Hot Off the Press

by   |  08.29.14  |  Announcements

Congratulations to James Thompson on his new book The Church According to Paul: Rediscovery Community Conformed to Christ. The book is a wonderful addition to his other titles also published by Baker Academic (Pastoral Ministry according to Paul; Moral Formation according to Paul; Preaching Like Paul; and Hebrews). See Baker Academic Press.

The reviews are in and the verdict is plain, you will be blessed by this book.

“James Thompson, always with one foot planted firmly in the academy and the other in the church, has given us a highly insightful, theologically rich, and timely study of the apostle Paul’s view of the church—one of the best Pauline ecclesiologies in print. Thompson argues compellingly that Paul’s first-century vision of the church as a distinctive community speaks clearly to the twenty-first century. This excellent volume should be studied not only by students of Paul, but also by all who are (rightly) concerned about the identity and mission of the church today.”

Michael J. Gorman, St. Mary’s Seminary & University, Baltimore, Maryland

The Church according to Paul is as challenging as it is clever. It is clever because Thompson takes contemporary visions of the church and replaces the language of their proponents with Paul’s own language, thereby upturning today’s categories. It is challenging because it virtually dares those who are concerned with the state of the church today to rethink the church according to the mind of Paul. All in all, The Church according to Paul is a useful and quite valuable read for anyone interested in either the church or the Bible, perhaps even both.”

Raymond F. Collins, Brown University

“Diagnoses of the church’s problems and prescriptions for its flourishing abound. As James Thompson wisely observes, however, most contemporary discussion of the church shows little evidence of engagement with the letters of Paul. In this careful volume, Thompson studies the church in Paul’s words and his work, in the hope that Paul’s rich wisdom might have its rightful place in contemporary Christian reflection.”

Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Baylor University

“In this stunning and much-needed study of Pauline ecclesiology, Thompson offers far more than careful historical scholarship concerning the apostle’s understanding of church. While his analysis provides a first-class treatment of Paul’s letters as first-century documents, he also rediscovers ideas that speak to the contemporary church. The result of Thompson’s work is that rare learned book that is grounded in sure-footed and careful biblical scholarship yet speaks powerfully to the church today about its role and outreach to modern society. A scintillating achievement that is vital for the church as it seeks to understand its continuing role in the wider secular culture.”

Paul Foster, School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh


Quick Look at the GST’s Degree Offerings

by   |  08.25.14  |  Announcements

Our program is built on the fine reputation of our faculty and the quality of the curriculum. I am often asked about the various degree offerings. Below are several pdf brochures describing the various GST degrees.

Contact us today if you are interested in pursuing a masters degree with the Graduate School of Theology.

The Top 20 Online Theology Master’s Degree Programs

by   |  06.11.14  |  Announcements

Abilene Christian University’s M.A. in Christian Ministry was recently recognized as one of “The Top 20 Online Theology Master’s Degree Programs” by Here is the link to that article: selected ACU’s program based on several weighted factors, including academic excellence, course offerings, accomplishment of faculty, and reputation, including reputation for online degree programs. is a leading resource for prospective students seeking a college or university degree. Many schools in the United States reference our rankings including Auburn University, Boston University, Texas A&M University, Fordham University, and many more.

The Master of Arts in Christian Ministry is designed to equip individuals for competent leadership in specialized ministry fields. With many elective hours, students can personalize the MACM to their particular ministry passions and interests. Students have specialized in youth and family ministry, children’s ministry, education ministry, and many other fields. For more information about ACU’s MACM degree, follow this link.

Master of Arts in Global Service

by   |  05.31.14  |  ACU, Announcements, Contexual Education, Mission

MA web banner

The Mission Alive team is excited to announce a partnership between Abilene Christian University and Storyline Christian Community - a Dallas, Texas church planting in the Mission Alive community.

See original website here.

Storyline will serve as one of seven global “missional partner sites” for the Master of Arts in Global Service (MAGS) degree. The 48-hour MAGS degree is a cutting edge approach to education that combines online coursework, focused face-to-face learning within a cohort of peers, and mentoring in a particular ministry context.


Charles Kiser, Mission Alive Director of Training and Storyline Missionary, will mentor students as the Dallas MAGS Site Supervisor. MAGS students in Dallas will have many learning opportunities in mission and discipleship:


  • Experiencing the life of an extended family on mission (missional community) in a particular neighborhood or relational network
  • Equipping for the way of Jesus in a discipleship huddle
  • Identifying, befriending, and sharing faith with those who are searching for God
  • Leading a discipleship huddle for others
  • Seeing searchers take steps toward Jesus through the Alpha Course in missional community
  • Working for justice among the downtrodden in Dallas
  • Deepening prayer and spiritual discernment
  • Helping to start new missional communities
  • Participating in Mission Alive’s Mission Training for discipleship and mission
  • Receiving coaching and mentoring from practitioners in the trenches of mission

For more information, visit or call Charles Kiser at 214.471.5722.


