News Articles

BP Ledger Monday, April 27, 2015

EDITOR’S NOTE: BP Ledger carries items for reader information each week from various Southern Baptist-related entities, and news releases of interest from other sources. The items are published as received.

Today’s BP Ledger contains items from:
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Christian Newswire

Evangelism opportunity makes
for a ‘good’ Good Friday
By Katie Coleman and Alex Sibley

FORT WORTH, Texas (Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) — “What’s so good about Good Friday?” This question, posed by Southwestern Master of Divinity student Nirintsoa Mamitiana to an employee at Buffalo Wild Wings on Good Friday, April 3, led to a Gospel presentation — there at their table — that ultimately resulted in the employee, through tears, placing her faith in Jesus Christ.

Mamitiana, an Antandroy student from Madagascar, went to the restaurant for lunch with Josh Crisp, a Master of Divinity student. On the way there, they prayed that God would provide a divine appointment for them to share the Gospel (in the words of Matt Queen, L.R. Scarborough Chair of Evangelism, they were going to do what any “good” Baptist does: eat chicken and evangelize). After arriving at the restaurant, while blessing their food, Mamitiana prayed that God would give them courage to speak to someone there at the restaurant.

That someone turned out to be Luisa, the “guest experience captain” at the restaurant. As per her job, she visited their table, introduced herself to them, and left a flyer with her name on it. When she left, Mamitiana shared with Crisp that he felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to present the Gospel to her.

Luisa eventually returned to their table, and Mamitiana asked if she knew what was so “good” about Good Friday. Unsure of the correct answer, she simply listed things that qualify a good day for her: having a job, getting a paycheck, and having a good time with friends. Asking her to sit with them for a moment, Mamitiana and Crisp proceeded to explain the significance of Good Friday and how the Gospel could change her life.

Tears began to run down Luisa’s cheeks as Mamitiana and Crisp told her how much God loves her and how precious she is in God’s sight. Luisa told them she had been thinking about God and had considered going to church, but she still had questions about heaven and hell. They worked through some of these questions, and then Crisp shared the Romans Road with her and asked if she would like to know how to accept Jesus as her Lord and Savior. When she said yes, right there at the table, he and Mamitiana led her in prayer to profess her faith in Jesus Christ.

Before leaving, Mamitiana invited Luisa to attend Easter services at Hulen Street Church, where he and his family attend. He also plans to put her in touch with his pastor.

Mamitiana says encounters like this are why he intentionally asks God each day for opportunities to be a witness for Jesus Christ. “I am always asking God to open my eyes and be sensitive to talk with people about the Gospel.”

Regarding the Holy Spirit’s work in Luisa, Mamitiana reflects, “What a good Friday. Thank you, Jesus.”


Southern Seminary online
learning staff honored
By Paul Baity

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) — The Online Learning Consortium, one of the most prestigious online learning organizations in higher education, recently recognized The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary’s online learning department for its innovation in language learning.

“The Global Campus at Southern Seminary provides training for God-called ministers around the world that is educationally equivalent to what students receive on campus. This requires constant innovation,” said Timothy Paul Jones, associate vice president of online learning and C. Edwin Gheens Professor Family Ministry. “This innovation in teaching languages online is one example of the many cutting-edge processes that the online learning team is constantly developing.”

Ryan Baltrip, director of online learning, and instructional designer Brian Renshaw received the Effective Practice in Online Learning Award for “Using Tablet Video Technology to Enhance Language Learning” in Southern Seminary’s online Elementary Greek course. Renshaw worked with Robert L. Plummer, professor of New Testament interpretation, to improve the course during the summer of 2014.

“It took a lot of trial and error to come up with a setup that was easy to use and effective, but in the end I think we came up with something that works really well,” Renshaw said.

The innovative teaching techniques integrate tablet technologies to provide video lectures, on-screen diagrams, and quiz reviews to simulate the in-class experience of the Greek course. The 24-inch tablet is an interactive touch display monitor that allows the instructor to use a pressure-sensitive pen on the display for annotating, writing, and drawing.

Each year, the Online Learning Consortium recognizes effective practices in online learning among all higher educational institutions. In 2015, the Online Learning Consortium selected seven award winners out of thousands of entries — Renshaw and Baltrip were one of those seven winners, and this was the first time staff members from a theological institution have been recognized for one of these awards.

