Here is the post I promised I would write on what I learned in my DTS lecture phase!
As you can tell by taking a look at the scroll bar, this is a bit of a long one. (My counter says I’ve got 3523 words!) So, for your navigating-ease, I have provided a table of contents below. You can click on the links in the table to jump to the different parts of the page.
Also, just a little note: I have paraphrased much of the lecture teachings, but a lot of the quotes were just too juicy to be altered. These sentences and phrases are indicated in italics.
Orientation Week (Derick Domae and Greg Lilley)
- We should receive the DTS teachings like the Bereans did in Acts 17: with joy but checking to see whether they are confirmed in Scripture.
- We are all more than worth the inconveniences that we cause each other.
- God speaks directly to us in many supernatural ways, even now. However, He usually chooses to reveal Himself through the ways that we expect Him to.
- There have been abuses of spiritual gifts. This, however, doesn’t legitimize our negligence to pursue them.
Week 1: The Father-Heart of God (David McDaniel)
- The sum of theology proper is: God is big and God is good.
- When we do not know God as He truly is, it causes us to doubt and reject Him and to choose inferior things as the objects of our trust and desire. But the opposite holds true: the better we know Him, the more we trust and love Him. Thus, for example, when we come to see that even the category of ethics is an expression of God’s goodness meant to safeguard life, it annihilates legalism and nurtures devotion. Because our knowledge of God informs our sense of value and this in turn determines the choices we make, an accurate knowledge of God is foundational to everything in life.
- The Bible is essential in our having an accurate knowledge of God but intellectual assent to its written words is not enough; the Holy Spirit must illuminate the words to bring the revelation of the truth about God to bear upon our hearts.
- As a result of coming to know God better, we are able to come to know ourselves better as His image-bearers.
Week 2: Worship (David McDaniel)
- Praise is speaking out specifically the goodness and bigness of God to encourage yourself and others to trust Him.
- Worship is a heart that bows. Therefore, it is not limited to a certain style or setting.
- God transforms us as we worship.
Week 3: Lordship of Christ (Matthew Toller)
- The Bible’s overarching narrative in its united entirety is that of God’s being the truthful and faithful King.
- From the very beginning, God released without expectation; Adam is created and immediately brought not into a day of work but into the Sabbath-rest.
- Your sin does not cause God to flee from you. Your sin causes you to flee from God. Your sin causes God to pursue you.
- The world is in an arranged marriage: the Father sovereignly chooses the bride for His Son and brings the bride and the Bridegroom together. The words of Jesus’ prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane are reflective of Jewish marriage customs: in saying, “May this cup be taken from me,” Jesus acknowledges the greatness of the bride price but in saying, “May Your will be done,” He confirms His willingness to pay it.
- The intention of the message of the cross is not to bring guilt. Rather, the intention of the message of the cross is to set us free from guilt. Repentance is the fruit of forgiveness and righteousness is the fruit of grace.
- As a result of His grace, we are able to walk on the path of simple obedience. The path to your greatest destiny is made up of 10,000 baby steps.
Week 4: Inductive Bible Study (Chrissy McGee)
- Knowledge of the Bible is essential in our avoidance of errors like moralistic therapeutic deism.
- The Bible corroborates our theology and our theology informs our reading of the Bible.
- Inductive Bible study begins with the careful observation of Scripture, and is followed by interpretation and the distillation of timeless truths. The practical application of these timeless truths is the goal of Bible study.
Week 5: Holy Spirit (Greg Lilley)
- Holy Spirit is at work even now and is willing to communicate with us.
- As we interact with Holy Spirit, He reveals the passions of His heart. And if you want to know what Holy Spirit likes to talk about, He likes to talk about Jesus.
- The Holy Spirit is not an impersonal force—He is God.
- Holy Spirit is better at leading than you are at following and He’s better at speaking and communicating than you are at listening. Thus, if our sincere desire is to seek Him, He is faithful to lead us into all truth, especially in the context of a community that is grounded in the knowledge of the Bible, even though we may, particularly as individuals, be prone to misunderstanding Him sometimes.
