Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) for Satellites


Below are a list of questions we have been asked by our partners related to everything from administration,  Capstone, specific module concerns, reference texts, Spiritual Formation and the like.  Browse through the questions and answers -- they can be excellent resources for you as you administrate your satellite, train and lead your mentors, and counsel students. We add new questions and answers as we receive them, so check back often.

Also, we strongly desire to respond quickly to the many questions we receive here at the Institute regarding the Capstone Curriculum or our other training resources. Our Satellite Questions Form was designed for you and your Mentors to give us the necessary information so we can address your questions as quickly and efficiently as possible (for easy access, you can type www.tumi.org/question into your url).

 Administrative Tools


 Auditing Classes (including Capstone)

Does TUMI have an "official" policy for students who want to audit a TUMI class?  Are they charged a fraction of the tuition, do the only pay for materials if they want them?  If they do audit a class are they able to then take it again later for credit?  We've been seeing more people lately interested in auditing, but wanted to get input from you guys about how to handle that.

Here at TUMI national, auditing is not a diminished version of class.  We strongly urge anyone who takes a class to participate fully in the class, the only difference is that their work is not graded.  A student who audits is a STUDENT who audits.  Which means they pay their normal student tuition and fees, purchase the necessary materials for that class, and participate fully in the class -- the only difference is that they do not need to turn in their work, and their work is not graded.  And yes, the student can take the class for credit at a later date.

Certificate and Diploma Program 

I think I know the answer to this question, but I just wanted to double check with something that a mentor asked.  The Certificate in Christian Leadership Studies is only Capstone, right?  If a student took a Foundations course for credit, then they would then in essence be switching from a Certificate in Christian Leadership Studies à Certificate in Urban Theological Studies.

In other words, is the Certificate in Christian Leadership Studies [Capstone only] and Certificate in Urban Theological Student [mixture of Capstone, Foundations and/or site designed courses]?  A Foundations course cannot replace a Capstone course for the Certificate in Christian Leadership Studies. Thanks for any input on this!

Yes, the Certificate in Christian Leadership Studies is for the completion of all 16 Capstone Modules.

If a student took a Foundations course for credit along with the Capstone Curriculum, their combined curricula 32 credits would give them a Certificate in Urban Theological Studies.

That being said, they will still receive a Certificate in Christian Leadership Studies when they complete the Capstone Curriculum as well.

They then can apply the non Capstone course credit they have toward the TUMI Diploma if they want to continue their studies. Make sense?

 College Credit

Where do I find the information about getting college credit for TUMI classes?

Answer: The basic overview of what this program will entail can be found on our Accreditation and Accredited Partnership Training page (a link to this can be found on our Satellite Gatway in the right-hand column under Mentor and Faculty Resources). The program is not yet live, but will apply to all of our Satellite Student's work on Capstone once it is up and running.

 College Partnerships

Some months ago you sent me some web page links of articles/information for the colleges that I've been interacting with for thier degree completion recognition. I have meetings with both colleges in the next two weeks and I'm wondering if you would be so kind as to send me those links again?

I will certainly refer both college leaders to Dr. Davis for further questions. I've got some students who are eager to take their training to the next level so I'm hoping that interest will move the administrative machinery in these schools along a little more proactively. I have good relationships with both colleges and the responsible personnel (even went to college with one way back in Noah's time), so I'm hoping this kind of linkabe may be useful to TUMI in general and to our students more locally.

It is exciting to hear what is going on there. I've linked you to the files above.  We look forward to hearing how these meetings turn out.

 Credit Coupons
I received a credit coupon from TUMI and tried to apply it to three different orders. Your store would not allow me to do so, what am I doing wrong?

From time to time it will be necessary for TUMI to issue a credit coupon to a site if there is overpayment or cancellation of an order.  If you receive a coupon code from us, it is essential that you use the entire balance in ONE transaction/order (coupon balances cannot be divided).

Please note: Coupons DO NOT cover shipping, so if you use a coupon of $65 for a $65 order, $10 of which is for shipping, it will only apply $55 of the $65 coupon to this order.  Please use your coupons for orders that subtotal your coupon amount (not including the shipping costs for your order).

 Expedited Shipping

Shipping Deadline
Orders placed by noon on Monday will ship on Tuesday. Orders placed by 8:00am on Wednesday will ship Thursday.

Expedited Shipping
Packages typically arrive within a week after they ship. If you need to receive it by a certain date and time, please follow these steps:
1) Place your order as soon as possible. We need time to pack and process your order; the longer you wait the more expensive it will be.
2) Go through the checkout process. In the Note section on the last page of checkout, provide the following information:
a) Both the date and time when you need to receive the package.
b) How much extra (in addition to what you already paid) you are willing to pay for faster shipping.
3) We will review your shipping options. If we can meet your deadline and your price we will contact you and automatically process and ship your order. If not, we will contact you and advise you of your options.
4) After we process your order we will we will provide you with instructions on how to pay for the additional shipping charges.

Please Note:

  • In addition to the extra shipping charges, there is a $15 service charge for rush processing.
  • We will ship to the shipping address on your order unless you specify an alternate address.
  • Please monitor your email until we contact you to confirm your express shipping. If we cannot meet your time and price, we will not ship the order until we hear from you. The longer it takes the more expensive it gets.

"Where can I find the template to set up student transcripts?"

The TUMI Satellite Gateway is the place you can find everything you need to run your satellite. For this template and any other form you may need, look in the "Satellite Toolbox" [located on the lower left side of that page] under Forms & Templates. Here you will find the templates under the section titled "Student". Please be sure to download all three files for the template [Transcript Template / Grades / Courses] in the same folder as the info on all three files are linked together. Here you will also find [Transcript Letterhead] that you can print your transcripts on.  Check your Multiplying Laborers guidebook (Appendix 19) for instructions on how to create your transcripts.

 Logging in to Satellite Gateway

"How is that I can get in the Forums but not the Satellite Gateway?"

The TUMI Forums and the TUMI Satellite Gateway are two separate web sites. You do not need to login (enter your username and password) to access the forums, although you will need to login if you wish to write anything on the forums.  You do need to login to access the Satellite Gateway. If you are having trouble logging in to the Satellite Gateway, please click on the "Lost Password?" or "Forgot your username?" links in the Login area. These links will help you retrieve your login information.  The general rule is simple: if in doubt--login!

 Mentors and Professors

Do you recommend paying your mentors and professors?

We leave this up to each individual's satellite's policies.  Without question, the work of a dedicated mentor or professor is significant, and we ought to do all we can to encourage their best and most devoted instruction.  Still, since we have taught classes at TUMI National, since 1996, we have not had to pay a single mentor a salary or even an honorarium.  We have acknowledged their labors with books and gifts, but we do not have a budget for remunerating our adjuncts.  We have found that, when challenged with the need and after being exposed to our students, the pastors and leaders who have taught at TUMI National have been inspired and enriched.

Ordering Required Textbooks 


There are a variety of vendors and options for purchasing Required Textbooks, and finding the best deal will require you to do your homework in each case, but there are a few guidelines that can guide you find the best deal:

  • books_stackimagesThe list of Required Texts changes periodically.  Make sure you refer to the website for the latest books required for the module you are preparing to offer.
  • Amazon.com is often the simplest way to purchase books, but they are not always the cheapest.  If you pay to get Amazon Prime, you will not pay for shipping costs.
  • Wipf and Stock Publishers carries some of the books, even some offered at Amazon.com.  They offer a 40% discount for orders of five or more (but only if you phone in your order).
  • You can become a book reseller, making you eligible for discounts on books.  However, you need to keep in mind that there may shipping costs and sales tax (unless you have a sales tax exemption certificate for your state) on top of the prices they offer (see more information below).
  • You can find many of the books as used books at Amazon and other sites, but you often have to purchase them one at a time.  The quality of the books can be uncertain until they arrive.
  • You can order books directly from the publisher and get a discount when you order various quantities (see more information below).  When you do this, you may have to pay for shipping and sales tax (unless you have a sales tax exemption certificate in your state). Before ordering, you should compare the total cost from a publisher with Amazon.com because sometimes Amazon is cheaper, even with the publisher discount.
  • When you buy from Amazon.com, TUMI national receives a percentage of your order each time you enter through the www.tumi.org and click on the Amazon icon at the bottom of the home page.
  • NextStep Resources offers many of the books (especially the Spanish ones), but does not always update their list to match the official list.  TUMI does not have an official relationship with NextStep, so we cannot guarantee their pricing or book availability.


You can apply to become a book seller through Spring Arbor (click here to print the application).

  • A Spring Arbor account could be used for more than just TUMI Required Textbooks.  A church or organization could purchase books for their library, gift/award bibles, or Bible study/small group/Sunday School/VBS materials.
  • Spring Arbor is the division of Ingram Book Company that works with Christian retailers. An account with Spring Arbor gives you access to Ingram's complete active catalog of several million books.
  • Spring Arbor's discount is about 40% off the cover price.  You may contact them directly about bulk order discounts.
  • The minimum order quantity for free freight is 15 books.  If the minimum order quantity is not met then there is a flat rate of $4.
  • There is no start-up fee but there is an annual order minimum of $2,000.
  • It takes about three days for the account to be approved.
  • Once the account is approved you have online access to the entire catalog.


When ordering from the publisher, you must contact them directly to get their latest pricing.  If it is unclear who to call, you can look up the customer service contact at their website.

  • Find out about shipping costs, and determine if sales tax will be included (a state sales tax exempt certificate helps you avoid this cost).
  • In most cases you need to set up an account with them.
  • The current publishers and their pricing information is current as of January 2012, but is subject to change at any time.  The books listed with each publisher are current but can change from time to time (always check the website for the latest books).
  • These discounts are only if you agree not to resell the books (i.e. you are buying the books on behalf of the student and not making a profit).

Click here to get a full print out of the publishers and their contact information.

PR Video for Pastors and Potential Students 

I have started brainstorming some ideas for reaching out to some of the area pastors about TUMI. I was thinking how helpful it would be to have a brief DVD presentation by Dr. Davis about TUMI that could be played to pastors we schedule meetings with. When I attended the session for new satellites, one of the concerns expressed was the barrier of overcoming other pastors being "suspicious" of TUMI coordinators/pastors trying to steal their members. I thought a "neutral" presentation might help over come that. Does anything like that exist?

Along the same lines above, is there a brief video presentation that a church can show it's members that might be candidates for TUMI - sort of like the brief spots that come with workshops, etc. that are out there. Is there anything like that?

I've linked you to his presentation on our site that we created to handle both of these questions -- this gives the overall picture of what we are doing and why, and the principles apply to both pastors and students.  For A New Generation: Multiplying Laborers for the Urban Harvest.


I ordered product from TUMI and received three attempted delivery notices to my office. I was at lunch every time they attempted delivery and no one else was around to receive the package. Can you get Fed Ex to reattempt delivery and change the time that they deliver to my office to a morning delivery?

When you place an order from TUMI National, you will receive a FED EX TRACKING NUMBER via email (the tracking info will tell what day it will arrive your destination). Please track your packages and make sure someone is available at your office the day your packaged is scheduled to be delivered. If no one is available to receive the package (they deliver at businesses any time between 9-5, often during the lunch hour) they will attempt delivery 3 times. If they are not able to deliver, they will hold at their terminal for up to 7 days. You’ll have to go pick it up at their location.  Often these are at out of the way places. Its best to follow the tracking info sent to you and be available on the day you are supposed to receive your shipment. TUMI National has no control over when Fed ex delivers the package nor are we able to get them to reattempt delivery once they've made three attempts. Please track your packages!

  • If your shipping address is a business, Fed Ex will deliver ANYTIME Monday thru Friday, between 9 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
  • If your shipping address is a home address, Fed Ex will deliver ANYTIME Tuesday thru Saturday, between 8 a.m. - 8:00 p.m.
Site Coordinator Job Description 

Do you have a pdf copy of the job description of a TUMI site coordinator?  I don't recall if there was a one page description of a site coordinators duties and if so, I can't seem to find it on tumi.org.  Any help you can provide would be appreciated.  Thanks!

Great question! Here it is (taken from our Multiplying Laborers for the Urban Harvest Guidebook, appendix 6).

Store Logins

Please remember, when you go to our store www.tumistore.org, you will need to log in to ensure that you receive your satellite discount and access exclusive satellite products. We have created an account for you in our new store, but you will need to set your own password. In addition to the instructions below, we have created a short video showing you how to do this:

  1. In your web browser, visit www.tumistore.org.
  2. Click on the Log In link at the top of the window.
  3. On the next page, click on the Forgot Your Password? link that appears below the red Sign In button.
  4. Enter your email address and click the red Continue button. Please note: we used that email address that was on your account at the old store. You must use this email address to create your password. Once you have a password you are free to change your email address.
  5. Check your email for a Password Change Request message from TUMI.
  6. In the email you will see a link to change your password. Click the link.
  7. The link will return you to the TUMIstore where you will be prompted to enter and confirm a new password. Do this and click the red Continue button.
  8. You can now sign in to account using your email address and the new password that you just created.


 Students Schedule and Assignment Changes

Several of the students at our site are very busy with ministry and family and job with little time to spare.  Would it be okay for us to alter some of their assignments (say 2 page paper instead of 5) to help ease the pressure they are feeling trying to work out their schedules?

Unfortunately, all students everywhere, especially those serving Christ in the city, will have time oriented challenges.  We strongly urge all our satellites to follow the syllabus requirements and to keep assignement protocols and regimens of discipline and preparation.  While real emergencies will demand flexibility in how assignments are handled, for the most part, ongoing work should retain its pace and demand.  TUMI simulates and is seminary training; pressure and challenge are built in to this kind of study preparation.

Of course, students do have options if they are under time pressure.  They may elect not to take a class if their schedule is too busy, or they may choose to simply audit it, where desire and time clash!  But, all things being equal, we advise you neither to amend nor change your basic syllabic standards of student preparation in any of your satellite courses.  Students should be trained to handle adversity and manage time better; or, mentors may elect under legitimate circumstances to give an incomplete, and let the students finish the work later.  But, we ought not change our standards on the basis of such a common challenge: student time pressure.  By definition, no student has ever had enough time to do his or her work they way they wanted to!

Transcripts and Transcript Backup 

TUMI has made the switch! We are no longer using Quattro Pro for Transcripts.  We have found a great alternative that is affordable, excellent, and easy to use!

OpenOffice is free software that is available worldwide and is compatible with the Microsoft Suite. You can install OpenOffice on as many computers as you wish. If you oversee international satellite locations, OpenOffice can be installed at these sites in their native language.   Click on the link below to install Open Office on your computer.

