Urbana Theological Seminary

December 29, 2016

Our Alumni

Filed under: Alumni ministry involvement,giving,students — Tags: , , — admin @ 10:52 pm

Why is Seminary a worthwhile investment? Why do I devote my life to impacting lives through providing a rigorous education for ministry? Why is it a significant ministry for you and me to support this financially?

There are lots of answers to this. But I want to focus on one of the biggest: it’s worthwhile because of the scope of impact–both where our alumni end up and who they impact for decades after graduating.

Urbana Seminary alums minister in Central Asia and East Asia in restricted access countries. They’re also in Thailand and India. And yes, they stretch from coast to coast in the good ol’ USA, with a concentration in the Midwest. Pretty impressive for a school that first graduated students in 2005.

When I came to teach here at the founding of the ministry I expected we’d prepare people to be pastors and missionaries. Well, yes indeed, we have alums who pastor and serve Christ as missionaries or campus workers. But the great surprise along the way was how many others God sent our way to touch who weren’t the stereotypical seminary alum. A great gift from the Lord has been the broadly diverse student body we’ve had, who grow in understanding their faith, the Bible, and our God in Seminary. Then they take this training and live it out in all sorts of different locales and settings.

They range from professional drivers to construction contractors. They work in fast-paced corporate settings–marketing and consulting and researching. They pursue doctoral studies and careers in nursing, and hold a variety of positions in business. There are university administrators and EMTs, retirees and research scientists, engineers and photographers, civil servants and church administrators, computer programmers and counselors. Even with this kaleidoscope of pursuits, they share in common a desire to live out a godly lifestyle, bearing the fruit of the Spirit, and actively engaging in many avenues of creative ministries. These range from lay preaching to a discipleship ministry conducted in tandem with rigorous athletic training, from serving in a retirement community to medical school.

It’s your generous support that makes this range and scope of impact possible! Thank you–we know that we can’t do it without you, and God is using each and every one who donates to minister to those who seek to follow God’s leading. A simple goal for Seminary faculty, staff, and supporters as we anticipate 2017: Train even more, increase what we can offer them, and give them tools they will use to magnify our Lord! Would you consider joining us in ministry by making a year end gift to Urbana Seminary?


Ken Cuffey
President; Professor of Biblical Studies
(if you would like to donate using Paypal or a credit card go to this address, and follow the link at the bottom of the page: http://www.urbanaseminary.org/giving-uts/donate/

December 16, 2016

Christianity and Children’s Lit: a Class Preview

Everywhere we go, we encounter stories. Television shows, movies and video games all tell stories. So do commercials, news clips, and the two people sitting one table over at the coffeshop while you are trying to work. Stories, of course, can also be found in books. Since stories permeate our lives, we need to understand what stories do and how they do it, if for no other reason that to be able to pay closer attention to exactly what is being done. Stories not only entertain us, but they shape our attitudes, hone our emotions, change our minds—and sometimes even change our lives.
Because stories play such important roles for each of us, this spring, Urbana Theological Seminary will be holding a class that will look at what stories do and how they do it. Since the stories we encounter in childhood are the ones that shape much about the way we view the world, the class will focus specifically on stories that are given to children, and why they matter. Called “Christianity and Children’s Literature,” this class will begin by focusing on story itself and what recent research show about how stories work to shape the way we think and feel, and will then move into an exploration of the different ways that Christianity has been involved in the history, interpretation, and creation of books for children.
This part of the class will begin by quickly reviewing the history of literature for young people, focusing on the role of Christianity in shaping the genre from its beginning. We will then discuss the many different ways that Christianity is at work in children’s books, developing skills to help parents, teachers and other adults who care about children make wise choices regarding their reading material. This class is also good for adults who simply enjoy reading, and would like to better understand the relationship between Christianity and this particular genre. While the majority of the books we read for class are aimed at children nine and older, the principles that we will be discussing are applicable to books for children of all ages, and will include several recommended reading lists. Books we will read in order to explore these topics include C. S. Lewis’s The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Patrica St. John’s Treasures of the Snow, Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, Scott O’Dell’s The Hawk that Dare not Hunt By Day, and several others! While this is a graduate level course, anyone is welcome to enroll as either a credit, audit student or endorsement student! The class is taught by Dr. Melody Green, Dean of Urbana Theological Seminary, whose PhD is in children’s literature, who has published several articles and given several presentations on topics related to this class, and who used to teach children’s lit at Illinois State University. For more information, contact her at mgreen@urbanaseminary.org.