- The Holy Spirit is present and active throughout the Old Testament to inspire beautiful art and to empower people to accomplish God’s purposes.
- Tongues, prophecies, and healings are not the icing on the cake for the life of the church. Rather, they are valuable present revelations of God’s love to edify, guide, and restore.
- A lack of personal experiences should not dictate our theology. The Bible should.
- The reality of the Holy Spirit’s current ministry means that we are obligated to obey Him.
Week 6: The Kingdom of God (Mark Banyard)
- All believers have a specific personal calling.
- The fivefold offices of ministry in the church exist to equip and enable believers to fulfill their specific personal callings.
- We are able to step out into our callings when we, with hearts of gratitude and joy, choose to partner with God’s guidance. Change is inevitable but transformation is not—transformation requires a choice. Thus, passivity makes it impossible for us to pursue our callings.
- Your Kingdom calling will not be fulfilled while you are living in the realm of what you can do. We are called to minister in the supernatural. God’s guidance should take us into the realm of what is humanly impossible so that signs, wonders, and miracles accompany and confirm the testimony of our faith.
- All Christians, regardless of their doctrinal distinctives, affirm that their new life began through the miraculous work of God in regeneration.
- The church should not exist in the plane of what is merely natural and humanly possible—supernatural joy and power give the church an effective witness.
- Jesus spoke about the church twice but He spoke about His Kingdom a total of 53 times. The church was not created for the church; it exists to express the Kingdom of God which is the manifest government of heaven upon earth—a higher reality being manifested in a lower reality.
Week 7: Freedom (Pete Mahoney)
- Christians are not merely forgiven sinners. A real ontological change occurs when we are regenerated and the Holy Spirit really does come to take up a home in the believer’s heart.
- Some of us believe in a Jesus that forgives but doesn’t change us. If you have a Jesus who cannot change you but who can only forgive you, you have the wrong Jesus. Jesus’ passion is to transform us. This happens as we pursue a deeper communion with Him by partnering in faith with the truth. It is especially important that we come into agreement with the reality of Christ’s indwelling presence in us.
- The areas of our current weakness may very well be the areas which God desires to make our areas of greatest strength and effectiveness. Satan is cunning—he will strategically target our God-given destinies.
- The primary way in which Satan’s strongholds are built is through sin. Thus, sin is our first opponent in the battle for spiritual freedom. Sin cannot be managed; it must be killed through repentance. Don’t let the devil ride because he’ll want to drive. Repentance is a supernatural gift from God. Repentance is not about shame; it’s about release from shame. Repentance does not mean self-inflicted punishment, but rather a turning away from sin and a turning toward God.
- When we repent, we must immediately receive God’s forgiveness. By receiving His forgiveness and not staying in a place of paralyzing guilt, we destroy the devil’s schemes.
- We attain freedom through walking in the opposite spirit of Satan’s strongholds. This involves 1) the repentance of sin; 2) the receiving of forgiveness; 3) the rebuking of the enemy; and 4) the replacing of lies with truth.
- Even believers can allow themselves to be strongly influenced by evil spirits when they give access to the enemy.
- We oppose the enemy—and are able even to cast out unclean spirits—not through the rote recitation of Scripture (which is dead apart from our living in its reality) but in the authority that Christ has invested in us.
- An injustice is a way that the enemy tries to get you to fight back in your own authority rather than in the authority of Christ. We must surrender the right to understand why injustices happen to us. When we forgive and bless those who wrong us, we are fulfilling Christ’s commission to us that we should display His lamblike nature to the world.
Week 8: Spiritual Warfare (Jono Turner)
- As Christians, we are more than a people of principles or a people of theology: we are a people of a living relationship with God. Your theology will not comfort you on those days [of tribulation]. You have to know God is good because you’ve personally experienced His goodness. And it is in our experiential knowledge of Him—and in the knowledge of our identity and authority as sons and daughters of God—that we are able to defeat the devil in spiritual warfare.