  • http://download.openoffice.org/other.html#tested-full
    The table on this page contains downloads for many languages and computer operating systems. The top row lists several different operating systems. Hover over the column with your operating system (most users have Windows Intel). Now, move your mouse down that column until your language is highlighted. Click on the Download link at the intersection of your operating system and your language. Your browser will then begin the download process.
  • Please note that the installation of OpenOffice may take 5-30 minutes. For best results, close all programs before installing OpenOffice.

Our approved software for transcripts is both OpenOffice and Microsoft Excel.  We have created templates in both English and Spanish (in Excel format) that you may use to record and print out grades for your students. You may open the Excel template within the Microsoft suite (obviously) or within OpenOffice Calc. When you save the document, it will save it as an OpenOffice file. You may continue to edit and save as you add classes and grades to your students transcripts.

We have revised this template so sites will only need to enter new course numbers one time to a "courses" file that is linked to all of the transcripts.  For example, with the new template, if you host a site developed course called, "Ministering Effectively to Gangs" which is numbered C2-731, you will only need to enter the course number, course title, department area and credit amount in the currrent course file.  Then when you type in the course number in any transcript, the information will automatically fill in.

You can still use older versions of the transcript template; the only issue is that you will need to enter the course number, title, department area and credit amount for every site developped course you teach in to every transcript of every student that takes that course.  The new template allows you to enter the new course number only one time for all of your students that take the course.

Download the template files and courses file to the same folder location (where you plan to put all of your student transcripts). In order for the transcript template to work, the "Courses" file must be in the same folder as any transcript you create (the files are linked). You may rename your transcript files (Save the template as the name of a student "save as" and then fill in the student's information and save the file). DO NOT RENAME THE "Courses_master_2003" file as it is linked directly to both the English and Spanish Transcript Template.

In order to add courses to the "Courses" file, open the courses file, right click and insert line where you want to add the course number, title and credit amount.

  1. Place your cursor in and click in the first cell and type in the course number
  2. Tab to the next cell and insert the course title
  3. Tab to the next cell and type in the department area letters for the course (e.g. BS for Biblical Studies, TE for Theology and Ethics; CM for Christian Ministry, or UM for Urban Mission)
  4. Tab to the next cell and type in the credit amount for this course.  Save the file and you are ready to enter that course number in your transcripts.

We have also edited the Transcript Letterhead background to fit the new transcript design.

After you save the appropriate template(s) to your computer, in order to edit the transcript template, please note the following:

  • In order to change the satellite name, click in the A column, #2 and type in your site name.
  • The courses numbers and titles are programmed into these templates. Click on the "courses" file to see the course numbers for the courses you would like to enter in a student transcript.
  • If you would like to add a course to the courses file, see the instructions above.

Additional Satellite Transcript Information Files

BACKUP of your Transcripts: It is important to backup your files in case of computer issues. Lost files are difficult to recreate.  We offer as a free service to our satellites, the opportunity for you to save a backup of your students transcripts to our server. Your transcript files must be zipped and placed into a folder. You may uploaded these with your quarterly reports to TUMI (specific instructions for this are on the Site Report Form).BACKUP YOUR TRANSCRIPTS

 Transfer of Credits

I have been talking with a prospective student who asked if we would accept any of his theological studies toward completion of a certificate with us. He said he could get me a transcript if we needed it. Do we have a policy on accepting credits from other institutions?

Under certain circumstances, TUMI National does allow students to transfer credits for previous work done from other training institutions, up to and no more than eight (8) credits for the Certificate program, and up to an additional (6) for the Diploma program, totaling fourteen (14).  Click here to follow the steps to process student requests for transfer of credit.

Note: the Certificate for completing the Capstone Curriculum (Certificate in Christian Leadership Studies) must be completed in toto in order to qualify for the TUMI/Tabor Associate of Arts Degree in Urban Ministry.  Transfer credits may apply to the CLS Certificate, but not completing Capstone in its entirety will effect qualification for the AA program.

* * * * * * * *

There is an out-of-state college student that is here during the summer. They would like to take TUMI classes and transfer them to their college as a substitute for her required Bible classes.  Are there ready materials she can give to her advisor to facillitate that taking place?

We have given Capstone Info (e.g. the Introduction from each module, the objectives, and links to Capstone info on our website.  The introductions to each module will help the professor reviewing the request make an informed decision. It may also be helpful for the school to see our other accredited partners and what they are offering students for taking courses we host.


I thought I read something about some type of financial break for spouses taking class together. I looked on the web site but could not find it. Can you please help a brother out?

What we have done, but we do not require our sites to do is:

We have offered spouses a flat rate of $15 for tuition plus the cost of a student workbook (every student should have their own student workbook). They do not need to purchase the required textbooks (as their spouse will have a copy of those they can share).


TUMI's Logo 

Can we use the TUMI Sword Logo for our satellite resources?

Our TUMI Sword Logo is the logo we use to represent TUMI National and all the various things we do. We ask that you do NOT use that logo. As a satellite, you are able to use our TUMI academic seal logo (which is also what we use at TUMI National to represent our training).  Please remember that the use of our logo indicates that a satellite is an authorized user of our educational programming and materials.  Use of the logo, however, in no way endorses other activities, policies, or communication unique to any TUMI satellite. 

Uses of this satellite logo for any purpose other than that listed above is prohibited.  The use of this logo by a satellite is invalid without the written delineation of the site’s name and location attached to it (e.g., “The Urban Ministry Institute of Los Angeles”, or, “The Pastoral Training Center of Philadelphia”).

Download our logo in the format you prefer:



 The Capstone Curriculum

 Capstone's Content

As I read Capstone, their are three main theological motifs (as emphasized in appendixes 1-10):

  1. The Kingdom of God in relationship to the Church and the World (George Ladd, Harold Snyder).
  2. The Bible is One Story featuring King Jesus (Susan de Dietrich*Appendix 5, Norm Geisler, Chris Wright, John Stott).
  3. Sacred Roots. An emphasis on the Great Tradition, especially on the nature of our Triune God as emphasized in the Nicene Creed. A move away from sectarianism towards the Great Tradition (Robert Webber).

These three themes are emphasized in Capstone's four subject areas:

  1. The Kingdom (Theology and Ethics)
  2. The Church (Christian Ministry)
  3. The World (Urban Mission)
  4. Christ the King (Biblical Studies)

Do you have any comments on this? Am I missing anything major here. (fyi I was missing... the Kingdom, Church, World, God/Christ emphasis for my first two years of teaching Capstone... confessions of a real life Capstone Mentor.)

Your analyses of Capstone is clear and accurate, although I think that we have tended to argue for this in different ways, and would not be so inclined to group things as you did below.  Your three motifs, for our purpose and history, can be better understood, too, in a more narratival, historical way.

An easy way to understand our fundamental vision (not just Capstone) is to comprehend our activity as our efforts to be faithful to the Apostolic Tradition  (authoritatively summarized in textual form in the Scriptures), which testifies to and focuses on the sovereign purpose of the Triune God revealed in creation, the history of Israel and climaxing in the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth.  He is the central core and theme in the single, cosmic, and unfolding drama which the Bible bears witness.  The Church, God's ordained agent of the Kingdom promise and witness to Christ in the world, has sought to be faithful to that drama in its worship and theology, summarized in the teachings and practices of the Great Tradition, the ancient expression of Christian thought and practice which outlines the faith that has once for all been delivered to the saints.  Informed by that core of faith which has always been believed everywhere and by all, we defend historic Christian faith informed by a Nicene creedal theology which we strive to express in vital Christian community in the city, and our curricula purpose is to create resources which seek to train leaders who are informed and transformed by the truth (as expressed in the Great Tradition, underwritten by the Scriptures) for the advance of the Kingdom.

In the dry theological language of the schools, this has been our heartbeat from the beginning.  Capstone and our other resources are shaped by this vision.   like your summaries and critiques; they are quite helpful to see how our cooks handle our menus!

* * * * * * *

I am currently taking The Urban Ministry Institute course God the Father. On p. 148 in that book, Appendix 2, is a song "The Nicene Creed" adapted by Don L. Davis copyright 2002. How could we get the tune to the song?

He has not actually recorded the music to that song officially yet, but has written two others for the Creed that can be sung to familiar hymn tunes, which he has listed with the songs.

We have linked you to those editions of this song here. Enjoy!

The Nicene Creed (Common Meter) -- look at the right hand column of this sheet to see the hymn tunes you can sing this to
The Nicene Creed ( Meter) -- look at the right hand column of this sheet to see the hymn tunes you can sing this to

Capstone's Student Workbooks 

I noticed that there are two student text book styles - paper back and 3-ring binder. Does there seem to be a more popular style or is it simply a personal preference thing?

The student workbook is completely preference -- we have students who prefer the binder so they can put their additional notes into the binder, and some who prefer the softcover (its cheaper).  We are phasing out the binders for both English and Spanish but still have quite a few in stock.  So, I can see that they both will be available for the next year. Completely up to you in terms of what you want to do.

Capstone's Course Numbering 

I am putting together an academica catalog for our satellite and I realized that our English modules have their own academic codes. Here is an example:

Bible Interpretation (Module 5) B2-005.  Now, this is for the English version.

Do you have something for the Spanish version? Or Have you created a difference between them? My question is coming because when we offer Spanish modules we need to make a difference between them and I am trying to find out if you have some kind of input or something in place already. This also will be used for transcripts purposes. Let me hear your input. I am all ears.

We have actually changed the academic codes for our English Capstone to the following:

  • B2-501 Conversion and Calling, Module 1
  • T2-502 The Kingdom of God, Module 2
  • C2-503 Theology of the Church, Module 3
  • U2-504 Foundations of Christian Mission, Module 4
  • B2-505 Bible Interpretation, Module 5
  • T2-506 God the Father, Module 6
  • C2-507 Foundations of Christian Leadership, Module 7
  • U2-508 Evangelism and Spiritual Warfare, Module 8
  • B2-509 OT Witness to Christ and His Kingdom, Module 9
  • T2-510 God the Son, Module 10
  • C2-511 Practicing Christian Leadership, Module 11
  • U2-512 Focus on Reproduction, Module 12
  • B2-513 NT Witness to Christ and His Kingdom, Mod 13
  • T2-514 God the Holy Spirit, Module 14
  • C2-515 The Equipping Ministry, Module 15
  • U2-516 Doing Justice and Loving Mercy, Module 16

We have coded our Spanish courses in the 600's, and Spanish Capstone is noted as the following:

  • B2-601 Conversión y Llamadom, Módulo 1
  • T2-602 El Reino de Dios, Módulo 2
  • C2-603 Teología de la Iglesia, Módulo 3
  • U2-604 Fundamentos para las Misiones Cristianas, Módulo 4
  • B2-605 Interpretación Bíblica, Módulo 5
  • T2-606 Dios el Padre, Módulo 6
  • C2-607 Fundamentos del Liderazgo Cristiano, Módulo 7
  • U2-608 Evangelización y Guerra Espiritual, Módulo 8
  • B2-609 El Antiguo Testamente testifica de Cristo y Su Reino, Módulo 9
  • T2-610 Dios, el Hijo, Módulo 10
  • C2-611 Practicando el Liderazgo Cristiano, Módulo 11
  • U2-612 Enfoque en la Reproducción, Módulo 12
  • B2-613 El Nuevo Testamento Testifica de Cristo y Su Reino, Módulo 13
  • T2-614 Dios, el Espíritu Santo, Módulo 14
  • C2-615 El Ministerio Facultativo, Módulo 15
  • U2-616 Haciendo Justicia y Amando la Misericordia: el Ministerio de la Compasión, Módulo 16
 Capstone Module Course Offering Order

I heard several people at the TUMI Summit say that we should our teaching at our site with Module 5: Bible Interpretation, instead of Module 1. Is this your recommendation?

We leave it completely up to the sites. A couple of sites have said that they should have done Mod 5 first, to help their students know how to better study Scripture, but that being said, the assignments for writing papers are pretty clear in each module.  We encourage each site to go in the order they prefer, as we don't assume to know your students or what might be important for you to start with.

Here in Wichita, we started with Module 1 and have cycled through all 16 modules in order (this is what we decided to do) and are on our 2nd time through here.  Students come and go based on their own schedules of life and ministry, so the students we have now, are not what we had two modules ago. We just keep offering courses, and eventually the ones who missed previous modules will get a chance to take those on the next go around.

This truly is a preference thing.

Module 1, Conversion and Calling 

I just completed my manual work and listened to the video of Lesson 1.  I found 3 errors in the verses Dr. Davis quoted.  I guess this would be more important to know if they were going to redo the manuals.

  1. Page 18, B, 2 - God asserts the absolute certainty of his divine Word, Isa. 44.26-28.  Dr. Davis says in the video he is quoting Isa 44.26-28 but in fact the verses he speaks are Isaiah 44:24-26 (which are the correct ones)
  1. Page 28, B, 5, c - in the manual is printed Psalm 1:3 and in the video he says Psalm 1:3 but in fact he quotes Psalm 1:2 - the correct verse.
  • Page 28, B, 5, b - it is printed Psalm 19:11 and in the video he says Psalm 19:11 but in fact he quotes Psalm 119:11 - the correct verse.

Thank you so much for your careful listing and reading to the video lesson.  The context of the text tends to be my modus operandi in presenting modules where 1,000s of texts, passages, and scripture verses are referenced.  While in the presentation of the modules we sought to be as accurate as possible, our quotation and allusion to units of thoughts (biblical paragraphs or pericopes) is to provide the general sense of the text in its contexts.  The general rule, as you go further into Capstone, is to see the sheer volume and breadth of scriptural quotation and allusion that occurs in a given segment.  I appreciate your critical eye and Berean spirit of double-checking, and think that the students will appreciate this kind of careful reading.

As a norm, I think you will find fairly direct connection between quotes, allusions, and references, albeit dealing with so many is a daunting task in presentations like this.  (I have been personally comforted from, for instance, the writer of the Hebrews use of the OT, where he weaves Scripture within the argument and theme of his preaching, and does so without altering or butchering the text.  This has been the gold standard used throughout Capstone).  You should, however, know that hermeneutically speaking, we tend to refer to passages, units, or spreads of verses in making theological claims and arguments, and the actual presentation of a text may include a portion of the unit.  In some modules there is an exact quotation from the text, in other portions you will find an allusion to a particular line of argument in a paragraph, section, or passage.  As long as you follow the flow of the argument and the general tenor of the claims being made in a given module, this kind of exactness will be not only helpful but clarifying.  However, is you ignore what is said above, you may miss the forest for the trees so to speak.  Continue this kind of specific, clear, exacting oversight; it will benefit the students and make sure that the arguments are tight.  However, make sure that you actually hear the argument being made, and see the ways in which the scriptures so quoted are alluded to and used.  Both will be needed to 1) actually understand the argument being presented, and 2) see how the scripture is being referred to in the context of the argument being made on the video.

