Dr. Christopher Cone and Dr. James Fazio have co-edited Forged From Reformation: How Dispensationalism Advances the Reformed Legacy.Forged From Reformation, published by SCS Press, and containing chapters from sixteen dispensational scholars from diverse colleges, seminaries, and universities, celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation by explaining how dispensationalism is connected to the Reformation.
It has been five-hundred years since Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door at Wittenberg, fanning the flames of the Protestant Reformation. These many years later, we are no less indebted to Luther and the many who accompanied him in times of reform – who set out to return Christian thought and practice to a more biblical orthodoxy. Exemplified by Luther’s five solas (sola scriptura, sola Deo gloria, sola Christus, sola gratia, and sola fide), the Reformation represented and was spurred on by a return to biblical scholarship in the original languages, and by a more consistent application of the literal grammatical-historical hermeneutic.
Forged from the fires of the Reformation’s heightened attention to the Bible and its details, a more refined and systematic dispensational understanding has developed and continues to be shaped. This book, written by a diverse and accomplished group of dispensational scholars, articulates in each and every chapter how, five-hundred years later, dispensational thought upholds and advances the legacy of the Reformation unlike any other theological system in Christian tradition.
“With contributions from top scholars among leading Christian universities and seminaries across the country, Forged from Reformation will give you helpful insights into the truths of Scripture which have shaped our past and still impact our lives for Christ.” David Jeremiah, Chancellor, Southern California Seminary, Senior Pastor, Shadow Mountain Community Church
“It is an honor to endorse Forged from Reformation … I applaud the authors of this volume in demonstrating the importance of normative dispensational thought that furthers the Reformation on its 500th anniversary. It argues well that Reformed Theology does not own the Reformation, but that in fact dispensationalism continues the many great themes of the Reformation in establishing the Bible-centered theology it purports, its commitment to literal interpretation, its emphasis on salvation by grace through faith for the redeemed of all ages, its goal in the glory of God, and its focus on Jesus the Messiah, and His kingdom. I trust that the book will have a wide and fair hearing.” H. Wayne House, Distinguished Research Professor of Theology, Law, and Culture, Faith International University and Faith Seminary
“Drs. Fazio and Cone have edited an excellent collection of articles on the dispensational heritage of the Reformation. At a time when it is generally assumed that Reformed theology only gave rise to a limited form of eschatology, the contributors show that the Reformers’ emphasis on biblical hermeneutics eventually led to the dispensational understanding of progressive revelation. The contributors help us better understand the biblical, historical, and practical implications of the Reformation for dispensationalism today.” Ed Hindson, Founding Dean, Distinguished Professor, Rawling School of Divinity, Liberty University
“I’ve been waiting a long time for a book like this. I’m especially impressed by its width and depth. It’s a theological tour de force. Forged from Reformation cogently clarifies the continuity of dispensationalism within the stream of Reformation history. It will quickly become the go-to book for any historical defense or evaluation of dispensationalism, especially as it relates to the legacy of the Reformers.” Mark Hitchcock, Associate Professor of Bible Exposition, Dallas Theological Seminary, Senior Pastor, Faith Bible Church, Edmond, OK
“When evangelicals think of the Reformation, they rarely think of dispensationalism. This is a mistake. While it is true that the modern dispensational movement has been trans-denominational, especially in its American development, one should not be hasty to exclude a movement that stands in the direct path of the trajectory of Reformation hermeneutics. In fact, dispensationalism in many ways is the Reformation taken to its logical conclusion and the discussion is not just about eschatology as detractors sometimes posit. As a result of dispensational thought, the evangelical world has rediscovered in greater detail the Jewish perspective of the Bible. The volume Forged from Reformation connects the dots and allows the reader to see clearly what others overlook so readily.” Mike Stallard, Director of International Ministry, Friends of Israel, Founder and Moderator, Council on Dispensational Hermeneutics
In considering the role, responsibility, and limitations of the contemporary university in the present disunity (as displayed in Charlottesville), Chad Wellmon’s recent article, “For Moral Clarity, Don’t Look to Universities” underscores an urgency to which university leaders would do well to pay attention. Wellmon suggests that “The contemporary university, at least in its local form in Charlottesville, seems institutionally incapable of moral clarity.” He quantifies this incapability by noting that, “Universities cannot impart comprehensive visions of the good. They cannot provide ultimate moral ends. Their goods are proximate.” To address this state of affairs, Wellmon prescribes recognizing the limitations of the academy and that universities ought to be looking “outside themselves and partner[ing] with other moral traditions and civic communities.” He adds that “Our common pursuit of knowledge is richer and truer when it seeks contributions from the broadest diversity of peoples.”
