where I was theologically as well as having a love for the local church naturally led me to Southern Seminary. I got to take classes that changed my life and solidified my convictions and challenged my assumptions. I don’t overstate when I tell people that Steve Wellum’s hermeneutics class changed my life. Peter Gentry’s Isaiah and Psalms Hebrew exegesis classes revolutionized my appreciation for and love for text criticism and its vitality to devotional life. Tom Nettles’ breaking forth into song during his Church History 1 and 2 and Baptist History and Jonathan Edwards’ classes made me want to love Jesus just as much after decades of rigorous study. Tom Schreiner’s gentleness in dealing with the text and pastoring students in class made me want to be a scholar pastor. Bruce Ware’s excitement as he discussed the eternal relationships of the Persons of the Godhead made me want to be just as ecstatic when I spoke of God.
So if all these men had such an impact on my life, why feel the need to go to another college? Well, I was adamant that I would not go to the Sovereign Grace Pastors College. Not because I had nothing else to learn, but because I didn’t want to move my family one more time. I told Jeff Purswell that attending the PC would be a deal breaker.
Halfway through the conversation at the Plant! Conference in 2011, however, the Spirit of God changed my heart. I remember seeing Jeff tear up as he considered what such a move would require. These weren’t contrived tears, but sprang from his experience with his wife, Julie, in moving to Chicago to attend Trinity. He said to me, as I sunk my teeth into an eggroll, “The PC is not merely about scholarship, it’s about building into your marriage and your application of doctrine.” I was done.
You see seminary isn’t intended to replace the local church. It provides an essential element of scholarship that pastors won’t get by studying on their own. But in the midst of papers and exams, the foundations of my marriage began to reveal fissures. My mind and heart are embossed with Southern Seminary and TBI. Their fingerprints are all over my theology and philosophy and methodology. I am grateful and would not change a thing. PC offered me the opportunity to unpack and refold and hang up those theological raiments that had been so tightly packed.
During school I had to work full time while going to school. That provided stresses that I would not be able to understand until after I was out of that storm. Since I did not have to work while at the PC, I had opportunity to focus on my marriage and my application of God’s Word. I had an opportunity to tease out the implications of the free, unmerited favor of Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection. My heart became knitted to brothers from the Dominican Republic, Germany, England, Bolivia, the Philippines, the Bahamas, Pennsylvania to Florida, Texas to Chicago, Minnesota to Tennessee. I just spoke on the phone with a brother in Philadelphia who encouraged me as I prepared to preach this past Sunday and pointed me to Christ’s sufficiency and acceptance.
My theology took wings and began to stretch as a result of Sovereign Grace’s emphasis on applying doctrine. May God, by his Spirit, continue to give flight to his Truth.
Matthew is a Church Planting Resident at Crossway Community Church in Charlotte, NC (2012-2013). He attended The Bethlehem Institute in Minneapolis and received his MDiv at Southern Seminary in Louisville and is waiting to defend his dissertation (PhD) at Southern Seminary on the self-witness of Scripture. He plans to plant a church in the southeast United States that evangelizes, disciples, trains, and plants other churches. He is married to Ashley and has three daughters. You can read more from Matthew at his blog, Off the Wire.
For the past several years, Cedric Moss, senior pastor of Kingdom Life Church in Nassau, Bahamas, has been leading worship and preaching almost every Sunday. Cedric has only missed two Sundays in at least four years, but he wanted someone to help lead worship and partner with him in ministry. Crossway Church in Lancaster, Pennsylvania heard about Cedric’s need for a worship leader and sent Keith Bunting to the Sovereign Grace Pastors College this past year with the goal of having Keith go to serve in the Bahamas. Now Keith is serving as the assistant pastor of worship at Kingdom Life Church.
Keith and Kristin, with their daughters, have been on the ground in Nassau, serving Cedric and the fine people of Kingdom Life Church for the past few months. Along with worship, Keith is also assisting Cedric in many pastoral duties as they seek to make the gospel known in this beautiful place. It is a beautiful place, but not one without people who desperately need to hear the good news about Jesus Christ!
Today, we provide you with a brief video update that Keith, Kristin, and their three daughters recently filmed for Crossway Church.
Through Crossway Church’s support, as well as through giving to Sovereign Grace Ministries, Keith was able to attend the Pastors College and be hired full-time at Kingdom Life Church after he graduated. Thank you for your generous giving; your support makes it possible for pastors like Cedric and Keith to partner together in ministry.