December 8, 2016

Vocation and Everyday Callings.

Filed under: Course Preview,Spiritual life — Tags: , , , — admin @ 9:44 am

by Peter D. Spychalla, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of New Testament & Spiritual Formation
I have many questions about vocation and everyday callings – I wonder if you do too. What is a vocation? What is a calling? Does each believer have one? Or many? Is it the monk, priest, or nun who has a vocation, but not the ordinary person with a secular job? Or, in certain Protestant circles, is it the cross-cultural missionary or pastor who has a calling, but maybe ordinary people do not?

Do I have merely one vocation? Or, perhaps, many callings across various areas of life? How might I wisely discern vocation in my own spiritual journey? What if I am befuddled about vocation and callings? How might wisdom from church history and insight from contemporary voices contribute to my practical understanding of these issues? How does calling move beyond work life and bear on family life, relationships, church life, civic engagement, hobbies, and all aspects of what it is to be human?

What are biblical principles, and theological insights, that inform and shape concepts of vocation? Who is calling? What is that Person calling me to be and do? Is it about relationship? Is it about character and virtue and godliness? Is it about specific ways of serving God and serving others in this world? Are there various types of calling, or multiple aspects of vocation, that can be fruitfully reflected upon?

It is common for theologians to distinguish the “general calling” of all Christians to faith in Christ and a life of holiness from the “individual calling” of each believer. The individual calling refers to the particular way the general calling is most wisely and faithfully lived out in each person’s life, considering their specific context, with their unique relationships, opportunities, constraints, talents, gifts, and passions. Some distinguish “missional calling,” “particular calling,” “direct calling,” “specific calling,” and “everyday calling” when referring to various types and situation-specific manifestations of serving God and neighbor.

Some vocational reflections highlight the practical and the applied: How do we prayerfully discern vocation in community? How do we cooperate with God in living as the unique person He made each of us to be? How do we find congruence between our outer engagements and the inner realities of who we are? In my unique situation, how do I live wisely and faithfully for God’s purposes in the world? How do my passions, interests, burdens, talents, gifts, strengths, and history contribute to discerning vocation? How does one listen to their own life to hear the voice of vocation? How is calling different from merely a job or career? How does calling reflect and engage the distinctive contours of one’s life? How does a vision of calling help me view my ordinary and mundane responsibilities in new, fresh, purposeful ways?

Other vocational reflections involve mystery and profundity: How do the distinct actions and interrelationships of the Persons of the Trinity inform vocation? How does Jesus’ pursuit of His vocation shape our pursuit of vocation? How does diversity in the body of Christ, and diversity throughout humanity, contribute to a theology of callings? How does suffering, denying self, and taking up one’s cross daily bear on vocation? Does a newborn child or aged person have at that time a vocation? How does God use this distinctive calling to illumine truth about Himself and shape others in mercy and compassion? How does God love the world and provide for the world through each believer faithfully living out their calling? How does the imago dei, the cultural mandate, the great commandment, and the great commission all bear on a theology of vocation?

The Spring 2017 course, “Vocation and Everyday Callings,” offered by Urbana Theological Seminary in a modular format across four Saturdays (Jan 21, Feb 18, April 1, April 29), explores answers to these questions. We examine how Scripture, theology, the long Christian tradition–Catholic, Orthodox, and Protestant (especially Lutheran and Reformed traditions)–and contemporary voices bear on shaping faithful, empowering answers to these questions. Investigate your vocation with us. Learn to appreciate and embrace your everyday callings.

December 2, 2016

Islam class description

For this blog entry, Dr. Mike McQueen describes his upcoming class on Islam and Radical Fundamentalism:

“Islam is a religion of peace. All Islam needs is a reformation like the Church went through in the 16th century and its violent aberrations will disappear.” Have you ever heard this line of thought? I hear it frequently from venues ranging from news media outlets to politicians. But is it true?
“Muslims, Jews and Christians all worship the same God.” Within the last year, this assertion has also made headlines in both Christian and secular press. But is it true?
“Jihad is primarily a spiritual struggle, not physical violence.”
“One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.”
These are only a few of the many questions and issues we’ll seek to address in Islam and Radical Fundamentalism (MN740) in the Spring Semester. This class will seek to explain the key doctrines of orthodox and folk Islam, comparing and contrasting Islamic teaching with Christian beliefs. We will outline the historical development of Islam, and look at the theology of militant fundamentalism and its political impact. The rise of ISIS, the war in Syria, the role of Israel in the conflict will be addressed. The theology and practice of terror, the contradictions between Western liberalism and Middle Eastern jihadism will likewise be explored.