 Module 2, The Kingdom of God

In Module 2 of the Capstone material I believe you have an incorrect answer on the answer sheet for Quiz #2, question 5 (you have "A", I believe it should be "C").

The question is: God's covenant promise to Abraham to bring a Seed which would become a blessing to all the families of the earth:

a. Was fulfilled in the person of Jesus of Nazareth
b. Was renewed in the Patriarchs, in the nation of Israel, in the tribe of Benjamin, and in the family of David
c. Both a and b
d. None of the above.

The answer is A not C.  The answer b -- "was renewed in the Patriarchs, in the nation of Israel, in the tribe of Benjamin, and in the family of David" is incorrect as it was not the "tribe of Benjamin" but "the tribe of Judah".

 Module 3, Theology of the Church (Spanish)


A portion of the video in Spanish Capstone Module 3 was omitted from the DVD footage.  If you look at p. 26 in this module, you'll see this sidenote:
Nota importante para el maestro y sus estudiantes: Por razones técnicas, todo el inciso "III" fue omitido en el DVD.  Por favor, detengan el vídeo y estudien juntos este inciso.  Luego, resuman el DVD, el cual continúa en el inciso "IV".
Important note for mentors and students: for technical reasons, all of point III was omitted from the DVD footage.  Please teach this omitted material to the students.  The DVD footage resumes at point IV.


 Module 4, Foundations for Christian Mission

On the Final Exam, question # 10 reads:  True or False. "The Bible teaches that the Sovereign God of history works to lift and bless the poor and the oppressed."  The answer listed for this question is False, is that correct?

The answer listed is incorrect.  We apologize for the typo.  The correct answer is True.


 Module 5, Bible Interpretation

A Helpful Resource
We are completing our Fall Session with Module 5, Bible Interpretation, and have thoroughly been stretched, enlightened and encouraged with insights and tools for enhancing our handling of Scripture as well as deepening our appreciation for God's Word.  

One of the topics that did raise some questions recently related to the variety and distinctives of the translations available today.  I located on the International Bible Society website (www.biblica.com or www.ibs.org) several helpful resources that might be beneficial to other students.  These included an overview of translation philosphies and also a brief description of several current translations.  (Obviously this is from an NIV perspective but still helpful.)

A couple of other fascinating papers included on their website are "Bible, Babel and the Babble" which is a history of the development of the Bible and "It's all Greek to Me" which goes into detail about the translation process with some very helpful examples.

* * * * *

Can you please answer the questions below? These questions are regarding the quizzes from module 5, Bible Interpretation.

Quiz #1 - Lesson 1
Question #4 - The theory that the Holy Spirit selected gifted people of deep spiritual wisdom to write the Bible is called ______________

The correct answer given is:  Intuition or Natural Theory

In our class of 21 students, 11 of them wrote:  Illumination Theory.

Checking in the manual page 36 described all these theories.  There are three points that explain each theory.  This question focused on only the first point under Intuition or Natural Theory and the question quotes this point exactly.  However, if you read down to read only the first point under Illumination Theory it says, "The Holy Spirit heightened the normal capacities of human authors."  In the video lecture, Dr. Davis added that "the Holy Spirit gave them extraordinary abilities".  This may not be exactly the same but it is very close.  We did not feel right about grading the answer Illumination Theory wrong.  

Quiz #2 - Lesson 2
Question # 4 - The key attitude we need as we seek to apply the Bible's meaning to our lives is ______________________

The correct answer given is:  Liberty in Christ

In our class of 21 students, 10 of them wrote:  Humility.

Checking in the manual on page 71 we read that the key attitude needed when 'Understanding the Original Situation' is humility;  page 74 - the key attitude needed when 'Discovering and Drawing Out General Principles is thoroughness; page 77 - the key attitude needed for 'Applying the Principle to Life' is Liberty in Christ.  Of these three words, only 'humility' seems to be an attitude. Thoroughness' is really a procedure; ' Liberty in Christ' is really a concept.  It would seem that the attitude of humility is one that should be applied to each part of performing the Three Step Method.  To carry the thought a little further, it might be safe to say that the procedure of 'thoroughness' and the concept of ' Liberty in Christ' could also be applied to each part of the Three Step Method.  Here again, we did not feel right about grading the answer 'humility' wrong.

Answer: [For Questions 1 & 2]
We commend you for trying to help your students discern what might be the correct answer. But that is not how to take tests. The students must first is to replicate answers from material, this is their first duty. As long as they understand that they are fine. Tests are designed to force students to remember particular statements, ideas, words, and associations that were covered in previous material. These questions are deliberately deceptive. They are not designed for students to roam around until they guess a correct answer. The first response of the student is to prove that they understand the material by citing the correct answer as covered in the material.

It might help you to know that we are not teaching words, we are teaching concepts.  Teachers should emphasize the concepts.   The students and teachers can differentiate between what the material says and what they believe is true. But, they should be able to write down on the test what the material says is true. It is important for instructors to distinguish between what the student thinks is right and what is covered in the material. The student should focus on answering the question, according to the materials first.   They can then discuss the merit of that answer.  When Don teaches he ensures that the students absolutely understand the difference between the answer being sought and the validity of that answer. The student can call into question the material (which can lead to great discussion), but the answer is what they should know and articulate on the test.

* * * * *

Quiz #3 - Lesson 3
Question #6 - Which of the following is NOT TRUE about story theology?

a.  Stories produce theology
b.  Stories are more important than facts.
c.  Stories produce ritual and sacrament.
d.  All of the above are true.

The correct answer given is:  d. All of the above are true.

If the question is read correctly, the correct answer is not even given as a choice.  Checking page 142 in the manual, a list of the key propositions of Story Theology is given.  Choices 'a', 'b' and 'c' above are all true.  So if the student select 'd' as the answer, he/she is really saying that 'd' is NOT TRUE.  It doesn't make sense!  It's difficult to grade a question that is logically inconsistent. It was certainly confusing to the students.

These are called detractors for a reason. Logic is not at issue here.  The students need to understand the concept. They should ask, "Are all of the statements true," and, "is d a correct answer." They are deliberately written in such a way as to force the students to think. Is "d" correct or not. A key part of the mentor's role is helping the students think about the concepts that are taught in each course.

 Module 6, God the Father

My students had a question of the valadity of Q 1 on Mod 6 Quiz 1.   "I don't like this word 'reflects' because it implies a likeness not what it actually is. An atribute is an intrinsic quality of who God IS. an attribute of God does not 'reflect' something true about him, it is something true about him." The students believe the Q is False. Can you coment please.

Thanks so much for facilitating the module on God the Father, and your insightful comment about Quiz 1.  I take your question and comment to be rooted in the semantics (multiple word usages) of the term "reflects."  What we emphasize in all our discussion about the nature of God is the patent limits of language to speak unequivocally about God as he is in himself.  The promise of language is that it is the only tool we have to describe the ineffable and unexplainable; the problem of language is that that it is the only tool we have to describe the ineffable and unexplainable (repetition intended).  In other words, the worst habit of thinking we can get into is thinking that there is a one-to-one relationship between our abstracted descriptions of God's infinite nature and our (in this case) English linguistic expressions about the Lord.  Is the Lord loving, holy, just, great?  Yes, and no, should be the correct answer.  These attributes or qualities are abstractions inferred from Scripture and the our reason, and, to some extent, we can in fact comprehend him through them.  Yet, in another sense, are these abstractions weighty enough to serve as a final "listing' of the immeasurable, infinite, and invisible glory that is the triune God?  Never.  Language is a marker, an indicator, a map of the territory (to mix metaphors).  Abstracted language is not sufficient to describe a steak, an orange, or a sunset, and absolutely cannot be equated with the very person and being of God.  We cannot adequately describe a pencil with our language; how can we assert that our English "tools' are final and unequivocal descriptions of infinite glory?  We cannot.

The limitations of language is a major part of this module, and of the Scripture.  Why else would the Lord provide dozens of metaphors and similes to give us increasing facets (anthropomorphic as they are) into his glory.  The history of theology is clear that God is known through the analogy of faith; there is no direct language that can sufficiently or finally "describe" the Lord (e.g., look at the difficulty the prophets and apostles have in speaking of their visions, Ezekiel and John).  While you may technically correct, your assertion misses the force of the module's central teaching; language, as helpful as it is, is limited in describing the ineffable, and must be, even at its best and clearest use, always we seen as an abstraction (in the literal sense, i.e., an isolation and induction of a trait from the shoreless ocean of perfections that make up the Godhead).  This is why the answer is correct as listed.

Thanks for your insightful comment and question.  We are thankful for mentors like yourself and the insight/ideas you raised.

 Module 7, Foundations of Christian Leadership

I have reviewed the data on page 62 of Module 7 on the "New Israel." I would like to know if one could conclude from B., B1 a-d on the Church viewing themselves as the New Israel that the Church has thus replaced Israel (Replacement Theology).

I believe Don's point in context was that the concept of "elder"  has its root in Israels understanding of elder. This was carried into the first century Judaism, as seen in the Sanhedrin.

Thanks so much for your inquiry into the reference of the New Israel, or as it is referred to in Paul's letter to the Galatians, the "Israel of God," see Galatians 6:14-16 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. [15] For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. [16] And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God. (By the way, all references below are taken from the ESV).

In the context of Galatians (and Romans), Paul's argument is to persuade those who are dependent on mere physical lineage and identification with Abraham that true faith, rebirth by the Holy Spirit, and a new creation in Christ are the real fulfillment of Abrahamic lineage.  As you know, this is the heart of the NT struggle between Jew and Gentile, and whether or not Gentiles could actually have a place in the people of God.  While this may be a "no-brain-er" to us, this was a genuine issue: can Gentiles actually belong to the household of faith, seeing that they are not of the physical lineage of Israel.  The heart of the problem is summarized by Paul in Ephesians:

Ephesians 2:11-13  Therefore remember that at one time you Gentiles in the flesh, called “the uncircumcision” by what is called the circumcision, which is made in the flesh by hands— [12] remember that you were at that time separated from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. [13] But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.

This idea of Gentile inclusion by the blood of Christ lies at the core of apostolic teaching about the universality of the Gospel, and transforms our understanding of circumcision and the children of Abraham.  Look at the texts below:

Galatians 3:7 Know then that it is those of faith who are the sons of Abraham.

Galatians 3:9 So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

Galatians 3:29 And if you are Christ's, then you are Abraham's offspring, heirs according to promise.

Galatians 6:14-16 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. [15] For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. [16] And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

Romans 2:29 But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.

Romans 4:12 and to make him the father of the circumcised who are not merely circumcised but who also walk in the footsteps of the faith that our father Abraham had before he was circumcised.

Romans 9:6-8 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel belong to Israel, [7] and not all are children of Abraham because they are his offspring, but “Through Isaac shall your offspring be named.” [8] This means that it is not the children of the flesh who are the children of God, but the children of the promise are counted as offspring.

Philippians 3:3 For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God1 and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh—

These texts are merely representative of the general tenor of Paul's claim that now those who cling to faith in Christ are the true circumcision.  This understanding of the Christ is not a replacement of physical Israel (what you refer to as replacement theology, which is no where claimed in Capstone as valid interpretation of the physical Israel.  In other words, Paul is contrasting the church, believing Jews and Gentiles now united in one body in Christ with the “present Jerusalem” (Gal. 4:25).  Now, the true people of God are the believing children of Abraham (Gal. 3:7, 29), who belong to “Jerusalem above” (4:26–27).

For those who would claim that the Church "replaces" Israel, they simply should read carefully Romans 9-11 where Paul is clear that the full promise of God to Jacob and Israel, despite their untimely ignorance and disbelief, shall be fulfilled to the physical descendants of Abraham.  Again, do not think I teach or have ever taught the Church as the replacement of Israel.  This doctrine, which is usually incorporated into British-Israeli or manifest destiny kinds of theological views, has nothing to do with the Nicene-grounded theology of Capstone.

By the way, your point is well taken about the reference to the "New Israel" being developed in correlation to the elder-ship of the Church, which is clearly informed by and built upon the role of the elders in the people of Israel in the OT.  Peter makes the connection directly in 1 Peter 2:9-10: "But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. [10] Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."   This text, which is a reference to a number of OT descriptions of Israel, is directly applied to the believing Church here.  It suggests that we can, in our leadership of the Church, learn much from the continuity between Israel and the Church, and glean into what faithful under-shepherding truly is by observing the Lord's standards and exemplars in the OT people of God.

* * * * * * * *

In two places, Page 168 and 178, pronouns "his/hers" are given as interchangeable concerning bishops.  Prior to this, there is no mention of women as elders and pastors (we know that there were women deacons in the NT).  We know that there are denominations/churches that permit women elders, pastors and bishops and that is defended on "biblical" grounds.

Our concern is to be able to account for TUMI's "official" position on this issue, and where that position is coming from biblically according to TUMI's understanding.  This is a controversial issue, we are a group made up of individuals coming from different backgrounds trying to biblically nail down what is essential (generally and in whatever controversial issues tend to be common in interdenominational dialogue), and we want to be able to account for our instructors mind in this particular topic.

Our goal is to understand all serious biblical attempts to explain issues of this sort and reflect on the totality of scripture to identify what is essential to formulate a responsible and balanced view on the issue

1) What is TUMI's official position on this issue? (women as elders, pastors, and bishops)
2) Can we get a biblical breakdown (a schematic) of that position?

As an interdenominational Christian ministry, The Urban Ministry Institute recognizes that women's role in ministry has been greatly contested through church history. Various traditions have taken staunch and varied stances, including everything from the exclusion of women any formal role in leadership to women exercising full right as bishops and leaders within the church.  As an interdenominational ministry, we are made up of members with these different positions, and have not (on these as other related controversial issues) offered an "official" interdenominational stance.  Such a position would not be possible; traditions emphasize differing Scriptures and interepret the same scriptures differently.  Our focus on this (and all other controversial and "essential" issues) has been to make clear the various positions recognized within the Christian church, and clearly and directly expose our students to the different views traditions have taken.  (A very similar issue, for instance, would be the government of the church: should the church be congregational, monarchical, or episcopal in organizational style).  What is important here is the need to help our students understand that godly, committed Christian theologians and intellectuals have sincerely disagreed on "essential" issues such as baptism, women's role in leadership, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, the manifestation of sign gifts, church government, etc. Ultimately, the conscience of the individual Christian, informed as a member of a particular communion or tradition, will take precedence in these matters of interpretation.  To date, no one has been able to finally settle these issues among believing traditions on the basis of exegesis alone.

