Paul Hartog Publishes Major Book
Dr. Paul Hartog, vice president of academic services and dean of Faith Baptist Bible College, has published a major new academic work titled Polycarp’s Epistle to the Philippians and the Martyrdom of Polycarp. This title is part of the Oxford Apostolic Fathers series published by Oxford University Press. Dr. Hartog is a leading Polycarpian scholar in international academic circles and spent several years writing this commentary. You will find a description of the book and ordering information through Amazon. Faith is honored to have a man of Dr. Hartog’s standing as a teacher and academic officer. Read on to find out more about the writing of this book.
What made you decide you wanted to write on Polycarp?
I wrote my doctoral dissertation on Polycarp’s use of the New Testament, and I have continued to research and write on Polycarpian literature ever since.
When were you first approached to write on Polycarp?
The invitation to write this specific volume came after presenting a paper at an academic conference examining the Apostolic Fathers held at Oxford University. Editors from a series of books on the Apostolic Fathers organized that conference and edited the published proceedings.
How long did it take you to write it?
FOREVER! (according to my sweetheart) ? I spent between 15 and 20 hours a week working on the project over the space of four years.
What was your favorite part of the process?
Finishing! ? Being able to write a full commentary, from introductory matters, through textual issues and translation, to comprehensive exegetical notes.
As you studied Polycarp, what intrigued you most?
Several things struck me: the nature of the moral exhortation in his epistle, the manner in which the Martyrdom promoted communal formation, and the difficulties faced in critically analyzing Polycarp’s life history and martyrdom.
For the common reader, what is one fact about Polycarp that would be interesting to know?
His one extant epistle is an early witness to the transmission and use of New Testament documents. He almost certainly employed Romans, 1 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1 Timothy, 1 Peter, and 1 John. He probably used Matthew, 2 Corinthians, and 2 Timothy. And he possibly used other books, including Luke, Acts, and 2 Thessalonians.
Why is Polycarp relevant for Christians today?
Polycarp was martyred for his faith in Christ, thus serving as an example of firm Christian commitment.
Where is your book going to be used most?
Most likely, only research libraries and select scholars of early Christianity will purchase volumes in the Oxford Apostolic Fathers series (the high cost of the volumes reflects this limited audience).
Have you started working on another book or do you plan to?
I have other book contracts lined up, as time permits. The projects range from more popular level works to other volumes with academic presses.
Effective Summer Ministries
This past summer many Faith students had the opportunity to travel here and abroad as they completed their internships or took mission trips.
• Charlie Carter, a senior in the Pastoral Training/Greek program completed his pastoral internship in New Woodstock, New York.
• Natalie Bunjer, a senior in the Local Church Ministries/Missions program, took the opportunity to go on a six-week mission internship to Landshut, Germany.
• Pamela Betz, a junior in the Office Administration/Women’s Ministry program, ministered with the Faith Chorale for three weeks in the Netherlands, France, and Germany. She spent an extra month after that tour working with missionaries in Berlin, Germany, and in La Rochelle, France.
Hear from these students as they share what God has done in their lives this past summer.
What led your desire for the location in which you served in this summer?
Charlie: I never had considered going far for an internship, especially being a farm kid from Iowa, but God provided an opportunity to go to New York so I went!
Natalie: I was born and lived in Germany until I was 9 years old. My parents were missionaries to Bavaria at that time. I believe God has used the short time I got to live in Germany to give me a heart for the country and for the people. I have had that desire for some time, but now having spent six weeks immersed in the culture and with the people, God has given me a much stronger passion for Germany.
Pamela: Initially I tried out to be a part of the European Chorale because I saw it as a great opportunity to minister alongside my friends doing something I love--singing! From there God continued to fuel my passion to get more involved and learn more about the work God is doing in Europe by working alongside missionaries and learning from them on a personal level.
How did you see God at work?
Charlie: God showed Himself in big ways throughout my internship! I had opportunities to preach and teach as well as work with individuals. I could see Him at work in the church in the lives of the people the whole time I was there!
Natalie: Throughout the whole trip God was hard at work in my life. Though I could speak some German, I never felt like I could communicate effectively. Throughout my time there, God drastically improved my speaking ability, and my last week in Germany I was able to be a counselor at camp. A big answer to prayer came on Friday during camp. One of the girls in my room was unsaved and I was praying for an opportunity to sit down and talk about the gospel with her. Friday morning I just sat and prayed for a long time that today (the last day) might be the day. God answered that prayer and Leonie placed her faith in Jesus Christ Friday evening!
Pamela: I tried to go into this trip with the mindset that “God is always at work.” For instance, while singing on the streets of Paris, God allowed our Chorale to cross paths with Tony and Shamel. They came to our concert the next day and several of our Chorale members were able to build relationships with them and share the gospel. Six weeks later, the day before I flew back to the States, I went back to Paris and was able to find Tony again! It was an encouragement to hear that he had gone back to church and that God was still working in his heart weeks after we had met him.
What did you learn about how culture impacts the way people live and understand the gospel?
Natalie: True Christianity and true believers are far less common in Germany than here in the United States. A lot of them are first generation Christians, and they live out their Christian walk so earnestly and genuinely. To them, Christianity isn’t just what you do but who you are. I was so impacted and challenged by how real being a Christian was to them and how honest they were about their struggles.
Charlie: I learned that God bridges the gap to help you minister no matter where you are and that the Holy Spirit can speak the truth to someone’s heart anywhere!