Perhaps most importantly we will seek to identify areas of Christian ministry to Muslims both locally and globally.

Assignments will include readings from the Qur’an, current news sources and blogs, interviews with Muslims and everyday people on the street.

October 11, 2016

The Fingerprints of God

Filed under: Events,Spiritual life,Uncategorized — admin @ 11:04 am

In this “Word from Urbana Seminary,” Rob and Jean Gill explain the spiritual life forum that Urbana Seminary will be hosting on October 24:

Christian ministry can be some of the most joy-filled and satisfying work there is. Walking deeply with people. Sharing in the joys and sorrows of their lives. Helping others to know God and to grow spiritually. Reaching out in our communities to demonstrate the love of Christ in tangible ways.

But we also recognize that Christian ministry is filled with challenges and never-ending demands on our time. It’s easy to get bogged down in the details of our role as pastor, church leader or campus worker, meeting the endless needs of those in our care and managing the limitless list of “to do’s” in leading our church or organization.

That was certainly the case for my husband, Rob, and me nearly 20 years ago. We had been in full-time Christian ministry for 17 years and were doing cutting-edge work with denominational leaders in Japan. We were so focused on ministry – on “doing” good things for God, that it was easy to lose track of our “being”.

After this ministry came to an abrupt halt, we found ourselves back in the U.S. for a time of personal and spiritual renewal. A long-time mentor helped us create a timeline, a map of God’s activity throughout our lifetime. This timeline gave us a clearer picture of His intimate involvement in our lives, the deeper lessons He was teaching us, and how He was shaping our calling. We also began focusing on our “being” in Christ and creating a Biblical Identity statement – who ARE in Christ regardless of what we DO for Him.

This life-changing process allowed us to discover anew our primary call as Christians to KNOW God, and then from this posture of “being” flows our call to “doing” God’s Kingdom work. For the last decade, we have shared this process with hundreds of Christian leaders, both cross-cultural missionaries in Asia and church and campus leaders in the U.S.

We invite you to join us and other Christian leaders in the Champaign-Urbana area on October 24 as we spend a day focusing on our personal and spiritual formation. Each of us will have the opportunity to look back at God’s activity throughout our lifetime, and discover and celebrate His fingerprints of shaping and blessing in our lives. We’ll also focus on our “being” and who we are apart from our roles and daily tasks.

The activities we do at this year’s Spiritual Life Forum are reproducible tools you can take back to your congregations or campus groups to facilitate spiritual formation with your church leaders, congregants or students.

We look forward to seeing you on Monday, October 24!

To Register: http://www.urbanaseminary.org/events/

July 19, 2016

Systematic Theology by Dr. Todd Daly

Filed under: Course Preview,Theology — Tags: , , , — admin @ 1:21 pm

Why bother studying systematic theology? Who wants to rehearse obscure debates with their confusing terminology, hair-splitting tendencies, and willingness to label heretics as hopelessly damned? Isn’t any formal study of God in a seminary setting basically an academic exercise, devoid of the Spirit’s power, an exercise that encourages arrogance, condescension, and contentious attitudes? After all, don’t we already have everything we need to make our way in the world in the Bible, prayer and worship, and church? As one Christian put it, “I’ve never been to seminary, but I’ve been to Calvary.”

To be sure, these criticisms are not entirely wide of the mark. Seminary can foster attitudes inimical to humility and Christian discipleship. Yet, as Christians, we must recognize that we’re all theologians, whether we acknowledge it or not. Indeed, as Karl Barth once observed, it is impossible to criticize theology from a non-theological vantage point. In other words, to criticize theology is to do theology. In fact, the reasons given above for rejecting systematic theology come from an ‘embedded theology,’ understood as implicit, usually unarticulated beliefs about God, the world, Scripture, the human condition, salvation, and so on. All of these topics are undeniably theological. Part of theology’s work then is to help us articulate our own core beliefs about God, placing them under closer scrutiny. A conscious study of God and God’s ways as revealed in Scripture helps us when we are faced with numerous questions about the Christian faith, whether these questions come from ourselves, or from skeptics.

