The Christian Studies Blog


Bearing Witness Through Biblical Preaching

Posted by Greg Neill on October 11, 2017 at 9:30 AM

In The Witness of Preaching, Thomas Long describes biblical preaching in the following way,

“Biblical preaching happens when a preacher prayerfully goes to listen to the Bible on behalf of the people and then speaks on Christ’s behalf what the preacher hears there.”  

The goal of The Ministry of Preaching Course (MIN 6302) at Austin Grad is to equip students with the homiletical skills needed to bear faithful witness to Christ’s gospel through the event of preaching. 

Utilizing the works of Thomas Long, Fred Craddock, and Barbara Brown Taylor students will develop their own theology of preaching. Throughout the semester, we will share thoughts and experiences on how to best preach the many genres of sacred literature found in the Old and New Testaments.  Students will have opportunities to preach to one another and to evaluate one another’s sermons. 

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Topics: New Testament, Gospels, Ministry Opportunities, Evangelism

Calamity and Creation: Does God Cause Disasters?

Posted by Dr. Jeff Peterson on September 13, 2017 at 9:30 AM

Deep calls to deep at the roar of your waterfalls;

all your breakers and your waves have gone over me. (Psalm 42:7 ESV)


When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

what is man that you are mindful of him,

and the son of man that you care for him? (Psalm 8:3–4 ESV)


This dispatch is offered as a meditation on the two psalm verses quoted above (honest!). A bit like Pascal, though, I didn’t have time to write a short blog post, so I had to write this long one instead.

The headlines that have greeted us as August has yielded to September — hurricanes battering the US coast, wildfires in the western interior, earthquake in Mexico — have been grim. Arrested by such news, with hundreds of lives lost, the thoughts of Christian observers may tend to follow a predictable pattern. Our first response, I suspect, is dismay for those killed and concern for those still in the path of danger.

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Topics: Personal, Ministry Opportunities, On-Topic Today

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, Evangelism, How To, Ministry Opportunities, Relationships

Helping Veterans on the Road to Healing

Posted by Dr. Jeremy Stirm on May 25, 2017 at 9:30 AM

At the risk of oversimplifying, Christians have at their disposal at least three ethical views concerning the use of force, namely, pacifism, Christian realism, and the just war tradition.  To be sure each of these views has various shades.  There are pacifists with just war sympathies, just warriors with realist tendencies, etc.  The issues surrounding the ethical use of force, or if the use of force is even ethical at all, are both highly nuanced and very important.  The debates between the various proponents of these views in academia have become rather complex and, at times, nasty.  One simply needs to do a search for articles on the just war tradition or the ethical use of force in such periodicals as First Things to see that the literature is voluminous and, in places, garish.  I think some of this boorish behavior needs to change and the energy required to sustain it needs refocusing.

I do not fault individuals for being passionate about their positions concerning the use of force.  I rather encourage it.  To be blunt, we are talking about the taking of human life after all, not an inconsequential debate, to say the least.  To be sure, there is value in pacifists attempting to keep Christian realists and just warriors honest and that pacifists be made to explain their position on various levels.  However, there does seem to be a bit of an impasse in the discussions.

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Topics: Ministry Opportunities, How To, Politics

Ministry in the Next Generation

Posted by Dr. Allan McNicol on April 25, 2017 at 9:30 AM

I am not sure what started this but a few days ago I began to recall my first sermon. I do not remember its exact date; but almost 60 years have passed since that time.

It was a Sunday evening and I preached the sermon to a congregation of about twenty-five or thirty at my home church in Australia. Although mainly inauspicious and uneventful I do have one lasting recollection. When I came to the end of my notes and what I had prepared to say it seemed like I was only speaking for about five minutes. Anxiously I looked up at the clock on the wall. Somewhat relieved I observed that over twenty minutes had gone by since I began to speak. Thus I learned an important lesson. When you stand in the pulpit your perspective can become quite different from the rest of the congregation who are listening to what you say.

A Fork in the Road

Little did I know that what took place on that quiet evening anticipated so much of the future direction of my life.

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Topics: Ministry Opportunities, How To

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