As far as the issue of women in leadership, we have focused on the obstensible principles related to the gifts of the Spirit and the calling of the Lord.  What is clear in regard to the calling of individual Christians is that the gifts are neither self-chosen or democratically dispensed.  The Holy Spirit gives gifts to whomever he will to be used in the body of Christ (1 Cor. 12.1-27; Eph. 4.9-16; Rom. 12.3-8; 1 Peter 4.8-11).  The role of leadership in the Church is not so much an issue of human thought and decision as it is the moving, equipping, and empowering of the Holy Spirit.  Of the four places in the NT which mention the gifts of the Holy Spirit, i.e., the divine empowering endowments from Christ which makes ministry and leadership possible, not one limits any of the gifts to men or women.  That is, there appears to be no gender specific listing of the gifts (i.e., these gifts are the ones available to men, and these other gifts are available to women).  The leadership texts in the Pastoral Epistles and other places in the NT, however, do not mention women as elders, pastors, and bishops, although some texts (as in Romans 16 and Philippians 4) attribute apostolic language to female Christians.  In light of these two poles of biblical interpretation, therefore, our official position is to teach the Bible texts as they have been given to us, informed by the differences understood in light of Christian tradition.  We attempt to view the biblical texts through the the broad range of interpretation that is reflected in Church history, showing our students the ways in which various schools have wrestled with the meaning of this issue.  Above all, however, our singular desire for leadership in the church, whether women or men, is to emphasize the freedom of the Holy Spirit to grant to any believer any gift he sees fit, as is plainly stated in 1 Cor. 12.1-13.  The force of this kind of interpretation is to allow for variance in Christian interpretation on the meaning of the biblical texts, while, at the same time, to ensure that no tradition, communion, congregation, or Christian limit the empowering endowment of the Holy Spirit to grant whatever gift or unction to anyone for any particular purpose as he, the true leader of the Church in this age, sees fit. For us, we have emphasized the empowering unction of the Holy Spirit to fill and endow submitted Christians, whether women or men, do carry out their purpose in their lives in conversion, sanctification, discipleship, and mission.

Also, Dr. Davis wrote appendix 17 "The Role of Women in Ministry" in this module that you might want to have the class look at.

 Module 8, Evangelism and Spiritual Warfare

Question #7 of the Final for Module 8 gives a wrong answer.  One portion of the answer should be "to consummate his kingdom", which is in the video and text book, the answer page says "to establish his kingdom".

The word consummate means to complete and establish means to set up or start so they are not interchangeable.  Just thought you'd like to know.

The reader of this question is assuming too much in his own definitions of these terms.  Of course they can be used as synonyms for one another, especially in terms of the final establishment/consummation of his Kingdom.  It is important to not adopt what academics call a nominalist approach to theology, meaning, each word can have one and only one meaning attached to it.  His reading is correct, these may not necessarily mean the same thing, but, in the context of the class, they certainly do.  It is not prudent to parse these terms too closely, or we could only use a term univocally, that is, in one and only one sense.  Capstone would be a modest 100,000 pages, not its lean 10,000 now.

 Module 9, Old Testament Witness to Christ and His Kingdom

My question is within the context of Atonement theology.  What do you know about 2 Cor. 5.21 "He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him."?  What does "to be sin on our behalf" mean?  I've done some digging, but I will save my thoughts - because I want your response to be a part of everything swirling around in my head.

In a sense, our Lord is our Passover, as Paul says in 1 Cor. 5:6-8 (ESV) Your boasting is not good. Do you not know that a little leaven leavens the whole lump?  [7] Cleanse out the old leaven that you may be a new lump, as you really are unleavened. For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.  [8] Let us therefore celebrate the festival, not with the old leaven, the leaven of malice and evil, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth.

In sync with the Passover  event recorded in Exodus, Christ as an innocent Lamb sacrificed his blood as an atonement for our sins, and as our life we feed on him for strength for our journey.  If you recall, the sacrificed lamb was the only means by which the people of God could escape the angel of death's slaying of the firstborn in Egypt, whether Hebrew or Egyptian.  In the same way, on the Day of Atonement, the High Priest entered into the Holy of holies to sprinkle the blood of the covenant on the ark as an atonement for the sins of the people.  The entire book of Hebrews details the way in which both the priesthood and sacrifice of Jesus Christ is superior to that of the Temple sacrificial system, the Levitical priesthood, the Aaronic High Priestly office, and the animal sacrifice.  Actually, the author of Hebrews says that these practices and offices where emblems, tokens, signs of the a truer, more definitive and effective heavenly pattern, with our Lord Jesus being both Victum and Victor as High Priest and Offering combined.

This 2 Corinthians 5 text affirms this clear sense in how Jesus became sin for us.  Perhaps the clearest understanding of this is seen in the great chapter of the Suffering Servant, Isaiah 53:

Isaiah 53:4-6 (ESV)  Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. [5] But he was wounded for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his stripes we are healed. [6] All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

Notice the end of this matchless text: ". . . and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all," in my mind the Hebrew Bible equivalent to Paul's high Christology in 2 Cor. 5.  In his body on the tree, Christ became sin for us, and through faith, we now in the "Great Exchange of Guilt and Righteousness" become the righteousness of God in him.  This is the heart of the Anselmic satisfaction theory of the atonement which has reigned supreme in Protestant circles since the Reformation, and it is a sound, biblical, and moving interpretation.  I would simply extend its richness to include the Savior's complete victory over the devil, the curse, hell and death, and the principalities and powers through his incarnation, death, resurrection, and ascension.  (The Christus Victor motif allows us to give weight also to Christ's matchless life, as well as to his death, and affirm the life-giving power of his resurrection and his exaltation at the Father's right hand through the ascension).

Jesus of Nazareth was both High Priest and Sacrifice, Mediator and Offering, Messiah and Lamb.  I think Paul highlights the meaning of his great exchange on the Cross for us, and highlights the merits of his life as they accrue to us.  Here is another place and way he says it: Philip. 3:8-10 (ESV)  Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ [9] and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith— [10] that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.

I hope this is helpful.  The richness of Christ's work is extraordinary, both in regards to sin, to righteousness, to death, and to eternal life.  What a mighty God we serve!

* * * * * * * *

On lesson three's quiz, question 5 asks the question "Which is NOT TRUE of Moses as a type of Christ?" The answer noted is "d. All of the above." Is this correct? [Please note, this same question is on the Final, question #6]

Clearly, "a-c" are true, which would make "d" the correct answer. It is a little ambigous in its wording and would be better stated as "All of the above are true."

PLEASE NOTE: This identical question is question 6 on the final exam.

* * * * * * * *

On page 39 in the first sentence of module nine, question five, it reads "How is the covenant God made with Yahweh . . . ".  Shouldn't this be "Abraham" instead?

Yes, good eye!   It should read "How is the covenant God made with Abraham a progressive revelation . . . ".  We will edit this in the next printing.

* * * * * * * *

On page 116, in the second full paragraph on the page, the second and fourth lines read "Davis was born.", and "Davis was a shepherd."  The same issue is on page 147, last paragraph.  This should be David.

You are absolutely right.  Although a person could argue (without looking at the context of these errors), that Davis (Don) was indeed born, and that Davis (Don) has the heart of a shepherd.  Thank you for catching these John! We will make these changes in our next Capstone printing.

* * * * * * * *


 Module 10, God the Son

Dr. Davis, I am mentoring Capstone's "God the Son" module.  I heard that you came out of a Jehovahs Witness background. Can you please share a few points with us that led you to ultimately come to Christ and reject the JW church?

Ultimately the decisive factor in making the shift from JW to Evangelical faith was Christology. Christology is the proverbial heart of all theological dialogue.  Their errors (Arianism) which lowered Christ to the status of the archangel Michael and a created being devastated their understanding of God's salvation. They are insecure in their vision of salvation because it is not God who died for them but an angel who simply "starts the ball rolling".  Jesus gives you a canoe and a paddle and tells you to row as hard as you can until the very end. That is why JW's are so zealous; their very redemption depends on their ability to be faithful to the end. It was amazing grace when I heard about what the God man Jesus did for us. I've been baskin' in liberty ever since!

* * * * * * * *

A question has come up in our discussions on Jesus Christ's identity.  The issue revolves around the sin nature of Jesus.  We understand the points in the outline, but the reading in "Introducing Christian Doctrine" brought up some differing viewpoints.  What is your understanding of the transmission of sin nature?  If it is through either male or female, then why was not Mary's sin nature transmitted to Christ?  Some of us do not buy the idea that it is only transmitted through the male, and others of us do not buy that the power of the Holy Spirit's contribution to the conception and development of Jesus simply "overpowered" the sin nature that Mary "contributed."  Perhaps this is too vague a question, but any help or
opinion you offered would be helpful. 

On the question of sin nature, Erickson is correct in saying that various traditions have understood this issue in radically different ways. Part of the difficulty is the level of specificity in the answer that people seek. In other words, people want to know the precise reason, method, and process by which sin is transmitted from one generation to another. One excellent theological principle on questions like this is to always embrace the simplest answer given in Scripture and to reason humbly from that explanation. An example of this question therefore is Romans 5 and Pauls discussion of the comparison between Adam and Christ. If you recall that text, Paul said that sin entered into the world through one man, Adam and as heirs of Adam we are caught up in that spiritual condemnation / curse. While Romans 5 does not say how Adam is the head of all humankind, he does assert THAT he is the head of all humankind. In doctrinal circles this view is spoken of as "Federal Headship". As in Adam everyone dies, so in Christ everyone will live. Adam and Christ represent the heads of two distinctly different classes of humankind. If you read Romans 5 and 1 Cor. 15 in light of this you will see that the question is not how the curse of our father Adam was transmitted to us (the fact that we sin says it has), the real question is how can anyone transcend that condemnation and that curse? As we have born the image of the earthly, so we will bear the image of the heavenly.

 Module 11, Practicing Christian Leadership

I have a concern about question 10 on Quiz 2 Module 11. True or False:  We welcome others into the family of God on the basis of their faith   alone.  The answer that is given is true. This agrees with part c page 51.  The confusion for some of our students is number 5 page 52 which says incorporating those who repent and believe in Jesus...I can see how this could be confusing. I thought I would bring this to your attention for future consideration.

Answer (from Dr. Davis):

Thanks for your question!

The answer to this question hinges on what people understand as faith alone. Unfortunately, many typically will separate the concepts of faith and repentance as if they are separate acts, some kind of work or extra action in addition to faith. More properly said, the act of saving faith includes repentance from sin and belief in the truth. Over-thinking this can lead to real error, especially if the students do not follow through on the entirety of what is being taught in this lesson segment. By faith alone includes repentance and belief--faith is a pregnant concept in the New Testament. By all means, we ought to avoid any lesson or discussion that would allude to repentance as a work separate from saving faith. This is why repentance and belief are so integrated in the teaching of Christ and the apostles.

For instance, Peter says in his Pentecost sermon, Acts 2:38 (ESV) 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Paul on Mars Hill said, Acts 17:30-31 (ESV) 30 The times of ignorance God overlooked, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent, 31 because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.” A prime example of this is Acts 20:20-21 (ESV) 20 how I did not shrink from declaring to you anything that was profitable, and teaching you in public and from house to house, 21 testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.

If confusion exists here, it may be in the idea of "faith alone." This phrase is not in juxtaposition to faith and repentance, but faith and works. By faith alone (alluded to in Eph. 2.8-10) refers to faith in Christ separated from our own works, but not from our repentance to God. This is clearly said in 1 Thessalonians 1:9-10 (ESV) 9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven,
whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come. This phrase "turning to God" (repentance) is intrinsic to salvation by faith alone, not by works but by grace. By faith alone (sola fides) is a long-standing term in the history of Christian thought, based on the Eph. 2 text, and one which our students should know.

To conclude then, by faith alone (over against works not repentance) is the sole ground of reception in the body of Christ. All who truly believe have truly repented, and that is why we ought not separate the concepts of faith and repentance. To repent and believe in Jesus is a theological equivalent to the phrase "by faith alone." What is key here is that your students understand the relationship between faith, works, and repentance. Faith includes repentance and belief, and is juxtaposed over against salvation by our works of the law.

We just completed the Practicing Christian Leadership Capstone Module 11.  As I have been going through this module, I noticed there is nothing about premarital counseling.  I think it would be very helpful to have something about this in the appendices as a resource for the students.   All the handbooks are great, but  I don't see anything on this in the material. Do you have any suggestions?

Dr. Davis put together a Christian Counseling and Pastoral Care Bibliography that he gave to our students during this module.  This is an excellent resource!

Module 12, Focus on Reproduction 

In Capstone Module 12, appendix 32 (page 255) refers to a document titled "Imagining a Unified, Connected C1 Church Planting Movement". I do not see that title in the appendi of Capstone Module 12. Can we have access to that file?

En el módulo 12 del Curriculum Piedra Angular, el anexo 32 (página 255), nos referimos a un documento titulado " Imaginando un movimiento unificado y conectado de plantación de iglesias C1", pero no aparece ese documento en particular en el apéndice del módulo 12 del curriculum Piedra Angular.

We have linked you to that file here (English). Imagining a Unified, Connected C1 Church Planting Movement

Tenemos todo lo vinculado a ese archivo aquí (Spanish).  "Imaginando un movimiento unificado y conectado de plantación de iglesias C1"

* * * * *

I need some clarification on a quiz, module 12, quiz #3, questions 6 and 10.

  • On question #6 my students believe it is worded poorly and "E" all of the above  is a poor choice of words. Could you please explain that answer?
  • And on question #10 my students feel that once you accept Christ as your savior you become part of the body. Could you please explain how you got "false as the answer?They argue that even the thief on the cross went to paradise and he wasn't baptized. I love these debates and we use them for teaching moments, but this time my students wanted input from TUMI itself about the answers.

Thanks so much, for the questions of the students.  Handling the sheer volume of texts in the Capstone modules lends itself to clarification.

