Boyce Blog


Ten Reasons To Go To A Christian College | Dr. Jim Scott Orrick

  1. Humans were created to know God. A human who does not know God is not fully human. Jesus is the only way to know God. Go to a college where the whole curriculum is designed to glorify Jesus and therefore make you fully human.
  2. God’s ultimate revelation is in his Son Jesus. Jesus is now on the throne of the universe. Go to a college that recognizes Jesus as the Lord of the world and encourages students to follow Jesus as Lord.
  3. God has given us a book that tells us how to know him and enjoy him forever: the Bible. Go to a college that values and teaches the Bible as the word of God, so you may understand what God has said and so that you may know God and enjoy him forever.
  4. All truth is God’s truth, and the whole earth is full of God’s glory. Go to a college that encourages students to see God’s glory everywhere it is revealed.
  5. The two ways that God consistently influences humans is through the literature of the Bible and through personal relationships. Go to a college where you may gladly come under the influence of the administration and faculty. After taking his class, there ought to be at least one professor about whom you say, “I want to be like him.”
  6. Go to a college where the professors love God, love their subjects, and love their students.
  7. Make good friends, for your friends will make you. Go to a college where you can make friends who will encourage you to pursue what is highest and most noble in life. He who walks with the wise becomes wise, but a companion of fools will come to ruin.
  8. College years are a time of life when students examine their belief system. Go to a college with an environment where this crucial examination may take place under the caring oversight of mature Christians.
  9. Most persons who go to college meet their mate at college. Go to a college where you are likely to meet an earnest Christian.
  10. The college from which you graduate is known as your alma mater. Alma Mater is Latin for soul mother. You may not choose the mother of your body, but you may choose the mother of your soul. Choose wisely.

Dr. Jim Scott Orrick  is the Professor of Literature and Culture at Boyce College. 

Learn more about attending Boyce College by registering for our Fall Preview Day.


True and Clear: A Call to Biblical Preaching | Gunner Gundersen

I took my first preaching class thirteen years ago: Sermon Preparation and Delivery with Dr. Michael Boys. Hundreds of sermons, lectures, and lessons later, the two pillars he established still stand tallest in my mind.

Pastor Boys taught us that accuracy and clarity are the most essential elements of biblical preaching. Accuracy is like air, clarity like water. Without air, people die immediately. Without water, they die eventually. Either way, they die.

So it is with God’s people. His Word is our manna (Deut 8:3; Matt 4:4), his truth our feast (Ps 1:2), and his will our food (John 4:34). We die without hearing the truth proclaimed with accuracy and clarity. Without accuracy, we die immediately. Without clarity, we die eventually. Either way, we die (Prov 29:18).

Preachers rightly have many concerns, and the kaleidoscope of categories can be overwhelming. Right interpretation, the sine qua non of biblical preaching, roots the tree: background and context, grammar and syntax, exegesis and theology. Without cutting the Word straight (2 Tim 2:15), accuracy is impossible and clarity irrelevant.

Homiletical elements then form the trunk and branches: structure and outline, introduction and conclusion, explanation and application. The preacher’s concerns, though, continue branching and leafing into matters of semantics and segues, stories and illustrations, timing and transitions. Miniscule veins and delicate buds appear in the soft artistries and developed instincts of pace, tone, and gestures, along with soul-touching images and mind-capturing metaphors.

Then there are the atmospheric concerns surrounding the preaching event: liturgy, song, seating, lighting, amplification, and a host of liturgical and spatial dynamics that affect the sermon. And we’re not even addressing those age-old homiletical questions every developing preacher must wrestle with. Preaching notes manuscripted or outlined? Delivery scripted or extemporaneous? Personality filtered or amplified? The thoughtful preacher, whether aspiring or established, can find himself exhausted navigating the labyrinth of expository concerns week after week.

But strip it down, boil it down, and apply the paint thinner of the final judgment to the glossy artifacts of oratory, and you’ll find (once again) these two essential and foundational elements of biblical preaching: accuracy and clarity. Speak the truth, and speak it clearly.

