PBC Graduation 2018 Web-127

Congratulations Karyn Wells

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Karyn Wells graduated with her Bth in 2018. She graciously shares her journey in this article.

Young and in love with our hearts set on ministry, Jeff and I married the summer between our junior and senior year at PBC in 1987. I worked full-time that fall so he could finish his senior year and graduate. Read More

Classof18-47

Where the Class of 2018 is going

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Kandice Jameson : 

We’re thrilled that Kandice Jameson just couldn’t stay away from PBC for very long! After only two weeks of graduating, she said yes to our team and became the newest member of the PBC faculty assisting our registrar in student relations. Kandice is a gifted leader, strong administrator and amazing team player. We’re so excited to have this amazing addition to our team! Read More

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Portland Bible College Spanish Program

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Over the past 50 years, PBC has had an indelible impact all over the globe. Recently, we have had the opportunity to connect leaders from Iglesia La Roca in Guayaquil Ecuador to begin our Certificate of Theology program 100% in Spanish. Our school administrator and professor, Carlos Marin, had the privilege of ministering to the leadership and congregation. He was able to witness the great work the students are accomplishing there. Read More

YouthPastor&TheBible

YOUTH PASTORS AND THE STUDY OF THE BIBLE

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I.  Biblical Study:Most of those in Christian ministry know that the Bible is the primary source of material that will be used in preaching, teaching, counseling and personal development. Because they use it so much, the time they give to studying it is very important. Many youth pastors have had some form of formal Bible training which has familiarized them with the skills necessary to do this kind of research. Others have not had any such training and so find studying a fairly challenging task. For either group there is always a need to become more familiar with things that are available to streamline and enrich their time of study. Read More

Dr Larry Asplund

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IMG_7970The 50th Anniversary Celebration provided so many moments to reconnect people who students encountered during their time at PBC.  With out a doubt the instructors played a major role in the PBC experience.  One of those beloved professors was Dr Larry Asplund.  It was such a treat to have him here for the weekend.  He and his wife Lynda faithfully served for eighteen years at Portland Bible College. Dr Ashland was gifted at making the Bible alive and fun. His humor opened the door to deep and thought provoking questions. Lynda served as the administrator of Christian Leadership Training Institute, the precursor to our online and affiliate programs. What a gift they both were during their time at PBC.

Currently Dr. Asplund serves as a part-time Instructor in the School of Divinity at Regent University. He is the son and the father of a pastor and comes from a long line of Christian ministers and educators. Before coming to Regent University, he had been involved in pastoral ministry and teaching for 45 years, serving as an Executive Pastor, Teaching Pastor, Senior Pastor, and church planter. For 25 of those years he was actively engaged in higher education, serving as a full-time on-campus Bible college teacher, seminary professor, and University Vice President. He and Lynda have been married for 46 years, and they have two adult children, ages 39 and 44. He has a B.A. in Philosophy & Biblical Studies, M.A. in Biblical Literature, D.Min. in Leadership and Spiritual Formation, and an Ed.D. (ABD) in Educational Leadership. He has also served as a “ghost writer” for well-known authors, publishing his own book, “Transformers: Local Congregations as Agents of Community Transformation. Dr. Asplund teaches in the area of Practical Theology for the School of Divinity.

 

International Development Class tours REAL LIFE Exhibit

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IMG_7967Some things are unimaginable until you experience them in Real Life.

Students from the International Development course visited the REAL LIFE Exhibit hosted by Medical Teams International (http://www.medicalteams.org). The exhibit, which is hosted in a large warehouse, gave the class an opportunity to see and learn about the lives of people affected by disaster, conflict, and poverty around the world—and then they learn how to take action and make a difference.

The eight places they visited around the world were:

  1. A portrayal of the aftermath of Typhoon Haiyan (“Yolanda”) in the Philippines
  2. A room with a 25 foot tsunami wave
  3. A Ugandan camp for refugees from neighboring countries
  4. A Haitian earthquake site and a tent camp where homeless Haitians are living;
  5. A Cambodian village where mothers and children struggle to survive and thrive
  6. A Mexican garbage dump
  7. A Guatemalan community where children die from preventable illnesses
  8. A Mobile Dental unit where children and adults in our local communities receive care

Each student journaled their thoughts and feelings as they walked through the large exhibit. Walls displayed drawings made by children in the disaster zones as well as their stories. The PBC students wrote messages, prayers and thoughts to these children. One student shared:

