Category Archives: Entries with Audio

From one language to another: translating Christ cross-culturally

Eugene NidaWord from the American Bible Society came over the weekend of Rev. Eugene A. Nida’s recent passing. Nida, who died at 96 years of age, had served the American Bible Society for roughly four decades. His greatest contribution to the society was his approach to training Bible translators for their work. After graduating from the University of California Nida attended Camp Wycliffe and worked among the Tarahumara Indians in Mexico. He was a charter member of Wycliffe Bible Translators.

Nida, born November 11, 1914 in Oklahoma City, was an anthropologist who had studied patristics and drew upon the fields of linguistics, anthropology and communication science to develop a new approach to translation work that became known as “dynamic equivalence” (later “functional equivalence”). This methodology later influenced secular translators in their work. This new methodology sought to retain local idioms through faithful adaptation of the text. His work helped jump-start the translation process that had previously relied heavily upon Western missionaries that were unfamiliar with the local language and its nuances. The newly developed dynamic equivalent translations were more readable and easily-understood than the stiff and wooden word-for-word translations that had been the previous standard.

Nida’s work fostered the creation of Bible translations in Navajo, Tagalog, Quechua, Hmong and hundreds of others. In the United States Nida’s work influenced the creation of the Good News Bible, a colloquial English-language version originally intended for non-native English speakers that was first published beginning in 1966. Nida’s legacy continues on at the American Bible Society through the Eugene A. Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship.


audio-icon-sm1LISTEN to Nida’s 1986 Morris Inch lecture at Wheaton College (mp3 – 0:47:24 in duration)

Frederick Buechner – Spy

Frederick BuechnerIn 1953 after great success and failure as a writer Frederick Buechner left his post at Lawrenceville School to write full time. After leaving the security of his job he found he was unable to write a word. Needing to make a living he pursued several options. After his initial failed attempt as a professional writer Buechner sought employment in the advertising world but found that he needed a toughness that he knew he didn’t have to weather the rejection that can come in that business. So, in a complete roundabout he sought work with the Central Intelligence Agency. The United States had developed a hydrogen bomb and Khrushchev had become the leader of the Soviet Union. If there was to be another war Buechner would have rather been in the CIA rather than back in the infantry. Buechner had to interrupt his studies at Princeton to serve in the United States Army from 1944 to 1946. When asked in an interview if he could inflict pain upon someone to extract vital information in order to save lives Buechner realized he didn’t have the stomach to torture someone and discarded the CIA as an option. After these failed attempts at writing and finding gainful employment Buechner found himself feeling that much of his life was a farce. Finding himself on his own pilgrim’s progress — his own divine comedy. This comedy took him to church, simply because he had nothing else to do with his Sunday morning. After listening to sermon after sermon Sunday after Sunday Buechner was drawn to George Buttrick’s sermons. One sermon, actually one phrase, in particular struck him with great significance. Buttrick, in an off-the-cuff comment described Christ’s refusal of Satan’s temptations and the counterfeit crown he was offered. Buttrick said that the inward coronation of Christ as King takes place in the hearts of those who believe in him. The coronation occurs “among confession, and tears, and great laughter.” Buechner stumbled upon the open door of God’s grace that had been opened to him as he mulled over the pair of words, “great laughter.” In his 1985 chapel address at Wheaton College he recounted that “On such foolish tenuous holy threads hang the destinies of all of us.” The spy’s secret life was of little significance for Buechner as he realized that there was a life hidden to him. He found what he had half or partly-seen at other times in his life. He said he “found Christ.” All the poetic, psychological or historical words he knew failed to fully describe this event. Buechner found he had to rest simply in the name of Christ.

