Regent Uni­versity Pro­fessor Emeritus Jon Ruthven is scheduled to speak April 6 and 7 on the­ology and Jesus’ mission for the religion depart­ment’s Faith in Life lecture series.
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Jon Ruthven, pro­fessor emeritus of Regent Uni­versity and charis­matic min­ister, is this year’s lec­turer for the religion department’s Faith in Life Series on April 6 – 7.
“It’s a series in which we try to get speakers who will give lec­tures that are the­o­log­i­cally rich and nev­er­theless directed toward living the Christian life,” said Tom Burke, pro­fessor of religion and department chair.
A graduate of Trinity Evan­gelical Divinity School and Mar­quette Uni­versity, where he received his doc­torate in the­ology in 1989, Ruthven pas­tored a church for 12 years, spent two years founding a min­istry training school in Nairobi, Kenya, and served as pro­fessor of the­ology at Regent Uni­versity Divinity School for 18 years. He taught 26 dif­ferent classes there.
During the last four years, he estab­lished a doctor of min­istry track at United The­o­logical Sem­inary in Dayton, Ohio, grad­u­ating 47 stu­dents during that time. Research in this track focused on repli­cating the healing mission and message of Jesus as empha­sized in the New Tes­tament and observing the results of these training pro­grams.
Ruthven now works with with a large mis­sions orga­ni­zation to create a Christian worker training program. He said this the­ology empha­sizes training like that the dis­ciples of the Gospel received in order to heal the sick, cleanse lepers, and cast out demons through the powers of the Holy Spirit.
Ruthven said when he tried to develop a min­istry training program that con­formed more closely to the methods and stan­dards of Jesus, he found that he did not under­stand the Gospel as well as he thought. He returned to a more bib­lical emphasis and quest for an authentic Chris­tianity from Jesus — not just about Jesus.
Tra­di­tional min­istry training pro­grams, he said, focus on an aca­demic grasp of infor­mation rather than on spir­itual intimacy with God and his prac­tical mission.
“The typical min­ister today don’t go around healing people and cleansing lepers and raising the dead, but some of my stu­dents were doing exactly that,” Ruthven said.
Ruthven said one of his stu­dents helped found what may be some of the most suc­cessful mis­sion­aries in Chris­tianity, con­verting 2 million over 20 years and pro­ducing 18,000 pastors and Christian workers in Eastern Africa. Ruthven said mis­sion­aries have been espe­cially suc­cessful in at least three provinces in Mozam­bique, where many have con­verted from Islam to Chris­tianity.
“What they do is exactly what I had in mind for training Christian min­isters and workers,” he said.
Ruthven will lecture on “The Quest for Authentic The­ology” April 6 at 4 p.m. in Phillips Audi­torium; “The Original Mission of Jesus,” April 6 at 8 p.m. in Phillips Audi­torium; and “The Original Mission of Jesus for Us,” April 7 at 4 p.m. in Dow A & B.
Ruthven said he hopes the lec­tures encourage stu­dents to expe­rience for them­selves the original com­mission of Jesus to his dis­ciples in the Gospels.
“Pray for people, and see what happens,” he said. “Don’t be ashamed of the Gospel because when you try it, it works.”

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Emma Vinton
A senior and English major from Brighton, Michigan, this is Emma’s second year as assistant editor of the Features page for the Collegian. She has interned as a writer and editor at Faith Magazine in Lansing and at Family Research Council in Washington D.C. doing research on marriage and family issues. She enjoys writing about culture, literature, and religion. This is her sixth semester contributing to the Collegian.