Vestigia Dei
Wycliffe College Blog

Vestigia Dei  – is a Latin term meaning “traces of God.” As a theological term it is associated with natural theology – that is, the view that there are vestiges of God within creation. We’ve chosen this term as the title of the Wycliffe College blog because our hope is that through these writings, readers might glimpse evidences for God as our writers interact with the wider world.

A Five-Hour Challenge That Could Change Your Life

Marion Taylor
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O What a Tangled Web we Weave When First we Practice to Deceive

Peter Robinson
This Holy Week, Professor of Proclamation, Worship and Ministry, Peter Robinson, explores Sir Walter Scot's epic poem and how it collates to the Passion of Christ, and the sobering portrayals of how easily self-justification leads all too quickly to a complex web of deceit.

Living Gratitude

Jeremy McClung
Transitional Director of Institution of Evangelism, Jeremy McClung, explores the importance of gratitude in a Christian life, and how a hardwired reaction to freely given gifts has become skewed with society's need for self-importance. However, there is hope if we return to who we were created to be, and reconcile to whom we owe the most gratitude.

Walking the Second Half of Life

Lissa M. Wray Beal
Professor of Old Testament, Lissa Wray Beal, analyses how vocation, beauty and trust can fuel the vigour for our Christian journey, and how turning to the examples of leaders in the faith, we can find role models to help lead the way.

Choose Joy

Wycliffe College Blog
In a world where contentment is often unattainable, Director of Development, Shelley McLagan, delves into the idea of choosing joy—not because Christians are exempt from struggles but because we have a God who is always with us when we go through them.

Where is God?: Finding God in the Depths of Suffering

Boram Lee

Two decades ago, in response to Christ’s call to offer care and counseling for the suffering, I embarked on a journey of caregiving.

Being at home in the body for now

Mark Elliott

Now that the pandemic is behind us, I’m now something of an exception – that is, I am someone who still spends more days away from Wycliffe than in college.

The Good Thing: Thoughts on the Confession of St. Peter

Catherine Sider-Hamilton

Let me begin with the story of two Rhodes Scholars. One is named William Jefferson Clinton. He went to Georgetown University on scholarship, Oxford on the Rhodes Scholarship, and Yale Law School. He served as the 40th and 42nd Governor of Arkansas and before that was Arkansas’ Attorney General.

The Good Thing: Thoughts on the Confession of St. Peter

Catherine Sider Hamilton

Let me begin with the story of two Rhodes Scholars. One is named William Jefferson Clinton. He went to Georgetown University on scholarship, Oxford on the Rhodes Scholarship, and Yale Law School. He served as the 40th and 42nd Governor of Arkansas and before that was Arkansas’ Attorney General.

Magi at the Manger: A Hermeneutical Meditation for Epiphany

Joseph Mangina

One of the most treasured items that gets hauled out of storage in our household each Christmas season is the crêche, or Nativity scene. Ours is a simple affair. It is composed of wooden folk-art figures made, as I recall, in Costa Rica.

Peace like a River

Peter Robinson

On the second Sunday of Advent we anticipate and celebrate the promise that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, has come to bring peace into the world. In the face of so much hubris, greed, polarization, division, and war around the globe, the promise of peace might seem a distant and elusive dream.

Blood, heart, and data: An imperfect reflection on what’s real

Scott Mealey

“And behold [David], you are caught in your own evil, for you are a man of bloodshed!” (from II Samuel 16:8)

Home: The Family of Abraham

Stephen Chester

It is often emphasized how radical the apostle Paul was in proclaiming that, through faith in Christ, Gentiles can enter into the people of God without first becoming Jewish and taking on obedience to the Mosaic Law: “those who believe are the children of Abraham” (Gal 3:7).

Homesickness: Where Is My True Home?

Boram Lee

Seventeen years ago, I embarked on a life-altering journey. I departed from my homeland, leaving behind my family and friends in South Korea, where I was born, raised, and spent the most significant portion of my life.

Faculty Book Suggestions for New Theological Students

Wycliffe Faculty

We surveyed the faculty members at Wycliffe College for recommendations of books and resources that new theological students (or those considering further theological study) ought to read, and here is a list of them by category!

 

A Memorable Summer in the Arctic

Grace Park

My name is Grace, and I am in my third year of the MDiv program. During my undergraduate years, I was involved in campus ministry and that was when I became interested in theological studies and enrolled at Wycliffe College.