Our Survival in the Nuclear Age – Robert McNamara

Robert McNamaraFebruary 4 marks the anniversary of the first U.S. helicopter being shot down over Viet Nam in 1962, just two months after helicopters arriving in Viet Nam to provide assistance to the South Vietnamese troops. There are few names associated with the entry into and the escalation of U.S. involvement in Viet Nam than Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara. He had overseen the growth of U.S. military non-combatant “advisers” from 900 to 16,00. There were well over one-half million troops in Viet Nam by the middle of 1968. McNamara’s legacy is tied to the Viet Nam era and the military strategies employed. Despite the negative assocations his defense expertise and intellect were still sought after. On February 4, 1988 McNamara delivered the the annual Tiffany Lecture on Foreign Affairs at Wheaton College. Mr. McNamara spoke on “Our Survival in the Nuclear Age.”

The Tiffany Memorial Lecture on Foreign Affairs aims to foster interest in and understanding of international affairs at Wheaton. The Tiffany fund was established to honor the memory of Orin Tiffany, a long-time Wheaton history professor who had a passion for foreign affairs. Prof. Tiffany had the honor of attending the 1945 San Francisco Conference that established the United Nations. Past speakers include Zbigniew Brzezinski, Mark Hatfield, John Lewis Gaddis, Robert Pastor, Anthony Lake, Robert Seiple, and James Turner Johnson.

Audio icon Listen (mp3 – 00:47:15)

Tragedy and Faith – Scott & Janet Willis

Sixteen years ago on November 8, 1994, Scott and Janet Willis were traveling outside Milwaukee, Wisconsin with the six youngest of their nine children. Scott was a pastor at the Parkwood Baptist Church in the Mt. Greenwood neighborhood on Chicago’s Far Southwest Side and Janet schooled the six younger children at their home on the second story of the church. In an instant their lives were forever changed as a piece of metal debris on the road punctured their gas tank and their minivan erupted in flames. The couple barely escaped with their lives as the inferno blazed throughout the van, instantly killing five of the children still buckled in their seats (Joe, Sam, Hank, Elizabeth, and Peter, ages 11 years to 6 weeks). Thirteen year old, Ben escaped the burning van but later died at the hospital with third degree burns over 90% of his body.

This horrific tragedy would throw this Chicago pastor and his family into the international spotlight and eventually lead to the imprisonment of former Illinois Governor George Ryan. The deaths of the Willis children came to symbolize the infamous licenses-for-bribes political scandal during Ryan’s tenure as Secretary of State before his election as Governor in 1999.

A year after the accident, the Willis’ bravely spoke before the Wheaton College chapel on November 17, 1995, to share their personal story of tragedy and testimony of faith. In subsequent years, they moved to Tennessee in 2004 and have been blessed with 25 grandchildren from their surviving three older children.

Audio icon Listen (mp3 – 00:28:29)


Heiko Oberman at Wheaton – Lutherfest

As Reformation Sunday approaches it is good to recall the work of God in the life of Martin Luther. In 1983, Wheaton College celebrated the quinquicentennial of the birth of Martin Luther with a semester of festivities. man between God and the devilDubbed Lutherfest, it included an Lutheran worship service in Edman Chapel with local Lutherans as well as an organ recital featuring Professor Warren Schmidt of Wartburg College. The pinnacle of the Lutherfest was an academic conference from September 19-21 that featured international scholars speaking on topics relating to Luther and Lutheranism.

The centerpiece of the conference was the renowned Reformation historian Heiko A. Oberman (1930-2001), who gave three plenary addresses during the conference. One of the greatest intellectual historians of the twentieth century, Oberman revolutionized Reformation studies by urging for interpretation of the Reformation especially in its late medieval context. In 1982, he published what has become a classic of Luther studies: Luther: Mensch zwischen Gott und Teufel, published in English in 1989 as Luther: man between God and the devil.

To commemorate Reformation Day, we’ve provided MP3 audio for all three of Oberman’s plenary talks.