For instance, theology helps us in considering the following questions, such as how we can make sense of the theological truth that God is a triune being, and the implications of being created in God’s image (Gen. 1:26-27), who exists in eternal loving fellowship with the Son and the Holy Spirit. Though one could argue that the church’s confession of the Trinity is couched in obscure language and metaphysical abstraction, our prayer life will inevitably suffer if our understanding and practices of this core discipline do not include the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit. When we think of prayer as our efforts to gain an audience before a solitary, all-powerful, transcendent being, it is little wonder that our prayer life suffers. Theology is equally useful when considering questions about Jesus Christ. What’s wrong, for instance, with celebrating Jesus as the greatest human being who ever lived, who, in his life, teaching and death, gave us the ultimate template for radical, God-centered obedience? And is this confession even Christian? To answer this (in the negative) requires some rudimentary theological knowledge of who Jesus Christ is, which carries significant implications for our very salvation.

However, we should note that these exercises do not merely aim at articulating our beliefs about God with greater precision, though this is an inevitable byproduct of theology, but are driven by the goal of loving God more deeply with our mind, heart, and soul. Ultimately, theology is about worship. The disputes in the history of the church that lead to division were really about whether or not opposing sides could continue to worship together. To label one a heretic—unfairly or deserved—was to cut one off from the fellowship of Christ, from corporate worship.
Yes, one can certainly pursue God without seminary. But the disciplined study of God—theology—in a seminary context can also prepare and equip us for a lifelong journey of growth through learning and worship. Indeed, our study of God should leave us more humble, gentle, and in awe of God’s mysterious wonder (Rom. 11:33). This semester we invite you to study the wonder of God’s works in a seminary setting—not for knowledge’s sake alone, not to develop a set of propositions that describe God in more detail, but to be awed and humbled before God’s greatness.

June 1, 2016

The Doctrine of Election: Dr. Todd Daly

Filed under: Course Preview,Theology — Tags: , , , — admin @ 3:15 pm

For well over a millennium, the doctrine of predestination (or election) has for Christians been a source of both comfort and joy. Predestination means that our salvation is secured with God in Christ. Indeed, throughout history Christians have derived comfort from Jesus’ words that no one is able to pluck us out of the Father’s hands (John 10:28-29). But somewhere along the way the doctrine of predestination took a more potent form, leaving some unintended consequences in its wake. Over time the doctrine of election developed into a view that seemingly privileged the absolute sovereignty of God over against the freedom of humankind. The more one emphasized God’s sovereignty in salvation, the less our response to the gospel seemed to matter. The strongest view of God’s sovereignty asserted that God chose in favor of His own elect and against those He rejected (“Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated”) through a set of ‘divine decrees’ based on nothing but God’s own inscrutable will for the sake of His own glory, all before the foundations of the earth were laid. According to this view, God has already and irrevocably chosen who will and won’t be saved, though His purposes are somehow being realized through the God-given freedom that all humans enjoy.

As mentioned briefly above however, this understanding of God’s predestination lead to some unforeseen consequences, namely, a considerable degree of angst concerning the certainty of one’s own salvation. If the basis for God’s election for salvation is God’s own good will and pleasure that is utterly independent of the will of humankind, how can anyone who claims to love Christ ever be certain that he or she is really saved? If I profess Christ as my savior, what difference does it make if it turns out that I am not among those God chose for salvation before the foundations of the earth was laid? Thus, the more one emphasized the absolute of God’s authority and inscrutable will in doling out salvation, the more powerless humans seemed to be in willing their own salvation. Ironically, these seeds of doubt were planted in the soil of God’s own inscrutable purposes in choosing to save some while rejecting others. As a result, a gnawing uncertainty regarding one’s eternal destiny gave birth to a new spiritual fervor marked by compulsive introspection and an intensive pursuit of spiritual practices aimed at deriving a modicum of peace concerning one’s own election, which, by definition, could never be fully discerned this side of eternity.

Even as these concerns were being articulated, an alternative understanding of election was being formulated as a more faithful account of the biblical witness to God’s sovereignty and human freedom. This view held that God elects individuals for salvation based on God’s own foreknowledge concerning people’s receptiveness to the gospel. This version of election, it is said, better accounts for God’s love and his desire that no one should perish. After all, doesn’t God desire everyone to be saved? (1 Tim. 2:4). Proponents of this view assert that the older account of election depicts God as at best an absolute, arbitrary monarch, and at worst a moral monster. How could God create some people for the purpose of rejecting them? And so the debate lines between Calvinism and Arminianism have been fairly clearly drawn since the late sixteenth century.