July 1, 2014 is the registration deadline for the Fall 2014 cohort.


Bridging the Gap in Distance Education

by   |  05.16.14  |  ACU, Announcements, Ministry, Students

The Graduate School of Theology has a long history of educating students while they serve in local congregations.  Whether it’s a youth minister across town, a preacher in the Metroplex, or an intern working part-time for a rural congregation, we’ve always tried to provide flexible class options.  We have one-week intensive courses in August, January, and May.  We offer two-weekend short courses in the fall and spring semesters.  We even schedule our full-semester classes as three-hour blocks once a week so students who commute to campus can take classes on their day off.

This year, class options for our non-residential students got a lot more flexible.  Our accrediting agency – the Association of Theological Schools – approved our petition to offer up to 75% of the Master of Arts in Christian Ministry (MACM) in an online format.  For this 48-hour degree, that means only 12 credits – the remaining 25% – must be taken in a face-to-face setting.  That’s just four classes.  Students can take residential intensive classes when it best fits in their schedule while the majority of their coursework is completed online.  They don’t have to wait for required courses to be offered on the right day or in an intensive format.  They don’t have to spend so much time away from their families – or their ministries – taking classes on campus.  Students can serve congregations at a greater distance from Abilene, whether that’s across the country or around the world.  And all the while they’re still getting a world-class theological education from full-time GST faculty.  How’s that for the best of both worlds?  Serving students, serving the church – that’s what we’ve always done.

For more information about the MACM or our other degree options for non-residential students, contact Dr. Melinda (Mindi) Thompson, Director of Distance Education:, (325) 674-3706.


Master of Arts in Global Service

by   |  05.14.14  |  Announcements, Ministry, Mission

ACU’s new Master of Arts in Global Service offers a unique combination of features among distance education and ATS accredited degrees.  Students learn in the context of their choice with a group of peers and skilled mentors. They deepen their spiritual rhythms and missional discernment to serve and lead among a global mosaic of peoples.

The MAGS aims to equip students for service and leadership across a wide range of settings. It is an ideal degree for anyone who desires to increase their competence to work beyond their own cultural context. It can serve well anyone who wishes to:

  • Engage in emerging types of Christian ministry (simple church, house church, emerging church, neo-monastic communities)
  • Lead in social justice work, development, or peace-making work in a different culture
  • Work in a missionary setting: whether to North America or anywhere in the world
  • Bring a Christian perspective into an existing business or organization in cross-cultural contexts
  • Grow intercultural and theological capacities to bring into a church, parachurch, or marketplace
  • Work with a non-governmental organization


The overall goal of the MAGS is to provide three specific competencies:

Theologically Formed: 
Students integrate the biblical, historical and theological perspectives foundational for contemporary Christian practice, learning the heart of Christian theology in order to be able to integrate it into their work and translate its importance into other cultural settings.

Missiologically Aware: 
Students demonstrate an understanding of the mission of God and their place within it as individuals and members of the global Church, learning to discern God’s call and to act on that discernment in concrete ways. 

Interculturally Competent: 
Students learn to live, work and communicate appropriately in a variety of cultural contexts, utilizing the disciplines of communication theory, anthropology, and sociology, to understand both cultural Others and communicate effectively in intercultural contexts.

The MAGS curriculum addresses the actions of the mind, heart, and hands. Our approach brings together the highest academic excellence with supervised ministry mentoring and deep spiritual formation. It is a degree that addresses relevant challenges, combining learning and being formed in context. Our hybrid approach that combines online course work with focused face-to-face learning creates an incredibly flexible educational experience.

One unique feature of the MAGS is what we call the “Learn-While-Doing” 1-Year Global Service Residency. We believe that excellent equipping for service occurs when action, academic study, active reflection and guided mentoring take place simultaneously. This involves a 1-year period of cohort learning, classes, and guided supervision. This experience consists a year of synchronized

  • Scheduled classes (combination of face-to-face and online)
  • Focused assignments that connect with active ministry and service
  • Guided mentoring
  • Reflection in a dynamic online learning cohort

There are two tracks for learning-in-context residency locations.

▪   TRACK 1-GO: The first option places students in partnership with one of our 7 MAGS supervised service sites. These are:

▪   New York

▪   Chicago

▪   Dallas

▪   Chiang Mai

▪   Austin

▪   Mexico City

▪   Abilene

In these contexts students will learn from one of our approved site supervisors as they mentor students while they study online, learning together in a cohort with other MAGS students who have elected to serve in one of our partner sites.

TRACK 2-STAY: This second option allows students to engage in a local ministry or service opportunity, and join an online cohort of learners who are each pursuing the year while remaining in their current location. This cohort receives expert supervision from one of ACU’s professors.

Students, in consultation with the MAGS advisor, determine the choice for TRACK 1 or TRACK 2. Both track options provide MAGS students with rich, holistic, guided apprenticeships that engage learning-while-doing.

For more information contact us here.


