Monthly Archives: March 2014


l to r: Rachel Saint, Dayuma, President and Mrs. V. Raymond Edman

Dayuma, born and raised amid the daily brutalities of the Waodani tribe of Ecuador, died on March 1, 2014, entering “gates of splendor” as the result of missionary work initiated by Jim Elliot and Nate Saint. After her conversion, she traveled throughout the United States, speaking about evangelism and reconciliation.She was baptized in 1961 by Wheaton College President V. Raymond Edman at Evangelical Free Church of Wheaton. She presented to Edman three Waodani spears, now housed in the Wheaton College Archives.

Assisted by missionary Rachel Saint, she eventually brought many of her family and friends to saving faith, consequently reducing the murder rate among her tribe by 90%.

The story of martyrs Nate Saint, Jim Elliot, Peter Fleming, Roger Youderian and Ed McCully is told in Through Gates of Splendor by Elisabeth Elliot.

The Church and the Formation of Christians

I love the church. And the older I get, the more I value it. That affection is longstanding because I loved the church even as a child.

I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, where my family had founded what became a large congregation. I was as at home in that church as I was in the house where I lived. The people there were like family. I was shaped by their stories and views of God.

My devotion to the church is deep and irrevocable. My soul rejoices when the whole family of God comes together to glorify our Lord—to “put God on display,” as J.I. Packer stated in this year’s commencement address. But there is another side to my view of the church. I am concerned, even frustrated, by some of what we do to each other in the name of church life—such as separating people by age, even during worship. Quoting Packer again, this happens because we are “pygmies and invalids” when it comes to seeing God’s greatness and holiness. We fall short of God’s desire and are unaware how truly broken we are as we exchange our biblical identity for cultural relevancy.

Some evangelical churches segregate church life and systematize ministries in ways that now seem normative, virtually eliminating the need for careful biblical critique. Does Scripture say anything about how God’s people should gather? If so, is it relevant for today? I wonder if in our desire to be “developmentally appropriate;” we evangelicals miss some of our Father’s intent for us, His church. Because I teach courses concerning church ministries, I’m able to focus on these issues.

Two years ago the department in which I teach changed its name from Christian Education and Ministry to Christian Formation and Ministry. The more I reflect on this change, the more significant it becomes. The word educate comes with expectations familiar to most: classroom, teacher, students, content. The word formation is different—less familiar, fewer assumptions. It requires pro ass in shaping product. It’s more like “May Christ be formed in you” (Gal. 4:19) rather than “Let me teach you about God.” I’m challenged to alter courses in light of this change.

I must read Scripture with formation in mind—my own, first of all, and then that of others. The opening verses of 1 John excite me. As Eugene Peterson translates them,”… [We] heard it with our own ears, saw it with our own eyes, verified it with our own hands. The Word of Life appeared right before our eyes; we saw it happen! …We saw it, we heard it, and now we’re telling you so you can experience it along with us, this experience of communion with the Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.” Our faith has a sensory dimension—one that can be experienced.

This calls for encounters with the living God. Is that a formational task or an educational one or both? In what ways can the ministries of the local church enable encounters with God through the Holy Spirit? Where do North American churches look for ministry models? Are there principles in Scripture that we overlook or disregard that we should recover, so our faith may be passed on more effectively to the next generation? Because I too am a pygmy and invalid, I humbly acknowledge my need for our Lord’s grace and mercy as I explore ways in which formation happens.

Scottie May has been an Assistant Professor in the Department of Christian Formation and Ministry since 1998. She has a doctorate in education from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Her primary research focuses on how children come to faith. Other areas of interest are the effectiveness of ministry learning environments, ways children encounter God, intergenerational worship, and the church as “the family of God.” Scottie has three children and six grandchildren. She and her husband, Robert, live in West Chicago, Illinois. (The above statement was included at the time of publication — Wheaton Magazine, Summer 2001).

Looking to the God of Peace

Chaplain Stephen B. Kellough

Since September 11 there has been a lot on my mind, and there has been a heaviness on my shoulders that is associated with the privilege and responsibility of serving as Wheaton’s chaplain in these days.

For this generation of students, the charged atmosphere brought about by catastrophic world events is unprecedented. Columbine comes closest, and maybe Oklahoma City. But Vietnam and even the Gulf War are off the radar screen for most students. Korea and Pearl Harbor are ancient history. For that matter, even those of us on the faculty and staff at the College have never faced the kind of assault on American turf that we have witnessed.

During these difficult moments, we are finding that the resources of our Christian faith and the value of living in Christian community are becoming near and dear. Wheaton College is a good place to be right now, even for students who are many hours from home.

Shortly after the hijacked planes hit the World Trade Center and the Pentagon, a special chapel service was called for the College community. Within hours of the attacks, students, faculty, and staff were assembled in Edman Chapel reading Scripture and praying to our heavenly Father. We were together in worship when we needed to hear from God and to speak to God.

Classes were not dismissed on September 11, and that was a good decision. But we followed the news reports on televisions around campus, and phone calls were made to family and friends. Caring faculty assisted students in processing the events that were shaking our world, and don’t think that students didn’t minister to professors as well. We were together in community, trying to understand, assisting each other in struggling to focus the lens of our Christian worldview on the events of the day.

As most Wheaton alumni remember, it is our tradition to designate a passage of Scripture as a “year verse.” The verse for the 2001-02 academic year is Hebrews 13:20-21, the words of a blessing, a benediction that reminds us of our position in Christ and our resources in God: “May the God of peace, who through the blood of the eternal covenant brought back from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great Shepherd of the sheep, equip you with everything good for doing his will, and may he work in us what is pleasing to him, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.”

Little did we realize months ago when this text was chosen that we would be in such need of this reminder of our resources in the God of peace. The letter to the Hebrews was written to people of faith whose faith was being tested. They needed to be reminded of what they knew but what they were struggling to hold on to.

The letter to the Hebrews is more than a letter; it is a sermon. It’s an encouragement, and it’s a reminder. In my role as chaplain, that is my goal—to encourage and to remind. In these days it is my duty and delight to point our community to the God of peace. This is a title for our Lord that we need to savor right now. In the midst of very uncertain times, it is important for us to understand with our minds and to embrace with our hearts the God of peace and the peace that God gives.

Wheaton Magazine (Autumn 2001)