Year one is done. What an incredible year it has been to study at SMBC.
There are some things that words can’t adequately sum up. For example, the end-of-year dinner where the faculty (including the principal) served the pre-dinner nibbles to guests. Or the cumulative effect of praying for the nations on Mondays, listening to missionaries from around the world on Tuesdays, and hearing God’s Word preached on Wednesdays. Or the 1-to-1 and group conversations where you’re blown away by the sacrifices people have made to come to college, and astounded by their willingness to go to the ends of the earth to proclaim the gospel. No soundbite can adequately capture those moments.
But for what it’s worth, here are some quotes of what others have said this semester – nuggets of wisdom worth retaining longer than the latest cricket and rugby scores. Most of these were from lectures and chapels; some were from conversations over lunch and dinner with staff and students; a few are quotes from other places. I hope some of these “proverbs” are helpful to you.
“Our temptation is to cluster. 1 in 11 Australians live in Western Sydney, with immigrants from 170 different countries – it’s a mission field of breathtaking proportions. Yet the church in Sydney clusters from the Hills, the North Shore, to the Shire… the world is not to be won by quiet, ease-loving men and women.” – Stuart Coulton
“I’ve actually learned more about cross-cultural issues and worldviews while in parish ministry in Western Sydney than in Chile.” – Gary, CMS in Chile
“We’re not in competition with other colleges. We’re delighted you’re here, we really believe in what we do here. But we should be grateful that God is working through other theological colleges in Australia.” – S.C.
“Saying ‘Preach the word, if necessary use words’ is like saying ‘Give me your phone number, if necessary use numbers’. The gospel is a message: it needs to be said.” – Tim Silberman, Missions Perspectives
“Missions is God’s power at work in our weakness.” – Richard Hibbert
“It’s OK not to have a plan after college. Just serve God where you are; pour your heart and soul into what you’re doing here.” – Gary and Julie, CMS in Chile
“Even though I was not there to gathered my kids in my arms, God was there to shepherd them. ‘He tends his flock like a shepherd: He gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart; he gently leads those that have young.'” – K., missionary in Cambodia hospitalised with a stroke
“It’s easy to be narrow and think ‘this in my ministry’. But our God is a global God. [Even when] I’m in Tanzania, I pray for China.” – Amy, missionary in Tanzania
“I always offend Muslims on the street – with the Gospel.” – D., street evangelist to Turkish Muslims in London
On Old and New Testament
“Let’s get into the Bible. That’s what we’re here for, right?” – Janson Condren
“The road of a prophet is a road of suffering. To accept God’s call is to accept the road of suffering.” – J.C. on Jeremiah
“A king can get the people out of Babylon, but he can’t get Babylon out of the people. It has to take a Servant to accomplish this.” – J.C. on Isaiah
“Good on-the-fly prayer grows out of intense, private prayer.” – J.C. on Nehemiah 2:4
“The greatest danger for the exiles is not annihilation but assimilation.” – J.C. on Daniel
“Every Psalm should be read in light of Psalm 1 and 2.” Kit Barker on the Psalter
“Some essays I call apocalyptic. Every sentence is a mystery.” – Alan Mugridge
“Group work. It’s pretty hip.” – A.M.
Church History 1550 to Present Day
“The role of church history is to help us live better for Jesus Christ.” – S.C.
“Henry VIII appointed Protestant Cranmer as tutor to his son, Edward. What you do with your kids reveals what you really believe.” – Rachel Ciano on the English Reformation
“One of our constant struggles is how to move what’s in the head to the heart. That’s why Puritans viewed theology as living well for the glory of God — they connected the two. That’s why reading the Puritans is helpful.” – R.C.
“We’re suckers for celebrity preachers, aren’t we?” – Ian Maddock on the response to George Whitefield’s preaching
“The key to local mission is cross-cultural mission, and the key to cross-cultural mission is the heart of the pastor.” – R.C. on Charles Simeon’s impact on world mission as a local pastor
“[First Fleet chaplain] Philip Johnson would leave at 4am by boat for a 9am service at Parramatta. You’ll never feel bad about an early start ever again!” – R.C. on early church services in Australia
“Nothing brings delight in prayer other than prayer. Nothing robs you of joy in prayer other than prayerlessness.” – S.C., Pastoral Theology
“Prayer is an accurate reflection of how much I believe that the work of mission is the work of God. Look back on the last month of your prayers. Do you labour in prayer, long and hard?” – S.C.
“Reading will make you a better preacher and a better pastor. TV tells you what to think. Books invite you to make a judgement on the characters.” – S.C. on reading
“You’re only a hair’s breadth away from being a heretic!” – S.C.
“In vocational ministry, you will be paid to be holy. So your great temptation is that your holiness becomes a professional activity. There becomes a terrible disconnect between our beliefs and our actions.” – S.C.
“The opposite of laziness is not workaholism. So often we want to fix one mistake by creating another.” – S.C.
“Our greatest risk at college is that we will know everything and learn nothing. Do you know your brokenness before a Holy God?” – S.C.