Audio icon (The Formation of Martin Luther – mp3 – 01:04:47)


Audio icon (Luther in the Reformation – mp3 – 00:59:12)


Audio icon (The Influence of Martin Luther – mp3 – 00:59:32)

Let’s Celebrate

Dr. Lori Salierno is a nationally recognized public speaker and founder and CEO of Celebrate Life International, a non-profit organization committed to helping young people become leaders of integrity. Founded in 1996, CLI’s mission is “dedicated to transforming at-risk kids into responsible citizens through the building of their character based on practical leadership skills and universal ethical principles.” The organization is headquartered in Atlanta, Georgia with offices in California, Colorado, Louisiana, Cape Town (South Africa) and volunteer chapters established in metropolitan areas throughout the United States. Lori Salierno earned her BA in Biblical Studies from Seattle Pacific University and was presented the Distinguished Alumni Award in 1997. She later completed her Masters Degree in Theology at Fuller Theological Seminary in 1992. In 2003, Dr. Salierno received her Doctor of Ministry degree in Leadership Development from Asbury Theological Seminary. She has authored six books and currently resides in Kennesaw, Georgia, with her husband Kurt.

Lori spoke at Wheaton College on October 9, 1991 from Philippians 4 on the theme of celebrating our lives in Christ with joy.

Audio icon (mp3 – 00:22:50)

Remember the Birds

Dr. Jerry R. Kirk is former pastor of the College Hill Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. During his twenty-one year pastorate, in 1983 he founded the National Coalition Against Pornography, an alliance of citizen-action groups, foundations, and religious denominations leading the effort against child pornography, adult obscenity, sexual exploitation and violence. During that time he also co-founded the Religious Alliance Against Pornography (RAAP) with John Cardinal O’Connor of New York and Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago in 1986. In 1988 Jerry resigned his pastoral charge to commit his full-time energies to these efforts, now called the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families.

Dr. Kirk has worked with religious leaders representing more than 100 million Americans, from nearly every major denomination and faith group in the country, including the Jewish community, The Salvation Army, the National Council of Churches, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Roman Catholic Church, Greek Orthodox Church and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has met with Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and three different Attorneys General (including Edwin Meese). Dr. Kirk is a frequent speaker on the problem of pornography, sexual exploitation and violence, appearing on Dr. James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family” radio program eleven times, as well as, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “NBC Nightly News” with Tom Brokaw, Moody Broadcasting’s “Prime Time America” and most recently on FamilyLife with Dennis Rainey.

A native of Seattle, Washington, Dr. Kirk attended the University of Washington and has earned two graduate degrees. He has written two books, The Homosexual Crisis in the Mainline Church, The Mind Polluters, and numerous articles. He and his wife, Patty currently reside in Cincinnati and have five children and twenty-two grandchildren.

[excerpted from National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families and Leadership Magazine]


On February 16-17, 1994, Jerry Kirk spoke at Wheaton College for the Annual Staley Lecture series on the topic “The Christian Response to Pornography.” In his final chapel address on the theme ‘Knowing, Believing, Praying, and Living the Word of God,’ Kirk expounded on the love of God from Ephesians 3 and presented a powerful illustration.

I’ve tried to think how can I receive God’s love more constantly? One of my [church] members told me one day that every time she saw a cardinal she would stop and say “I love you,” putting the words in the lips of Jesus. So I started searching for cardinals…but you know I didn’t see enough cardinals, so I put up a bird feeder outside my office window and I’d see ten or fifteen cardinals every day. Then I decided I ought to do that anytime I see any bird. Everyday, every time I see a bird I thank Jesus Christ for His love. Seventy-five to one-hundred fifty times every day I receive the love of Christ. If you’ll do that for one week, you’ll never stop.

[Artwork by Matthew Cook]

Audio icon (mp3 – 00:29:05, illustration starts at 17:05)

Love the Lord Your God

Dr. J. Richard Chase, sixth president of Wheaton College, recently passed away at age 79. He was a college president for nearly a quarter century at Biola University & Wheaton College combined. Two years after his retirement, the President Emeritus returned to Wheaton and gave the 136th Undergraduate Commencement address on May 7, 1995. His message (excerpted below) was entitled “Love the Lord Your God.” He is introduced by his successor, Duane Litfin.


