Monday, July 21, 2014

Blog Interview – Dr John Frame – Reformed Theological Seminary

logo 1) Please introduce yourself and your role at RTS.

john-frame John M. Frame, Professor of Systematic Theology and Philosophy at Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, FL.

2) Tell us a little about RTS.

RTS was started in 1966, in Jackson, MS., to train students for ministry. The school is committed to the authority of Scripture and the Reformed understanding of the Scriptures as found in documents like the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Today RTS has campuses in Jackson, Orlando, Charlotte, NC, Atlanta, GA, Washington, DC, Houston, TX, and Memphis, TN. We offer programs of study leading to the M. Div. degree, M. A. degrees in several fields, and D. Min.. We also have a program in counselling. Currently, there are 974 students enrolled for academic credit.

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

Our students are able to take our degree programs on either a full-time or a part-time basis.  20% of our students are considered full-time (12+ semester hours).

4) How do RTS students fund their studies?

The ideal scenario is for the student, their church, and RTS to each cover 33% of tuition.  Most students get some form of financial assistance from RTS and have to work to pay their living expenses. 

5) Does RTS take students from overseas?

Yes, many of our students come from outside the United States and currently there are 67 international students from all over the world.

6) What type of ministry is RTS intended to prepare students for?

RTS seeks to prepare all their students with a solid foundation in the Scriptures, the Reformed faith, and Missional mind-set in order to equip them to serve Christ wherever He would call them.

7) When students leave, what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into?

Most of RTS graduates go into vocational ministry that include pastoral, missions, counselling, chaplains, college/university ministries, and various para-church ministries.

8) What is distinctive about what RTS offers compared with other colleges in the US and overseas?

(1) Our commitment to Reformed theology and biblical inerrancy. (2) The high quality of scholarship on the faculty. (3) The diversity of our student body and seminary locations.

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

The Orlando library houses over 80,000 titles and another 100,000 in microform. In addition the resources of the other RTS libraries are easily accessible to RTS students, and there are a growing numbers of full-text electronic resources in biblical studies and theology that RTS students have access to.  In sum, the library fully supports the seminary’s MDiv curriculum, and it provides ways for faculty and students to conduct research beyond the curriculum.

10) Does RTS offer a distance or on-line learning option?


Yes. It is possible to earn three degrees from our Global Campus: the MABS, MATS, and the MAR (currently 455 students enrolled).  Many residential students take some classes through our Distance Education (currently 12%).  RTS-Orlando offers a Distance M.Div. for students who cannot move to campus.  This program allows a student to take up to 67% online and they can fulfil the 33% residential requirement via week-long intensives.



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My thanks to Professor Frame for taking part in this series.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

H. St John Thackeray on The Septuagint and Jewish Worship: A Study in Origins

The following Schweich Lectures are now available on-line:

H. St John Thackeray [1869-1930], The Septuagint and Jewish Worship: A Study in Origins. The Schweich Lecture 1920. London: Oxford University Press, 1921. Hbk. pp.143.

This material is now in the Public Domain.

Click <<HERE>> for the download link.

Monday, July 14, 2014

F. Crawford Burkitt on Jewish and Christian Apocalypses

The following Schweich Lectures are now available on-line in PDF:

F Crawford Burkitt [1864-1935], Jewish and Christian Apocalypses. The Schweich Lectures 1913. London: Oxford University Press, 1914. Hbk. pp.80.

This material is in the Public Domain.

Click <<HERE>> to visit the download page.

I am in the process of digitising about 6 more of the Schweich Lecture series - click HERE for the full list.

Blog Interview – Dr Stafford Carson – Union Theological College, Belfast

logo 1. Please introduce yourself and your role at Union Theological College.
Carson, Stafford My name is Stafford Carson. I am the Principal and Professor of Ministry at Union Theological College.

2. Tell us a little about Union Theological College.

Union Theological College is the denominational college of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland and a constituent college of the Institute of Theology at Queen’s University, Belfast. We have 240 students enrolled in both undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes. Thirty-nine of our students are in training for the ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland. We offer the Bachelor of Divinity degree, Bachelor of Theology, Master of Theology and Doctor of Philosophy degrees plus Graduate Diploma in Ministry and Diploma/Certificate in Youth Ministry.

3. Are the courses full time, part time or a mixture of both?
A mixture of part time and full time.

4. How do Union Theological College students fund their studies?
Through the Student Loan Company and through the Students’ Bursary Fund of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland.