The part of the exhibit that affected me the most was the video of the woman whose husband had died forcing her and her children to seek refuge in another place.  She said that none of her children, or she herself had been sick until they moved, but then they all became sick and the situation became so hopeless.  She said that if it wasn’t for the help of MTI’s care they would have all died.  This story just really hit me because it put a face to the suffering.  I felt for them and I was happy to see that they were able to get better with the help of a non-profit. (Nikki)

I talked to Sures Kumar, a 14 year old boy who saw his family be swept away in the tsunami. “I tried to reach my sister”. Those words tore me up inside. Family is everything and that really just hits your heart that this young boy tried to save his little sister. I would first give him a hug. Having experienced the tragic death of a family member, I know that there isn’t much you can actually say that helps at the beginning. But, ultimately, I would share that God has a future and hope for him. (Brady)

PBC Students also noted the information that startled or jumped out to the students as they walked through the exhibit. The main stats they noted were:

  1. Every 5 seconds a child under the age of 5 dies of a preventable disease.
  2. Eighty percent of disease in the world is carried through unclean water.
  3. Half of the world lives on less than $2 a day.
  4. Before the Syrian crisis there was over 300 physicians in major city in Syria and after there was only 30 registered physicians in the city.
  5. More than 40% of people in the world don’t have access to latrines

PBC Students also journaled on themes of justice, hope, compassion and courage.  One student wrote about compassion:

“A deep sympathy and sorrow for another who is stricken by misfortune, accompanied by a strong desire to alleviate the suffering” (Dictionary.com). Compassion means to care, to feel, to break for His people. There is no other way to genuinely help without first understanding and obtaining compassion. This is only half of the definition – true compassion is to do something. Compassion is to be in their shoes and step into their world and really share in their sorrow. We must first ask for the heart of the Lord, that we may have His heart and allow ours to break for what breaks His. To obtain a complete compassion for His people, we are to be moved deeply to actually live out His commands to care for His people with action. (Lauren)

At the end of the Exhibit, students went shopping in the Marketplace to pick up action cards to:

  1. commit to pray for refugees and people impacted by natural disasters,
  2. to sign-up to volunteer to pack medical supplies to places Medical Teams serves, or
  3. to commit financially to the places impacted by armed conflict or unhealthy living conditions.

Visit their website (http://www.medicalteams.org/home/real-life-exhibit) to get more details on how you can go experience these places around the world for yourself.

Medical Teams International is an international, non-profit organization based in Tigard, Oregon. They respond to disasters around the world—and here at home—by sending teams of volunteer medical professionals and medical supplies to care for the sick and injured. They also mobilize long-term health promotion initiatives, collaborating with established partners within each community to ensure that our programs have a sustainable impact.

A Reformation Prophecy

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“You are going to burn a goose, but in one hundred years you will have a swan which you can neither roast nor boil.”

These were some of the last words of John Huss, spoken in 1415 AD before he was swallowed by flames. Huss, whose name means “goose,” was a forerunner to the Reformation. Huss gained popularity as a preacher at Bethlehem Chapel in Prague, drawing thousands of people at a time to listen to his sermons. The community of believers who gathered to him was marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit. And the words of Huss provoked the imagination of the masses because they often confronted the status quo of unbiblical practices within the Roman Catholic Church. In particular, his opposition to the selling of indulgences crossed a line which led to his execution as a heretic.

In 1515, exactly one hundred years later, the prophecy of the Goose came true. This was the year in which a spiritually tormented monk, frightened by a vengeful God who sought to damn him, was assigned to teach the book of Romans at the new university in Wittenberg, Germany. Illuminated by God’s Spirit, Martin Luther realized that sinners could never be good enough to earn God’s approval, and instead God imputes his own righteousness to us through faith in his Son. Luther, now a priest and professor, was the Swan foretold by the Goose. Intriguingly, John Foxe, a historian from that era, tells us that Luther’s family coat of arms providentially displayed the image of a swan.

Naturally, Luther’s revelation led him, like Huss, to oppose the practice of selling indulgences, which had become a means of so-called penance by which believers could pay the Church in order to escape from purgatory. No! Christians did not need to suffer more for their sin after death. And you could not do anything to pay off God, since salvation comes as a free gift of grace and is received by faith alone. So on October 31, 1517, Luther nailed his 95 arguments against the selling of indulgences to the church door at Wittenberg. That was the eve of All Saints Day (i.e., Halloween), on which hordes of people would pay to gaze in adoration at the relics associated with dead saints, whose excess of good deeds supposedly made indulgences effective. Yet Luther’s act wasn’t intended to be particularly provocative. Posting to the church door was an accepted method of proposing points of debate among scholars. In fact, Luther wrote the points in Latin, not in German, because he simply sought an academic disputation. But the theses were soon taken, translated into German, and distributed with the help of the newly invented printing press. Nonetheless, increasingly, Luther came to welcome the controversy if it meant the glorification of the gospel.

