Dr Larry Asplund

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Dr. Asplund serves as a part-time Instructor in the School of Divinity. 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 has been married to his best friend, Lynda, 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.

 

Annual Fall Retreat Recap

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By Annalise Hutley

The annual Fall semester kick-off did not disappoint this year as a semester highlight for both students and staff. Hundreds of students packed their bags and boarded busses heading for Washington Family Ranch in  Antelope, Oregon. Young Life resort, a modern day oasis in the heart of central Oregon, is home to gorgeous man-made lakes, top-of-the-line-facilities and the largest zip-line west of the Mississippi.

Each morning started with dynamic services followed by epic outdoor activities taking place throughout the afternoon. The evenings included presence-driven worship and guest speakers from around the world all sharing the life-changing truth of the Gospel. Evening services were followed by even more activities, fun and fellowship.

It’s no surprise so many of our students consider this weekend to be one of the most impacting milestones of their Christian walk. Thank you Young LIfe for providing such immaculate grounds for our college to enjoy!

International Development Class tours REAL LIFE Exhibit

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IMG_7967By Sarah Nashif-Tan

Some 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.

The Heritage and Legacy of Portland Bible College

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By Lanny Hubbard

Portland Bible College was founded 50 years ago to train the young people of City Bible Church (then Bible Temple). It was the vision of the founders to create a school that would train the young people of this church in God’s Word for generations to come. They believed in the vision that God had given them, so much so that they not only financed it but they entrusted their own children to it. Dick Iverson, Bob Stricker, Kevin Conner, Frank Damazio and Ken Malmin all had children that were trained in this school.

PBC has now trained three generations of students: Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Millennials. The current student body has 13 second generation students, 6 of which are a part of the freshman class.

Heritage: Our Gift From The Past

We talk about having a rich heritage here at Portland Bible College, but what is heritage? It is defined as a tradition, culture, background or roots. It is an inherited or established way of thinking, feeling and doing things. At PBC, we embrace and cherish our heritage that has developed over 50 years of raising up godly leaders.

We believe that things that come from the past are still important. We have qualities, values and objects that we value so highly that we have preserved them in order to pass them on to future generations. This is our heritage, the foundation on which we build. As the psalmist said, “The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me.” (16:6)

Legacy: Our Gift To The Future

A legacy is a result of the past handed down by our predecessors. It is the footprint of one generation left behind for the next one. In the natural, we want to leave the smallest carbon footprint possible for the benefit of the future. In the Spirit, we want to leave the largest spiritual footprint that we can for the future.

A legacy is what one generation does not consume themselves, but passes on to those coming after them to enjoy. Heaven knows that at Portland Bible College our legacy is not our buildings. It is not some great endowment of money left for others. Our legacy is in our students.

We have PBC alumni all over the world; pastors planting churches, doctors birthing the next generations, Christians planting schools in Muslim countries, lawyers fighting for justice and human rights, business leaders, mothers, Episcopalian priests, engineers, counselors, and missionaries.

As Billy Graham said, the greatest legacy one can pass on to their children is not material things, but rather character and faith. The most important thing in this life is not the honor we take with us, but the legacy we leave behind.

Success without a successor is a failure. Jesus raised up disciples. He commanded his followers to raise up disciples. It is our great job to make sure that his plan does not stop with our generation.

Connecting Our Heritage & Legacy

Our goal is to connect the past (our heritage) with the future (our legacy). The connector is the present. The past is connected to the future through the present. Our past is our heritage. Our future is our legacy, and how we live each day determines if one will connect with the other.

The Future Of Portland Bible College

Does Portland Bible College have a future? Yes! We are raising up a new generation of teachers; men and women of character. They have done things right and have not sacrificed hard work and humility on the altar of instant gratification and entitlement. And they know what it takes to make a college fun.

What will our school look like in the future? Only God knows. Look at where we have come in the last 50 years. Now, our young ladies wear jeans, already torn up even though they are new. Our young men have facial hair, wear skinny jeans, and wear their mother’s jewelry.

All this was considered Satanic in the 1970’s. Yet, they are on the streets talking to people about Jesus. They are staying up all night praying for direction in the school and in their lives. They are leading worship in chapel that melts the hearts of visitors.