5. Does Union Theological College take student from overseas?

Yes.

6. What type of ministry is Union Theological College intended to prepare students for?

We prepare students for the ordained ministry of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland, and many of our students use their theological education for a variety of careers in education, church-based ministry and community work.

7. When students leave Union Theological College what kind of ministries/jobs do they go into?

Ordained ministry of word and sacraments, youth ministry, community work.

8. What is distinctive about what Union Theological College offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?

We are a distinctively reformed and Presbyterian college where all our faculty subscribe to the Westminster Confession of Faith and catechisms.

9. Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.


Our library, the Gamble Library, has over 70,000 books and 20,000 pamphlets and takes over 70 journals and periodicals. It is by far the largest theological library in Northern Ireland.


10. Does Union Theological College offer a distance or on-line learning option. 
No.

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My thanks to Revd Carson for taking part in this interview series.

Tuesday, July 08, 2014

A.W. Streane's The Age of the Maccabees now on-line

The following Public Domain book is available on-line in PDF:

A.W. Streane [1844-1915], The Age of the Maccabees with Special Reference to the Literature of the Period. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode, 1898. Hbk. pp.227.

Click <<HERE>> to visit the download page.

Monday, July 07, 2014

Blog Interview – Dr David deSilva – Ashland Theological Seminary

logo 1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Ashland Theological Seminary.

deSilva 1 My name is David deSilva, and I serve as Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary.

2) Tell us a little about Ashland.

Ashland Seminary is a graduate division of Ashland University, a school founded in 1888 by members of the Brethren Church, with roots in German Anabaptist and Pietist movements.  The seminary is currently multi-denominational in scope, with over 700 students coming from about 70 different ecclesial bodies.  We offer Masters-level programs in biblical studies, historical and theological studies, practical theology, and counselling/mental health, as well as the Doctor of Ministry degree.

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

ATS 2 Students can proceed through any of our degrees essentially at the pace that their other responsibilities allow.  More students are part-time than full-time.

4) How do Ashland students fund their studies?

Most students have outside employment, which they use to fund their program.  Many also seek financial aid through federal grant and loan programs or through their church bodies.  Scholarships are becoming increasingly available thanks to the generosity of donors and the diligence of our development team.

5) Does Ashland take students from overseas?

Ashland has always welcomed international students, both for the privilege of teaching them and for the many ways in which they enrich everyone’s experience here.  Faculty and administration typically go out of their way to make international students feel connected and at home.

6) What type of ministry is Ashland intended to prepare students for?

ATS 1 About one-quarter of our students pursue the Master of Divinity degree, which is required for ordination and full-time ministry in several mainline denominations.  Another third pursue a degree in counselling with the goal of working in the mental health field in either a secular or Christian context, although they are particularly well-equipped to work with clients coming from a Christian world view.  Another quarter pursue a two-year Master of Arts with a view to entering or advancing ministry in a church that does not require the MDiv or to embarking upon some other form of Christian ministry, whether youth work, Christian education, or serving in a para-church context.  About one sixth are enrolled in the Doctor of Ministry program: many of these have already been serving churches for at least several years.

7) When students leave Ashland what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into.

See response to question #6.

8) What is distinctive about what Ashland offers compared with other colleges in the US and overseas?

Student surveys tells us that we do a very good job of teaching them to interpret Scripture, to communicate its challenge in preaching and teaching, and to think through issues theologically.  This is not distinctive, per se, but it is a strong statement about our ability to deliver, as it were, in areas traditionally of great importance for a seminary education.  I would say that our commitment as a faculty not only to the education of our students, but also to their formation as disciples and as Christian leaders, is a distinctive strength of our institution.  Our faculty is wholly committed not only to the disciplines that we teach, but also to the church that our students will serve and to the God to whom we must all give account.

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

We have a solid collection of about 80,000 books and periodicals on campus; a special arrangement with other Ohio libraries called OhioLINK makes virtually any book accessible to faculty and students.  For the occasional, truly arcane monograph there is “Inter-library Loan.”

10) Does Ashland offer a distance or on-line learning option. If yes, please tell us more about it.

We offer as many courses online as we do at any one of our physical locations; increasingly we are opening up “face-to-face” classes to remote populations through such video-conferencing tools as “WebEx.”  We hope to be able to offer complete degrees online (such as the MA in Practical Theology and MA in Biblical Studies) in the very near future.  Students can, however, currently complete more than half of any of our degrees from a remote location.  I personally teach several online or synchronous courses each year.