In each of these assertions, Wellmon is on target. In these times we have focused so much on freedom of ideas and dialogue, that we have at times forgotten the basis of and reasons for those very freedoms and the worthiness of their pursuits. Lauding the freedoms without acknowledging the responsibilities embedded within the freedoms results in purposeless freedom so divorced from a moral center that it cannot be but ultimately abused. Once the freedom is abused in hatred, there is a cultural momentum to restrict the freedoms so that the hate can’t be expressed. Before long, the freedom of ideas and dialogue that is supposed to be such a cornerstone of our educational process becomes little more than propaganda for one side or the other. Hence our present milieu.
As Wellmon suggests, the typical ends of the university are not final ends: “to create and care for knowledge and to pass that knowledge on by teaching” is not the ultimate goal. The Apostle Paul once wrote to Timothy that “the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart, a good conscience and a sincere faith” (1 Timothy 1:5). The goal of the university ought not to be simply related to knowledge itself, it ought to be transparently identified in recognition of the purpose of the knowledge. Any institution of learning ought to be committed not just to promoting a body of knowledge (and a culture which values that knowledge) but to helping to contextualize that knowledge in order to help facilitate the proper use of that knowledge.
Thus, while Wellmon diagnoses that university leaders are captains of erudition and not leaders of communities bound to a common moral mission, perhaps this is actually part of the problem. We cannot divorce knowledge from worldview. As we engage and interact with knowledge, we do so from a perspective. That perspective impacts how we arrive at the knowledge, how we interpret it, and how we apply it. To pretend that the university setting provides an automatic immunity from such subjectivities is to blatantly misunderstand essential principles of worldview.
The pretended neutrality so prevalent in our university culture today is destructive in its deceptiveness, obscuring knowledge and the final ends for which it exists. This guise of objectivity provides for universities and their leaders a wall of excuse to hide behind. It is as if they can say, “We are simply providing information, and helping our students to think. We are not actually trying to lead them to any particular conclusion, and thus we are not to blame.” Yet all the while they are leading their students. The question is not whether or not universities and their leaders are setting a moral tone, the question is whether or not that tone is one worth setting and one worth following.
Instead of pretending a guise of objectivity, how helpful would it be if institutions of learning were simply transparent about their ideas of the sources, understanding, and applications of knowledge? Such transparency would be broadly beneficial to students, helping them to recognize that neutrality is not necessarily the goal – love is. And that love is not nebulous and undefined. There is meaning to it, there is a source, and there is provision for it. We can no longer pretend that there are no such particulars. Our culture is being ripped apart before our very eyes and the divisions which have long existed are becoming the narrative by which our society is defined. We can do better, and we are accountable to do just that.
As one leader of a university, I do not call on students to follow me or the university. I agree with Wellmon that the university is not the final bastion or arbiter of truth (as Wellmon correctly notes, we need to look beyond the university). However, we do seek to lead. We do seek to be transparent about the worldview vantage point we take, so that students will know what they are getting, and will be able to hold us accountable for what we are practicing and what we are teaching. They will know what our formula for love is and whether or not it is worthy.
There is an incredible flurry of activity and growth at Calvary University, and as we prepare to welcome a new class of students here in the next few days, it is a good moment to count blessings and recall from whence they come. Here’s just a little of what we have been up to this summer:
We have welcomed some new and outstanding faculty (Dr. Gary Gromacki and Dr. Joachim Braga), and we are soon to welcome more. Stay tuned. These are excellent leaders and teachers who have proven their worth in handling the word and investing in students. We look forward to serving with them.
We have formally begun development on a Ph.D in Bible and Theology program. Stay tuned as we work toward getting that up and running.
We have launched the Nikao Leadership Institute, with ten highly qualified new students who will gain excellent skills in leadership, and who will receive full tuition scholarships to help them learn and apply these skills at Calvary, in the church, and in the community.
We have launched the Burnham Center for Global Engagement, which will be a big part of our missions program, moving forward. We are grateful to Martin and Gracia Burnham for their ministry, and we are pleased to name the Center in honor of them.
We have finalized renovation plans on the Dining and Events Center (what has affectionately been known as the Student Life Center), and we expect the actual renovation to kick off in the next few weeks.
We are in the midst of renovating what was formerly the Seminary Building (the Seminary is now integrated with the rest of the university, and is no longer limited to just one building), as we prepare to relocate the Kroeker Library to be housed there. The new library will have a smaller footprint, and will be more digitally focused, as we try to serve the increasing number of Calvary students across the globe.
We are working on finalizing the purchase of a major chunk of the land which we have leased for many years, with the goal that Calvary has room to grow in property it owns outright, without incurring any debt.
In addition to these many improvements, Calvary is seeing enrollment growth at higher levels than at any point in the past five years. We are excited to see God’s blessing in so many areas. So, it is vital that we not forget or take for granted the instruments God has used to bring us to this exciting stage in Calvary’s history.
First, we thank God for using you all, and we thank you for being so willing and generous. Your prayer and support is such an encouragement and a provision. Without you, we couldn’t dream of the initiatives we are engaged in. With you, we have great confidence in moving forward. Thank you!