- Spiritual warfare is less about rebuking the darkness than it is about bringing the light. When we rebuke the darkness in the same spirit as the darkness itself, we imitate the very attitude of Satan.
- Satan’s two main strategies are to cause us to question God’s nature and to cause us to forget our God-given identity.
- Strongholds—with the exceptions of those that come through traumatic events—are built through a process. Wrong thoughts enter our minds, whether or not that is the result of any conscious choice on our part. These thoughts, when entertained, become attitudes and we fortify our attitudes by building up belief systems.
- The weapons of spiritual warfare are repentance, truth, authority, forgiveness, prayer and declarations, and a humble obedient life. The heart conditions of a spiritual warrior are humility and submission; confession and repentance; an aggressive resistance against Satan, and a heart full of hope.
- As we attain deeper communion with God, areas of bondage formerly invisible come into the light.
- Freedom comes through surrender: when we surrender to God we welcome His authority, rather than the enemy’s, into our lives. But if we surrender to what is evil, we welcome the authority of what is evil into our lives.
- To be transformed, we must engage truth with faith, conscience with obedience, and communion with hope.
- Objects, locations, and activities can all have a symbolic significance that opens doors to demonic influence.
- We should engage in spiritual warfare as a community rather than in isolation.
- Demonic influences can sometimes be at work when we have conflicts with people for trivial reasons or if illnesses are threatening to take a person’s life prematurely.
Week 9—Part One: Mercy (Jiro Tamura)
- Large-scale evangelistic crusades and the like cannot bring about national-level spiritual renewal in Japan while most local expressions of the church are so ineffective in reaching the lost.
- One major reason that the church is ineffective in reaching Japan is because many times what is being preached is not actually being practiced. What is being preached is largely internal and theoretical and lacking practical application. This was the state of the church of Rwanda in 1994. Comprising 90% of the country’s population, it could have and should have stopped the genocide. However, it was ineffective to do so, because congregations were not being taught that there was a need to repent for the sin of ethnic hatred. In the words of a Rwandan pastor, “The cause was that the churches narrowed and distorted the gospel and did not live for the calling given by God.”
- The local expressions of the church should ascertain the problems of the community in which it is placed and seek to alleviate them in a holistic way by addressing all four areas of human need: 1) education; 2) health; 3) spiritual wellbeing; and 4) social wellbeing.
- The steps to a healthy community-led development program are: 1) relationship building; 2) developing leaders; 3) analysis of resources/problems; 4) setting the vision; 5) planning; 6) enactment of the program; 7) monitoring and evaluation; and 8) celebration. In this way, it is possible to help a community recognize its own resources and abilities, while avoiding the twin snares of despair and dependancy.
- As Christians, we have a mandate to be engaged in the world that we inhabit. We should be involved in politics. We should be involved in protecting the environment.
- Churches can either evaluate themselves by the number of members that they have or by the amount of grace flowing outward into the community from the church, in which case the number of members is irrelevant.
Week 9—Part Two: Arts and the Kingdom (Yu Shibuya)
- Art reflects the creative nature of God.
- If Christian art is of a highest quality and it reflects the culture of God’s Kingdom, even if it is not obviously or explicitly Christian—and sometimes precisely because it is not obviously or explicitly Christian—it has the power to infiltrate into and transform popular culture in a way that prepares people to receive the gospel.
- We need not necessarily shun the art or the popular culture of the secular world (though it is wise to set safeguards for our hearts). We should celebrate and affirm even the smallest reflections of the Kingdom in art that is produced by the world.
- Art is a powerful thing in the hands of the devil but also in the hands of God’s people. While trends fluctuate wildly due to the strategy of the enemy to keep people chasing after futile things, they more fundamentally reflect humanity’s pursuit of satisfaction (which can only be found in a relationship with God).
