Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Book of Acts

The Book of Acts

A course taught by R. David Underwood

Ralph David Underwood will always be remembered as one of the great instructors at Heritage Christian University. Underwood came to the school from mission work in West Africa in 1972. Although stricken with osteomyelitis as a child, David Underwood was a determined overcomer, and those who knew him found great inspiration in his teaching, preaching, and Christian life.

One of Brother Underwood’s most popular classes was always “The Book of Acts.” These videos are presented in hopes that you may gain inspiration from this great man of God.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Of Primary Importance

Mission Work

Mission work – whether domestic or foreign – has always been of primary importance to Heritage Christian University. Our original name, International Bible College, emphasized the universal nature of the gospel of Christ. We know that Jesus really meant His command to take the truth to every person on this planet (Matt 28:18-20). We also understand that without an obedient faith responding to the gospel men stand lost before the Creator. Thus, we do everything within our power to snatch men and women from the coming fire (cf. Jude 23).

This week some from the HCU family have left comfort and home to preach Jesus’ message.

Joey Barrier and family, accompanied by Travis and Stacey Harmon, will travel to Peru to work with HCU alumnus Ramon Gonzales.

Dr. Jeremy Barrier and his father, HCU Board Member Wayne Barrier, are in Asia. They sent this report Monday morning: “Everything is fine here in the Philippines. We are in Cebu, Philippines, and we are teaching in the Philippine Institute of Biblical Studies. We also preached several times yesterday for several congregations. One of the congregations meets in a restaurant. The owner of the restaurant, Helen, is a widow, and she has all of her workers attend the worship, while they take a ‘break’ from working on Sunday. She's quite evangelistic and has converted quite a few of them.

HCU student Bubby Rushing is in Lithuania. He sent the following report: "I am in Vilnius, Lithuania preparing for a camp starting later today in Moletai, Lithuania. The camp is for ages 8-13 and includes boys and girls. The camp is a week long and is set up like most youth camps in America. During the week I will be serving as a counselor, a Bible teacher, and on Wednesday, I will be the keynote speaker for the nightly worship. I started being a part of this work in 2008 and was also able to be here in 2009, but due to financial difficulty in 2010 the camp session was closed for the year. Other people on this trip include Danny Dodd, Bud Meyer, Stacy and Hillary Humphries, Judy Peacock, Judy Julian, Stephanie Williams (all of Pensacola Florida), and Scott Jordan (from Memphis Tennessee). Also, while we are here, we are spending time with local church members and ministers encouraging and in fellowship with them. So far it's been a very rewarding and great trip so far."

We ask that you remember these efforts before the Father’s throne.

Monday, June 27, 2011

New Degree Offering

Master of Divinity

On June 27, 2011, Heritage Christian University announced that the Association for Biblical Higher Education approved their request to begin offering the Master of Divinity this Fall. The MDiv is widely considered the first professional degree for ministers.

HCU Vice President of Academic Affairs Dr. Bill Bagents noted, "In an ever more educated society, expectations for ministers constantly rise. It's not a matter of education for the sake of education. Rather, it's about increasing the breadth and depth of our skills and knowledge so that we can serve more effectively in an ever more complex world."

The 75-hour degree will allow HCU to serve many congregations of varying size by preparing church workers in theology, ministry and pastoral counseling. The MDiv at HCU will also include a spiritual formation track, aimed at assisting students learn and practice the essentials of spiritual growth

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Case for Biblical Christianity

The Case for Biblical Christianity

A course taught by Basil Overton

Basil Overton has always meant so much to the Heritage Christian University family. His faith, his wisdom, and his skill as an editor, author, and educator have been greatly valued through the years.

These lectures by Brother Overton explore the reasonableness of the Christian faith. We trust you will find this course to be a tremendous blessing.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Spiritual Enrichment Conference

Spiritual Enrichment Conference

by Justin Imel

My first experience with workshop was nearly twenty years ago, but the memories are strong. More than a thousand people singing in the chapel on Wednesday evening. Lunch with Jule Miller who patiently answered my questions about evangelism. Charles Coil’s lesson that sent chills down my spine. Forming friendships with students and alumni, relationships that remain as strong as ever.

This year, “workshop” will look much different than it did in 1992. It’s now the Spiritual Enrichment Conference, a name reflecting the spiritual feast some of the brotherhood’s best teachers will provide. The SEC won’t take place on Heritage Christian University’s campus, but we’re going to the four-star Marriott Shoals Hotel and Spa. Because we’re going to the Marriott, we’ll need to register by September 9.

