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The 69th Pepperdine Bible Lectures were outstanding—again! In spite of my good intentions to post during the lectures, especially to keep you current on the class that I led, it was just impossible! Too many people, too many conversations, too many outstanding teachers to take in, and too much late night pie and coffee with friends!

I hope you believe in “better late than never,” because with this post, I’ll try to fulfill my intentions.

I had really wanted to post audio recordings, at least excerpts, from the two-day class which I led on “What’s New and What’s Needed in 21st Century Missions,” but I was stymied on two fronts: by technology from doing my own recording and by copyright issues as well, so the best I can do for you is to give you the link where you can purchase the CDs of the class http://www.purelogicvideo.com/page.cfm?pageid=13737.  They really should make it possible to download these files, but I didn’t see that option.

One of the reasons PBL has continued to thrive and grow while other lectureships have failed is because young preachers are given big platforms! 

Jonathan Storment, a friend and the terrific young preacher for Highland in Abilene, opened the PBL on May 1. Jonathan has always been a dynamic and entertaining speaker, but the depth and courage that he now brings with his preaching is a special blessing to those who hear him.  Aaron Metcalf and Josh Ross are two more younger preachers who keynoted before any of the older, established speakers were given the pulpit.

Almost 250 classes are held during the three full days of PBL.  And the range is from textual to philosophical, from field reports to marriage/family, from the best known teachers like Randy Harris, Mike Cope, Rick Atchley, and Jeff Walling to the fully unknown but people with something important to say!

“Lively” would be the word I would choose to describe our class.  I invited Dr. Dan Bouchelle, President of Missions Resource Network, and Dr. Dan Rodriguez, professor of Religion and Hispanic Studies at Pepperdine, to join me in discussing issues surrounding foreign missions in churches of Christ.  We had a great time talking about each other’s ideas.

I’ve given you in the last post the summary of what I was going to deliver. Dan and Dan responded to my ideas and contributed their own. Dan Bouchelle suggested that while I addressed the current situation in American churches creatively, that perhaps I had not addressed the deeper problem that our churches as a whole must become more deeply and completely missional before they will do foreign missions well.

In addition, he said that for the 21st century, we Americans must surrender our patriarchal attitudes toward foreign missions and become co-workers, partners, with existing foreign churches who will more likely know what their part of the world needs better than we Americans could conceive.

Dr. Dan Rodriguez also supported the general tenor of my suggestions, but his personal message was that American churches need to cooperate with each other enough to strategically reach into parts of the world that no single congregation will probably ever have the resources to penetrate—especially those countries in the 10-40 window, which contain the fewest Christians and the largest portion of the world’s population.

I really appreciate so much what both of them said, and they were both quite kind to my rather subversive suggestions regarding the way we do foreign missions.  Don’t forget that you can get the entire discussion through this website: http://www.purelogicvideo.com/page.cfm?pageid=13737.

Dr. Jerry Rushford

Without question, the most spectacular moment of the lectureship was the last night when Dr. Jerry Rushford, director of the PB L for thirty years, passed the baton to his successors Mike Cope and Rick Gibson.  As President Benton said, Rushford could have chosen any number of career paths; a historian, a writer, a preacher, or a professor. But very early in his life he chose to direct the lectureship because he saw a chance to effect a whole fellowship of Christians.

For thirty years, he has been encouraging new preachers by giving them a chance to be heard; he has given foreign preachers and missionaries a classroom or a stage to expose American churches to the needs of the world; he has provided a stage where issues could be discussed with love and respect.

Thank you, Jerry Rushford, for a lifetime of serving the Kingdom in a way that few could have taken to the mountain tops as you have.  And thank you for leaving the Bible Lectures with integrity, passing it on to men of great heart and stature in our tradition.

The theme for next year’s lectureship (April 30-May 3) is “Can I Get A Witness? Faithfully Following the Lamb in Revelation” and promises continued excellence.

I hope to be there. Won’t you come too?

 

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