Friday, July 04, 2014

STEP Bible Software - helping to meet a need in the Church of the Two Thirds World

Many Christian scholars from overseas who have spent time studying in the UK return to their own countries find their ministry of training others to understand the Bible frustrated. This is because the in-depth Bible Study resources, so readily available in universities in the UK, are now out of their reach - both physically and financially. This is even more frustrating when one realises that about 85% of the evangelical churches in the Two Thirds World are led by people with no theological training at all. It is a problem that I have been aware of for many years - indeed it was the inspiration behind Theology on the Web - "making biblical scholarship accessible" which led me to launch my first website in 2001.


The folks at Tyndale House in Cambridge share this vision and are working hard to meet the need for biblical resources. For me it is always a pleasure to visit there and meet members of the team working on their Scripture Tools for Every Person (STEP) project. This software, now in Beta version 2.0, is already one of the most powerful original-language Bible study tools available and is intended to be made available free of charge. There are plans to add hundreds more Bible translations, secondary literature and other resources - see the slideshow here. If you haven't already visited the website - stepbible.org - I would strongly recommend that you do.

Here is a short video that gives a helpful introduction to just some of the things the STEP software can do:

Monday, June 30, 2014

Blog Interview – Willem J. de Wit – Evangelical Theological Seminary, Cairo

logo 1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo.

willem My name is Willem J. de Wit. Born in the Netherlands, I teach Biblical Studies and Systematic Theology at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt.

2) Tell us a little about the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo (ETSC).

This year we will celebrate our seminary’s founding by American Presbyterian missionaries 150 years ago. The seminary was originally housed on a boat that sailed over the Nile, so that students could combine studying with preaching the Gospel in villages. Nowadays, we have our main campus in Cairo and branches in Minya (250 km south of Cairo) and Alexandria (225 km north west of Cairo). Altogether, there are over three hundred students.

3) What programs does ETSC offer?

faculty
Some ETSC faculty and students in the library of the Center for Middle Eastern
 Christianity. Dr. Michael Parker (sitting) is ETSC’s Director of Graduate Studies.
Currently, our seminary is reviewing its curriculum and introducing new degree names. From fall 2014 onwards, we hope to offer the following degree programs:
  1. Master of Divinity (MDiv): a four year full-time program in Arabic that prepares students for ordination in the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Egypt (the “Synod of the Nile”).
  2. Master of Arts in Theology (MAT): a four year part-time program  in Arabic (equivalent to two years full time), offering personal development, equipment for non-ordained ministry, and preparation for further studies.
  3. Master of Theology (ThM): a one year full-time or two year part-time advanced theological program, with specializations in Biblical Studies, Christianity in the Middle East, and Systematic Theology.
  4. Master of Arts in Organization Leadership (MAOL): a three to four year part-time non-theological program in English, combining general and Christian perspectives on leadership and management, offered in cooperation with Development Associates International.
From fall 2015 onwards, we also hope to offer some shorter certificate (non-degree) programs to serve various interests and needs.

4) How do ETSC students fund their studies?

students
ETSC Faculty
The seminary receives financial support both from churches and individuals in Egypt and from abroad, so that tuition fees can be kept relatively low.  For international students we are sometimes able to secure a scholarship.

5) Does ETSC take students from overseas?

Yes, certainly. Our programs in Arabic have drawn students from Sudan, Syria, Iraq, and other Middle Eastern countries. Our advanced program in English has received students from many nations: Norway, Syria, Italy, Korea, India, Sudan, Germany, etc

6) When students leave ETSC what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into?

Some ETSC students in front of the Mohammed Ali mosque
 at the citadel in Cairo.
Graduates of our ordination track usually become pastors in Egypt, especially in villages and in new church plants in ever-expanding Cairo. One recent graduate became a missionary pastor in Iraq and a soon-to-be graduate is currently serving half-time in Gaza. Graduates of our part-time programs usually use their degree to be better equipped for ministries in which they are currently serving
Graduates of our advanced program in English have become full-time or part-time faculty at our seminary and at seminaries in Sudan and in the United States. Some graduates have continued their studies overseas, at institutions like Princeton Theological Seminary and Yale Divinity School. One of them is now the head of our seminary library and another is the chairman of the board of our seminary. International graduates serve as pastors or in other positions in their home countries.

