Students study Renaissance, share Gospel in Europe
FORT WORTH, Texas (SWBTS) – Nineteen College at Southwestern (CSW) students and professors experienced cultural, philosophical and spiritual history firsthand during Thanksgiving break, Nov.19-29.
This team actively contributed to their History of Ideas study through an academic tour of Paris, and joined Emmanuel College undergraduate students in class and ministry in Romania. The team was led by Professor of Humanities David Bertch and CSW Dean Steven Smith.
Paris was an influential city in the development of Western thought, which is the focus of study for CSW students like Ben Watson. Watson’s time in Paris with the group “sort of summed up everything we had been learning in the College for the last four years,” he said.
One of Bertch’s academic contacts led students on a tour of the city and regional landmarks, and Watson learned how the city and its people had been brought through each ideological stage.
“He just wrapped everything together, what we’ve been reading and thinking about, all the history that we’ve learned, and just showed us how it worked itself out in Paris,” Watson said.
Southwestern students also attended classes with Romanian students at Emmanuel College in Oradea, Romania, where Smith and Bertch taught courses on homiletics and world religions, respectively. Class ended each day by 3 p.m. local time, and the students would go with their Romanian classmates and scatter throughout Oradea to share the Gospel.
All Southwestern trips have both an academic and evangelistic component to them, and Watson was excited to share his faith with the people of Oradea, getting a crash course in Eastern Orthodox Christian beliefs from the Romanian students as he did so. The Romanian students served the group as interpreters.
Watson and his classmates were required to read Questioning Evangelism by Randy Newman for the trip, and he was excited to see the question-based evangelism method played out in real life as they engaged people with the Gospel.
In addition to class and evangelism activities, five men from CSW, along with Bertch and Smith, were asked to serve the believers in Oradea by sharing the pulpits of local churches. Watson, one of these men, preached from Titus 3.
The devotion and discipline of the Romanian Christians encouraged Watson, especially his fellow students from Emmanuel College, who were eager to finish school and get back to their cities.
“A lot of guys had no Gospel presence, or very little Gospel presence, in their hometown, and they were excited to get finished and then go tell people about Jesus at home, and that’s just so refreshing,” Watson said.
“It’s nice to go to a place where you’re not sure how the Gospel is affecting souls, and then you go over somewhere and there’s godly men and godly women who are really excited about the same things you are excited about.”