What will they look like in the future? They will look like what they are now:

  • They will work hard to spread God’s truth to more people. We started with only live classes and then started offering correspondence courses. Now we have an online program that has expanded from English to Portuguese and Spanish.
  • They will be drilling wells for clean water in Africa.
  • They will be setting up water purification systems in Asia.
  • They will be military chaplains.
  • They will be hospital chaplains.
  • They will be starting Christian schools in Muslim countries.

That is what they will look like. They will do some things the same, and at the same time, they will find new ways to reach a lost world. They will be new seeds planted in old soil.

Keys To A Successful Future

In order for what we have had for 50 years at Portland Bible College to continue successfully into the future, it will require several things:

  • We must build well. As Luke 6:48 says, “it withstood the storms because of how well it was built,” and 1 Corinthians 3:13 says, “every person’s work must pass the test of fire.”
  • We must appreciate what has been given us. It is up to us to live up to the legacy that was left for us. We cannot squander the inheritance that was given us.
  • We must reach back to our ancestors for our fundamental values so that as guardians of that legacy we can reach ahead to our children.

The hope of our legacy is in the strength of our heritage. We need our present and future students to share our heart and catch our vision.

In the end, the words “well done” will not be spoken to the witty, the trendy, the stylish, or the popular. They will be spoken to the “good” and the “faithful.” This is the legacy that we hope to pass on.

 

 

A Reformation Prophecy

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Related image

“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.

25% Coupon Code for PBC Curriculum

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Portland Bible College has launched an all new Curriculum Store! To celebrate, we are offering 25% off any one course of your choice!

Many of PBC student’s favorite courses are available for independent study – including Basic Doctrine, Covenants, Counseling Techniques, Pauline Epistles and Romans. Listen to all the updated lectures from your favorite teachers. Go to www.pbconlinecurriculum.com to see if your favorite course is available.

To utilize the discount, simply visit our curriculum Store, add your chosen course to the shopping cart and add the Coupon Code ‘NewStore25’on the payment page.  Online access to the lectures and handouts is then available for 6 months and is licensed for independent use only.

This coupon expires May 31st, so get your curriculum now!!

Your Bible is True and Reliable

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more than a good book

Recently, in our sermon series at City Bible Church, we discussed the trustworthiness of the Bible. Here are some links discussing a few of the illustrations and concepts mentioned in the sermon.

We talked about a few of the seeming contradictions or conflicts within Scripture. Our premise was that the Bible has no real contradictions within itself when it is thoroughly examined in its entire context. Here are a few books that deal specifically with some of these “problem areas” if you are interested in investigating them further.

  1. Hard Sayings of the Bible by Walter Kaiser Jr., et al.
  2. The Big Book of Bible Difficulties by Norman Geisler & Thomas Howe
  3. New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason Archer Jr.

We also discussed some of the major archaeological finds that support the historical accuracy of Scripture. Here are a few links to some of the examples from the sermon.

  1. This is an article from the Oregonian showing the archaeological evidence for the Biblical account of the fall of Jericho, as mentioned in the sermon.
  2. Here is an article on a recent discovery of a seal impressed with King Hezekiah’s signet. It is significant because the Bible says that Hezekiah was miraculously healed of a deadly illness; and the divine sign of his healing was the shadow cast by the sun going back several steps on a sort-of sundial. The seal comes from the time of Hezekiah, was found in the royal precinct, and has the Egyptian symbol for life with a sun rising on wings, as if to commemorate the event of the healing. It proves that not only was Hezekiah real (an otherwise well attested historical fact), but that the story surrounding his healing was not a fable to evolve long after his death, but comes from his lifetime.
  3.  Here is a link to the NIV Archaeological Study Bible, an illustrated resource focusing on historical and archaeological discoveries that confirm and illuminate the Biblical text.

In the message, we also briefly investigated the textual support for the Bible; that is, the manuscript evidence by which we trust that our English translations accurately represent the original writings.

