The Christian Studies Blog


In the Face of Death: The Meaning of “Faith” in Christian life

Posted by Dr. Todd Hall on August 16, 2017 at 9:30 AM

My grandmother, Juanita Saxon, went to sleep in the Lord in May of this year. She passed after a long, strenuous battle with congestive heart failure (and other ailments). My grandmother was (as was my grandfather, “Pop”), to me, the very picture of Christian faithfulness. By her last breath she had fully formed her life into the image of her Lord, sharing in his passion in her own (as must we all), and finding herself finally to be alive and ready to be at rest in him. I was with her during the time of her passion, with my family. Seeing her suffer and then pass into her rest has been the cause for much reflection for me. Perhaps most profound of these reflections has been the meaning of a word that we Christians often throw around far too easily: Faith. I offer this reflection here.

Faith is hard. Faith is what remains when all else is stripped away. Too often we Christians speak the word “faith” easily, lightly, without realizing the depths of commitment the word requires. Jesus came preaching “repent…” and “believe….” (cf. Mark 1:15) This is the essence of the gospel’s call upon us. But what does it mean to “believe”?

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Topics: On-Topic Today, Personal, Relationships

Austin Grad's Alumni: who they are, in their words

Posted by Lauren Day on August 9, 2017 at 9:30 AM

This past spring, we surveyed alumni of Austin Grad in an effort to assist in the re-accrediation process, which comes every 10 years with a five-year renewal. Plus, we were curious about what alumni were doing now.

The findings shared in this article come from alumni who the school had email addresses for that took the time to submit the online survey. Through their online responses, they share:

  • their current state of residence
  • the degree(s) they acquired from Austin Grad/Institute for Christian Studies
  • their gender
  • the kind of role they've worked in since graduation
  • how well Austin Grad prepared them for ministry and further studies
  • what aspect of education at Austin Grad/ICS has been the most helpful or influential 
  • if they have already or would recommend Austin Grad
  • their interest personally or know others who would be interested in additional programs (i.e.: M.Div) through Austin Grad
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Topics: About Austin Grad

Christian Encounters with other Cultures & Faiths

Posted by Dr. Kevin Moore on August 2, 2017 at 9:30 AM

What does it mean for Christians to encounter adherents of other religious traditions? Living in an ambulatory, pluralistic world such intersections are inevitable. While these encounters were less frequent in the past due to more limited mobility, this is no longer true. We can circumnavigate the globe quickly and with relative ease via commercial air carriers. In addition, social media has created the possibility of communicating with the vast majority of people on the planet. Given this reality, it is vital for Christians who serve or intend to serve in ministry—along with any others who have the slightest evangelistic bent—to prepare themselves for such conversations. This course, Christian Encounters with Other Cultures, attempts to address this opportunity brought to our doorstep.

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Topics: About Austin Grad, How To, Ministry Opportunities, Relationships, Evangelism

The Gospel According to Paul

Posted by Dr. Jeff Peterson on July 26, 2017 at 9:30 AM


James Thompson, recently retired from Abilene Christian University, has been known to comment that if you make your living as a biblical scholar, “you don’t know your work from your play.” And it’s indeed true that as a New Testament prof, you frequently find yourself dealing with the topics you regard as most important, the questions you think most merit reflection, and the texts you most value reading. That’s how the middle weeks of my summer went, thanks to a course I taught on “The Gospel According to Paul.” 

Photo: Rembrandt, The Apostle Paul (1657), National Gallery of Art

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Topics: New Testament, Gospels

What I learned from my heart attack

Posted by Dr. Mark Shipp on July 20, 2017 at 9:30 AM

When one has a massive heart attack, it tends to “concentrate his mind wonderfully,” to misquote Samuel Johnson. The following is my text message correspondence with a good friend and minister, Randy Daw, soon after a heart attack I experienced on April 13, 2017.

I had no advance warning before the heart attack, but such a surprising turn of events can result in re-prioritizing and re-focusing on what is truly important. I offer this as one person’s attempt to grapple with mortality, faith, and focus in light of unexpected reversals in health.

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Topics: Personal, Teaching Moment

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The opinions expressed by individual authors are not necessarily shared by other authors or the position of Austin Graduate School of Theology.