Yeah, the Spiritual Enrichment Conference will look different, but I know powerful memories will be made. I’m excitedly anticipating the Sunday morning worship with so many brethren. Both Jule Miller and Charles Coil have gone to their reward, but I’m looking forward to hearing great men of God such as Dan Chambers and Jeff Jenkins. I’m an alumnus now, so I will get to rekindle old bonds and form new ones.

That’s why I’m attending the Spiritual Enrichment Conference September 22-25. Why will you be coming?

Monday, June 20, 2011

Standing in the Gap of the Culture War

Fighting Atheism and Humanism

Godly parents and grandparents daily wage a war for the hearts and minds of today’s children. Atheism and secular humanism threaten the salvation of a whole generation. Listen as Brad Harrub offers counsel for fighting back.

"Standing in the Gap of the Culture War"

Thursday, June 16, 2011

On 1 Corinthians 16:1

Why Does Paul Mention "the Churches of Galatia"?

Written by Dr. Jeremy Barrier

In regard to Paul's mention of the Galatian churches in 1 Corinthians 16:1, the significance is unknown! Paul wrote a letter to the churches of Galatia, but this does not really bring us any closer. First, "Galatia" is not a city but is a work that represents an ethnic group of Celtic people who migrated from southern Germany in the third century BC down into Macedonia, Thrace, and then over into Turkey, and finally residing in central Anatolia (Turkey). These people were called Celts or Gauls or Galatians. After Rome established themselves in Turkey during this time period, by the time that Paul wrote this letter (circa 48 AD), Galatia was also a word that referred to a Roman Province in southern Galatia, as northern Galatia, home to the Celts, was still largely unmanageable by Rome with a quasi-independent state. It was just slightly more independent than Palestine at this time.

So, when Paul uses the term "Galatians" it is uncertain who he means. Could he have meant his letter to the Galatians? Maybe. However, Paul does not seem to address giving of money very much in the Galatian letter that we have (Galatians 2:10). What he does say here is not in regard to how money should be gathered. We know that Paul wrote multiple letters (See 1 Cor 5:9; Colossians 4:15-16), and even letters now lost, thus we can conclude that there must be another letter that was written to the Galatians that has now been lost. In addition, it is uncertain of whether or not the Galatians were good givers or not. Did he single them out to commend them or reprove them?

What is certain is Paul is making mention of them here, because he is trying to emphasize that he was encouraging a practice of setting aside money, in advance, everywhere he went. The reality of the ancient banking systems is that if Paul were to gather money for the poor in Jerusalem (Galatians 2:10), then he would not be able to use a debit card, ATM, credit card, check, or paper money. He would have been carrying coins of various metals. This would be heavy and dangerous, and it is something that Paul thought should be done in advance, with preparation. This is especially important for churches around the world were people are more like "day laborers" than what we experience in most of the USA. A day laborer, lives from one day to the next, and if anything is going to be given to God, it needs to be cut out of the daily amount every day or every week, and slowly, very slowly, an amount can be set aside to be used in the service of God!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Ten Reasons People Leave the Church

Why Do People Leave the Church?

You see it every Sunday – the empty pew where some dear brother or sister once sat, a dear Christian who has now turned back to love this present world. Why? Why would a disciple who had seen the goodness of God ever wish to turn back from following Him? People leave the faith for many reasons, but we want to look at ten in this article. Prayerfully, exploring these ten reasons people become unfaithful will fortify us against unfaithfulness and help us reach the wayward brother. A future post will explore methods of reaching the inactive Christian, but for now let’s simply explore reasons people walk away.

Reason One: Manipulation from the evangelists. When people see the evangelist in the role of a salesman, they are highly unlikely to convert. But, when they do convert, these new Christians fall away in alarming numbers.

Reason Two: Lack of further instruction. When churches fail to carry out the final mission in the Great Commission – i.e., “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you” (Matt 28:20, ESV) – new converts commonly fall away.

Reason Three: Conflict. Nearly all of those who fall away experience anxiety from conflict immediately prior to their inactivity. Typically, this conflict arises with the minister, with another church member, or with a family member.