What did you learn or experience that will change the way you live and represent Christ in your community and church?
Natalie: I was impressed with the number of one-on-one discipleship Bible studies that take place weekly among the believers in the church. This is what I want to start implementing in my own life from both directions: being discipled by an older and wiser Christian and taking the time to start discipleship with a younger girl in my church.
Pamela: While working alongside missionaries in Europe, I learned from their creative ways to reach people, their servant hearts, and how the love for God spilled into the lives of others. I do not want to put “ministry” into a box, but rather live out every moment in service to my King!
Charlie: My internship really opened my eyes to what pastoral ministry really looks like. The pulpit really is the cherry on top of the sundae! It’s not that you don’t emphasize and greatly enjoy the preaching and teaching of the Word of God, but you spend a lot of time—almost all of your time—with people! Studying at Faith had taught me that the ministry is people. I was able to take that and see what it really looks like on a day-to-day level.
What was the most challenging aspect of your trip?
Charlie: Effective ministry cannot be centered on you at all! It was a challenge to me to continually be looking out for opportunities to minister and to keep working hard! I was really stretched out of my comfort zone at times!
Natalie: The most challenging aspect of my trip was speaking the language and overcoming my fear of speaking the language. It was challenging, exhausting, miserable, and so rewarding all at the same time. Though it wasn’t always fun or easy, I am so, so thankful for this challenge.
Pamela: It was challenging to be outside of my element, away from my family, people who speak my language and away from all things familiar. I was challenged as I tried to get to know people and minister to people in ways that I wasn’t as familiar with or comfortable with.
What did you enjoy most about your trip?
Natalie: I loved the country, the culture, the people, and the food! I don’t think I can narrow down what I enjoyed most. However, one of the highlights was the times I got to spend with the youth group. There were about 20 of them on average, and they were probably the most welcoming and accepting teens I have ever met. It was so special to be able to develop relationships with many of the girls and now, thanks to technology, I am still able to communicate with them.
Pamela: I most enjoyed the people I was able to meet throughout Europe. Whether it be the people who graciously opened up their homes, people I met on the street, people I was able to share the gospel with, believers whose love for God and others overflowed, missionary families who opened up their lives and their hearts, or the children and youth I was able to connect with, I was continually blessed by the people God allowed my path to cross with!
Charlie: The time I enjoyed the most was with the families that I stayed with. I stayed at a different house every week!
How has your time so far at Faith prepared you for this ministry?
Natalie: My time at Faith has given me the opportunity to study God’s Word indepth as well as take classes relating to missions and culture that all aided me during this trip.
Pamela: I am thankful for all that I have learned during my time at Faith about my God and His Word. The more I know Him, the more desire I have to serve Him!
Back to Jamaica
Tashika Witter, from Black River, St. Elizabeth, Jamaica, shares her story of how God used Faith to prepare her to return to Jamaica to live and teach.
How long did you study in the college and seminary here at Faith?
I attended Faith for four years, two years in college and two years in seminary.
Where did you begin your college training and what did you study?
I started at The University College of the Caribbean (UCC) in Kingston, Jamaica, where I was enrolled in the Human Resource Management program. Within the first year of study, I sensed God’s leading to attend Bible college, which led me to Fairview Baptist Bible College in Westmoreland, Jamaica, where I completed an Associate of Arts Degree in Theology (Church Ministries) in 2009. I then transferred to Faith and completed my Bachelor’s degree with an emphasis in Biblical Counseling in 2011. In the fall of that year, I enrolled in Faith Baptist Theological Seminary and graduated in May 2013 with a Masters of Arts degree in Theological Studies.
What brought you to Faith?
In order to complete my undergraduate degree, I started applying to different Bible colleges in my final year at Fairview. God used some key individuals who are alumni of Faith—Erik and Becky Stumpf and Carrie Ausgburger—to direct me to Faith. I praise Him for how He sovereignly brought all the pieces together.
What is a fun memory/story from your time at Faith?
Adjusting to the weather was indeed funny (funnier now that I'm looking back rather than living it out). One of my recurring thoughts my first fall was "How will I even make it to winter (or through it for that matter!) since it's only fall and I'm so cold!?" That first winter (2009) was indeed one to remember. There were days when I thought "Well, that was good experience; I think it's time to head home now."
Another funny experience was when I visited Florida over a Christmas break. I found myself saying to someone, "Oh, come on, this really isn't cold at all; it's just right." I was even dressed lighter than most people I saw. I'd see some individuals in winter jackets, and I would smile because I now only needed a jacket. It was wonderful to see how God used these changes to bring about the right perspective in my life.
What was the highlight of your time at Faith?
The highlight of my time at Faith was how much I grew in my walk with God. The different experiences of culture, climate (primarily winter), food, and academics, as well as the individuals with whom I forged lifelong friendships, all worked together in affording me the awesome opportunity of better knowing and experiencing the sovereignty and grace of God. He used my time at Faith to mature my faith.
Now that you have graduated and are back in Jamaica, what are your plans?
I will be teaching at Fairview starting in spring 2014, an opportunity that I am very enthused about, and I await God’s guidance on how He will continue to lead regarding further vocational opportunities.
How do you plan to use what you gained at Faith in the lives of the people you serve at home?
I believe the knowledge and experience gained during my time at Faith will be invaluable to the ministry opportunities I am involved in at my local church (e.g., teaching Sunday school, summer camp), as well as of significant importance in my teaching engagement at Fairview and any other vocational opportunities God may allow.
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