Of course, this requires rigorous interpretation and logical arrangement and enlightening illustrations and followable transitions. It requires laborious preparation and skillful execution. But healthy concerns over homiletical effectiveness should never bustle around the minister’s mind like bridesmaids taking over the wedding. Rather, these beautifying agents should be carefully prepared and positioned as handmaidens highlighting truth and clarity.

Yes, build effective scaffolding and structure—to uphold the truth. Yes, labor over your illustrations—for the sake of clarity. Yes, weave stories into your sermons—to capture the imagination with clearly proclaimed truth. Go ahead: Craft pithy proverbs and meaty maxims. Gesture with purpose and intonate with precision. Make your introduction compelling and your conclusion inescapable. Reach deep into the well of stories and illustrations, images and metaphors, proverbs and parables so you can reach deep into the psyche of your earthen, story-bound listeners. Do what you can, within biblical propriety, to capture our spastic attention spans.

But never forget that there’s a famine in the land, that people are starving, and that what emaciated pilgrims need most is not the Skittles of your best story but the true meat of God’s nourishing Word, sliced up with digestible clarity. Pressed in on every side, they need not the stained glass window of ornamented preaching but an unclouded view of divine truth.

Truth and clarity might not entertain, but the preacher’s responsibility is not to go viral on earth but to store up treasure in heaven. Readying souls to race well in this world and reach the next is the preacher’s calling and the sermon’s purpose. After all, there is more joy in heaven over one listener who repents than a hundred retweets that know no repentance.

So never let your capacity to be clever outrun your calling to be clear. Cleverness is a wonderful servant but a terrible master. When cleverness serves clarity, use it. But when cleverness stifles clarity, crucify it. The preacher’s job is not to paint the nail of truth but to drive it. So make your main goal and your heaviest burden this: to tell the truth, as clearly as you can.

This is biblical preaching: nails of truth, sharpened with clarity, driven by the Shepherd-builder of the church through a Spirit-anointed preacher. So until the new creation dawns and the church of Jesus Christ is saved to sin no more, this is the preacher’s calling, and these are his watchwords: true and clear.

David “Gunner” Gundersen (@GunnerGundersen) serves as Director of Student Life and teaches biblical counseling and theology courses at Boyce College.


The Hard Work of Sleep | Abigail Cavanaugh

Can you sense it? Life is getting busier. We feel it acutely in the transition from high school to college, and it just gets worse with each successive phase of life. Professors are exhorting you to academic excellence, everyone is talking about the importance of local church involvement, you are surrounded by opportunities for evangelism and new relationships, and you’re probably also working a job in the midst of all this. These are worthy pursuits, and faithfulness in this season of life means pursuing all of them with godliness and zeal. Add in the fact that we are living in a culture where success reigns supreme, and success is measured in productivity (money earned, books written, homework assignments submitted, godly children raised, to-do lists checked off) and it becomes so easy to forget one very important thing: sleep. Sleep is usually the first thing to get neglected or cut short when the schedule gets full, but it is crucial for both fruitfulness and faithfulness. Here are three brief reasons to make sure you get adequate sleep this semester.

  1. Practical

Valuing sleep is countercultural, but it benefits those around you as much as it does yourself. The most difficult roommates (from personal experience and observation) are the ones who are constantly irritable and on edge from being tired and stressed. Anger and impatience are caused by a sinful heart that desires comfort above the good of your neighbor – or roommate – but a good night’s sleep and a clear mind go a long way in the fight against sin.

Sleeping doesn’t just improve your mood, it fosters creativity and problem solving. Multi-tasking as we usually think of it is actually impossible; we are only able to consciously focus on one thing at a time. But your brain is constantly processing information and problems in the background, and according to Jeffrey Kluger’s article Shhh! Genius at Work, your brain doubles up on this action while you sleep, allowing you to make connections and solve problems that baffled you while you were awake (or, like Paul McCartney, write the melody to one of the most recorded songs in the history of pop music).

