Tag Archives: author

Unexpected Journeys Lead Pastor to Niche in Teaching, Blogging

Scott Beha

By Carl Stagner

Southridge Church is a thriving Church of God congregation nestled in South Charleston, West Virginia. On Easter Sunday, they rejoiced to welcome over 700 for worship, an all-time high. Already this year, the church has celebrated the baptism of 20 believers. Eighteen months ago, small-group participation had declined to about 60; since then, the number of participants has topped 200. Outreach into a women’s recovery center has brought more than 150 additional guests, many of whom have since been saved and baptized. A strong partnership with an elementary school has helped the church make major strides in the advancement of the kingdom, even as the school permitted the church to host an Easter egg hunt for students during the school day! Lead executive pastor Michael Coker and lead teaching pastor Scott Beha are thrilled to be a part of Southridge during such an exciting time in the church’s history. But Scott wouldn’t have been there to experience it firsthand, except for a series of unexpected journeys that also helped him find a God-ordained niche in teaching and blogging. Continue reading

Historical Account of Danish Missionary Captured in New Book

Morris C. Johnson

By Carl Stagner

Simon Jacobsen, a Christian historian and author from Denmark, has recently published a book capturing the history of one of the first two Church of God missionaries to Denmark, Morris C. Johnson. Two years after surrendering his life to Christ at the age of sixteen at a Church of God congregation in the United States, he accepted a call to missions. Since his grandfather had immigrated to the U.S. in 1872 from Denmark, Johnson vowed that he would return to the Scandinavian country of his ancestry. The influence of Johnson’s work, beginning in 1910, was thereafter extensive yet, until now, accounts of his impact for the Church of God—and the kingdom—have been scant, at best. Thanks to months of diligent research across national borders, through the Church of God Archives at Anderson University, and with Church of God Ministries, Simon Jacobsen has chronicled the unique story of Morris Johnson’s life—one of drama, adventure, conflict, and Spirit-fueled perseverance. Continue reading

Complementary Resources for Movement Address Doubt, Suffering

By Carl Stagner

“Life is less about waiting for the storm to stop and getting all the answers to our ‘why’ questions. Life is more about learning to dance in the rain, living joyously by faith, without all the answers.”

These words continue to echo in the minds of listeners who tuned in to the Beeson Podcast late this summer to hear Dr. Timothy George interview prolific Church of God author, and former seminary dean, Barry Callen. The topic: suffering. As Barry Callen contends, suffering is one of the most meaningful ways Christians experience the heart of God. His 2018 book The Jagged Journey demonstrates this in the person and passion of Jesus, as it offers practical theology to encourage readers to embrace, instead of avoid, suffering. A complementary work, God in the Shadows, confronts the seemingly contradictory themes of faith and doubt. For such a time as this, these two books bring the Movement face-to-face with issues as relevant as ever, yet too often swept under the rug. Continue reading

A Sure Bet: West Virginia Pastor’s Kid Reclaims “Wasted Years”

Duane singing “He’s All I Need.”

By Carl Stagner

Duane Clarke was raised in a Christian home with loving, godly parents. As a PK—“pastor’s kid”—he heard the gospel preached more times than he could count, whether at Middle Grave Creek Church of God near Moundsville, where his father was senior pastor, or at Ash Avenue Church of God, where his father had served as Sunday school superintendent. At age fifteen, while attending youth camp, Duane went to an old-fashioned altar and asked Jesus into his heart. Soon after, he followed Jesus’ example in baptism. But when this young sports fan checked into a local bar to purchase Lakers tickets, he was inadvertently introduced to sports betting. It wasn’t long before he was thrust into the world of gambling, and for thirty years, he couldn’t find his way out. Hell stole much from Duane Clarke’s life, but Jesus would have the last word. Continue reading

Former School of Theology Dean: Never Give Up!

Dr. David L. Sebastian, former dean of the AU School of Theology and Christian Ministry, has published his ministry memoirs in a book titled Just Never Give Up. Sebastian answered God’s call to ministry while he was an auto mechanic in Middletown, Ohio, so the book is appropriately subtitled, “An Unlikely Person Following God into Unlikely Places.” Continue reading

Warner Press Releases Groundbreaking Book by CHOG Woman Pastor

Warner Press continues its strong relationship with the Church of God by publishing the first book of longtime, influential pastor, Melissa Pratt. Pratt’s new book, Impact: That’ll Leave a Mark, adds a new resource for women (and men, too!) by a woman to the Warner Press repertoire. Impact shares how you can use your role as a disciple of Jesus to change and impact others’ lives for the better. Continue reading

A Conversation with C.S. Lewis, Bonhoeffer, Massey and More

heart_of_the_matter_book_barrycallen_FORWEB

By Carl Stagner

Can you imagine sitting down at a table with C.S. Lewis, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, and James Earl Massey? What if fourteen other theologians—some living, and some who have passed on—also sat at the table and began discussing the major subjects of Christian theology? And what if they all spoke in down-to-earth terms everybody could understand? Church of God author and theologian Barry Callen has just released a revised edition of a book that makes it all possible. In Heart of the Matter, Callen serves as moderator for eleven frank conversations imagined as they would have taken place had all seventeen theologians ever been in the same place at the same time. Never speaking above anyone’s head, Callen ensures the dialogue is practical yet accessible. Remarkably, the differing conclusions from a wide variety of theological perspectives always point back to the heart of the matter. Continue reading