Sunday, June 01, 2008

'Back in the USSR'--err Russia

Well I am in my fifth country on the world tour and will be teaching Christology here all week at Moscow Evangelical Seminary. Its currently light until almost 11 p.m. and its also light by 3:30 in the morning, so there is nothing dark about Moscow at this time of year... it is however in the 50s. This year Moscow Seminary graduated 17 students just in youth ministry never mind those with the other degrees. It is a thriving and interesting place. Christianity is alive and well here. Thanks for all those who keep praying for me on my Odyssey. I have lots of archaeological news from Turkey and hope to begin doing more posts soon. For now I will say that my predicted reaction to the Indiana Jones movie was right on target--- the officials here were upset.


Unknown said...

This really is quite the world tour. Will you be back at Asbury any time this summer? We were hoping to schedule a PhD visit, but would love to do it while you were there.

Marc Axelrod said...

You don't know how lucky you are boys.

Whoda thunk 25 years ago that evangelical profs would be able to teach God's word in Russia! Praise the Lord!

Mark Stevens said...

Hi Ben, I just wanted to thank you for your copy of Incandescence: Light Shed through the Word. It arrived from Morling College this morning. Thank you for your generosity.

I would also like to thank you (again) for what you passed on regarding Rhetoric and the book of Acts. Given that I am preaching through Acts this year it was very helpful. I also picked up Bock's commentary as you suggested.

Once again, thanks for making the trek to Australia. We look forward to your next visit, hopefully incorporating Adelaide and Perth!

Take care,

Mark Stevens, Adelaide Australia.

Andrew C. Thompson said...

Dr. Witherington,

I met Sergei Nikolaev last summer when he was in Durham doing work with the Wesley Summer Seminar here at Duke. I understand he has recently been named the president of the seminary in Moscow. Sergei might remember me, as he and one other Russian pastor named Ellena had supper at my wife and my home. If you see him while you are there, please tell him I said hello. The Wesley Summer Seminar just started today, and I thought about him during our opening session.

I understand these are not easy times for Protestant churches in Russia. I pray for our Methodist brothers and sisters there.

Ben Witherington said...

Hi Micah
I will be in Lexington beginning June 15th and thereafter. I do not live in Wilmore and except for a couple of weeks toward the end of July when we are at the beach I will be in Lexington and we can schedule a visit at Solomons Porch in Wilmore.


Ben W.

Ben Witherington said...

Hi Mark:

Glad you got your copy of Incandescence.

Good on you mate :)
Ben W.

Ben Witherington said...

Hi Andrew

I am teaching at Moscow Evangelical Seminary not at the Methodist one and to my knowledge it is not functioning again here yet. In fact all the Presbyterians Nazarenes etc. are all coming here to Moscow Evangelical now that their operations have been precluded.

Ben W.

Ben Witherington said...

This is becoming an interesting discussion. To Brigitte I say that in fact that while the Scriptural demands do not imply ability necessarily, other things in Scripture do, for example Paul's assumption that his disciples can indeed respond by the power of the Spirit to his various urgings, and indeed can work out their salvation with fear and trembling. He does indeed assume they can be virtuous, and for example in 1 Cor. 10 he says they most definitely can resist and flee and avoid temptation. Once more with feeling, Romans 7 is not about the Christian life, it is a Christian perspective of the pre-Christian existence in bondage to sin.

As to why I did what I did, reasons vary, but one thing is clear. Many times in my life I have not only done what I knew was not best (ex. staying up until 4 in the morning with the guys at Carolina partying) I have equally often done what I did not 'want' or 'desire' to do (example shoveling manure on a boy scout trip, and cleaning out the portajohns). In some cases duty calls and you do what you certainly have no desire or want to do. In some cases the emotions of the moment get the best of you and you do what you know is not for the best.


Ben W.

Ben Witherington said...

Hi James: Unfortunately you and the Orthodox mystical tradition are dead wrong about this. It is the Orthodox tradtion that is out of sync with Ancient Near Eastern thinking including Jewish thinking about such subjects. Clearly enough Biblical thought involves some inherent tensions and antinomies but not flat contradictions. Truth and flat contradictions are incompatible and indeed incoherency results. At the end of the day truth is not honored with such ideas, it is denigrated.