Reason Four: Change in Motivation. Those who leave the truth often encounter some change in life that removes their motivation for faithfulness. This change in motivation could be that the children whom they wanted raised in the church have left home, that they have accepted a new job which required longer hours, that they have found a new hobby that consumes their passions, or something comparable.

Reason Five: Assimilation. Those Christians who walk away from the Lord often do not feel needed by the local church. On the other hand, those who are helped in using their appropriate talents usually remain faithful.

Reason Six: Worldview. The way an inactive Christian looks at the world differs dramatically from the way an active Christian looks at the world. For example, when facing a serious personal crisis, active Christians are much more likely to turn to Scripture for comfort than a non-active Christian.

Reason Seven: Doctrinal Disparity. Active members and inactive members view Christian doctrine quite differently, according to a number of research studies. For example, inactive members normally demonstrate some ambiguity when asked concerning the inspiration of the Scriptures; active Christians do not.

Reason Eight: Supportive Relationships. Active Christians have a majority of their close friends in the local congregation, but inactive Christians have few close friends in the church.

Reason Nine: Marriage. The choice of one’s spouse greatly affects faithfulness to the Lord. As a rule, families strive for religious unity; therefore, marriage outside the body of Christ greatly diminishes the likelihood of faithfulness.

Reason Ten: Change in Perception. Those who drop out of a congregation often change their outlook after their conversion. For example, they may have believed the church could meet some perceived need that they quickly discover is not met in the church; they then look elsewhere to fulfill their desire.

These are some of the reasons research has uncovered that people become unfaithful. What are some of the reasons you’ve seen?

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Honor to Whom Honor

Overton Memorial Library

Sixth Honors Evening

Friends of the Overton Memorial Library

Friends of the Overton Memorial Library hosted the Sixth Honors Evening on June 7, 2011. During the evening, more than 650 volumes were added to the library’s holdings, bringing the total collection to more than 90,000. Dr. Bill Bagents, Vice President of Academic Affairs, presented President Dennis Jones with The Matthean Parables by Ivor Harold Jones, the 90,000th monograph added to the Overton Memorial Library.

Honors Evening provides individuals an opportunity to express gratitude for the important people in their lives. A lasting gift of a book is placed into the Overton Memorial Library with a bookplate stating the honoree’s name and who donated the book. Honors Evening always takes place on the first Tuesday in June.

This year, Friends of OML chose to honor Mr. and Mrs. Vernon Shuffett. Mr. and Mrs. Shuffett hold a special place in the hearts of the Friends of the Overton Memorial Library and Heritage Christian University. Mr. Shuffett served HCU as controller as well as Vice President of Business and Finance after having received a degree from Heritage Christian University. Mr. and Mrs. Shuffett were among the first lifetime members of the Friends of Overton Memorial Library. Mr. Shuffett won the Friend’s annual poetry contest each of the first three years. He authored the university’s history, As the Waters Cover the Sea. Mrs. Shuffett is a nurse and has worked faithfully by her husband’s side. Volume 32 of the Discoveries of the Judaean Desert has been added to the library in their honor.

In addition to Mr. and Mrs. Shuffett, Friends of the Overton Memorial Library recognized men and women who have labored to take the gospel to a foreign land. Obviously, many of the honored missionaries could not attend, but Friends of OML were pleased to see L. T. and JoAnn Gurganus, Louis and Bonnie Rushmore, Kyle and Sony Clayton, Edmund and Maurine Cagle, Myra Underwood and Cynthia Tillery.

Many volumes were also added in memory of Allen Bagents, the son of Drs. Bill and Laura Bagents.

On display last evening was an important work recently received by the Overton Memorial Library, a facsimile of the Codex Sinaiticus. Codex Sinaiticus is one of the most important books in the world. Handwritten well over 1600 years ago, the manuscript contains the Christian Bible in Greek, including the oldest complete copy of the New Testament. Its heavily corrected text is one of outstanding importance for the history of the Bible, and the manuscript – the oldest substantial book to survive from antiquity – is of supreme importance for the history of the book. The facsimile is now housed in the Coy D. Roper Rarities and Antiquities Collection along with several other Bibles.

Dr. Betty Hamblen gave an address entitled “In Honor of Libraries.” In her speech, Dr. Hamblen emphasized the vital role libraries play at different stages in one’s life. Nathan Daily, Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies, served as the evening’s emcee.