Congratulations Mark Hamilton

by   |  04.29.14  |  Announcements

Dr. Ken Cukrowski, Dean of the College of Biblical Studies, announced the appointment of Dr. Mark Hamilton as the new Onstead Chair. Mark brings a record of success as a scholar, teacher, administrator, and churchman. His recent appointment as the Gitin Distinguished Professor at the Albright Institute is a testament to his stature in the scholarly community. His two-time selection as Outstanding Faculty member in the College of Biblical Studies attests to the esteem in which he is held by our faculty. Mark currently serves as an elder at the University Church of Christ and consults widely in congregations across the country.

The committee was especially impressed with Mark’s vision for the Onstead Chair. In addition to a vigorous research agenda, Mark looks forward to connecting faculty, students, the ACU community, and churches to the best scholarship on Scripture and biblical theology.


New MDiv Requirements in the Fall of 2014

by   |  04.24.14  |  Announcements

In the fall of 2014, the GST will roll out two enhanced degree formats for the Masters of Divinity (MDiv) degree. The MDiv is a comprehensive program in theological studies designed to prepare graduates to serve as congregational ministers, Christian educators, campus ministers, chaplains, and in various other ministry settings. The degree also provides the foundation for the Ph.D., Th.D., and D.Min. degrees.  More …

Over the years the GST revises various degrees in order to develop a sharper focus and remain current in the ever changing needs of churches, students, and society. The faculty, deeply concerned about the growing student debt of its graduates, decided to shorten the MDiv degree from 84 hours to 72 hours. The change will not only allow students to graduate in a more timely manner but also reduce costs by $12,192. The faculty emphasized that retooling of the degree would continue to meet all the stated outcomes. The new degree structure maintains its emphasis on practical theology, biblical studies, theology, and church history. While many schools that lower the number of hours for graduation do so at the loss of biblical languages, ACU did not. The GST is known for its high quality of language studies that include Hebrew, Greek, Coptic, Ugaritic, Ethiopic, German, and Syriac. The new degree format also maintains the central role of contextual education. One of the most appreciated aspects of an ACU ministerial education is the backbone of contextual education. More …

Currently there are two MDiv tracks. The primary difference reflects the opportunity for students to emphasize witnessing in a global context. The two degree plans are the 72 Missions 2014 Template and 72MDIV 2014 Template.

For more information contact Roni Zimmerman.

New Testament Position Now Open

by   |  04.23.14  |  Announcements

The Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University invites applications for a tenure-track position in New Testament, beginning in the Fall 2015. Rank is open, depending on the candidate’s experience and qualifications. The successful candidate should hold a terminal degree (PhD or ThD) in the field. The successful candidate must also demonstrate competence in teaching and must possess a well-defined program of research as evidenced by peer-reviewed publications and presentations. Address applications or inquiries to Dr. Ken Cukrowski, Dean, College of Biblical Studies, ACU Box 29400, Abilene, TX 79699, or electronically to The committee will begin reviewing applications on June 1, 2014 and continue until the position is filled.

Abilene Christian University is affiliated with the fellowship of Churches of Christ.  All applicants for these positions must be professing Christians and be active, faithful members of a congregation of the Churches of Christ and willing to support the Christian mission and purpose of the university to educate students for Christian service and leadership throughout the world.

To apply, send “Faculty Employment Application” with: Teaching philosophy; how faith informs teaching; research and professional activities; discussion of your spiritual journey; curriculum vitae; transcripts of all undergraduate and graduate work; and names, addresses and phone numbers of three references. ACU does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, age, gender, disability, national or ethnic origin in employment opportunities, in keeping with applicable state and federal laws. Nominations of and applications from women and minorities are especially encouraged.

James Thompson

by   |  04.22.14  |  Announcements, GST Events

On Thursday, April 17, the GST hosted a campus reception honoring James Thompson’s 21 year career at ACU. James served 9 years as the GST’s Associate Dean and holds the Onstead Chair for Biblical Studies. He is a loved professor emphasizing Hebrews, Pauline literature, and the relationship between biblical interpretation and preaching. James is well known for his academic writing that serves the church. He has recently written Preaching Paul, Pastoral Ministry according to Paul, and Moral Formation according to Paul. Soon his forthcoming book on Paul’s theology of the church will be published. Many churches have used his books for adult Bible school curriculum, for example, Our Life Together, The Mark of a Christian, Strategy for Survival, The Church in Exile, and Equipped for Change.

James’s love for the church extends also to his service to the University Church of Christ where he has served as an elder for many years. One of his primarily roles for the church is writing the adult Bible school curriculum.

At the reception James was joined by his wife Carolyn, his children Phil and Eleanor, and three of his four grandchildren. Various faculty members honored James with words of appreciation. Thankfully James will continue to work with the GST by teaching 6 hours each year, archival work in the library, and advising MA in NT students. In retirement, James will continue to do what he enjoys most, writing and watching UT basketball. He says, “He is blessed to be able to call work what he most enjoys doing as play.”

Congratulations James!