  1. Physical

Let’s be honest, though. Most of us skip sleep because the practical benefits seem to outweigh the practical expense. Snapping at your roommate and falling asleep in class don’t seem that important at 1 AM when you have a Greek quiz the next morning. But getting enough sleep every night is not just advice from your mom. Scientific research shows that productivity and health are crippled by sleep-deprivation. According to a Carnegie Mellon University study, people who sleep fewer than 7 hours a night are almost three times more likely to catch a cold than those who average 8 or more hours a night; research from Harvard Medical School indicates that sleep deprivation limits our ability to focus and access previously learned information. Essentially, it makes those late night study sessions less effective, and will make it difficult to remember all that information the next day when you’re actually taking the exam.

  1. Spiritual

Not only is sleep important for practical and physical purposes; sleep also cultivates humility and requires faith. God could have created us as vampires instead of men and women – never sleeping, and able to maintain constant, unceasing productivity and labor for the sake of his kingdom. But God created us as we are. Like food and water, we cannot survive without sleep. More than eating and drinking, though, sleeping requires the conscious humility of relinquishing control and admitting that we are not self-sufficient or independent. There is a limit to what we can accomplish, not only in life, but in a single 24 hour period. The Psalmist says “it is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; for he gives to his beloved even in his sleep.” (Psalm 127:2).

We fight against sleep when we fear what will happen when we allow ourselves to rest, and when we think our own work is too important to cease for a few hours; Psalm 127 calls this vanity. Sleep is our daily reminder that we are finite and that God is the only being in the universe who neither slumbers nor sleeps. Accepting the gift of sleep from the hand of God is a practical act of faith in the face of anxiety.

Worship God by working hard, with diligence and zeal. And then sleep, knowing that “he will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep.” (Psalm 121:3-4).

 


 

Abigail Cavanaugh is a senior at Boyce College and plans to graduate this winter with a B.A. in Biblical and Theological Studies.  She currently works as the Administrative Assistant of the Boyce College Faculty, and is a member at 3rd Avenue Baptist Church.

 


Alumni Advice: Love with Abandon | Renee Jarrett

I was lying in bed wide-eyed, bewildered, and exhausted. The ceiling was unusually close to my face and I couldn’t get the fear of falling off my bunk bed out of my head. I was in college. I was in college in Kentucky. What on earth was I doing? I had a car’s worth of stuff to my name and now lived on a hall whose name I couldn’t pronounce. I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me. I was afraid and exhilarated at the same time.

Thankfully it doesn’t take very long to make friends at Boyce. In a matter of days I had people to talk to, study alongside, and church search with. Spending time with people only got sweeter the longer I was here. It didn’t take long to realize, however, that those closest to me were the easiest to take for granted. In the name of having fun (yet somehow being studious at the same time) it was dangerously easy to live past the people on my hall.

I started to think about this more and more as I realized the desire I had to be a wife and mom one day. I wanted to intentionally encourage and serve my future family and church. And as each semester passed, the people I lived with became more like family – and easier to take for granted. The correlation unsettled me. All areas of growth in life are connected to union with Christ, and I knew the habits I was forming now would come in to play later in life. But how did living on a hall with 18 girls translate into being a successful wife, mom, and church member down the road? I found the answer to be rather simple: care. I prayed for the grace and strength to care for the people closest to me. And as simple as that is, the implications of such a prayer are gloriously rich.

The New Testament is full of passages that tell us how we are to care for one another. Ephesians talks about loving, speaking truth, building up, being kind, forgiving, and being tenderhearted to one another. I was called to be these things to the girls I lived with. Not just sometimes or when I felt like it. I was called to cultivate a heart attitude that saw people through a lens of this type of care. And friends, unceasing care can only come from the wellspring of Christ. As soon as you buy into the lie that you can muster the “spiritual maturity” to love people well without Christ, you will begin a hard road of neglecting those closest to you.

We have so many things to do – papers to write, meetings to attend, books to read, church activities to plan. One decision at a time though, it becomes easier and easier to choose your schedule than those living around you. I would encourage you to press into Christ, pray for discernment concerning your schedule, and love people with abandon. You won’t regret it. You may get a B on your paper because you stayed up late talking through your roommate’s problems. Or you may wind up sitting in the ER with a girl from your hall instead of attending a concert. But do it. Live life with the people around you. Don’t try to be the captain of your own canoe. Start scrubbing the decks next to someone on the magnificent ship of your immediate context.