  • #6  can be clarified more clearly; the detractors (a-d) are all good reasons to follow up new disciples.  So, the correct e, should have been more clear.  We will revise the answer to say something like "All of the above are good and sufficient reasons to follow up a new Christian."  Thanks, for the help, and we will amend that to make it more clear.
  • Question 10, however, is a question of fact.  Jesus commanded believers to be baptized upon believing, and we have record of scores of people who were baptized in Acts upon confessing faith in Christ.  It is an ordinance/sacrament of the Church, commanded by Christ, practiced by the apostles, and continued through the tradition of the Church.  That answer is false.  Anyone claiming that baptism is not necessary is disobeying the clear command of the Lord and the practice of the church historically (cf. Mark. 16.15-16; Matt. 28.18-20).

    The question settles the issue of the exception of the thief on the cross.  If he had not died from crucifixion, he probably would have been baptized according to the Lord's own command for disciples given in the Great Commission (Matt. 28.19), and we do not find examples of individuals, groups, or crowds of people making confession of Christ in Acts and not being baptized.  The clear answer to those who are interested in salvation in Christ and association with the Church is given by Peter in the first sermon opening the Kingdom up to people:  [36] Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified." [37] Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brothers, what shall we do?" [38] And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. [39] For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself." [40] And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, "Save yourselves from this crooked generation." [41] So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

    This is a clear apostolic appeal to those who believe.  Upon conviction, you must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus for the forgiveness of sins.  And so the church has taught and practiced since the time of the apostles.


 Module 13, The New Testament Witness to Christ and His Kingdom

It seems like the correct answer for quiz #3, question 10 is False but True is listed in the answer key.  Is the answer supposed to be True?

Thank you for catching this.  Yes, the answer key for lesson 3 quiz, question 10 is incorrect.  It should be "False".

* * * * *

Does the capstone curriculum used in TUMI teach from a Reformed/Covenant perspective? That is, do they teach that we are living in the "realized" millennial (amillennialism)? Do they believe that the Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel are fulfilled in the church (replacement theology)? Do they believe that the kingdom of God is already present in the sense that there will be no literal thousand year reign after the second advent of Christ? Do you believe that Israel, that is , the literal descendants of Abraham through Isaac, through Jacob are no longer recipients of Gods promises to them as a result of not "accepting Jesus" as the Messiah?

TUMI's Capstone curriculum is based on a Nicene Credal perspective of the theology, and is informed by the basic theological tenets which have been confessed in the Great Tradition as anchored on the basic outline of the theology represented within it.  As our module on the Kingdom of God teaches we have avoided these more Protestant traditional notions of eschatology, not asserting that they are incorrect, but giving a broader outline of New Testament theology as outline in the work of George Eldon Ladd's works (e.g., The Gospel of the Kingdom, The Presence of the Future, New Testament Theology, et. a.l.).  Ladd's notion of the "Already/Not Yet' Kingdom is dynamic, and need not be classified under the rubrics your questions ask.  To assert that, with the incarnation of Jesus into the world, the Kingdom has been inaugurated can be seen from his own testimony regarding his works in the world.  Jesus is the seed of Abraham, the Son of David, Daniel's Son of Man, the Messiah and Anointed One promised int he book of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms.  His exorcisms demonstrated his authority over the devil and his minions, his miracles revealed his rescinding of the curse, and his teaching outlines the life of the Kingdom presented in his life and words, an obedience contrasted to Adam's disobedience and Israel's unfaithfulness (see Rom. 5). 

Additionally, his death destroyed the devil, cleansed from sin's punishment and evil, brought life and light and immortality to humankind, and propitiated the Father's wrath against those who believe.  His resurrection guarantees that all who believe will share in his eternal glory, and his ascension poured out on the Church the gift of the Holy Spirit, making the powers of the Age to Come present in the Church, the guardian and steward of the mysteries of God.  In this sense, the Kingdom's life and promise is present, available to all who believe, and whose life can be enjoyed presently in the assembly of believers.  Still, however, the Kingdom has not been consummated, it is not yet totally fulfilled.  The devil roams about seeking whom he may devour, the world, with its lust, greed, and pride, still entraps millions, and the old sin nature continues to plague those who believe.  The world is sick, dark, and lost, and Christians are responsible to be both salt and light in the midst of a perverse, twisted generation that awaits the judgment of God. 

In the Kingdom of God module, we outline the various historical positions related to the fulfillment of the Kingdom as related to the millennium (post-, pre-, and amillennial views) and to the "Great Tribulation" as that event relates to the end times.  As an interdenominational ministry, TUMI affirms the blessed hope of the Scripture which all Christians everywhere have always believed, the rule of faith captured and confessed in the Creed, that Christ will come again, judge the living and the dead, reign as Lord in his Kingdom.  All the promises made to the patriarchs and prophets will come to pass, and as 1 Cor. 15.22ff. suggests, once all the enemies have been put under Jesus' feet, then the Kingdom will be handed over to God who will become our "All-in-all."  We believe the that the promise and hope of Christ's return and reign will literally occur, that he will reign as John the Apostle testifies in the book of Revelation, and that the Kingdom which has already been inaugurated with the incarnation of Jesus will be consummated when he returns bodily and visibly, in God's own time.

 Module 14, God the Holy Spirit

I've noticed that some of the video does not match the outline in Capstone Module 14, and therefore some of the content for the quizzes is not covered during the teaching.  Do you have anything that could help me ensure that my students pass their quizzes?

While this mismatch does no damage to the overall module's clarity and importance, this may be confusing to your students who are accustomed to the ongoing connection between the video and the workbook.  Rev. Rich Esselstrom, our San Diego Satellite Director and TUMI National staff member, has tracked these differences, and made the location of them available to us.  We pass along now his careful notation to your site and your mentors who are teaching Module 14.

The students are tested on the following information but this covered only in the book (not on the DVD).  Please be sure to have your mentors review this with your students to ensure their success on this Module.  The list below gives the page number, outline heading and what needs to be covered with the students in order for them to pass the quizzes and final exam for this module.

  • Pg. 22. 2a. Parclete.  Note at bottom of page.
  • Pg. 99. 4a. Walk in the Spirit.
  • Pg. 102. 3a. Holiness View.  Note at bottom of page
  • Pg. 104. b1. Pent. view.
  • Pg. 105. c1. Pent-Hol view.
  • Pg. 141. c1,2. Witness of the Spirit
* * * * * * * *

In most of the Capstone Modules there are several Scripture options that the students may choose from to write their exegetical project on.  This module has only one passage, and its lengthy! Do you have any additional options we could give our students for this project?

Besides the text that was listed (Romans 8.1-27), the following passages are also excellent options for your students to choose from as they directly relate to the teaching from this module.

  • I Cor. 2:9-16
  • John 16:7-11
  • Romans 8:12-17
  • Gal. 4:4-7
  • John 14:15-18
 Module 16, Doing Justice and Loving Mercy: Compassion Ministries

I'm not sure if this was addressed in the past, but we found a typo for the answer of question #6 on Quiz #2 on Module 16: Doing Justice and Loving Mercy.  The question reads:

6.  Which of the following is NOT TRUE regarding OT understandings of care giving?

a.  God demands justice and mercy: he punished those who trampled the poor.
b.  God denounced wealth gain by oppression and abuse.
c.  Tithes were collected for distribution among the deserving poor only.
d.  Respect was to be given to those sojourning through the land.

The answer in the mentor's manual states that "D" is not true (shown to be true on page 68, bullet B, #3 in the student book) instead of letter "C", which is the choice that is not true.

You are correct.  Answer C is the choice that is not true.  Thanks for catching this.  We will fix on our files.

* * * * * * * *

There is no answer listed for Quiz 3, question #3 in Module 16's answer key.  What is the correct answer?

In the answer key for Quiz 3, question #3 in Module 16, the answer was inadvertently left off.

On the Quiz 3, question #3, "E" is the correct answer (we corrected this in the later versions of Capstone). Listed below is how the multiple choice options should read and what the correct answer is.

3. Which of the following is NOT TRUE regarding the need to take a dynamic approach to doing justice and loving mercy?

a. God is a God of purpose and wisdom. [THIS SHOULD BE B.]
b. Since the poor are with us always, we need not be sacrificial in our show of mercy. [THIS SHOULD BE A.]
c. The leading of the Holy Spirit neither requires nor is served by planning.
d. The use of planning and organization in ministry need not be against the will of God.
e. Both b) and c) are not true. [THIS IS THE CORRECT ANSWER]

* * * * * * * *

We are teaching Module 16 and our students have been very confused by 1b on page 85 Session 2. Segment 2 . "Sin on the side of compassion; human beings are penultimately ends in themselves". Several students are hung up on sin for compassion -- e.g. if a person's family needs food, robbing a store would to feed their family would make sense. Would you have Dr. Davis explain as the men have asked us to find out his thoughts.

Martin Luther, in acknowledging the instinctively difficult task of seeking to live our lives as biblically as possible, talked about "sinning boldly" when confronted with choices where, frankly, it is not clear which is the right response to take.  Anyone who has been in Christian leadership for a time knows that ultimately a Christian leader encounters situations with no clear cut answer, when the possible actions before her all seem questionable, even shaky.  Luther, in affirming the saving and leading grace of the Lord, said that we ought to "sin boldly," in other words, pursue a line of decision and action that one's conscience best seems to follow biblical truth, and yet, in the final analysis, may not necessarily be clear.  I personally counseled two street walkers both pregnant by the same pimp in my church, all of whom had recently accepted the Lord, wanted to do the "right thing" and get married, and yet had no clue which one should marry the father of their unborn child.  They were all penitent, open, and responsive, and truly wanted to followed through with the Lord's will.  As far as I can tell, there were no biblical analogies that aligned with their situation, and, based on our submissive and open hearts and willingness to obey the Word of God, they would have to make a decision, and follow through with it as best as possible.  Whatever they decided, one mother and child would not have a husband and dad, and yet, they were all willing to do God's will.  This kind of conundrum is not unusual in the city; the level of brokenness and scarring is so great that you do encounter situations not explicitly talked about in scripture.  Nevertheless, as disciples of Christ and leaders of the church, we will need to make decisions (Luther's "sinning boldly") but carrying through with our decisions as compassionately within conscience as we can, staying as close to Scripture and to principles as we may.

Robbing for the sake of family is mere sin; theft is wrong, and that is not what is being referred to here.  We will encounter many times when, totally committed to Christ and his standard, we will be faced with strange, bizarre, even twisted situations where no clear application of truth will suffice or be applicable.  At such times of difficulty, we will need to follow Luther's dictum, use our knowledge of Scripture, reason, experience, and tradition, prayed up to the full, and open to the Spirit's leading.

Creeds of the Church, Nicene, Apostles' and Athanasian Creeds 

In Christian history, three creeds have taken superior place: The Apostles' Creed, the Nicene Creed, and the Athanasian Creed.

  • The Apostles' Creed
  • The Nicene Creed
  • The Athanasian Creed

For a better understanding of these creeds (and disputes about the creeds), why they are important (and the biblical basis for creedal theology), and how the embracing of the creed can serve as a kind of shorthand for the biblical story, refer to Chapter 7 in Sacred Roots: A Primer on Retrieving the Great Tradition, Rev. Dr. Don L. Davis.

Just wondering why you chose the Nicene Creed as the creed of choice to teach from. Why not the Apostle's Creed.  Does it matter?

Let's be clear first that the Apostles Creed, which was often associated with the probably-legendary idea that the twelve apostles each wrote a section of the Creed's twelve clauses. On the one hand, the Apostles' Creed is still widely used today in the same way it has been widely used in the past (for example one scholar suggests the Apostles Creed is rightly used as a baptismal confession; a teaching outline; a guard and guide against heresy, a summarization of the faith; and an affirmation in worship. Some have argued that it is the most widely accepted and used creed among Christians.  While this may be true of Christians in the West, it is not so of those in the East. (The Apostles Creed is probaly an update of the Old Roman Creed, associated with the western practice of Christian faith).   The Nicene Creed, on the other hand, is the one creed that has been acknowledged as perhaps the most important ecumenical document ever written in the history of the entire church.  It is probably the only document universally recognized by all sections of the Church as authoritative, and carries respect and authority as to its doctrinal clarity in every major branch of Christian faith. In a word, there is simply nothing that compares to the high doctrine, universal acceptance, historical validity, and overall theological profundity as the Nicene Creed.

This matters for us. One, we are inter-denominational and must safeguard as best we can a truly "evangelical and ecumenical" approach to all things, except
in those cases where we are partnering with a tradition and we intentionally defer to their doctrinal vision.  Two, it matters because by endorsing the Nicene Creed it puts us midstream with the historic orthodox formulation regarding the Trinity and the deity of Christ (i.e., the Nicene Council is historically verifiable; we know where the Creed came from, who attended the meetings, what spawned it, and the result of the reflection that occurred there).  Finally, it matters because of our desire to shield and undergird this portion of our leadership development.  Defense of the Nicene Creed was the standard by which bishops were ordained in the church all the way up to the 8th or 9th century, and it alone has served as the groundwork for the major systematic renditions of Christian faith from such giants in theology as Karl Barth and Langdon Gilkey.  It is the bedrock for doctrinal validation along a whole spectrum of theological issues, and, because of its universal appeal in the church, serves as an excellent catechetical and leadership development piece.

While both the Apostles and Nicene Creeds have great use and validity, for the formal articulation of historic orthodoxy, go with Nicea!

* * * * *

In the Apostles Creed, there is the phrase "He descended into hell". So, is it fair for me to ask you both what your personal view is of the phrase "He descended into hell" or what you would teach regarding this statement to new converts? I do not intend to debate with you about your answer. I have no axe to grind. But the statement causes me some heartburn. I have researched much of the opinions regarding the texts in Peter, etc. When I say "He descended into hell" while reciting the Creed each morning I am thinking more of the reference to Jonah and the Lord being in the belly of the earth, not so much the Lord going into Hell in a literal sense. But I don't want to clean the creed up or re-shape it to fit my personal preferences.

The key to appropriating the ancient consensus is recognizing our own tendencies toward anachronistic interpretation of any and everything theological.  In other words, we tend to respond "thickly" to statements which originally sought to be "thin" in terms of theological argument.  The Apostles and Nicene Creeds are summaries of the rules of faith which were considered essential, uncontestable, basic truths regarding God, Christ, the Spirit, and the Church.

