Houston Graduate School of Theology

HGST Blog

Academic Excellence, Personal Transformation, Leadership Development
Come Out

I have been studying the Revelation with my Sunday school class. We just completed chapter 18. In verses 4 and 5, a voice from the throne spoke, saying, “Come out of her [Babylon the Great], my people, so that you do not take part in her sins, and so that you do not share in her plagues; for her sins are heaped high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” This is a direct allusion to Jeremiah 51:44-45, where Jeremiah announces judgment on Babylon, and to Isaiah 52:11, where Isaiah proclaims release from captivity to the children of Israel.

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Matt ForsterComment
Dr. King and The Constructive Church

In A Knock at Midnight: Inspiration from the Great Sermons of Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., the editors Clayborne Carson and Peter Holloran enlist well-known church leaders to express the spiritual truth of various speeches delivered by Dr. King. Reverend Floyd H. Flake was one the spiritual leaders that had the honor to discuss Dr. King’s speech “Guidelines for a Constructive Church,” which was delivered in Atlanta, Georgia, at Ebenezer Baptist Church on June 5, 1966. According to Reverend Flake, Dr. King had a forthright plan for the church body that seeks to mirror Christ-like values.

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Matt ForsterComment
But Such as I Have

An apparent stressor for many of us these days is the continuous flow of requests for our time, attention, and money. We are beckoned by ceaseless opportunities to embrace the cares, causes, and campaigns reaching out to us for help. How do we determine our responses?

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Literary Structure of the Days of Creation

This blog helps sharpen the recognition of particulars in the creation account texts, especially in regard to structure and time. Good exegesis provides a good framework for Christian understanding. The pattern of creation in Genesis 1 follows regularly as: an announcement (And God said), command (let there be), report (and it was so), evaluation (And God said that it was good), and temporal framework (And there was evening and morning, the ... day). 

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Aim High!

Our culture has a history of misogyny and patriarchalism (and racism, but that is a topic for another time). In the patriarchy that defines most of the 5,000-year history of civilization, men have viewed women as not only inferior, but often as property. The Old Testament if rife with such stories (Judges 19, for instance). Men controlled their daughters and then their wives. Women were condemned for adultery, even to death (note that the woman caught in adultery in John 8 was condemned although no man was accused with her). While most of us would never consider a woman property, or even inferior to men, we need to admit that we cannot live without being influenced by our culture. Why do all these men keep getting accused of sexual harassment and misconduct? Can we admit that we see sexual harassment and misconduct even though the behavior has been acceptable in our culture for hundreds (maybe thousands) of years. We must name it and fight it—if we hope to live above it!

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Matt ForsterComment
Instruments of Peace

This semester, I am teaching an online class titled Theological Foundations of Christian Spirituality. The focus is to review major biblical doctrines and explore ways to live out those sets of beliefs more fully, in obedience to Jesus. This discipline is called spiritual theology.

To lay the foundations of spiritual theology, the class begins by reviewing biblical understandings of this discipline and then historical foundations. One of the historical figures reviewed was Francis of Assisi, who is traditionally considered the author of the Prayer of Peace. However, the earliest known publication of the prayer was in 1912, written in French. Whoever the original author, the words have impacted me for a long time. In fact, I learned a choral piece, based on the prayer, in college, and my husband and I sang a duet version of the prayer during our wedding. That was almost 43 years ago.

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Dr. Becky TowneComment
Creation amid Chaos

Comparing the beginning of Genesis creation accounts surfaces the same grammatical structure: a summary of creation, followed by three circumstantial clauses (Gen 1:1–2; 2:4–6). The summary is not a separate event from the whole of the creation account, so it could be viewed as introducing the account that follows.

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Dr. Becky TowneComment
A Reflection on Saint Nicholas

Adam C. English writes in The Saint Who Would Be Santa Clause that there is historical evidence supporting Saint Nicholas’s existence. In Myra, there is a Saint Nicholas tomb and a church at the port, which was constructed for his congregation in the early 300s. He is remembered because he lived “a life of faith, to be sure, but it was also one of adventure and honor, justice and charity, goodwill and thick resolve.”

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Matt ForsterComment
Gifts for the Messiah

The Infancy Narratives found in Matthew and Luke have perplexed scripture scholars for decades. Was there a census? Was Jesus born in Bethlehem? What was the star? What time of the year was he born? Were there eyewitnesses of the birth? If he was born in Bethlehem, why is he known as the Nazarene? 

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Matt ForsterComment