Teaching

Dr. Myron Hougton Retires After Distinguished Teaching Career

"Dr. Houghton began his teaching ministry in 1971 at Denver Baptist Bible College and at FBBC in 1983. Once the seminary opened in 1986, “Dr. Myron,” as he is known, became chairman of the theology department and has been the only person to serve in that position during the seminary’s 32-year history." - RBPress

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The Blame Game and Spiritual Preparedness

I do a lot of reading, as you probably know. Right now, I am reading a splendid book on the subject of apologetics titled, Finding Truth: 5 Principles for Unmasking Atheism, Secularism, and Other God Substitutes, by Nancy Pearcey.

Unfortunately, despite the amazing nature of this book, the author makes the same mistake I have heard repeated time and time again: the claim that our churches do not prepare our youth with the answers to the questions and challenges they will face in college.

The reason for this lack of preparedness (I would argue) is not necessarily a lack of opportunity. Many students don’t want answers to questions (before they face a crisis), because it takes too much mental effort to think things through. Even if present where the big questions are thoroughly addressed, some may be uninterested and daydream the opportunity away. Such issues do not seem relevant at the time.

It is not until those students are pressured in college that they realize they do not have an answer, or that disturbing questions even exist. In most cases, answers are available—if you know where to find them. But if you haven’t learned at least some of those answers beforehand, it is easy to conclude that there are no answers. (Incidentally, this is why it is crucial for college students to be involved in organizations like Cru/Campus Crusade, Navigators, or Intervarsity; those organizations can often steer inquirers to quick and at-hand resources).

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Mistakes Bible Teachers Make: Application Problems (Part 1)

No teacher of the Bible wants to be ineffective. The vast majority do teaching work because they love the Scriptures, care about people, and want to be part of God’s work of growing fellow believers into “the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ” (ESV, Eph. 4:13). They love to see people discover, learn, and improve.

Still, though their hearts are in the right place, many teachers rightly sense that their teaching isn’t as good as it could be. Application problems are a likely cause, for two reasons: First, students who have truly experienced a new birth (1 Pet. 1:3, 23) value good application more than anything else. Second, teachers are commonly not trained to understand and develop sound and effective applications.

The result is that several application problems are easy to find in churches of fundamentalist heritage.

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Mistakes Bible Teachers Make - Ineffective Questions

Teaching the Bible in a relatively small, somewhat informal setting provides unique advantages and blessing for both students and teachers. The spontaneity and interaction can often turn the class into a collaborative effort to edify and encourage one another, and no matter how high his level of expertise, the teacher is often edified as much as anyone else.

But there are many ways to reduce the effectiveness of this teaching format. Well-intentioned teachers can easily discourage participation, focus, and thoughtful engagement—in some cases to the point that everyone is discouraged and frustrated rather than built-up and refueled.

We’ll consider some common mistakes teachers make with this kind of teaching, focusing for now on question-related problems.

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Adventures in Parenting: Trust

In my experience, one of the most difficult aspects of parenting is teaching my children about sin while not discouraging them.

While our firstborn was growing up, we were in church circles that placed an emphasis on teaching children about their sin nature and the consequences of sin. Sounds biblical and reasonable, right? However, the way this played out was to treat children like they were always being deceitful, always up to something, and couldn’t be trusted. Ever. I can’t tell you how many times I heard Psalm 58:3 quoted:

The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.

This use of Scripture rubbed my husband and I the wrong way, but at the time it seemed to make sense. Kids are inherently selfish. They lie to get their way or hide their mistakes. They refuse to eat what’s on their plate, go to sleep at a decent hour, and go potty on the toilet instead of in their pants. They’re sinners, and deserve to be treated as such. Because Revelation 21:8.

Then it got worse—there was an actual file in the pastor’s office marked with every mistake, every failure, brought up again and again by teachers and the pastor whenever there was trouble involving kids in the youth group.

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A “Hold Nothing Back” Approach to Ministry

A Rigorous Approach

In a previous article, I showed that every Christian is responsible to teach the Word of God. But God does not call every Christian to be a shepherding teacher (a pastor, Eph. 4:11), and not every Christian receives the spiritual gift of teaching (Rom. 12:7). Still, every Christian is responsible to teach (Heb. 5:12). Thus, every pastor is responsible to motivate and equip the members of the church he shepherds to teach the Word of God effectively (Eph. 4:12).

Paul deployed this strategy. He trained Timothy in both what to teach and how to teach those things to others (2 Tim. 2:2). So how did he do this? What method did he follow? He tells us that he held nothing back. He reveals this rigorous approach in Acts 20:20, when he told the church at Ephesus that he “kept back nothing that was profitable” from them. This rigorous approach reveals why the Ephesian church affected the outlying region so well (Acts 19:10). As Paul equipped them to do the work of the ministry, he held nothing back that enabled them to do this.

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Every Christian Is a Teacher

The Early Expansion of the Church

What common feature do you find in these excerpts from Acts?

“And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.” (Acts 6:7)

“But the word of God grew and multiplied.” (Acts 12:24)

“And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” (Acts 19:10)

“So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.” (Acts 19:20)

These verses highlight a noteworthy phenomenon that Luke recorded about the first century church. Like the ripples from a pebble tossed into a pond, the influence of the Word of God moved out into the world. Luke traces this noteworthy expansion from Jerusalem to as far west as Rome.

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10 Lessons on Teaching from the Experiences of Students, Part 2

In the first article we looked at the first five of ten lessons learned from fifteen students at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who wrote a response to published essays in the New York Times and Slate, which focused on approaches to lecturing. Now we look at the last five.

6. Teachers and Administration Must Be Accountable

Students: “We expect to be held accountable, but we would hold our professors accountable as well.”

2015 was a tough year for the University of Missouri. With escalating racial tension, student protests began, culminating in a strike by the entire football team. By that time, the call was for the president’s resignation, as it was perceived by many that he hadn’t done enough to address the racial divide. By that time, even the president seemed to see no other feasible resolution. On November 9th, he resigned, highlighting a major failure at multiple levels in the university’s administration and student body.

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