Four hundred years later, the controversy over this doctrine is still producing highly-contentious, emotionally-charged, acrimonious debates among Christians who read the same Bible yet come to radically different conclusions concerning the nature of both God and election. Such debates are often confused by unhelpful caricatures, and have contributed to a spate of polemical, combative, uncharitable publications rehearsing the same tired arguments and counter arguments. Unfortunately, many Christians who have the temerity to enter the fray are usually exposed to figures from only a small sliver of a much longer and richer theological history that spans from the early Church Fathers to seminal twentieth century theologians like Karl Barth (1886-1968), and are therefore less likely to appreciate the development of a doctrine before and beyond Calvin and Arminius. It is difficult, for instance, to understand the nature of the controversy over predestination without an adequate grasp of Augustine (354-430), who was also forced to wrestle with passages that affirm both God’s predestination and the genuine offer of the gospel as God’s free gift available to all, or Thomas Aquinas (1224-1275), who acutely felt the tension between God’s sovereignty and human responsibility. Equally lamentable is the sentiment shared by a vast swath of contemporary Evangelicals that the final ‘position’ on the doctrine of election lay with either Calvin or Arminius, as if nothing worthwhile has transpired on the theological landscape since the early 1600s. In this regard, the insights of the Swiss theologian Karl Barth represent a groundbreaking departure from the theology of Calvin and Arminius, who, like all others before him, was compelled to read his Bible afresh to address in re-centering the doctrine of election on Christ.

What’s at stake in the doctrine of election? Nothing less than our understanding of God, humanity, and the nature of salvation. But perhaps the greatest casualties in such debates have been both our lack of humility and our failure to appreciate the mystery of God. Any view of election that claims to tie up all of the ‘loose ends’ of predestination has failed to appreciate God’s mystery, and frankly lacks the humility that might come from a wider grasp of this doctrine across various historical and theological contexts. If you’re interested in learning about how Christians have sought to make sense of this doctrine across the centuries without the pressure of ‘picking a side,’ then perhaps our three day modular course on this topic would be good for you. For ultimately, all doctrine is judged by the worship it inspires.

Join us this coming weekend (June 3-4) as Dr. Daly explores these ideas more fully in a short summer course! To register (and for more info): http://www.urbanaseminary.org/courses/summer

April 28, 2016

Veritas Forum

Here at Urbana Theological Seminary we are working toward more ways to be both an outreach and a resource for the U of I campus. One of the ways we are doing this is by assuming responsibility for the local chapter of Veritas Forum. Veritas Forum is a national organization that dedicated to help students and faculty ask life’s hardest questions, while providing a Christian voice to the academic conversation.  The first Veritas Forum occurred at Harvard University in 1992, and since then, over 200 universities in North America and Europe have hosted over 2,000 forums.
The local chapter, Veritas Forum at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, was founded six years ago as a Registered Student Organization at U of I. Each year the Veritas Forum organizes one big event that brings in a speaker seeking to inspire the shapers of tomorrow’s culture to connect their hardest questions with the person and story of Jesus Christ.
Urbana Theological Seminary is pleased to announce that this year’s Veritas Forum will be occurring on Monday, May 2, at 7:00 PM at Twin City Bible Church, at the Corner of Lincoln and Michigan in Urbana). The speaker is Dr. Tim O’Connor, professor of Philosophy at Indiana University. Dr O’Connor is the author of Theism and Ultimate Explanation: The Necessary Shape of Contingency and The Metaphysics of Free Will, as well as a large number of articles and essays, in the areas of metaphysics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of religion.  The title of this forum is “Faith & Reason: Friends or Foes?”
The evening will start with a half hour lecture on the topic, followed by a half hour discussion between Tim and local pastor Seth Kirlin. Seth will be asking questions to flesh out the ideas presented in Tim’s talk. Finally, the evening will wrap up with a question and answer time, open to the audience.  So come and join us!  We’d love to see you there!