The Seventh Honors Evening is scheduled for June 5, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. Friends of the Overton Memorial Library hope to acquire Biblia Sacra Iuxta Latinam Vulgatam Versionem ad Codicum Fidem. This 18-volume set is a major critical edition of Jerome’s Latin Vulgate. We invite you to help us meet our goal. If you would like to honor someone special during next year’s Honors Evening, please contact librarian Jamie Cox at

Monday, June 6, 2011

Origin of the Description "Jew"

Origin of the Appellation "Jew"

Written by Dr. Ed Gallagher

God's covenant people in the Old Testament typically bear the name "Sons of Israel" (600+ times), or, in some translations, "Israelites." They are occasionally also called Hebrews (Gen. 14:13; 39:14, 17; Exod. chs. 1-10), usually in contexts in which the Israelites are interacting with foreigners. The name "Hebrew" is of disputed origin, but it perhaps refers either to their descent from Eber (cf. Gen. 10:21ff.) or to Abraham's crossing the Euphrates River to travel from his homeland in Mesopotamia to the Promised Land of Canaan. The verb for "cross over" in Hebrew is abhar, so there might be a relationship between this word and the word "Hebrew."

The Old Testament also speaks of "Jews" in some later books, such as Esther (2:5; 3:6; etc.), Ezra (4:12; 5:1; etc.), and Nehemiah (2:16; etc.), but also 2 Kings (25:25), Jeremiah (32:12; 38:19; etc.), Daniel (3:8, 12), and Zechariah (8:23). The word translated "Jew" is Yehudi, which actually means "Judaean" or a person belonging to the people of Judah.

The prominence of this designation for God's covenant people in the later period of the Old Testament must be understood in the context of Israelite history. The Book of 1 Kings (ch. 12) narrates that following the death of Solomon, the Kingdom of Israel divided into two separate nations, with the northern nation retaining the name "Israel" and the southern nation taking the name "Judah". In fact, the new nation of Judah was composed almost entirely of the tribe of Judah, but the tribe of Benjamin also belonged to the southern nation (1 Kings 12:21, 23). The northern nation, Israel, was destroyed by the Assyrians in 722 BC (cf. 2 Kings 17), leaving the southern nation, Judah, alone. Therefore, from 722 BC forward, the covenant people of God were strictly Judaeans, or Jews. They were taken captive by the Babylonians/Chaldeans led by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings 25), but they maintained their distinctiveness in captivity (see, e.g., Ezekiel), and were restored to their homeland when the Persians took over, led by Cyrus the Great (ca. 538 BC). But again, these were Judaeans (Jews), not all of Israel.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Why is War a Part of Religion?

Why Do People Fight in God's Name?

Written by Dr. Justin Imel

Since man has walked the earth, he has fought over religion – the first murderer’s evil thoughts festered because his offering displeased God (Gen 4). Cain may have been the first to murder over religion, but he is far from the last – from the Crusades to the Spanish Inquisition to the Salem witch trials to the attacks of September 11, 2001, countless millions lay dead in the name of religion. Thus, one of our readers asked, “Why is war a part of religion?”

Providing a proper answer requires one to handle rightly “the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15), for God once commanded war in His name. God desired that the Israelites annihilate the Canaanites, for His people could learn much evil from the inhabitants of Canaan (cf. Deut 20:16-18). Because the Israelites failed to honor that instruction, they suffered tremendously (cf. Judg 2:1-5). They would have fared much better had they waged more, not less, wars in the name of God.

Yet, nowhere in the New Testament does God require His people to battle fleshly enemies in His name. God reigned over a physical kingdom in the Old Testament, but He now reigns over a spiritual kingdom. Jesus told Pilate, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world” (Jn 18:36).

War in the name of Jesus occurs because someone misunderstands the nature of His kingdom. Peter drew a sword and severed Malchus’ ear for he failed to understand the nature of Jesus’ Messiahship (Matt 26:51-54; Jn 18:10-11). The Jews of Jesus’ day largely expected a Messiah to come, establish an earthly kingdom inaugurated by defeating the Roman government, and reign in Jerusalem. Peter, being no exception, took his sword and began to defend the King. Jesus, however, told his eager disciple, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?” (Jn 18:11).

The kingdom belongs not to this world of strife but to the spiritual world of peace; those fighting man in God’s name forget that salient truth. We pray that people look to the Prince of Peace to learn peacemaking and begin reconciling in the name of Jesus.