Graduates, the upheavals of change-experienced by people throughout time–are sure to swirl about you for as long as you live on the earth. The challenge to think and act Christianly today is tough, It is tough here in Wheaton, and, I suspect, far tougher in Burundi, Bosnia, and the barrios of the world. Society has never been an ideal cocoon for moral living: righteous living has never been the art of riding on society’s coattails. It has ever required a commitment to a guiding principle or foundation and the resolve to act responsibly. You may pick a time in ages past when you could travel with a “supportive” crowd in a “supportive” society, but true, righteous living is a matter of the heart, not a herd instinct.

A Pharisee, a teacher of the Law, asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36). The Pharisee’s predicament was not much different from that of modern man. He was caught in the turmoil of both his foundation for life and his career. In a matter of months, Jesus had turned this Pharisee’s world upside down. His conversation with Jesus and our Lord’s response, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34), suggest that he was agonizing in mind and soul. There he was, caught between his past occupation and pattern of life and a new, revolutionary way of trust, faith, and commitment. And this is to say nothing of the oppressive Roman rule under which he lived, and, as a religious leader, of the accommodations he had to make with the ruling officials to hold his position. He approached Jesus with a question to test him. Although this Pharisee wanted to put Jesus on the spot, he was curious. I suspect he wondered, Could this man Jesus, who answered the Herodians and Sadducees so powerfully, help me? He asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (v. 28).

And Jesus responded, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself” (vv. 30-31).

Living effectively and righteously is never easy. But our Lord’s brief response gives us a place to stand. Here is a foundation that helped Daniel in Babylon, Deborah the prophetess as she led Israel against the Canaanites, Wilberforce as he stood against the slave traders, and countless numbers of God’s people in every age. This commandment tells us to love the Lord and our neighbors with such passion that it can invigorate our minds, direct our actions, and enrich our souls. It provides an overpowering focus for lives cluttered with competing goals and distracting desires. Further, it is as valid and all encompassing today as it was twenty centuries ago.

My gift to you on this commencement day is but a reminder that Wheaton has brought you in contact with faculty who have informed, badgered, prodded, encouraged, guided, and yes, even graded you, in an attempt to equip you for a life of thinking. Think as you paint, play, perform, and counsel; think as you assist, reach, pray, relate, react, grieve; and think as you play and as you rejoice. Think within the context of an all-consuming love for our God and our world of neighbors.

Audio icon (mp3 – 00:23:19)


Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye

Sue Thomas was born in 1950. At the age of 18 months she experienced an instant and total hearing loss. With the support of her parents she spent years with therapists learning to communicate and read lips despite being profoundly deaf. Instead of being relegated to an institution her parents were determined to help their only daughter become a success among the hearing. Although having academic challenges as the only deaf child in her public school district near Boardman, Ohio, she focused her energies on skating and became the youngest Ohio State Champion free-style skater.

She persevered through her schooling and finally graduated from Springfield College in Massachusetts with a degree in Political Science and International Affairs. She was hired by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a fingerprint examiner and then as an undercover investigator doing surveillance work reading lips for the FBI agents in Washington D.C.

In 2002 her inspiring story was adapted for television and aired as a weekly drama. At its peak, “Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye” was watched by more than 2.5 million viewers in the United States and was syndicated in 60 countries. It has since generated a loyal fansite, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

Prior to her international acclaim, Sue Thomas spoke in Edman Chapel in December 1991 to the Wheaton College family and shared her Christian testimony. She had recently written her autobiography “Silent Night” which has since been updated for it’s 20th anniversary edition.

[excerpted from Wikipedia and Sue Thomas Productions]

Audio icon (mp3 – 00:38:26)

Rob Bell redux

In November 2003 Rob Bell, Jr. spoke at Wheaton College for the annual Staley Lecture Series. His three messages were entitled “Communicating Christ in Contemporary Culture.” Rob Bell is a teaching and founding pastor of Mars Hill in Grandville, Michigan. He is the author of Velvet Elvis and Sex God, and is a coauthor of Jesus Wants to Save Christians. He is also featured in a series of spiritual short films called NOOMA. Rob graduated from Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois and Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He and his wife Kristen have three children and live in Grand Rapids.

Audio icon#1(mp3 – 00:30:16) Audio icon#2(mp3 – 00:23:24) Audio icon#3(mp3 – 00:28:30)