Thoughts on Collecting Art

Sandra Bowden

I just returned from a trip to England visiting towns northeast of London – where my mother’s relatives lived in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries – searching for churches where they had worshiped before their immigration to the New World.

On Saying “Thank You.”

Catherine Sider-Hamilton

Outside my office window there is a stunning tree. Burnt-red, tall and thick, deep blue sky behind it, and on either side trees still bright green.

Seeking an Ethic of Engagement

Mark Elliot

I recall as an undergraduate being asked to read H. Richard Niebuhr’s Christ and Culture (1951).Niebuhr had set out five options of how one should understand this relationship, with “Christ versus culture” and “Christ in culture” as the two opposite extremes, the former representing a cr

Anne Askew and the Dangerous Activity of Reading Scripture

Marion Taylor

Twenty-five-year-old noblewoman Anne Askew (1521–1546) was accused of heresy, arrested, interrogated at least twice, tortured on the rack, and burned alive at the stake.

"Rooted in the Anglican tradition"

Stephen Andrews

As we prepare to receive 50 new students at the College this semester, I am once again reminded that many, if not most of our students have been drawn to Wycliffe because of our evangelical commitments and the quality of our teaching, and not because of any denominational allegiance.

Did Paul Really Intend to Silence Women Everywhere and Always? Sixteenth-Century Female Reformer Said “No.”

Marion Taylor

I was raised in a church and family that encouraged women to be all that they were meant to be.

Journeying as Pilgrims

Lissa M. Wray Beal

“Guide me, O thou great Jehovah, pilgrim through this barren land.” So begins William Williams’ hymn in which Christian life is a pilgrimage along which the believer’s weakness is exposed, and God’s provision abounds. Pilgrimage is a deeply embedded description of the Christian life.

Dead to Sin? Romans 6 and New Life in Christ

Stephen Chester

We live in a time of repeated scandals in which prominent church leaders turn out to be hiding egregious sinful behaviour.

The Word of God Abides: Reflections on the First of the Six Principles of Wycliffe College

Joseph Mangina

In a conversation with some students recently I made reference to Wycliffe College’s Six Principles, and was met with blank stares. I do not fault the students. The fact is that we don’t talk about the Principles nearly as much as we did when I began teaching here in the late 1990s.

Learning From Successful Churches

Peter Robinson

In Churchland there is a natural tendency to look to churches that appear successful, hoping to learn from or emulate what they are doing in our own communities.

Valentine’s Day

Catherine Sider-Hamilton

When my children were young, Valentine’s Day was hugely exciting. We made cookies with pink icing in heart shapes.

The Temptation of the Godless Sermon

Judy Paulsen

Some time ago I visited a church in which the sermon, delivered by a guest preacher, concluded with the sentence “If you do this you’ll be happy, and your neighbour will be happy.”

Jesus, the Napalm Girl, and Us

If you’re near my age, or older, you likely remember seeing this photo in a newspaper in June 1972, probably on page one.

The Divine Key to Long Life and Prosperity in 2023

Annette Brownlee

11 Come, children, and listen to me; * I will teach you the fear of the Lord.

12 Who among you loves life * and desires long life to enjoy prosperity?

13 Keep your tongue from evil-speaking * and your lips from lying words.

14 Turn from evil and do good*

Routines with a Bigger Purpose

Stephen Andrews

Like many of you, I spend the first week of the New Year going through my diary, trying to anticipate some of the challenges and opportunities the next twelve months will bring.

John Wycliffe's story—relevant for today

Wycliffe College

The film "John Wycliffe Morningstar," produced by Trinity Digital Ltd., was released on Reformation Day—October 31. 

“The Yeah, Yeah Experience” or “Communion Sweet from Heart to Heart”

Marion Taylor

In my first year of graduate studies at Yale University, I was asked to be a teaching assistant in a course that allowed for “the yeah, yeah experience” to arise.

The Church, God’s People on the Way

Peter Robinson

“My soul longs, indeed, it faints for the courts of the Lord”

Psalm 84 is a psalm of longing or lament, and it is also a psalm of pilgrimage. Three times a year the people were commanded to make a pilgrimage to the temple to appear before the Lord (Exodus 23:14–17).

Wycliffe as a School for “Generous Orthodoxy”

Joseph Mangina

In late October I attended a conference at Yale commemorating the centenary of Hans Frei (1922-1988), one of the leading historical theologians of our age, and the most important figure in the so-called “Yale School” of theology and scriptural interpretation.