Also, we know that we stand on the shoulders of giants. We are nothing without those who have gone before. I am particularly thankful for Dr. Clark and his leadership – he led Calvary through some very difficult years and lean times, and he made some key decisions that helped position Calvary for this present period of growth. When we are able to reap the fruit from the labors of those who blazed the hard trails, we need to express gratitude. So, thank you, Dr. Clark, our job is easier because you didn’t shy away from the challenges. Thank you for being a giant for Calvary University.
We have a gracious God, and we stand on the shoulders of giants. Thank you all for being co-laborers with us!
If you wish to be a co-laborer in a bigger way than maybe you have before, please help with (1) the Nikao Leadership Institute student scholarships, (2) the building projects we are working on, or (3) the Burnham Center for Global Engagement. We would invite you to give a gift online by clicking this link. Whether you can help financially or not, your prayers for Calvary University are so greatly appreciated. Thank you for lifting us up! These are exciting times, and we need you more than ever.
Well, that went fast. Calvary’s fiscal and academic year ended on June 30, so that means that we have begun a new year. God has carried us through so much in a short period of time. This past year has been marked by provision and blessing – in good times and in bad.
First, I thank you all for your incredible support as Calvary tackled several important transitions this past year. God has provided richly, and we have seen increases in enrollment and also financially. In fact, by God’s provision, it appears that we ended this past year in the black. Our numbers are tentative, and we won’t know for sure until we complete our annual audit, but God carried us in some extraordinary ways. Thank you for your part in that!
It is encouraging to see growth in so many areas, but certainly the most gratifying part of this entire past year was seeing the spiritual depth of our students and alumni at work in so many ways, even in times of tragedy. In this past week the Calvary family lost a brother and student, Kameron Wiebe to a tragic car accident. Kameron was a great spiritual encouragement to those around him, and hearing the testimonies of family, alumni, students, staff, and faculty at Kameron’s memorial service was a tremendous reminder of the urgency of our times and the faithfulness of God. We were challenged by Coach Sanders to “chase Kameron,” as he chased Christ (think 1 Corinthians 11:1). We can all be encouraged that God has prepared some incredible people in this next generation. Sometimes He takes them home far earlier than we would ever expect, but even then, we see His hand at work. Please be praying for Kameron’s family and loved ones. This is, of course, a very difficult time, but having heard their testimonies, we know that they are finding their strength in the Lord. We are encouraged by their faithful examples.
Seeing students lift up those around them, seeing graduates serving Him in new ministries, seeing staff and faculty labor so diligently, seeing the generosity and friendship of so many alumni all over the world – God is working mightily through the entire Calvary family, and it is breathtaking. Cathy, the girls and I are deeply grateful to be part of it.
So, as we begin a new year, we work diligently to be faithful stewards of every resource with which God has entrusted us. We remain firmly committed to fulfilling our mission, to “prepare Christians to live and serve in the church and in the world according to the Biblical worldview.” We want Calvary to be known globally as the place where people go to get outstanding Biblical training for life and service, and we are not standing still. We have many exciting new things to report, and I look forward to sharing those with you in the coming months.
As we look forward, we don’t know how much time we have been given, as God could call us home at any moment, so together, we simply want to make the most of the incredible opportunity God has given us, despite the evil times (Ephesians 5:16). We have much work to do, and we asked for your continued prayer, friendship and support. We can’t do it without you. May God bless you as you begin, with us, a new year in His service.
One of the highlights of Dr. Cone’s inaugural address last year was a commitment he made to students that they would see a decrease in tuition costs from the Fall 2016 rates during the 2017-2018 academic year. True to his word, Calvary University has announced an across-the-board tuition reduction, with the new rates going into effect for Fall 2017. Early college tuition rates were $89 per credit hour. Those rates have dropped to $80 per hour. Undergraduate tuition was previously $375 per credit hour, while the new rates are tiered by degree program and range from $362-372 per credit hour. A previous online study tech fee of $150 was also eliminated, and online tuition was adjusted to be only $40 higher per hour than campus course tuition, providing a net decrease of $30 per three-hour class for online study. The Grad School and Seminary also saw tuition reductions, from the previous $400 per hour tuition rate to a tiered range from $387-397, depending on the program. The same online fee reduction as in the undergraduate programs is also in place at the graduate and seminary level.
As if those reductions were not enough, in appreciation of our Armed Forces and with gratitude for those who serve and have served, Calvary also announced a significant benefit to military and veterans and their dependents: an across-the-board, unprecedented tuition rate of $250 per credit hour. As Calvary also has great appreciation for those who serve in full-time vocational ministries, Calvary announced a tuition rate of $250 per hour for those who serve in full-time ministry and for their dependents. Calvary University is committed to providing the highest quality Bible-centered education in all of its 40+ degree programs in Bible, ministry, counseling, education, music, theater, and business administration. Calvary is equally committed to being accessible and affordable, and appreciates your support as Calvary continues to labor diligently to fulfill the mission of preparing Christians to live and serve in the church and in the world according to a Biblical worldview. For more information on Calvary’s programs or to apply now, contact the Admissions Department.