  1. We considered the fact that we have thousands of very early New Testament manuscripts, produced astonishingly close to the writing of the original documents. If you are interested in how scholars weigh and compare these various manuscripts in order to come to a confident trust in the genuineness of the Bible as we have it today, Is My Bible the Inspired Word of God? by Edward Goodrick is a fascinating book. It is short and easy to read yet scholarly.
  2. We also mentioned a few recent discoveries that help confirm the trustworthiness of the Masoretic Text, the main manuscript we use to translate the Old Testament even though it is quite distant from the originals. Here is a link to a Christianity Today article on the Dead Sea Scrolls by Ed Stetzer. Although some significant differences are present (perhaps due to the separatist nature of the community responsible for them), these ancient manuscripts are quite early and are amazingly similar to the Masoretic Text, bolstering our trust in it.
  3. Here is an article on the En-Gedi Scroll, which was discussed in the sermon. This is a small charred scroll found in 1970 in a synagogue in Israel. It was an official scroll for reading on the Sabbath, meaning it was a respected and accurate copy. It dates to about 250 AD, which means it represents a very early tradition of the Hebrew Bible. In 2015, scholars made a CT scan of the scroll to discover its contents, since unrolling the charred remains would ruin it. Several paragraphs from the Leviticus have been deciphered so far, and every word is exactly identical to the Masoretic Text!
  4. Here is an article on the Silver Scrolls, which are two small silver amulets inscribed with a blessing from the book of Numbers. It dates to the 7th century BC, which is before the close of the Old Testament! Although the text from Numbers is abbreviated to fit on the scroll, the verbiage is identical to the Masoretic Text. The further back archaeology takes us, the more we end up trusting the reliable Old Testament manuscripts that have been preserved for us!

Is The Bible Worth Studying?

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When it comes to studying the Bible, the first questions to ask are, “Is the Bible worth studying?” and “Is this the right Bible?” These questions form the heart of Bibliology — the study of the Bible. The information on which one bases life is an important decision that should be approached with scrutiny. If a person were to base his or her diet off of what was seen on TV during the Super Bowl, that person’s physical health would rapidly decline. In this same way, if someone were to form his or her life’s principles off a few catchy phrases, that person’s mental, physical and spiritual health could all crumble.

Click on this link to download a full chapter on this subject.

28 Day Bible Reading Plan

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Check out these wonderful verses that teach us how to fall in love with the Word of God!

DAY 1: THE WORD CLEANSES
PSALM 119:9

DAY 2: THE WORD DELIVERS
Psalm 119:11, 170

DAY 3: THE WORD SHOULD BE OBEYED
Psalm 119:17, 158

DAY 4: THE WORD SHOULD NOT BE NEGLECTED
Psalm 119:16

DAY 5: THE WORD REVIVES
Psalm 119:25, 107

DAY 6: THE WORD STRENGTHENS
Psalm 119:28

DAY 7: THE WORD STABILIZES
Psalm 119:38

DAY 8: THE WORD IS LIFE-CHANGING
Psalm 119:41

DAY 9: THE WORD IS TRUSTWORTHY
Psalm 119:42

DAY 10: THE WORD IS TRUTH
Psalm 119:43

DAY 11: THE WORD GIVES LIFE
Psalm 119:50

DAY 12: THE WORD PROMISES MERCY
Psalm 119:58

DAY 13: THE WORD SHAPES OUR LIFE
Psalm 119:65

DAY 14: THE WORD KEEPS US
Psalm 119:67

DAY 15: THE WORD IS OUR HOPE
Psalm 119:74, 81

DAY 16: THE WORD PROMISES KINDNESS
Psalm 119:76, 82

DAY 17: THE WORD IS SETTLED IN HEAVEN
Psalm 119:89

DAY 18: THE WORD RESTRAINS OUR FEET FROM EVIL
Psalm 119:101

DAY 19: THE WORD IS A LAMP TO OUR FEET
Psalm 119:105

DAY 20: THE WORD UPHOLDS ME
Psalm 119:116

DAY 21: THE WORD IS RIGHTEOUS
Psalm 119:123

DAY 22: THE WORD DIRECTS OUR STEPS
Psalm 119:133

DAY 23: THE WORD IS PURE
Psalm 119:140

DAY 24: THE WORD IS OUR SPIRITUAL FOOD
Psalm 119:148

DAY 25: THE WORD IS ABSOLUTE TRUTH
Psalm 119:160

DAY 26: THE WORD IS AWESOME
Psalm 119:161

DAY 27: THE WORD IS A SPIRITUAL TREASURE
Psalm 119:162

DAY 28: THE WORD GIVES ANSWERS
Psalm 119:167

Click here for a downloadable version.

 

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