This is an article from the March 1984 issue: Revolution in Missions at Trinity

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

How Could This Have Happened

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), a seminary in Deerfietd. Illinois affiliated with the Evangelical Free Church of America. has a history of strong commitment to world evangelization That commitment has gathered steam in recent years. Consider the following examples:

  • 120 TEDS students are planning to spend the summer of 1989 oversees in response to the October 1983 Overseas Missions Institute (OMI) For over ten years, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School has held an Overseas Missions institute for four days each October. A joint studentfaculty committee plans the program. They invite a keynote speaker, who gives two addresses each day, and Evangelical Free Church missionaries on furlough also participate in the program.

At the conclusion of the 1983 OMI, Dr. Arthur P. johnston. Professor of Mission asked students: How many, as a result of our work this week, really are willing, impressed before God, and moved in your hearts that you want to make a definite commitment to missions? Almost one third of those present stood in response!Dr. johnston went on to ask those who would commit themselves to overseas ministry during the summer of 1989 to come forward. Some 120 responded.

A special offering was taken to begin to underwrite this mission, and the students and faculty present pooled $14,000. Trinity President Dr. Kenneth M. Meyer pledged, as the institutional offering, to grant a 50% tuition reduction to the commissioned students for the fall 1984 quarter. Such a reduction had been granted by the Board of Directors for the previous two years.

  • When Dr. Kenneth S. Kantzer became Academic Dean in 1963. he spearheaded the establishment at Trinity of the School of World Mission and Evangelism. Within four years a number of notable mission scholars had joined the facuity.Among them were Dr. David .1. Hesselgrave. who had spent fourteen years in Japan with the Evangelical Free Church, and Dr. J. Herbert Kane. who had been in China with the China Inland Mission for twenty years before missionaries were expelled by the Communist regime. Hesselprave and Kane have since distinguished themselves as outstanding educators and prolific authors.
  • Two hundred students are currently enrolled in the growing School of World Mission and Evangelism. Some 150 of these are working toward a Doctorate of Mlssioiogy. Their roster, claims FEDS Academic Dean Waiter Kaiser, 'reads like a Who's Who of modern faith missions." Kaiser hopes for a growth to 500 600 students within the next few years.
  • From the beginning of the School of Wand Mission and Evangelism, exposure to and experience in overseas missions has infused faculty and administration with a commitment to world evangelization. Dr. Kaiser believes that the quality and depth of this commitment is one of the key reasons for Trinity's success in promoting missions among students, For example;

For several years, Dr. John W. Nyquist, Assistant.Professor of Evangelism, and other faculty members have taken 20 3D students overseas each year for evangelism training with she TEDS Overseas Ministries Program.

Dr. Gary R. Collins, Professor of Pastoral Counseling and Psychology, has taught in a seminary in Guatemala.

President Meyer is committed to sending all 45 full time faculty members overseas over the next five years. The current goat is to send nine each year to work in an overseas capacity.

  • Trinity is reaching out to network evangelism efforts with Moody Bible Institute in downtown Chicago and the Billy Graham Center in Wheaton in order to minister to the greater Chicago area. The academic deans and mission faculty members of these schools also meet monthly to develop strategies for world evangelization.

Speaking to the need for this kind of cooperation, Dr. Kaiser states, "If the church is ever to go forward, it will be if we learn we are responsible to support the CHURCH primarily, rather than our own little particular Institutional flag or our own separate emphasis.

For while we don't want to neglect what God has done, the fact is that GOD has done it. It is not our own little pet project."

Robert E, Coleman, current director of the School of Foreign Mission and Evangelism and author of the widely read Master Plan or Evangelism, reports, "I ii nd the same concern for overseas missions in the Bible Deportment and Practical Theology Department. In fact, many of those people have already been overseas, so there is a team effort." He adds, "I don't feel isolated in the school at missions. He tells of the excitement on campus for over seas missions, and shared with Mission Frontiers that a student visiting  from another seminary told him she had noticed this excitement.

Dr. Kaiser also observes. "God has given to us a spirit of prayer." As many as ISO students and faculty are meeting regularly to lift up to God their burden for the world's peoples. They fill the prayer room until there is no place left to stand.

Walter C. Kaiser, jr. as a professor of Semitic Languages and Old Testament and Dean and Vice-President of Education at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He came to Trinity in 5964 after eight years of teaching at Wheaton College. He has also had experience as a pastor and is active in the Evangelical Free Church of America.

Based on his extensive speaking schedule, writings, and classroom experiences. Kaiser has become an evangelical spokesman for Old Testament scholarship. He received the B.A. from Wheaton College and the 8.13. from Wheston Graduate School. He holds the M.A. and Ph.D. In Mediterranean studies from Brandeis University. Kaiser is also a recipient of the Oanforth Teacher Study Grant.

Contributor to such publications as Moody Monthly, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society, Eternity, Christianity Today, Westminster Theological Journal and Evangelical Quarterly. Kaiser has also written several books.

Kaiser's credentials in Old Testament scholarship lend weight to his thesis that the Biblical mandate for world evangelization was a mandate first given to the nation of Israel and now inherited by the church. Consider these excerpts from "Israel's Missionary Call' tin Perspectives on the World Christian Movement: A Reader) :

There is a rumor abroad that the Old Testament does not have a missionary message or vision. It is, so goes the popular adage, a book and message dedicated solely
to the Jews and their own nationalistic fortunes. But that rumor and view will not square with the claims that the Old Testament itself makes ....

We would have been more hesitant in our suspecting that the Old Testament has no missionary challenge had we paid close attention to how the Old Testament begins. Certainly the message and scope of the earliest chapters in Genesis, namely Genesis 1 11, are universal in their appeal and international in their audience. Did God not deal with 'all the families of the earth' when tie moved in saving grace at three specific junctures in Genesis 1 11? To be specific, was it rfol true that after the Fall of Man, the flood of the earth and the failure of the tower of Babel that God gave the grand messages of salvation in Genesis 3:15, 9:27, and 12:1 3?

"And should we doubt that the ward to Abraham in Genesis 12:1 3 was international and universal in its offer, scope and Intention, then let us quickly remind ourselves that it was painted against the backdrop of the table of the seventy nations of all the world In Genesis 10. The same 'families of the earth' appears there and in Genesis 12:3 ....

"But some may still doubt that the Old Testament explicitly enjoined believers and messengers In the Old Teatament to to the Gentiles. Did God, they ask, ever send an Israelite or the whole notion with the Great Commission?

"There are three basic texts that make it clear that God did do lust that. These texts are: Genesis 12:1 3, Exodus 19:5 6: and Psalm 57. These three texts are sobasic to our understanding of he missionary mandate that God had designed for the whole nation of Israel that it is impossible to view the Old Testament fairly without treating these texts in their missionary context. Israel had always, in the plan and purpose of God, been responsible for communicating the message of God's grace to the nations. Israel was meant to be a communicating nation

Lest we think that these three Old Testament texts have no relevance to those of us who live in the Christian era and that their message is a B.C  dated injunction, let it be plainly declared that they are also God's cell to us .... God's challenge to Israel is also ours: we are to have a ,stediatariol role in proclaiming his manse among the nations. That is  still God's purpose. Is it happening in your life?


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