7) What is distinctive about what ETSC offers compared with other colleges in Egypt and overseas?

chapel
Inside the recently renovated chapel of ETSC.
Our seminary is one of the leading centers of Christian theology in the Arab speaking world. As a Presbyterian seminary we have welcomed students from many Protestant denominations and even some from Coptic Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches.
For international students, Egypt is a fascinating country: it is the second country of the Bible, has an incredible number of Pharaonic, Coptic, and Islamic monuments, and is the center of the Arab Spring. Compared to most Western countries, life is very cheap. Although mass demonstrations are now less common than during the last few years, our on-campus accommodation makes it easy for students to stay a day at home in case of unrest in the city.

Two types of international students will especially enjoy studying in Egypt at our seminary:

•    students interested in studying Christianity in the context of the Middle East and in an Islamic society;

•    non-native speakers of English who have a TOEFL score that is above 500 but just not high enough to be admitted to most schools in America or Europe—ETSC specializes in offering high quality theological education to people for whom English is a second language.

8) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

Students of the ordination program
during a conference last September
ETSC has two libraries on its main campus: a general theological library with some 50,000 volumes (half in English, half in Arabic) and a specialized research library in its Center for Middle Eastern Christianity (CMEC).

9) Does the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo offer a distance or on-line learning option. If yes, please tell us more about it.

We offer programs in our branches in Minya and Alexandria. Next academic year we hope to start implementing on-line distance learning.

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My thanks to Willen de Wit for his contribution to series. ETSC publishes its own journal, the Cairo Journal of Theology. Please pray for the faculty of students of ETSC.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Ibson T. Beckwith on the Apocalypse of John

Ibson Beckwith's substantial [794 page] introduction and commentary on the book of Revelation has been reprinted numerous times since it was first published in 1919, indicating that its content is still useful.

I have scanned the book and converted it to PDF so that it can be accessed more easily - this version is 15MB - far smaller than the 48MB version on archive.org.

Ibson T. Beckwith, The Apocalypse of John: Studies in Introduction with a Critical and Exegetical Commentary. London & New York: Macmillan, 1919. [This material is in the Public Domain]

Click <<HERE>> for the download link.

Monday, June 23, 2014

STEP Bible v.2 Released

I am reproducing below the official release from Tyndale House regarding the Scripture Tools for Every Person (STEP) software.

Bible software - Online and free

STEP an online resource making freely available serious Bible study software from the international team of researchers based at Tyndale House, Cambridge, has launched version 2.0. See the Brief feature list, Quick tour and Sources.

"It is our vision to equip churches in every country with the tools to study the Bible in its original languages from the best that Cambridge and international scholars have to offer," said Dr Peter Williams, Warden of Tyndale House. "While we’ve spent years pre-loading STEP with unique and cutting edge content, this re-launch is a significant stride toward making this accessible for all."

Simon Sykes, Librarian and Chief Operations Officer, explains: "The church is well served by an array of free Bible study tools available online, and by paid proprietary software on the desktop. We looked at both those models and realised that Tyndale House was in a unique position to combine them - the latest in biblical scholarship; online and at no cost."

Unique

What characterises STEP is its focus on the original languages, with tools specifically designed to allow those with no Hebrew and Greek to understand the original languages of the Bible. Readers can explore how any word in a passage has been translated everywhere else in the Bible. Additionally readers can access full dictionary entries and see how the original word was used within ancient sources. STEP gives an interlinear view allowing readers to see an array of Bible translations with equivalent words under each other.

STEP is for everyone interested in the Bible, from those just starting to read it to those who want to dig deeper. Typing a few letters into a single box enables readers to pick a language, a Bible translation, a passage, a subject, or a word. It will work out whether readers want to find all the passages where a word or subject occurs, or if they just want to read a passage.

Those working in parts of the world with less access to resources will find STEP particularly useful, with hundreds of Bibles in many languages. We are deeply grateful to our partners: to Crossway, who have made the ESV available, to Biblica, who have made the NIV and other translations available, and to CrossWire, who have invested years in making Bibles accessible and whose work we have been allowed to build on. STEP also has over forty language interfaces,  including Chinese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili.

Equipping the World Church

David Instone-Brewer, STEP's lead developer, describes the project's future in light of this release: "Volunteers and donors are helping with many exciting developments to make the Bible even easier to study: tools for in-depth Bible study; interfaces and dictionaries in many more mother-tongues; dedicated apps for phones and tablets; and a micro-SD version for places without internet access. We want everyone to be able to study the Bible, whatever their language, location or income."

