Theology on the Web – mid-year Review

As the first academic term of the year draws to a close it’s a good time to take a breath and both look back on what has been achieved so far in 2014 and to give a brief preview of what is still to come.

New Material

Journals

Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology appeared on-line for the first time in January, followed by over 880 public domain articles from the Journal of Theological Studies (old series), Christian Brethren Research Fellowship Journal and Christian Brethren Review. Most recently the entire run of Calvary Baptist Theological Journal has been uploaded. On my shelves I have copies of The Expository Times, The Expositor, Palestine Exploration Quarterly and a number of others which I will working on as time permits.

Articles, Books & Monographs

Tyndale House in Cambridge kindly shared a large amount of material that they had scanned but not uploaded to the Web for me to make available. This included the Complete Works of the Rev Charles Simeon, the Works of the Rev John Lightfoot and two primary texts of Origen’s Hexapla, which allowed me to create a new resources page on that subject here. The Schweich Lectureship on Biblical Archaeology has been in existence since 1908 and a number of the earlier volumes are now in the Public Domain. I now have access to almost all of these. As they are uploaded they will be linked from this page on the Biblical Archaeology website.

Bible College Interviews

Perhaps the most interesting development so far in 2014 on the BiblicalStudies Blog has been the series of interviews with staff of Bible Colleges around the world. This was triggered in response to an apparently arbitrary list of “top Bible colleges” appearing online. The interview series gives the opportunity for a wide range of institutions from around the world to set out what they have to offer potential students.
So far these have included Spurgeon’s College [England], The Union Theological College [India], Tilsley College [Scotland], Heritage College & Seminary [Canada], Ridley College [Australia], Trinity Western University [Canada], Columbia Evangelical Seminary [USA], Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary [USA], Kings Evangelical Divinity School [England], University of Northwestern – St Paul [USA], Highland Theological College [Scotland], Jamaica Theological Seminary [Jamaica], my old college Mattersey Hall [England] and Dallas Theological Seminary [USA]. The series is set to continue until the end of June. Contributions from other Colleges are most welcome.

Looking Ahead

I don’t think that there has been any period in the 13 years I have been developing Theology on the Web in which I have uploaded so much material. There is every reason to think, however, that once the journals I currently have in hand are completed, new material to digitise will become much harder to find. This is because there are a finite number of journals out there and most have already been made available either for free or via a commercial subscription service. For that reason I am now considering the possibility of digitising more books which are no longer in copyright. As file size is still a key factor in many countries where bandwidth is limited I will be trying to make the resulting PDFs as small as possible.

It has been an encouraging year as far a finance is concerned. Although I have only four regular supporters, this is well up on last year (when I had only one). Also, a recent one-off gift allowed me to purchase volumes of the Schweich lectures (already mentioned above), which I would otherwise been unable to do. If you wish to support the development of the sites, please go here.

So, thank you for your ongoing support and encouragement. I appreciate all the message and comments I get on the blog and via social media and look forward to seeing what the rest of 2014 will bring.

Blog Interview – Dr. Dan Wallace – Dallas Theological Seminary

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Dallas Seminary

I am Dan Wallace, professor of New Testament Studies. I am also the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts

2) Tell us a little about Dallas Seminary

DTS was begun in 1924 by Lewis Sperry Chafer and W. H. Griffith-Thomas. Their vision was to have a seminary in which every book of the Bible was taught. That is still part of the curriculum. DTS also does not have an MDiv. Its flagship degree is the four-year ThM. It has especially strong Old Testament and New Testament departments. DTS requires 2 & ½ years of Greek and 2 years of Hebrew for its ThM students. We also have a PhD program and a DMin program, among others. Enrolment is about 2000 students, many of whom are at extension schools or online students.

DTS is an evangelical seminary not affiliated with any denomination. We accept students from all denominations. Its distinctive is its premillennialism, though students do not need to adhere to this doctrine. DTS is a dispensational school, but only one unit on dispensationalism is required.

Many on the outside think that DTS is a fundamentalist school that crams dispensationalism down students’ throats or at least heavily promotes it. This has not been the case in my 39 years of association with the school. DTS has serious scholars who make a contribution in many areas. We have first-rate Old Testament and New Testament scholars, patristic scholars, theologians, church historians, etc. The faculty are members of several scholarly societies including Society of New Testament Studies, Institute for Biblical Research, Society of Biblical Literature, and the Evangelical Theological Society, to name a few.

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

I’m not sure I understand the question. Courses are courses; students are full-time and part-time.

4) How does Dallas Seminary students fund their studies?

About half of tuition is paid by donors; students have to raise the rest. There is an increasing number of scholarships for students, and full-time students get a discount on courses.

5) Does Dallas Seminary take students from overseas?

Absolutely! A large percentage of our students come from overseas—from South Korea, Kenya, India, China, and about 50 other countries I believe.

