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March 29, 2021 9:56 pm
When one examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints from a biblical perspective view .1 limited sponsored by Mormonism research ministry since 1979 Mormonism research ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now, your host for today's viewpoint on Mormonism so glad to be with us for this edition of the viewpoint on Mormonism on your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director Mormonism research ministry and with me today is Eric Johnson my colleague MRM, but we also are pleased to have with his pastor Matt Ahmadi. He is the pastor of Crossroads Church in Sandy, Utah, and I was explaining yesterday. If you're not familiar with Utah's geographic Sandy is about 20 minutes south of downtown Salt Lake City to welcome back to the show and I'm glad to have you and you and I think you have a lot to offer our listeners for what were going to talk about today, but I do want to mention this because in yesterday show you it talked about people wanting to minister and they go to a seminary outside of the state of Utah because they basically have to because they're no longer is a seminary sharecropper here in the state so they go outside to go to school. You did this as well. You went to Southern Baptist theological seminary which is Dr. Al Mohler's seminary, has the president there, but you came back and you were talking about how a lot of people they leave to go to school and they don't come back. And of course here in the state of Utah.
We need as many good solid people churches as we can get. II always love it when I see churches being planted here sadly being here as long as I have some of them don't catch on.
For some reason that the pastors did not realize the unique challenges that the state of Utah offers and as you mentioned yesterday, this is not the Bible Belt. You can't just start a church on any corner and expect it's going to grow overnight.
It's a very slow process. But you went out of state.
As we mentioned, you went to Southern Baptist theological seminary in Kentucky you came back. Yes, why did you come back in the others don't seem to do that sometimes. Yeah why did I come back I grew up here. I went to school at seven seminary and I wanted to come back so that was part of me just knew the need here in Utah. The need for healthy gospel preaching churches and that desire within me the same time, I thought I was in a church planter.
It's probably not can happen is not many churches out here and now church would need to be looking for pastor and it's hard to just kind of get in without some kind of connections so is really God's providence that Crossroads Church was looking for pastor they didn't know me from Adam.
I applied I think the fact that I was from Utah intrigued to the search committee and over time they called me as their pastor, but my heart was to come back into labor alongside others who have been out here much longer to see a healthy church established in grow and thrive will be asking this question you say that the search committee felt it was positive that you had a background living here in Utah has that been a big advantage for you I think so. I mean, to some degree is very familiar with the culture you know just obviously grip out here went to the public schools.
All my friends were Mormon. I grew up in a church of 40 people, you know, in fact, when I when I was living in California.
I was there for a bit and I went to my pastor and cinnamon go to seminary. The first thing he said to me was the ministry is not glamorous in my mind I thought while he's he saying that because all I knew was meeting in this unit.
Junior high schools and other buildings with 40 people where we had to set up the chairs and I always thought why would anyone want to be a pastor but that was my whole kind of awareness of of the ministry and then when I went to seminary and I saw high-profile preachers and pastors coming and I was like oh this is why the ministry can be perceived as glamorous. That's an interesting statement that you make in because it's almost, like in marriage counseling you want. Almost try to convince them. Are you sure you want to do that, you know, rather than strongly push them into that yanked them to really think about this because it is a huge decision, absolutely. Especially here, you know it's like it's not glamorous it's going to be a struggle to be slow to be in challenging situations, but I was here. This was home.
I think that was how I wasn't operating my life and going to somewhere totally foreign to praise God for you guys are doing that and sticking it out and I'm so thankful to them. In some ways it made it easier for me to come back now that slow growth that you mention is a very real thing. That's why a lot of pastors who come here to Utah as church planters.
They they come with outside support. There's no way they're going to be able to get that full-time support that's necessary to do a proper job pastoring so they get from outside and sometimes it can take several years before they can wean themselves away from that channel. That is something to seriously consider if you're looking to have a church plant here but we have some great news regarding what you plan on doing you and others I should say plan on doing here in the state of Utah when it comes to theological education. But we want to preface that by saying it's not just for people who live in the state of Utah. There's online courses for what you plan to do so, let's talk about that give us a little bit of a rundown maybe recap some of the things that you said yesterday you you're going to be a part of this Salt Lake school of theology correct, which is certainly something that is needed here because, as we mentioned, there is no such thing here right now we don't have anything like that. So tell us a little bit about what you plan on doing even if you have to repeat some of the yesterday because I'm sure we have new listeners today. Yes, of briefly the Salt Lake school of theology is under the umbrella of Gateway seminary, which was which is one of the six theological institutions of the Southern Baptist convention so partnering with Gateway we are going to provide both in person and remote access courses that students can take to pursue a 36 hour Masters of theological essentials if they want to go through the whole program is about a three year program to get the Masters of theological essentials and the be taking courses in Old Testament and New Testament hermeneutics, ethics, church history, systematic theology, some practical courses leadership courses, but they can get that full degree through the Salt Lake school of theology, and what's the website if they want or mark www.SL ST Salt Lake school of theology, SLS T .us there's all kinds of information or the classes are beginning this fall August 2021 you can already apply again when you're applying. It's all happening through Gateway there handling all the administrative components, but they will be a student of Salt Lake school theology, but because were connected. Gateway should mention lessee a student wanted to do a full master of divinity. The 90 hour program they could transfer all these credits towards a larger degree. Maybe they want to complete the Masters of theological essentials faster than what we can offer the courses while they can actually take courses through Gateway and complete the degree even quicker because they can take them online so there's lots of options for student when you're connected with the Southern Baptist convention, but you don't have to be a member of the Southern Baptist church not apply for that yet. This goes for anyone. Anyone wanting to pursue theological education they can apply.