Blog Interview – Dr Andrew Naselli - Bethlehem College and Seminary

logo

By Dr Andy Naselli (with Betsy Howard)


1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Bethlehem College and Seminary.

naselli_4490e424ef9416b82053c5d733907002 I serve as assistant professor of New Testament and biblical theology. I teach courses primarily at the seminary-level on Greek exegesis, New Testament, biblical theology, and systematic theology.

2) Tell us a little about Bethlehem College and Seminary.

John Piper, our chancellor and professor of practical theology and biblical exegesis, summarizes our vision: “In every subject of Bethlehem College and Seminary, the ultimate aim is the same: see Jesus as infinitely admirable and share in the Father’s infinite enjoyment of the greatness of his Son, and then be equipped to show it.”
BCS is the organic outgrowth of The Bethlehem Institute (TBI), 
which began as a church-based training center that also offered a two-year graduate-level vocational eldership training program in 1998. In 2009 the TBI Board sensed God’s leading to develop TBI into Bethlehem College and Seminary. 
BCS offers several degrees:
•    A.A. in Christian Worldview
•    B.A. in the History of Ideas
•    B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies with a cross cultural or exegesis concentration
•    B.Th. through our Degree Completion Program
•    M.Div. through our seminary
•    Th.M. through our seminary
And BCS has continued to offer non-credit classes for lay people through The Bethlehem Institute.
Currently 180 students attend BCS.
 aboutHeader_fe49fa4bf8bc29c94254213ad2e2d555

3) Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

All of the degree programs are full-time, but both undergraduate and graduate certificate options exist for students who wish to take courses on a part-time basis.

4) How do Bethlehem College and Seminary students fund their studies?

One of our institutional goals is to keep tuition low so that students can graduate unencumbered by debt. Although BCS does not give any formal financial aid, in effect, every BCS student is receiving a significant scholarship grant because tuition covers only about one-third of the actual cost of providing their education. Currently a year’s tuition in the seminary costs $4,500 and a year of undergraduate tuition $5,540.
collegeSmall

5) Does Bethlehem College and Seminary take students from overseas?

While BCS cannot currently offer international student visas, non-U.S. citizens who have permanent residency status are able to apply for admission. We desire to offer more biblical training to international students in the near future.

6) What type of ministry is Bethlehem College and Seminary intended to prepare students for?

Our M.Div. and Th.M. degrees prepare students for pastoral ministry and further scholarship. Our undergraduate programs prepare students for a variety of secular and ministry vocations.

7) When students leave Bethlehem College and Seminary what kind of ministries / jobs do they go into?

Many seminary graduates have become full-time pastors, church planters, and missionaries. Others have gone on to further study to teach. Our Associates Degree and Bachelors Degree students have pursued teaching, tech work, and further education.

8) What is distinctive about what Bethlehem College and Seminary offers compared with other colleges in the US and overseas?

I’m not sure I’m sufficiently familiar with other colleges in the UK and overseas to answer this question accurately. But one of our distinctives is that we are a church-based school, an arm of Bethlehem Baptist Church. And we are intentionally small so that the professors can invest more in the students. The seminary has a cohort-model that accepts only fifteen students a year, and those students take all their classes together.
library_af5fc6e9fdb8163ca7ad2b81c1002fb6

9) Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

BCS just renovated and expanded its library space to over 3,000 ft. BCS students have access to all of its online resources remotely and all of its physical holdings on site. The recent expansion has also drastically increased student study space on campus.

10) Does Bethlehem College and Seminary offer a distance or on-line learning option? If yes, please tell us more about it.

Given BCS’s desire to be church-based with a strong emphasis on discipleship, degree and certificate programs require “in-person” participation. (We provide lay-level theological curriculum for wide distribution through Bethlehem College and Seminary Press.)



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My thanks to Dr Andy Naselli and Betsy Howard for taking part in this series of interviews.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

C.F. Burney on Israel's Settlement in Canaan

The following Schweich Lecture is now available on-line in PDF:

C.F. Burney [1868-1925], Israel’s Settlement in Canaan: The Biblical Tradition and its Historical Background. The Schweich Lectures 1917. London: Oxford University Press, 1919. Hbk. pp.104.

You can find the download link <<HERE>>. I have an idea that most people will find that the colour maps (e.g. see right) are more useful than the text, so have included some high resolution .png's of them. All this material is in the Public Domain.

This is the last of the Schwiech Lectures that I have to hand at the moment, but I am trying to source copies of the others which now in the Public Domain.