Yet unlike the Goose, the Roman Catholic Church was never able to cook the Swan—though it certainly tried! As Luther later came to realize and proclaim, “We were all Hussites without knowing it.”

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A note about the authenticity of Huss’ prophecy: I often read scholars deny the veracity of Huss’ statement at his execution. Yet the more I investigate it, the more the evidence stacks up in its favor. And the more I suspect that some scholars are simply unwilling to believe that such an accurate prophecy could occur. Their bias is often rooted in their cessationist theology. At the risk of boring you, here is a brief list of reasons to believe its authenticity. Enough is provided for you to investigate it further if you wish.

  1. Luther himself believed the prophecy pertained to him. And he was much closer to the matter than we. Do not forget, Luther was a brilliant scholar and researcher who, for example, was well enough acquainted with historical records and the official documents of the Church to correct its own cardinals when they misquoted it ever so slightly. (Just look up the account of Luther’s argument with Cardinal Cajetan in 1518.) So I quote a statement made by Luther: “St. John Huss prophesied of me when he wrote from his prison in Bohemia, ‘They will roast a goose now (for “Huss” means “a goose”), but after a hundred years they will hear a swan sing, and him they will have to endure’” (Commentary on the Alleged Imperial Edict, 1531).
  2. Luther must have had access to some record of the prophecy that differed from the one used by John Foxe in the mid 1500’s, whose quotation is slightly different and who portrays these as words spoken during Huss’ execution rather than his imprisonment. This is the sort of minor inconsistency you would expect to find in separate witnesses of the same event. And they are easily reconciled by supposing that Luther is quoting one of the various letters we know that Huss wrote from prison, while Foxe is quoting Huss’ proclamation of the same prophecy at his execution.
  3. Foxe’s statement that Luther’s coat of arms displayed a swan is questionable. The only thing I have been able to uncover in this regard is the fact that Luther’s birthplace was Eisleban, whose coat of arms featured a set of white wings at various times in history.
  4. We have several letters written by Huss during his imprisonment. He often refers to himself as “the Goose,” just as his friends and students affectionately called him. Moreover, he extends this analogy by saying that even if the Goose is trapped by nets, he fully believed that one day “other birds, which by God’s word and by their lives soar to high places, will break their traps in pieces” (letter, October 1412). Huss envisions future reformers as other species of birds which Rome will not be able to entrap, precisely as the prophecy in question states regarding a swan.
  5. And there is a fascinating letter written by a companion of Huss informing the faithful about the situation of their leader, which concludes as follows: “Written at Constance the Saturday before Martinmas. The Goose is not yet cooked, and is not afraid of being cooked, because this year the noted eve of St. Martin’s falls on Saturday, when geese are not eaten!” (John Cardinalis, November 10, 1414). This is intriguing for two reasons. First, and most importantly, Huss and his company were already thinking in terms of “the Goose being cooked,” just as he later stated in the prophecy. This is a great testament to its authenticity. Second (and prepare enter the Twilight Zone), Huss was not to be executed at the time of the letter because it was Saturday and the Eve of St. Martin’s Day. The statement is cryptic, but perhaps we can guess at its meaning. Goose is the traditional cuisine for St. Martins Day and would be slaughtered the day before; but I wonder if “Saturday” (sabbato, lit. Sabbath) is an allusion to the Sabbatical Passover before which Christ had to be removed from the cross in order to keep the Sabbath holy. That is, it could be a nuanced way of saying, “Don’t worry, by the same logic the Council of Constance won’t execute Huss on the holiday or its eve.” Indeed, it would be half a year before Huss was burned at the stake. Whatever we make of the difficult phrase, in time Martin Luther would be born on St. Martin’s Eve (which is why he was named Martin). The irony, of which the writer could not possibly be aware, is baffling: even though Huss was a “goose,” he would not be slaughtered on St. Martin’s Eve when geese were normally slaughtered; yet the more famous St. Martin, born decades later on that very day, would in fact be the man prophesied by Huss to evade slaughter, being a swan and not a goose.