Kyrie, Matthew, and Anti-Judaism, or Why Read the Gospel in Greek

Catherine Sider Hamilton

I don’t often think about Kyrie – and, in fact, when I saw the name, just like that, “Kyrie,” in my newsfeed last week I thought I was seeing the Greek word kyrie, meaning “Lord,” as in kyrie eleison, “Lord, have mercy.” That was an exciting moment: New Testament Greek breaking

Jesus: A Missing Person?

Stephen Chester

I joined the faculty at Wycliffe in 2019 only a few months before the start of the pandemic. I was in Toronto first, and visited a number of churches in-person, but by the time my wife joined me the city was in lockdown.

Holding on to God in the Dark: A Meditation on Habakkuk

Justin Stratis

Ours is not a time of rest. I need not enumerate the many troubles that we face today, but it should be uncontroversial to point out that we live in a world ever more enveloped by fear. And who can blame us twenty-first century folk for suspecting that danger lurks in the shadows of every path?

Reformed House of Studies draws on the riches of the Reformed tradition

Wycliffe Communications

On October 31, Wycliffe College officially launches its Reformed House of Studies (RHS)—a theological and ministerial training initiative, housed within the College, which draws on the riches of the Reformed tradition to prepare students and maturing leaders for Christian ministry.

Scripture Readings for a Church in Trouble

Judy Paulsen

Over the past few weeks I have had several long conversations with pastors who seem dangerously close to burn-out. They’re worried because some 25 to 30 percent of their congregations haven’t returned to church following the easing of pandemic restrictions.

Jesus, Judaism, and Two Wycliffe Professors

As someone who has spent several decades in Church-land, I've heard literally thousands of sermons, homilies, and meditations. Too often, I hear preachers representing Jesus as someone who was uncomfortable with Judaism.

As retirement draws closer, Radner reflects

Ephraim Radner

I’ll be retiring next summer.  People ask me “why now?”.  Lots of reasons, probably: let someone younger have a place at the faculty table; family responsibilities; health; fatigue; out of synch with the culture; “work is done,” “new things to do,” generational stage of life; and so on.

The pastoral practice of creating lists

Annette Brownlee

As Wycliffe College Chaplain, I spend a lot of time creating lists. I consider doing so a critical part of any pastoral practice.

Spelling Grace

Nate Wall

A month ago Frederick Buechner died at age ninety-six. During that windfall of years, in which he served as a high-school chaplain, was ordained a Presbyterian minister, raised a family, and worked his unusually enchanted way with words, Buechner wrote a book that I read again each year.

Rebuilding community

Stephen Andrews

Many positive things can be said about the benefits of online education. While in-person classes were largely suspended over the last two years because of the pandemic, students did not have to suspend their lives or learning. Wycliffe students were still able to proceed in their programs.

Q&A with Lissa Wray Beal: The power of the Word of God

Wycliffe Communications

On August 1, 2022, Lissa Wray Beal joined the faculty of Wycliffe College as Professor of Old Testament. In the early days after her move to Toronto, she took time to participate in a conversation with Communications Director Patricia Paddey. An edited version follows.

 

Embracing less certainty, more dependance

Melissa Ytsma

Over the past few months, I’ve had the absolute privilege of completing my Summer Parish Internship in İzmir, Türkiye (the new official name for Turkey).

The benefits and challenges of an international internship

Wycliffe Communications

Gwen Allison has finished her first year in the MDiv program at Wycliffe College. She is a candidate for ordination with the Anglican Church of Canada in the Diocese of Rupert’s Land.

Ridding the world of Angelas

Jeremy McClung

Wycliffe PhD candidate Jeremy McClung’s presentation “Ridding the World of Angelas" was recently declared the winner of the Toronto School of Theology’s inaugural Three Minute Thesis competition. 3MT® is an internationally recognized research communication competition that started in 2008 a

The place of online learning in theological education

Peter Robinson

At the beginning of March, the Angus Reid Institute ran a poll surveying those who were anticipating a return to work. The poll revealed that after two years of working at home many employees aren’t sure that they want to return to the office.

Thinking that's hard to find in other places

Mark Elliott

Looking ahead to next month's Scripture and Theology Colloquium, we asked Professorial Fellow and Symposium organizer Mark Elliott (ME below) what par

Reflections on Divine Providence for times like these

Mark W. Elliott

I can recall as a pre-school infant asking my parents about the likelihood of nuclear war, which seemed an ever-present danger in the UK of the early 1970s.