Week 10: Evangelism (Arthur Hollands)
- Our lives are supposed to be an adventure of sorts. It is neither right nor necessary to lead a boring life. We must be experiencing God’s love in a dynamic way in order for us to return our love to God and in order for us to love others and even ourselves. In fact, failure in this area and the resulting religious atmosphere has greatly impeded the ability of the church to reach Japan. The product is good so it’s apparent that the problem is in the salespeople. Japan needs more happy evangelists. You can only share the Christ who lives in your heart.
- Japan is not a difficult mission field—we would do good to stop perpetuating this myth. The need may be great, but not too great for God; the spiritual battle may be heavy, but it can be fought by faith. So, are you going to look at reality or are you going to grasp God’s truth?
- We do not need to be good at every type of ministry. While we are called to step out of our comfort zones, if we are constantly ministering outside of our giftings, it is impossible for us to hide the fact that we are gritting our teeth and this affects our ability to witness with power and joy.
- In deciding whether to engage in a “difficult” ministry such as reaching out to drug addicts, we must first discern whether we truly have a calling to such a ministry and we must secondly discern whether those to whom we are ministering have a desire to be ministered to. We cannot force change.
- God equips us in a special way to minister effectively in the areas of our passions.
Week 11: Cross-Cultural Relationships (Rebecca Koenig)
- An us/them mentality creates a separation and reflects a xenophobic attitude as well as an arrogance with regard to possessing the gospel. One of the greatest ways to destroy this barrier is for us to expose our own vulnerabilities.
- Culture is an outward expression of what we believe is real.
- Different cultures have different standards for things such as personal space and appropriate amounts of physical contact between members of the opposite or same sex. People are not necessarily right or wrong for having different standards than you. However, as a missionary, you do not impose your culture on others but you rather place yourself in the culture you are seeking to reach no matter how uncomfortable it may be (so long as it does not involve disobeying God’s will).
- If we are spiritually passive, we can easily absorb the effects of the negative spiritual undercurrents that are operating in a culture.
- If you do not love yourself, how on earth could you love your neighbor? If you are not at peace with how you look or if you are not at peace with the personality that makes up who you are, if you are not at peace with the type of emotional person that you are… And I say the word, “at peace,” because it’s not about liking or loving something. We have to be at peace with who God has created us to be. So if I cannot accept myself and how God has created me to be physically and emotionally, then how can I accept my neighbor for who he or she is? We might not like who we are everyday. But we must be at peace. Because if we are at peace with who we are and where we are, then we will be at peace with those around us. If we don’t accept who we are, there is no way that we can accept the other.
- We must preach the gospel with the fear of God. The people to whom we speak are individual people, like us, with hopes and pains and joys and worries and humor, just like me. They’re not just cardboard cutouts that you’re going to speak at.
- Evangelism is a relatively easy task but discipleship is difficult. As responsible missionaries, we must give people the tools they need to navigate difficult moral dilemmas. Pat answers and simplistic proof-texting in such contexts can yield to tragic and even deadly results.
- The more sensitive you are towards each other, the more those around you will see the love of Christ. And be honest with each other. Be honest with your leaders. If you’re not and you use the God-card you are answerable to God. It is okay to feel the way that you do. You can own it, but then walk in maturity. And if you cannot maintain unity in your team, then you have no business ministering. You might as well go home. Because everything that comes out of your mouth is tainted… Own your junk. Hold each other accountable because you love each other.
- The most important thing is that we truly love the people we meet.
Week 12: Destiny and Calling (Greg Lilley and Derick Domae)
- Though the seasons of your life may change, your unchanging identity should be that of being a priest and a possession of God.
- Different seasons of our life will highlight different aspects of our relationship with God. We must cooperate with God in the seasons in which He has placed us.
- If we fall morally after having experienced DTS, we may be tempted to view DTS as having been a waste. But we must follow the example of David in quickly repenting and continuing to pursue God.
- Our intimacy with God will determine our faithfulness to Him in the long run.
- Finances will be an area in which we are tested. The test of low finances is spiritually less dangerous than the test of high finances.
- We must return from DTS back to our home churches not as agitators but as servants. Value relationships above all and be a voice that champions the church.
- We are called to bring the Kingdom wherever we go.