The clause on hell has been historically understood in the most low-hanging fruit New Testamental sense.  Jesus died, entering the grave.  He tasted death for every man, and entered the abode of the dead on behalf of all humankind. Theologues will see the word hell, and will pour into its meaning every bit of information/articles they have ever read on Gehenna, the lake of fire, or hell fire and brimstone.  The Apostles Creed simply asserts that Jesus actually died and descended into the abode of the dead. 

Right up front, we should acknowledge that the word "hell" in the Apostles Creed probably is not referring to the "hell" of eternal damnation, to Gehenna in Jesus' teachings, but rather to the place where the dead reside, i.e., the actual abode of the dead, translated "Sheol" in Hebrew and "Hades" in the Greek. Refer to Acts 2.31 where Peter is speaking of God's resurrection of Jesus from the dead (cf. Acts 2:29-32 ESV):

29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses.

This is a significant citation by Peter, as he declares it in his inaugural sermon at Pentecost quoting Psalm 16, stating explicitly that the LORD in raising up Jesus from the dead did not abandon him to Hades, nor let his flesh see corruption.  This is theologically important: in dying for our sins, Jesus actually died; he did not swoon, or pass out, or enter into a coma or any such condition.  He died on the Cross, and "tasted death for every man" (Heb. 2.9), and was brought up from the dead (Rom. 10.7).

In Ephesians 4.8-10 Paul also speaks of Christ's descent into the "lower parts of the earth" as he references Psalm 68.18 and links Christ's triumphal exaltation and ascension to his descent in death:

8 Therefore it says, “When he ascended on high he led a host of captives,and he gave gifts to men.” 9 (In saying, “He ascended,” what does it mean but that he had also descended into the lower regions, the earth?10He who descended is the one who also ascended far above all the heavens, that he might fill all things.)

From Christ's own testimony it is clear that he indeed was alive, died (i.e., descended into Hades), and rose triumphant from the grave:

17 When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last, 18 and the living one. I died, and behold I am alive forevermore, and I have the keys of Death and Hades.

While it may not seem a racy idea to say that the Prince of Life died and descended into the grave, everything we believe about his identity as the Last Adam bears this out.  He actually experienced death, its full range and weight, its scope and reality he tasted for every person.  He walked the corridors, experienced the shadows, descended into the grave.  No part of it was withheld from his experience; he died fully as a human being on behalf of humankind.

In conclusion then, while sincere and biblical exegetes and expositors of Scripture have argued regarding this clause of the Apostles Creed (especially, in my view, when they confuse its rendering of "hell" with what I believe their language signified-"Hades"), it is significant to affirm that Christ not only died, but actually descended into the abode of the dead, while being prevented from seeing its corruption and decay, as Peter declared at Pentecost.

Here is a post from Millard Erickson, who wrote one of our central Capstone doctrinal texts, Introducing Christian Doctrine, responding to a question from a reader of Christianity Today on the meaning of Christ's descent into hell:

Good Question: Did Jesus Really Descend to Hell? Christianity Today, February 7, 2000
Posted by Millard Erickson
posted 2/07/2000 12:00AM

Each Sunday, millions of Christians around the world recite the Apostles' Creed, including that statement:

"I believe that Jesus … descended into hell."

Yet a few years back at one Christian college, a series of chapel messages on the Apostles' Creed had to omit this item, because none of the 12 professors of Bible and theology believed it. Actually the statement is not found in the earliest form of the Apostles' Creed. It echoes Acts 2:31, and seems to be there simply to make the point that Jesus' death was real and complete. Jesus went to hades, which in the Greek signifies the world of the departed—paradise for some, pain for others.

When the Apostles' Creed took its English form in the sixteenth century, "hell" meant hades as such, rather than the final state of the lost (which Jesus called gehenna), as it always is today. So, should those who accept the Bible as their supreme authority for belief hold to the Creed's doctrine on this point?

Scripture tells us very little about Jesus' state between his death and resurrection. The most commonly cited biblical passages are Acts 2:31 ; Ephesians 4:8-10 ; 1 Peter 4:6; and, most importantly, 1 Peter 3:18-20. Ephesians 4 is likely a reference to the Incarnation, and 1 Peter 4:6 could apply to any preaching of the gospel. But numerous interpretations of 1 Peter 3:18-20 exist.

Some say the 1 Peter 3 passage should not be taken literally—that it is symbolic, conveying in graphic form the idea that redemption is universal in its extent. This, however, involves a more spiritualized hermeneutic than usually practiced by evangelicals. Others contend that this refers to a descent by Jesus into the realm of the dead between his death and resurrection, and an actual preaching to its occupants, either offering salvation to them or declaring his own triumph over death and judgment upon those who in their earthly life did not respond to God. This interpretation, however, seems in conflict with the rest of Jesus' life and ministry— and with the context of the passage, which emphasizes a faithful, gentle witness, giving a reason for one's faith, even in the face of opposition. At the same time, the non-literal interpretation has difficulty accounting adequately for the reference to Noah, unless the preaching was restricted only to people from Noah's time, which seems strange. It also appears to conflict with the theological context, or how our interpretation fits with other, more clearly established doctrines. Here we encounter biblical references teaching the finality of death over and against any opportunity for salvation, at least since the time of Christ.

Many consider the parable of the rich man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31) pertinent to the question, as are much of Psalm 49 and Revelation 20:11-15. Hebrews 9:27 indicates a close linkage between death and judgment, with nothing mentioned as intervening. And Jesus' statement to the thief on the cross—"today you will be with me in paradise" (Luke 23:42,43)—also is relevant.

One other interpretation, held by Augustine and defended strongly by several evangelicals, seems more promising. In this view, Christ preached "in spirit" through Noah as Noah built the ark. This was a message of repentance and righteousness, given to unbelieving people who were then on earth but now are "spirits in prison" (i.e., in hell). While this reference to spirits in prison is not completely natural, this view fits better with the other considerations. It also is supported by 1 Peter 1:10-12, which speaks of the Spirit of Christ in the prophets who spoke. While none of the interpretations is totally without difficulty, one might conclude that this is the most adequate reading of the relevant data.

Robert Mounce, in his commentary Living Hope, says that the 1 Peter 3:18-20 passage is "widely recognized as perhaps the most difficult to understand in all of the New Testament." Even if one holds that Jesus did descend into hell to offer salvation to those who had lived on earth before him, this special effort does not apply to those who lived and died later.

There is one thing of which we can be certain: Jesus' death was a literal event, not some temporary state of unconsciousness. Hence, in his resurrection, Christ did indeed conquer death—both in its spiritual and physical forms. Bible-believing Christians can allow themselves to differ on the nature of Jesus' descent into hell. Some will be able to recite this part of the Apostles' Creed with conviction, while others may choose to remain silent.

Millard J. Erickson is Distinguished Professor of Theology at Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University.

Or, here is another quote from D. Bruce Lockerbie's The Apostle's Creed: Do You Really Believe It
(Victor Books, Wheaton, IL 1977, page 53-54).

"He Descended Into Hell"

The final clause in this sequence, "He descended into hell," is the most controversial in the Apostle's Creed. Indeed, some denominations consider it optional or refuse to include it at all. The problem with this phrase begins with what it connotes. To some, the descent into hell represents the physical agony of death upon the Cross. It was hellish in its pain. To others, the word hell means Hades or Sheol, the collective abode of the dead, divided into Paradise or Abraham's Bosom--the state of God-fearing souls--and Gehenna, the state of ungodly souls. Thus the descent into hell may suggest that the Son of God carried the sins of the world to hell; or the Son of God carried Good News of deliverance to the godly dead such as Lazarus the beggar and the repentant thief. A third-century Syrian Creed speaks of Jesus, "who was crucified under Pontius Pilate and departed in peace, in order to preach to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the saints concerning the end of the world and the resurrection of the dead."

Still others believe that the descent into hell account for the problem of God's justice by providing an opportunity for all mankind--in eternity as well as in time--to hear the message of redemption from the Word Himself. But whatever interpretation one accepts, the scriptural passages upon which this teaching is based must be studied closely. Some of the standard texts are Job 38:17, Ps. 68:18-22; Matt. 12:38-41; Acts 2:22-32; Rom. 10:7; Eph. 4:7-10, 1 Peter 3:18-20, and 1 Peter 4:6.

* * * * *

What are some of the differences between the Apostles and Nicene Creeds?


  • The Nicene Creed is more complex in doctrinal character
  • The Nicene Creed is also more prosaic, less poetic.
  • Nicene theology has been considered more as a plumbline of orthodoxy, less as a credo of faith.
  • Reformers highly accepted the Apostles' Creed, some use among Anglicans, but the East did not recognize it; of significanlty less importance in catechesis and liturgy.

 Foundations for Ministry Series Courses

We're going to be teaching "Nurturing an Apostolic Heart" this quarter.  I'm having a really hard time trying to find "Stand in the Gap" by David Bryant.  Do you know of a good place to buy multiple copies?

We did a search and ran into the same problem.  This is what Don calls a happy problem -- there is actually a better book for this course and I've already posted a link to it on our website.  Please replace Stand in the Gap with "The Master Plan of Evangelism" by Robert E. Coleman. And, this book is available on Amazon.  You'll need to break up the reading assignments for your students for this book.

* * * * * * * *

Do you have any couse descriptions for the Foundations for Ministry Series?  I tried looking on the TUMI website, but what you have listed for Foundations is vastly different than what it used to be.  Was Foundations revised?

The Foundations for Ministry Series that are available on our website -- TUMI Foundations Courses.

You have an older version of our Multiplying Laborers Guidebook.  You can print out a new copy of the entire contents of the binder to replace your older version (so you have the latest data that we have) from our website.  I've attached the page in the latest MLFTUH that relates to our Foundations courses and also have linked you to the location here so you can download the entire guidebook  MLFTUH v. 10

The courses you listed are courses that we taught at TUMI and were listed as samples of the kinds of courses that would be turned into Foundations courses.  Some of them we did (e.g. Nurturing an Apostolic Heart -- which is on our site at the link above), other courses we did an early format of but we are in the midst of reformatting them (e.g. Hebrews 1 & 2) and will post them on the Foundations site of our website when we are done with them.  We have taught many courses since that original list of courses and have formatted some of those for Foundations as well.   We will continue to add to the Foundations courses as we can. 

The current courses on our Foundations site courses that were taught here that were formatted into Foundations.  The only difference from the original format is the design and uniformity of all of the assignments.  The older version of Foundations came in 3-ring binders and had audio tapes.  The newer version are less expensive, and are available in workbooks and MP3 data cds).  The assignments for each of these courses are available on our Foundations page to our site coordinators only.

* * * * * * * *

I know you've taught classes at your headquarters that have helped students better understand how they can integrate the Church Year (and its focus on the life of Christ) within their training in the context of their church and ministry. We would like to focus in on a few courses that would orient our students to this. Can you suggest something from what you've done for our satellite?
We would love to recommend a series of three Foundations courses that go well together -- these are foundational to who we are and what we are doing (and would be most helpful if taken in the order listed below):
  • Winning the World: Facilitating Church Planting Movements Among the Urban Poor -- Lays the foundation for the necessary principles underlying key elements of a Church Planting Movement and what it would take to facilitate and participate in one.
  • Church Matters: Retrieving the Great Tradition -- Next, this course will show how as you can rediscover the power of the living biblical tradition of the Church, anchored in the person and work of Jesus Christ and the essential it is to ground our Church Planting on something larger than us. Throughout its history, the Church has proven that God's unique plan can unfold even in the face of schism and persecution. Such wisdom is critical to renew and revive the urban church today.
  • Marking Time: Forming Spirituality Through the Christian Year -- Thirdly, Marking Time lays out the argument and rationale for embracing the Church Year as a structure that enables us to enhance spiritual formation in the urban church setting.


Since this is our first graduation, we don't have any pictures to promote the event.  Would we have permission to be able to use the one posted in the Satellite Gateway under Graduation of Don Davis with the graduates?  Or if you have anything else we could use, that would be great also.

I also didn't notice any info/resources about promotion.  Was there ever any type of general flyer made or distribution (other than the actual invitation) that told TUMI students and others about the graduation event?   Just trying not to re-invent the wheel if I don't have to.

We send out invitations (can be found on our "Graduation" page on the Satellite Gateway) to all of our students on our roster and give the graduating students 10 additional invitations (or more if they want them) to personally give to their family and friends, inviting them to the graduation commencement and reception. We typically get a great turn out because most of those who come are connected to a particular graduate.  Also, many of the current students come as they have become friends with the students who are graduating.  We encourage the graduating students to tell all their friends/family about their accomplishment and the commencement service honoring their work.  Friends and family are the largesk of the attending crowd for us and are the the ones whose presence mean the most to the graduates.

* * * * * * * * *

How long have your commencement addresses been in the past? We are basically working to reproduce a HSM graduation, but in our context. I had been thinking about 40 minutes. Is that similar to what you have done at Hope School at TUMI National?

Yes, that is what we've done.

* * * * * * * *

One detail-random question. In reading over the descriptions in the program, which were helpful for me too, on masters level hoods, doctoral level, etc., it begged the question for me of what marks should be on the graduation gown of a TUMI graduate. For example, one of our graduates has a BA already. Is capstone like a MA for him? Another graduate does not have a HS diploma, is this like a BA for him? Should we have the graduate who already has a BA wear a master's robe? Do you all have a strong opinion on this?

The TUMI graduates are all TUMI graduates and aesthetics are important.  All of our graduates have worn the same thing: a cap and gown and stohl (the only differences are the stohls and color of the cap's tassel depending on if the student is graduating with a TUMI Certificate or a TUMI diploma.  This is actually a TUMI  ceremony, not an academic ceremony.  We've had students graduate from TUMI that have earned their Master's degree from another educational institution. When they walk at TUMI's graduation, they are graduating from TUMI and wear what all of the other TUMI graduates are wearing.

The academic regalia we reference in the program is specifically for the faculty, for the one giving the commencement address, and those handing out certificates. These folk wear the robes and regalia from their place of graduation. If thte presenter does not have a robe, they wear one that the students wear including the cap (but not the stohl). If the person giving the commence address is a reverend, they typically wear their own robe and stohl if the own one.

We want to make our graduations as formal and academic as possible and we follow many of the same rules in order to do so. But, we have changed some other rules for the sake of what we are doing. I hope this helps.

* * * * * * * *

We are meeting with one of our chaplains next week to start talking about graduation for 7 of our students in the prison. Do you have a graduation checklist or protocol we can use in our graduation process? Any guidelines that sort of thing we could use in our conversation.

OUR GRADUATION PAGE (linked to here) has all of our forms, suggestions, and templates for your graduation.