February 17, 2016

Can Aging be Treated with a Pill? New Study May Challenge Our Understanding of Medicine and Aging

Filed under: Ethics,Faith and Culture — Tags: , , , , — admin @ 5:25 pm

Dr. Todd T. Daly
The desire for indefinite youth is as old as humanity itself. From the Epic of Gilgamesh, to quests for the fountain of youth, to the various elixirs concocted by alchemists, human history bears witness to innumerable—and often bizarre—attempts to extend life by defeating aging. Though current life expectancy figures testify to the power of medicine, hygiene, and better living conditions, we are nearing its upper limits. Curing all forms of cancer, for instance, would increase current life expectancy by a mere three years. Despite these advances, aging itself has not been altered. Scientists have, however, achieved remarkable results in slowing the aging of nematode worms, fruit flies, and mice through genetic engineering and pharmacology. Unfortunately, these successes have occurred on organisms that are far less complex than the human body. They represent the first steps of a long, arduous, and perhaps impossible journey toward slowing human aging that might span decades, or even centuries.

Or so it was thought, until late last year when the FDA approved the first ever human trial of a drug already on the market, in order to study its anti-aging properties. The study, dubbed TAME—“Targeting Aging with Metformin”—will investigate the effects on several thousand people who suffer from cancer, heart disease, or cognitive impairment. Scientists have observed that the diabetic drug metformin, which has been on the market for over sixty years, has enabled diabetics to live longer than people who don’t have diabetes—even though diabetes typically reduces life expectancy by an average of eight years. Not only do people on metformin have reduced incidences of cancer, but it has also shown to prevent cognitive decline. The drug has already produced impressive results in mice, lengthening their healthy lifespan by nearly forty percent.

Could a simple pill help us live a century or more in a state of improved health? Many hope that Metformin will enable us to live into our hundreds in a state of relative health. This represents the first time in the history of modern medicine that the FDA has recognized aging itself—rather than its effects—as a drug target. In short, it may mark the beginnings of a shift in the goals of medicine where aging itself is considered a treatable condition. This conceptual shift not only challenges the discipline of medicine and our notions of health, but it also presses us to consider where aging comes from, and whether or not we are wise to consider it a disease.

These challenges are no less real for Christians, who in this Lenten season are invited to reflect on the words “Remember that you are dust, and to dust you shall return.” (Gen. 3:19) How do we understand aging as it relates to our finite, creaturely existence? Where does aging come from, and what is its relationship to sin? Would it be wrong for people who look to the resurrection to take a metformin supplement in hopes of securing a few more years on earth? These are complex questions that we’ll be taking up over the next several months as we try to formulate a theological understanding of aging.

January 15, 2016

C. S. Lewis

C. S. Lewis has often been described as one of the most influential Christian writers of the twentieth century. For example, in an article called “The Top 50 Books that have Shaped Evangelicals,” Christianity Today listed Lewis’s Mere Christianity as one of the top three books that have influenced American Evangelicalism. A couple of years ago a Huffington Post article titled “Spiritual Classics: 25 Books Every Christian Should Read” lists Mere Christianity as one of the most important books written throughout the history of the church, placing it in a list with The Confessions of St. Augustine and Thomas a Kempis’s The Imitation of Christ. And it is not just his nonfiction that gets attention. According to various online lists of bestselling books of all time, C. S. Lewis’s children’s book The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe is one of the top ten, having sold more than 85 million copies since its first publication in 1950. .
So the question becomes, WHY is Lewis so popular? There are several answers to this question. He is popular because he is able to take difficult theological concepts and reword them in such a way that readers with no theological background can understand and enjoy them. He is popular because he worked in so many different fields: not only did he write apologetics and children’s literature, but he also wrote science fiction, poetry, literary theory, novels, sermons, and even memoir.
Because Lewis was able to work in such different genres, he was comfortable using both rational thought and the imagination to help others in their spiritual journey. In fact, he often used both to explore the same themes. For example, he tackles the idea of education and what it is supposed to do in both the nonfiction study The Abolition of Man and the dystopian novel That Hideous Strength. In The Four Loves he examines four different ways of relating to other people that are commonly called “love,” and then in the book Till We Have Faces he explores not only what love is, but also how it is both used and abused. In the two books that made his name a household word in WWII Britain, Mere Christianity and The Screwtape Letters, he explores both what Christians believe and how Christians should live.
Starting Thursday, January 21, Urbana Theological Seminary will be offering a sixteen week course on C. S. Lewis. In this course we will be reading and discussing several of his works. We will also be taking a one-day road trip to the Wade Center, a museum/study center at Wheaton College that focuses on Lewis and six other authors.
If you would like to know more about this class, contact mgreen@urbanaseminary.org. To register, go to http://www.urbanaseminary.org/courses/spring, or contact mgreen@urbanaseminary.org for registration help. This is going to be an awesome class—you don’t want to miss it!

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