That first night in the dorms at Boyce College was quite a memorable one. I had the sense that I was on the brink of adventure, but little did I know just how true that would prove to be. College has the reputation of being a completely unique phase of life, one that can never be revisited or reconstructed. It’s only been a month since graduation and even I can tell that’s true. But what will be visited moving forward are new people and new ministry opportunities. And what will be constructed is church fellowship and families. In light of this, I would encourage you to sow biblical care into your relationships in your college years. You will be reaping from it for a lifetime.

 


 

Renee Jarrett is an alumni of Boyce College with a degree in Biblical Counseling. She now works at the Association of Certified Biblical Counselors (ACBC), and lives in Louisville, KY.


Biblical Theology and Discipleship | Mitch Chase

Reading the Bible can strengthen your confidence in the Bible. There are good arguments already for the trustworthiness of God’s word, and I’m thankful for faithful scholars who argue for it from historical, archaeological, and manuscript evidence. But when a reader is immersed in the majesty and glory of God’s story, that simple act of reading can become a powerful apologetic.

In my academic studies I was introduced to biblical theology, which is a discipline that considers the Bible as a whole, attending to its organic unity and progressive revelation and seeking to understand how later authors interpret earlier texts. I enjoy learning how to think about the Bible in these ways, and I am still rejoicing at the many truths biblical theology teaches us. Here are three.

  1. The Bible is telling one story.

From the beginning of Genesis to the consummation of all things in Revelation, there is a discernible and coherent storyline. The Bible’s sixty-six books are not filled with unrelated accounts. Rather, in multiple languages, on multiple continents, and over the course of about 1,500 years, many different authors were inspired by God’s Spirit to tell the story of promises made and kept, of a redeemer who was prophesied and who entered our broken world in the fullness of time and bore our sin and shame. The Old Testament prepares the way for Jesus, and the New Testament heralds the coming of Jesus, the most important person who ever lived and died—and lived again.

  1. The Bible is interpreting history.

The Bible does much more than report major historical events from the ancient Near East. The one true God is Lord of all and wields human history for sovereign purposes. The Bible not only records history, it interprets history. For instance, the Israelites left Egypt, but that event should be understood in the larger context of how God was working out his will to rescue his people through an appointed deliverer who would lead them to a promised land. In the first-century A.D., a baby was born in Bethlehem, grew up in Nazareth, and died on a cross outside Jerusalem, and the Bible explains the theological and cosmic significance of these events. History is not a collection of random happenings. The grand narrative of God’s plan is a marvelous tapestry that testifies to his infinite wisdom, where all of the parts have meaning in light of the whole. The meaning of history is not in the eye of the beholder but in the mind of the Creator.

  1. The Bible is unfolding a worldview.

The Bible calls you to a different kind of seeing. The biblical authors, across sixty-six books, give you a set of lenses through which to view the world. The Bible’s worldview allows us to see why we’re here, what went wrong in the world, what God has done to rescue us, and what will happen when Jesus returns. We need biblical theology because we need to live faithfully before God, walking in a manner worthy of the gospel and understanding that our struggle is not against flesh and blood. To be a disciple on this narrow road, we need to see the world and our lives as the Bible does. We should immerse ourselves in Holy Scripture, beckoning God to renew our minds and conform our hearts and orient our affections. We should read not just verses and paragraphs but chunks of chapters and whole books. The Christian faith begins in Genesis, so we should rejoice in and submit to the whole counsel of God, which spans a garden in Eden to the holy city where all things have become new.

As Erich Auerbach rightly put it, “The world of the Scripture stories is not satisfied with claiming to be a historically true reality—it insists that it is the only real world, is destined for autocracy. All other scenes, issues, and ordinances have no right to appear independently of it, and it is promised that all of them, the history of all mankind, will be given their due place within its frame, will be subordinated to it. The Scripture stories do not, like Homer’s, court our favor, they do not flatter us that they may please us and enchant us—they seek to subject us, and if we refuse to be subjected we are rebels.”

 


 

Mitch Chase (PhD, SBTS) is an Adjunct Professor of Old Testament at Boyce College, and is the Preaching Pastor at Kosmosdale Baptist Church. He tweets sporadically from @mitchellchase.

 

 

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