 Reading (Required) for TUMI Courses

"The required textbooks listed in the Capstone Module are not the same as what is listed on the web. Which version is correct?"

The official and latest listing of our required textbooks and their reading assignments will always be posted on our website (www.tumi.org/books, or www.tumi.org/libros [for Spanish textbooks]).  This is the correct and most current listing of TUMI's Capstone textbooks, and the one you should use."

* * * * * * * * *

Geisslers' book, "To Understand the Bible Look for Jesus" is a required text for several modules.  If the student reads this book and writes reports for one module, do they need to do write a report for the same book in another module?

Yes. This is an excellent text and one that is key for the student's understanding of Scripture. Each module's work will help the student read this book through a different perspective and will help them understand the content of this book in light of the module they are studying.

* * * * * * * *


Do you know if TUMI National is planning on creating a printable version of the required text books for each course on the website so that we can print and distribute to the students without the web headers?

If you use the | Print |  button on the top right of the reading assignment page it will strips the web header from that page and slightly enlarge the text on the page.

* * * * * * * *

How do you deal with the different levels of literacy of students taking classes?  According to the reading requirements that TUMI lays out, many of the courses have 3 books to read with hundreds of pages of reading...and most are theologically deep and not easy to digest.  How do you keep the bar high, yet at the same time not overwhelm students who many don't even have a high school diploma?

Students qualify for investment because of the church’s entrustment and commission to leadership, not prior academic training and educational background.  As a result, your students may differ broadly in academic background and performance.  Some may not have completed high school, other may have earned college degrees. 

Because we focus on equipping leaders “especially among the poor,” it is not uncommon for our students to have had little academic preparation, certainly less than afforded to more middle-class church leaders.  Although oral skills are usually strong among any group of leaders, some of your students may struggle with low literacy or writing skills.

* * * * * * * *

As a satellite, do we have any freedom to substitute some of the required reading books for certain courses with other books of our choosing?

We are committed to establishing a stable, available, and helpful bibliography of texts for our Capstone courses, and, for the most part, have been tracking carefully the texts on our list which have gone out of print, and seeking either to 1) get them reprinted and available as soon as possible, or 2) suggest alternative texts consistent with the kind of theological and pastoral concerns reflected in a particular module.  It is important that you always seek to use the official Capstone book list that we currently endorse as listed on our site.  If you run into problems with out-of-print texts, please do not hesitate to communicate that with us immediately, and we'll seek to remedy that.  Remember, that our texts are used and accessed by all our sites, consistent with the pedagogical aims of the courses, and our commitment to broad evangelical consensus.  We want to be as helpful and flexible as possible, yet to do so providing consistency and excellence for all within our entire network.

One final thing.  The standards that we are establishing with TUMI in terms of our criteria, standards, and coursework are more and more being acknowledged in a larger academic arena.  We are in serious dialogue, for instance, with Tabor College to allow graduates of the TUMI Capstone program to receive earned credit towards the fulfillment of the Tabor College/TUMI Associate of Arts in Urban Ministry.  Participation in programs like this will demand conformity to our current academic standards.  We are strongly urging all our satellites to not deviate from the standards, lest their students fail to qualify for this and (we believe in the future) other similar programs that acknowledge the quality of the TUMI program.

 Reference Texts

What do you think about Colin Brown's, New International Dict. of N.T. Theology?  I haven't seen another Word Study tool that exhaustive, and loved it in College.  But, I'm not familiar with too many, other than Zodhiates' stuff. Just wondering what you thought.

Brown's dictionary is exquisite; I've used the hardback set for a time, and now (as you said) Zondervan is making a digital copy of it available as a stand-alone program.  It's worth the expense, although, scholarship even very good scholarship like Brown, and Bruce, and Marshall, and Gundry and others need to be "popularized" and "sanitized" both.  They need to be popularized in that the common rank-and-file believer in the Nazarene can have their faith crushed in the speculation of historical, critical study.  They need to be sanitized because much of the scholarship does not focus on Christ per se, but side and surrounding issues which seem to ignore the on-the-surface Christocentric nature of all biblical revelation.  In him are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge (Col. 2.1-3), but they seem to forget that, so you have to bend the data toward the Alpha and the Omega (which I am more than willing to do!)

* * * * * * * *

Have you ever looked at:  Jeffers, J. S. The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1999.  IIs it worth buying?  The excerpts off of Amazon made it sound like just what I was looking for.

Yes, InterVarsity has come out with some really wonderful texts, both on the nature of Palestinian Judaism as well as the Great Tradition (the first five centuries of the faith).  I would advise looking at the ancient church's understanding of Christ and the Gospels; their preaching and thinking is terribly helpful in understanding how the Church viewed Christ from the beginning.  Authors like David Williams, Roger Olson, and Thomas Oden are leading the way.  Check out a reference text called "Early Christian Beliefs" and look, too, at Nelson's New Illustrated Bible Manners and Customs.  Both of these have significant quotes, articles, and info on the life during Christ as well as the early Church's grasp of Christ's story.  By the way, I got your note and the rabbis of Jesus' day did repeat their lessons over and over and over again.  In rabbinic interpretation, the etymology of the term "to teach" literally means "to repeat."  Adds new meaning to the truth that only a few things really matter, and thus, only a few things truly bear repeating.

* * * * * * * *

What is your recommendation for a Systematic Theology book (or set)? If you could, let me know what receives your highest rating, best bang for your buck.  I'm personally interested in your thoughts on Geisler's.

My knowledge: I have Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology, which you suggested to me earlier, and I love it.  I have also been tempted (if I had $ it'd be a bigger temptation) with Norman Geisler's Systematic Theology volumed set - that looks like an absolute beast.  Other than that, I'm clueless.  I personally like the books of his I've read for the Capstone classes O.T. & N.T. Witness to Christ and His Kingdom.  He is definitely on point.  I also assumed you like some of his stuff, and naturally wonder what "The Don's" thoughts are on the rest of his stuff.  Thanks.

The Grudem systematic is all-the-rave now; he is truly a solid, cogent evangelical who is ecumenical in his spirit and demeanor.  Geisler leans heavily toward a more apologetic approach to theology; the vast majority of his works lean this way.  The classics, although liberal, are still unusually helpful to understand what the guild is thinking regarding theological possibility: Karl Barth's Church Dogmatics, Paul Tillich's Systematic Theology, Friedrich Schleiermacher's The Christian Faith,and Thomas Aquinas's Summa Theologica are standards, and represent the critical systematics in modern theological thought.  To the former group I would add McClendon's Systematic Theology and Thomas Oden's systematics (the name escapes me, but you can Amazon search it) are fine works, especially Oden's, whose work highlights the theological thinking of the Fathers and the ancient church.

* * * * * * * *

Do you know of any books or articles that our staff could read together on the topic of 'God as excellence'?

I have a couple of ideas.  One is a book written by J. Oswald Sanders, entitled "Spiritual Leadership," and another entitled "Dynamic Spiritual Leadership."  Both of these are on attaining a level of personal excellence with a focus on character and discipline.  Very fine, great classics on leadership.  While the word "excellence" might not be prominent, they both emphasize the kind of life that is known for its disciplined pursuit of God's best: excellence.  Another book, truly intriguing about excellence, is by John W. Gardner entitled, "Excellence: Can We Be Equal and Excellent Too?"  This is a fascinating book where he looks at the relationship of hereditary privilege and individual performance, or success through nepotism versus striving for excellence.  He uncovers a lot of problems within American society and takes head on the idea of equality versus excellence, both of which are deep American values.  I could see reading this and overlaying it with a critical, Christian kind of critique.

Probably the best book on this subject from an admittedly evangelical point of view is Ted W. Engstrom's "The Pursuit of Excellence."  Although written in 1982, he outlines a life process that highlights what he believes to be a viable plan for pursuing excellence as a believer.  It is unashamedly Christian and biblical, and, given his long history at writing on this subject, promises to have more for you on this subject in a way that is right on point.  It is out of print, but there are dozens of copies available on Amazon.

* * * * * * * *

Does Dr. Davis have a bibliography on leadership?

Here is a good start of some key texts on leadership. Hope this is helpful.

  • J. Oswald Sanders, Spiritual Leadership. Chicago: Moody Press, 1994.
  • Don Allsman, The Heroic Venture. Wichita: World Impact Press, 2006.
  • Gene Getz. Elders and Leaders.  Chicago: Moody Press, 2003.
  • J. Robert Clinton.  The Making of A Leader.  Chicago: Moody Press, 1994.
  • Watchmen Nee.  Spiritual Authority.  New York: Christian Fellowship Publishers, 1972.
  • Douglas Hyde.  Dedication and Leadership. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1966.
  • David W. Bennett.  Metaphors of Ministry.  Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 2005.
  • Robert J. Banks,  Paul's Idea of Community: The Early House Churches in Their Historical Setting. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1980.
  • John Stott. Basic Christian Leadership: Biblical Models of Church, Gospel and Ministry. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2002.

 Resource Tools and Suggestions

What is your theology of worship and how does it give focus to the life of the local church?

Attached is a reformed file from our Church Plant School seminar on worship leading.  It has a bunch of stuff that might help frame your answer as you articulate your own views.

* * * * * * * *

I am going to do some seminars for our volunteers in the Fall and am looking for good resources that help explain the significant challenge of cross-cultural ministry - especially in relation to suburban to urban culture.   Can you help me?

One of the central concepts in effective urban ministry is expressing the freedom of Christ within culture. To contextualize the ancient faith is the express goal of all urban mission–to make the faith come aline in the language and lives of the people to which the Gospel has come. Here you will find several resources on Cultural Contextualiation, in chart and outline format that emphasize the importance of cultural sensitivity and contextualization as we evangelize, disciple, and plant churches among the urban poor.

 Theological Questions

Sacred Roots was great...I have a question for Dr. Davis though---It seems to me that the notion of Apostolic Succession and it's role is missing from his book. I would love to hear his thoughts on that idea.

Thank you for your question. Dr. Davis speaks of Apostolic Succession in chapter 2 of Sacred Roots in the section on Apostolic Tradition. He contends that Protestants hold to Apostolic Doctrine and Teaching, not the continuation of a religious office. This is a seminal difference; for those who believe that apostolic succession must constitute the ongoing establishment of an apoastolic office they would suggest that apostolic authority is not in apostolic teaching but rather in the official succession of bishops who have been elected and counciled to represent the original followers of Christ. For those who still hold to the principle of apostolicity, but do not see it as a continuation of an office, they would suggest that consistent defense and guardianship of the gospel as layed out by the apostles in the NT is the heart of apostolic succession. Whether you believe apostolic succession deals with the continuation of an office, or the defense of the NT teaching of the apostles, the Great Tradition would hold that the core teaching and practice of the church must be apostolic, the one true faith summarized by the rules of faith and the creeds of the church built on the authoritative teaching of the apostles in the New Testament.


Does World Impact believe that the sacraments are: baptism and the Eucharist?  Or are there more?  Thanks and God bless.

Great question.  World Impact's Affirmation of faith, without overly specifying a dense, thick commentary on the sacraments, does highlight in its section on the Holy Church, the practices congregations ought to keep in sync with the commands of Christ, which are interpreted in terms of the Lord's Supper and Baptism.  Below I reproduce the section of WI's affirmation on the church:

"The Holy Church is the one institution specifically ordained of God to function in the furthering of the Kingdom until Christ comes again. It consists of all those regenerated by the Spirit of God, in mystical union and communion both with Christ, the head of the Body, and with fellow-believers. Neighborhood congregations are the local manifestation of the Church universal. In obedience to the command of Christ, these congregations preach the word of God, equip God's people for the work of ministry, and administer the Lord's Supper and Baptism."

This section clearly states the necessity of congregations to, in their local manifestation, administer the Lord's Supper and Baptism in obedience to Christ.  As both an evangelical and interdenominational ministry, we acknowledge that they can be legitimately observed in a variety of ways and means, if in fact those protocols violate no biblical principles, commandments, or injunctions, and strive to express fully the command of Christ.  WI does not recognize any additional practices as sacraments, therefore other practices regarded as sacraments in Roman Catholic, Orthodox, and Anglican traditions (such as holy matrimony, confession, last rites, ordination, and confirmation) are not seen or perceived as having either the same authority or legitimacy as the Eucharist and Baptism.  This is largely due to the command of Christ associated with the Lord's Supper and Baptism, and our own evangelical ecumenical Protestant identity.

This is a concise summary, but I believe it is accurate.  Hope it helps!

* * * * * * * *

Can I accurately say - the titles given to us in I Peter 2.9-10 - ("[9] But you are A CHOSEN RACE, A royal PRIESTHOOD, A HOLY NATION, A PEOPLE FOR God's OWN POSSESSION, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; [10] for you once were NOT A PEOPLE, but now you are THE PEOPLE OF GOD; you had NOT RECEIVED MERCY, but now you have RECEIVED MERCY.") - were not accomplished until Christ was crucified, resurrected and ascended?  I know that they echo the titles given to Israelites in Exodus 19.5 -("[5] Now if you obey me fully and keep my covenant, then out of all nations you will be my treasured possession. Although the whole earth is mine, [6] you will be for me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.' These are the words you are to speak to the Israelites.")

However, the titles were conditional on obeying the Lord fully and keeping His covenant and Christ was the first and only to fulfill those requirements.  Based on that and that without Christ's righteous none are holy or acceptable - it seems to me that alongside the fact that the Church is being given the promises of Israel - it is also the Church who actually is the royal priesthood, holy nation, etc...  In other words; am I correct in understanding that the Church through Jesus Christ is the first to accurately become God's holy nation and royal priesthood?


No, I do not believe that it would be accurate to suggest that the Church alone receives the meaning of this text.  This is a long fought theological skirmish; many exegetes believe that the Church has replaced Israel as the people of God.  Others hold that Israel were never the real people of God, only an instrumental means to the ecclesial end of the Church.  Still others believe that there are two peoples of God, Israel and the Church, separate but equal.

The key to understanding the relationship of Israel to the Church, in my mind, are chapters 9-11 of Romans.  Paul is clear to suggest that Gentiles have been grafted into the olive tree of God, notwithstanding the fact that they are wild branches of God.  Paul is careful to caution Gentiles from any sense of haughtiness since they were in fact wild and grafted into God's olive tree because certain branches fell off.  He is clear in arguing that if wild branches can be grafted in successfully, surely the original branches can too!