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

DTS chiefly prepares people for full-time vocational ministry—including the pastorate, missions, translation work, and teaching. Many parachurch organizations are populated with DTS grads. We do have courses specifically intended to enrich laypeople.

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

See #6.

8) What is distinctive about what Dallas Seminary offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?

The ThM is the most distinctive thing about DTS, with its rigorous requirements in Greek and Hebrew and instruction in every book of the Bible.

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

DTS’s library is excellent. I believe the holdings are about 400,000, and these are focused on the Bible, theology, philosophy, Greek, Hebrew, archaeology, biblical backgrounds, church fathers, etc. Every incoming students gets a large package of Logos Bible software to use during their time at the school. If they graduate, they get to keep it. The library system includes first-rate Interlibrary Loan, several computers with a variety of Bible software loaded in them, excellent resources in German, French, and to some degree Latin, Spanish, and other languages.

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

Yes, it does. But I don’t teach these courses so I can’t speak to this well. I know that we have quite a few Chinese students taking on-line courses and what we offer on-line increases every year.

My thanks to Dr Wallace for taking part in this series.

Blog Interview–Peter Cavanna–Mattersey Hall Bible College

1) Please introduce yourself and your role at Mattersey Hall Christian College.

My name is Peter Cavanna and I am a full-time lecturer at Mattersey Hall. I teach a number of first year subjects, such as Christian Doctrine and Understanding the Bible, plus preparing second year students for public preaching and Pentecostal and Charismatic Studies on the Christian Leadership track. I spent twenty years in pastoral church leadership prior to taking up this post, as well as being involved in international mission, and seek to combine both theological knowledge and practical coaching in the lecture room. The students alone can judge if I succeed!

2) Tell us a little about Mattersey Hall.

The work of Mattersey Hall was founded, originally in London, in 1909, for the purpose of preparing men and women for Christian ministry. Today, the College offers both Undergraduate and Postgraduate courses, validated by the University of Chester, in Biblical Studies, Christian Leadership and Missional Leadership. There are around one hundred and twenty students attending the College at any one time.

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

Ideally, students will attend the College for three years, full time. This allows them to get the greatest benefit from the theological training, mentoring, spiritual and devotional life on campus, and the various ministry opportunities afforded by the College – both in the local church and on international/cross-cultural mission. However, the courses are flexible enough to allow some students to study part-time (approximately half the week at the campus) or by Distance Learning where these are deemed the best option for the individual. New for 2014 and beyond is the introduction of Short Courses – two to four weeks of intensive training in a particular topic, Monday to Thursday. This allows busy church leaders and workers, for example, the ability to get excellent training without leaving behind their church or family responsibilities for long periods. We’re very excited about this new initiative.

4) How do Mattersey Hall students fund their studies?

Students are funded in a variety of ways. Many obtain student loans for the Undergraduate courses available, while those who have been especially sent to the College to acquire qualifications on behalf of their local church may occasionally find themselves being funded by their leadership or churches.

5) Does Mattersey Hall take students from overseas?

Unfortunately, at this time, it is not possible to attend Mattersey Hall from overseas but the College hopes to be able to offer this again shortly.

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

 

The vision of Mattersey Hall is ‘preparing the next generation of Christian leaders.’ As a result of this, the College has a very strong emphasis on leadership and character development, preparing students not just for theological excellence but also for leadership and influence in both the local church and in the modern world. It is still possible to attend Mattersey Hall in order to enrich one’s Bible knowledge and spiritual life, but it is best suited for those who feel a call to serve God in some way, although not necessarily as a pastor or church leader. Our desire for our graduates is that they make a Christ centred contribution to the communities in which they live and work.

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

Many Mattersey students go into direct Christian leadership in local churches, but others serve God in missionary service, youth work and through exerting Christian influence through a variety of secular employment opportunities. Students are encouraged to find their place in God’s will for them.

8) What is distinctive about what Mattersey Hall offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?

Mattersey Hall has long emphasised its Pentecostal heritage and distinction. Students are encouraged to serve God in the miraculous power of the Spirit in the modern world, and campus life especially reflects charismatic devotion and theology. The issues of handling Pentecostalism within a postmodern society are faced and discussed.

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

The College is currently constructing a brand new Research Centre, housing over fifteen thousand, five hundred books and journals for student use. This will be opened in the summer of 2014. In addition to this, Mattersey Hall is pleased to continue to accommodate the British Pentecostal Archive on campus (accessed by appointment for postgraduates): the Donald Gee Centre.

10) Does Mattersey Hall offer a distance or on-line learning option.

Many of Mattersey Hall’s students are distance learners! This is not the same as a correspondence course as the assignment deadlines are similar to those on campus and the degree bestowed is the same. More details at the website!

Many thanks Peter for taking part in this series.