I went on your website and you had a section called why we exist. This is what the website states.
We exist to glorify God by training and equipping students spiritually, theologically and nationally to lead and serve the body of Christ.
Care to comment on the that the church is not a servant of the Academy Academy is a servant of the church.
We exist to bring glory to God and we want to do that by providing theological education. So not just wanting to crank out ivory tower academics want to talk about spiritual formation in the disciplines and help instilling that in the students but theologically we want to be academically rigorous. This is Masters level training they're going to receive in-depth instruction. It's going to require work and effort and because of that it will be a valuable education. This is definitely not just kind of a glorified Sunday school but then also we want to see people trained to serve the church and to advance the mission to plant churches to serve in their local churches to be pastors to disciple others.
Whatever capacity that they're going to serve the goal is to be reaching people with the gospel and discipling people in the truth of the five gentlemen who are working on this.
You are one of them. None of you appear to be former Mormons. Do you think that is a weakness in the state of Utah because maybe some of the students who are far Mormons would think that you don't really understand what Mormonism is all about you. I don't think it's weakness at all.
In fact, theological training focuses on the unchanging truth of God. Truth is unchanging and people need to know the Bible to be able to deal with the counterfeits right so they need to be deep in their understanding in and getting intensive courses in understanding theology and how doctrines have have progressed throughout church history, but even the none of us are former Mormon. We still pastor here right we still work here and live here so we are engaging with Mormons. We understand Mormonism and we can bring those kind of contextual elements to the classroom to help people understand that kinda culture fair to be living and working here, and honestly even people who come out of Mormonism. They don't necessarily need someone who is a former Mormon to disciple them. They need someone who's going to help them deconstruct the Mormon worldview that is in their minds and replace it with a robust biblical worldview and who can be able to do that. But the one who is trained mightily in the Scriptures, and that's what we wanted. Matt give us a rundown, a scorecard at the well of the five main players, including yourself. Tell us a little bit about each one and tell us what each one is going to be teaching yes so myself, I should start with Lucas. I really should give more credit to Lucas. You can first among equals.
He's really kind of driven this whole process and something for him. He's even the pastors at gospel Grace Church.
He did his studies in systematic theology in church history. Lucas has it has a PhD in theology is to be teaching the systematic courses and in this church history courses. Jerry Jenkins. When the pastors at risen life church and holiday did his PhD work in Old Testament you can be teaching our our Old Testament courses than myself. I pastor Crossroads. I did my my PhD in biblical studies so more of a generalist old and New Testament actually wrote my dissertation on someone 10 in the Melchizedek and priesthood which is very relevant for our own context, so I'll be teaching New Testament and hermeneutics and then will call Cannon and Brian Catherine both have doctorate of ministries. Both are church planters experienced in pastoral ministry, church planting, leadership, just phenomenal brothers. I've learned so much from them binds the pastor of redeeming life church. Well thanks emerged with church in Bountiful. I believe the so-called redeeming life and then will Duncan, one of the pastors at gospel grace with with Lucas. They'll be teaching some of the colloquiums and leadership in practical courses you'd mentioned Lucas counterman Telus again what was behind his desire to start.
Yeah, I think Lucas like the other guys we all share a burden not only for for the state and for making disciples, but for rigorous theological education and he's the one who approached me and said hey let's start talking about this and thinking about this because he wants to see such as guys planted a church in Salt Lake. More churches planted and more guys trained up right here in our own state are ministering here serving here and can stay here and plant churches so that this this school is not for anyone church or is it the ministry of anyone church. The goal is to serve the mission of Christ's kingdom that we all share 20 seconds Jeff somebody's thinking about coming. Tell them what they need to go to www.slst.us we have a bunch of information there. You can audit courses you can enroll.
There's lots of options get on the website, send us emails will be happy to answer questions we been talking with Pastor Matt Ahmadi that spelled EM ADI pastor Crossroads Church discussing a great opportunity that's going to be taken place here in the months ahead, and again the website is SLST .us if you have any interest whatsoever in looking more deeply into this project, so Matt, thank you for sharing what's going on here in Utah.
Thank you thank you guys for having thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding this research ministry.
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