All this to say that, in my judgment, the people of Israel are, were, and will ever remain God's people.  Look at Paul's summary of the status of the Jews in the divine economy of God:

Romans 9:3-5 (ESV)  For I could wish that I myself were accursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my brothers, my kinsmen according to the flesh.  [4] They are Israelites, and to them belong the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises.  [5] To them belong the patriarchs, and from their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ who is God over all, blessed forever. Amen.

God literally meant his word to them in Exodus 19, and though they fell due to unbelief in Messiah Jesus, they still have their place, both in terms of God's salvific plan for them and the fulfillment of all the salvation promises given to the patriarchs, to David, and the nation.  I personally believe that Peter's double application of that text to the Church reinforces the continuity of the Church with the people of Israel and not its replacement of Israel.  (Do not forget, Paul says that the Church is the divine mystery revealed which in past ages was not known but now through the apostles has been made manifest to the world, c.f. Rom. 16.24-27, Eph. 3.3-10, and Col. 1.25-28.)

I hope this helps some.  Keep on exegeting the Word of God, which never returns to the Lord void.

* * * * * * * *

Hello Dr. Davis!  I am writing you to get your insights into ordination, particularly ordination of women.  We are privileged to have a strong sister who is a member of our conegregation, who is a committed worker here at our church and is incredibly dedicated to building God’s kingdom!

We understand it would be advantageous for her if she was ordained; it would help her navigate through the secular areas where she ministers without so much difficultly.  We are wrestling with the issue of what the scriptures teach regarding women being ordained, and in particular leadership over men.  Our church is closely associated with a more conservative church movement, and it is not typical for us to ordain women (none of our other churches have done this that I can recall), but if we are only doing so because of tradition, we are open to examining the Scriptures to see this issue more clearly.

Please share with us (the elders of our church) your understanding of this issue.  God will use this sister regardless of any titles she is given by men; we only want to do what glorifies God and pleases Him!

Thank you so much for your note on ordination, and, more specifically, on the ordination of women.  Being a part of a historically Black denomination, as well as an inter-denominational urban missions organization, I have been a part of and am aware of evangelical communions which wholeheartedly affirm a more egalitarian understanding (over against a more complimentarian vision) of the role of women in ministry, specifically in both missions and church polity.  In the AME church (African Methodist Episcopal communion) in which I was raised, the ordination of women was a fundament in its clergy life, being a denomination that was deeply informed from the 18th century onwards by the black-white disparity in American society, and the recognition of godly, gifted, and anointed females whom the communion assessed to be able and willing to accept the role of pastoral care. 

Even in light of this, I totally appreciate your questions, issues, and concerns about women being ordained, and, as this is a question where Bible-believing evangelicals have sparred over for many years, I hope my opinion and input can bring at least the evidence and arguments for my view.  You will find attached a document that we use routinely in our TUMI training entitled "The Role of Women in Ministry" which lays out transparently our notion of women spirituality and ministry.  Essentially, we argue that with the coming of our Lord and the transformation and union with Christ of all who believe, the traditional societal roles of class, gender, and race have been superseded.  Now in Christ "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[a] nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus" Galatians 3:28.  In the body of Christ now "Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all, and in all" (Col. 3.11).  As the key foundational texts on the nature of difference in culture and gender, these texts are read as exegetical lens to think critically over the controversial texts in the NT which seem to restrict the roles of women in ministry, most specifically 1 Timothy 2 and 1 Cor. 14. 

Rather than retrace the argument already made in the essay, let me summarize by saying the issue for me has been less of the role of women in ministry as the freedom of the Holy Spirit.  1 Cor. 12 is clear that the Holy Spirit.  Excuse me while I insert the verses 4-11: 4 Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; 5 and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; 6 and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. 7 To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. 8 For to one is given through the Spirit the utterance of wisdom, and to another the utterance of knowledge according to the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by the one Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another the ability to distinguish between spirits, to another various kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues. 11 All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills.

This last verse, "All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills" is decisive for me in this issue.  The Holy Spirit is free, able to apportion to any individual any endowment, gift, calling, or dispensation he desires, based solely on his sovereign grace and election.  None of the gifts or offices are restricted per se to any person of any gender, meaning in my reading that the Spirit may confer on any believer any gifting or charismata he chooses.  Women are heirs together of God's grace, able to receive and therefore exercise whatever gift the Spirit provides.  The issue is not whether women are categorically restricted because of gender from certain callings; the plain readings of the text put the ability to use a gift in the Spirit's election, not in the believer's gender.

I go into depth in these questions in the essay, and it deals specifically into the questions of women not speaking in church, or exercising authority over men, which frankly, I believe are more rightly understood in the context of the Ephesian and Corinthian contexts rather than binding principles for all time on the church through this age.  For what it is, I seek to address these and other issues in the short essay, and I trust you will find it helpful.

Thanks so much for your gracious and warm offer to dialogue and share our views.  I have always chuckled at our evangelical sensibilities; we rarely if ever challenge women's roles in ministry on the mission field, but we enthusiastically challenge them in our own back yards!  I have sought over the years to consistently embrace the role of the Spirit's freedom and our union with Christ, and building on those foundational truths.

 Transfer of Credits

I have been talking with a prospective student who asked if we would accept any of his theological studies toward completion of a certificate with us. He said he could get me a transcript if we needed it. Do we have a policy on accepting credits from other institutions?

Under certain circumstances, TUMI National does allow students to transfer credits for previous work done from other training institutions, up to and no more than eight (8) credits for the Certificate program, and up to an additional (6) for the Diploma program, totaling fourteen (14).  Click here to follow the steps to process student requests for transfer of credit.

Note: the Certificate for completing the Capstone Curriculum (Certificate in Christian Leadership Studies) must be completed in toto in order to qualify for the TUMI/Tabor Associate of Arts Degree in Urban Ministry.  Transfer credits may apply to the CLS Certificate, but not completing Capstone in its entirety will effect qualification for the AA program.  

* * * * * * * *

There is an out-of-state college student that is here during the summer. They would like to take TUMI classes and transfer them to their college as a substitute for her required Bible classes.  Are there ready materials she can give to her advisor to facillitate that taking place?

We have given Capstone Info (e.g. the Introduction from each module, the objectives, and links to Capstone info on our website.  The introductions to each module will help the professor reviewing the request make an informed decision. It may also be helpful for the school to see our other accredited partners and what they are offering students for taking courses we host.

* * * * * * * *

Where do I find the information about getting college credit for TUMI classes?

Answer: The basic overview of what this program will entail can be found on our Accreditation and Accredited Partnership Training page (a link to this can be found on our Satellite Gatway in the right-hand column under Mentor and Faculty Resources). The program is not yet live, but will apply to all of our Satellite Student's work on Capstone once it is up and running.

 Spiritual Formation

Church Year 

How do you use the Church Year to follow-up Christians and equip leaders?

The Church Year is a comprehensive vision of the life of Jesus Christ celebrated and reenacted in real time.  It covers all the main events in Christ's revelation to the world, from the OT prophecies concerning his coming to his coming again in glory for his people.  Through the various readings, celebrations, services, and meditations that occur through the year, the entire church can go through the mystery of the Christ event year after year.  Perhaps nothing provides the entire church community an opportunity to walk on the journey of Christ and his people in worship, teaching, discipleship, and service like the Church Year.  Visit our webpage on the Church Year Calendar and learn more how you can be spiritually formed through a Christ-centered focus on the Church Year!


When we celebrated communion at Summit, there was a response reading for the communion service. Debbie and I really liked it and was telling Pastor Ron about it as we thought it would be nice to incorporate it into our Sunday communion service. Do you have a copy of the read/response that you can share with me?

Yes, we've linked you to that here.

* * * * *

I was wondering what the symbolism stands for in the lighting and extinguishing of the candles during the worship serve. And also the liturgy of the Lord's Supper and of the lighting/extinguishing of the candles?

Candles have always been connected to Christian worship.  This is based largely on their presence in Jewish worship.  The lampstand was a part of the furniture in the holy place.  Candles were a part of Jewish/synagogue worship.  The Lampstand, along with the showbread, altar of incense are all typological emblems of Jesus Christ:  Christ is the light, Christ is the bread, and Christ is our intercessor.

While these things are important, the history of candles (votive, altar, and sanctuary) is dominant is centuries old practice all associated with Christ as the light, etc.   There is nothing weird or magical about candles they simply been associated with Christian worship, emblematic, suggestive of Christ as the light, the church is the light of the world, the spirit of the humankind is a candle of the Lord (in proverbs).


How can you best use the Lectionary in church, small group, or personal devotions?

The Lectionary follows the Church Year specifically, offering a range of texts to be read in conjunction with the various remembrances, services, and emphases of the Calendar.  Designed for flexible use, it allows for readings of the Scriptures to be done either weekly (on the Lord's Day), daily readings, or special readings in connection to the celebrations of the Calendar.  Use the readings generously and flexibly, depending on your own tradition, church situation, or devotional structures.

The Great Tradition 

I've heard much conversation about TUMI's retrieval of the Great Tradition, can you please summarize the Great Tradition for me?

The Great Tradition represents that evangelical, apostolic, and catholic core of Christian faith and practice embraced and affirmed as authoritative by Catholic, Orthodox, Anglican, and Protestant traditions.  It covers the span roughly from the time of the apostles to the middle of the sixth century, rougly from 100-500 C.E. It is a rich legacy of the once-for-all-faith delivered to the Church from the apostles, and embodies the confession of what the Church has always believed, along with the worship and mission that the ancient, undivided Church celebrated and embodied.  From the Great Tradition we received the Apostolic Tradition, i.e., the authoritative canon and source of all Christian faith, the Scriptures, the ecumenical councils, with their true teaching regarding our Triune God and the work of Christ.  Furthermore, we also gain great insight as to how the church can honor and glorify God in the midst of a wicked and godless society.  TUMI seeks to retrieve this great treasure, to contextualize the Great Tradition, and make it applicable in the context of the urban environment for the urban church.

 TUMI/Tabor AA Program

TUMI/Tabor Degree

As Dr. Davis mentioned at our Satellite Summit this past February, it appears that Tabor is willing to offer TUMI students throughout our entire network of satellites the possibility of pursuing an A.A. degree from Tabor College for those who complete the Capstone Curriculum.

Dr. Davis met with Dr. Jonathan Grubbs, a professor and administrator from Tabor College in charge of their Adult Education program, who confirmed that their first round of leadership has agreed on the possibility of creating an Associates degree in partnership with World Impact. This will be a first for Tabor College, which has not offered an Associates degree before, but with this Tabor/TUMI degree will now begin to offer several in other subjects as well.

The best thing about this AA degree is that it will require nothing from our ministry, other than what our satellites are doing currently; their students will simply have to matriculate through and complete our Capstone Curriculum.  Students who do this will then have the option to enroll in the TUMI/Tabor Adult education program and work towards an Associate of Arts Degree in Urban Ministry that requires 62 total credit hours.  This program will be entirely ran and operated by Tabor College, with no involvement or contribution needed from TUMI at all.  TUMI graduates who enroll in the AA program will be able to access traditional financial aid sources to complete the degree.  These hours will be broken up as follows:

  • 24 credit hours are given for TUMI Capstone Curriculum completion
  • 10 credit hours can be earned for urban ministry practicum
  • 30 credit hours for required core curriculum courses (with only 15 of these having to be completed from Tabor College, all of which will be accessible on-line)

Once all the details are completed, you will only need to direct your students to the opportunity for your TUMI graduates, and Tabor will then walk them through their protocol.   While not all of our graduates will take advantage of this, it is dramatically affirming to see how our Capstone training is seen in traditional Christian liberal arts college settings.  This is remarkable; only 15 hours need to be taken online; our students across the country will be able to get credit from local junior college general education requirement courses, if they choose to do so.  This is a great opportunity! We will keep you posted on progress.

Questions about TUMI/Tabor Program

Since inmates do not have access to the internet to take correspondence courses from Tabor on the web, would there be a way to allow inmates to take correspondence courses, or have qualifited teacher/volunteers proctor Tabor classes by coming into the prison so inmates could finish their AA?

Tabor is limited dramatically on their personnel to run this program, which in fact is what makes the online portion of their offering doable for them.  Tabor will only require 15 of the 62 credits to be taken from them; once enrolled in the program, students will be able to draw upon local junior college programming to fill out the numbers.  I think it will be difficult to get them to have proctors for the guys in prison or anywhere else; the guy heading up the program is all they have outside of the online work.

* * * * * * * *

If inmates finished Capstone now, could their credit be grandfathered in later when Tabor's AA program is implemented?  If so, this would help get TUMI into the prisons because students would know they were working toward credit down the road.

Yes.  TUMI certificates will be exchangeable currency in the TUMI/Tabor AA program.  I are hoping, as you know, to start sometime within the calendar year (2009), October (probably later, though).

* * * * * * * *

Could Capstone coursework be applied toward GED credit?

GED is an entirely different academic bird; it includes math, science, English, general education courses that have nothing to do with Capstone.  It will be a hard (if not impossibly dense) sell to get Capstone to qualify for GED credit.  Think of Capstone more as a area major in the AA program, not a substitute for GED qualifications.

* * * * * * * *

Who should I contact to get involved with this program?

Tabor College is finalizing their website which gives a step by step process for students to follow to know the requirements, apply for the program, and apply for grants. As soon as their page is live, we will notify you and send you a link to their site. Until that time, the person responsible for the TUMI/Tabor AA degree program at Tabor College is Adam Penner. He can be reached at 316.729.6333.

World Impact Statement of Faith 


I have a prospective volunteer that is asking a question in regards to World Impact’s affirmation of faith in the MLFUH book.  "In World Impact's Affirmation of Faith, the second paragraph: The books which form the canon of the Old and New Testaments are verbally inspired by God. What does verbally mean here?  Audibly, Spoken aloud? Spoken to prophets? Are Words of God? or something other?  I've never seen the word verbally inspired in a statement of faith before, so would like this to be clarified.


This means that World Impact believes in "verbal plenary inspiration," which is to say that we believe that the Holy Spirit employed the vocabularies of the writers in such a way that, in the original autographs, the actual words they used were inspired. This is significant, lest one's theory of inspoiration covers concepts, ideas, or thoughts instead of the actual words that went into the sentences that made up the paragraphs of the actual books. Those who believe in verbal plenary inspiration, are seeking to avoid any unclarity regarding the nature and scope of the Bible being breathed out by God. Not just general ideas or flow of thought, or generic statements, but the actual words of the original autographs were inspired by God. (2 Peter 1.20-21; 2 Tim. 3.16-17).