Listening to the News

Ann Jervis

Do you, like me, have a complicated relationship with the news?

Listening to the News

Ann Jervis

Do you, like me, have a complicated relationship with the news? I find it almost magnetic—I want to know “what is going on,” to think myself part of current social dramas. I also find the news disorienting and discomfiting—it depicts a world out of control.

Of Pasta and Palimpsests: Notes on a Visit to Rome

Joseph Mangina

I recently had the opportunity of spending two weeks in Rome as part of a course on Anglican Ecclesiology and Ecumenism. The course, ably taught by Prof. Matthew Olver of Nashotah House seminary and Dr.

What is a Theologian?

Justin Stratis

Occasionally, when I’m out in the wild, someone might see my ID and notice that little “Dr.” in front of my name. The next comment often goes something like: “Oh, you’re a doctor!

The battle lines of justice run through the centre of our lives

Stephen Chester

The struggle for justice seems never to be won, and it is easy for those who fight for it to become weary.  

Suffering and Hope

John Franklin, Executive Director of IMAGO

The most common challenge to Christian faith is the presence of pain, evil, and suffering in the world. We ask, if there is a God, why are these things allowed? Some suffering is the result of our own folly but there is also the suffering that seems to be woven into the fabric of life in ways we

Marie Dentière: A Voice Long Silenced that Speaks Again

Marion Taylor

In my graduate studies, my professors had me read great books written by great men who had made a difference in the church and academy. They never talked about the great books that women had written and the great things that women had done. Women’s voices had long been silenced.

What is Love Anyway?

Wanda Malcolm

It’s Valentine’s Day and as the saying goes, “love is in the air,” but what is love anyway? Ask a few different people what love is, and you will quickly discover that love, like ice cream, comes in different flavors that can be enjoyed on their own or mixed together for an extraordinary treat.

Ten Events in the 1960s that Permanently Changed the Anglican Church of Canada

During the 1960s, which were a decade of upheaval in western Christianity in general, the Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) registered some fundamental changes in its worship, theology, ecumenical outlook, discipline, and cultural inclusiveness.  

Women in Ministry? Light from Ancient Greek

Catherine Sider-Hamilton

Can a woman preach? Can women lead worship? Does God ordain authority for women in the church? It is a question that matters to me, as a woman and a priest in the Anglican church, now for more than 25 years. Greek points us toward an answer!

When it comes to the church, how beautiful is small? Part 2

Stephen Andrews

My dad was a “there-are-no-strangers-but-only-friends-I-haven’t-met-yet” kind of guy. He was disarmingly affable and could size up a situation that was full of flaws and point out what was good about it.

When it comes to the church, how beautiful is small? Part 1

Stephen Andrews

Just when we thought that we were about to survive the coronapocalypse, the Omicron variant appeared from the viral swamp and, like the tail of the Balrog, swept us from the victory podium.

Body Talk: Is there a Christian Way to Think About Our Bodies?

Judy Paulsen

The first time I encountered the term eating disorder I was about twelve and read a letter addressed to Dear Abby, a syndicated advice column published in many North American newspapers.

In the midst of Omicron discouragement, hope

Ephraim Radner

The following comments were transcribed from opening remarks by Professor Ephraim Radner delivered at Morning Prayer in the Wycliffe College Founder’s Chapel, on Thursday, Dece

The Alphabet—Greatest Invention of All Time?

Glen Taylor

I believe our alphabet reflects one of the most significant inventions of all time. Without it, it would take years for me to learn the hundreds of pictographic signs that would be necessary to write this blog and for you to be able to read it. 

Lessons from the Front Lines of the B.C. Floods

Wycliffe College Student Paul Richards

The atmospheric river that came was truly an inundation. Torrential rain for days caused mudslides, rivers to swell and burst their banks, roads and bridges to dissolve into nothing, and waters suddenly rising to dangerous levels and consuming homes, farms, and land.

Hybrids We

George Sumner

I once said in a Wycliffe class that there were two types of people, either/ors and both/ ands, at which point a student interjected, “but Professor, I think I am both a both/and and an either/or,” which proved the point.

What is “discipleship”?

John Bowen

A friend told me she once preached about discipleship. After the service, a parishioner came up to her and said, irately, “I am not a disciple. I am a member.” Oh well, I guess it was better than no reaction at all, and certainly better than, “Lovely sermon.”