“Educational and technological changes happen so fast that it may seem daunting, but the need to offer flexible learning opportunities is no longer optional in contemporary theological education,” Baltrip said.

The Online Learning Consortium also published an effective online learning practice developed by Baltrip and Kristen Ferguson, another online instructional designer at Southern. With Southern faculty traveling the world on a regular basis, Baltrip devised a low-cost, high-quality solution that would allow Southern faculty to bring a global context into their online classes through their travels. Ferguson used this method of filming video mini-lectures in a wide variety of global locations while designing an online Aesthetics class with Mark Coppenger, professor of Christian apologetics, over the summer and fall of 2014.

Ferguson and Baltrip’s work on the Aesthetics course also received recognition from the Association of Christian Distance Education, a Christian distance learning organization. The Association honored Baltrip, Ferguson, and Coppenger for the online Aesthetics course and gave it an honorable mention as the best “Course of the Year” in Christian distance education.

“They only pick one winner for course of the year, so we were thrilled to receive an honorable mention for excellence in Christian distance education,” Ferguson said.

Baltrip, Renshaw, and Ferguson continue to serve and work to improve the quality of online education for Southern Seminary Online and Boyce College Online students.

“We strive to push the edge of pedagogical possibilities to provide excellent education for distance students, and we are deeply humbled that our efforts have been to be recognized by leading online learning organizations,” Baltrip said.

The Online Learning Consortium award will be presented at the 8th Annual Emerging Technologies for Online Learning International Symposium, jointly presented by OLC and MERLOT, April 22-24, in Dallas, Texas.

More information about Southern Seminary Online and the newly launched Global Campus is available at www.sbts.edu/online.


Zondervan announces Chuck Colson’s
final book on anniversary of his passing

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (Christian Newswire) — Today, on the third anniversary of the death of Charles W. “Chuck” Colson, one of the most eloquent and influential evangelical Christian leaders of our time, Zondervan announces the upcoming release of Colson’s last published work, “My Final Word: Holding Tight to the Issues that Matter Most” (Aug. 4, 2015).

“Chuck Colson was ahead of his time-he understood the crucial issues facing our culture and how they might influence the world as we know it,” said Stan Gundry, Senior Vice President and Publisher, Zondervan. “We are honored to have worked with Colson and The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview on ‘My Final Word,’ a fitting end to Colson’s distinguished publishing career.”

Composed during the last years of his ministry, “My Final Word” issues a clarion call for Christians to think critically about today’s most pressing issues. Longtime Colson co-author Anne Morse has selected and arranged pieces written mostly during the last decade of Colson’s life, spotlighting what he saw as key topics of ongoing importance for Christian cultural engagement. Some of these issues include:

— The rise of Islam

— Same-sex marriage

— The persecution of Christians

— Crime and punishment

— Natural law

“We are excited for Chuck’s wisdom, vision, and insight to once again reach readers through his own words in this last book,” said David Carlson, Vice President of Communications, The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview. “‘My Final Word’ is a behind-the-scenes encounter with an influential thinker, and a needed call to an ongoing and relevant Christian public witness.”

Colson, the infamous convicted Nixon advisor who became famous for his ministry to prisoners through Prison Fellowship, evangelical-Catholic dialogue, and his Christian worldview, spent the final years of his life and ministry leading The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, a research and training center focused on Christian worldview teaching.

Charles W. “Chuck” Colson was a popular and widely known author, speaker, and radio commentator. He wrote several books that have shaped Christian thinking on a variety of subjects, including “Born Again,” “Loving God,” “How Now Shall We Live?,” “The Good Life,” and “The Faith.” Colson founded Prison Fellowship and The Chuck Colson Center for Christian Worldview, and donated all of his royalties, awards, and speaking fees to these ministries.

Zondervan is a world-leading Bible publisher and provider of Christian communications. Zondervan, part of HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., delivers transformational Christian experiences through its bestselling Bibles, books, curriculum, academic resources and digital products. The Company’s products are sold worldwide and translated into nearly 200 languages. Zondervan offices are located in Grand Rapids, Mich. For additional information, please visit www.zondervan.com.

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