A new “Practical Gospel” sermon series through the book of James has been introduced in chapel. Led by Campus Pastor and Associate Dean of the Spiritual Formation Department Mike Whitford, the study aims to show students how to live out the gospel teachings.
Whitford was searching for an appropriate follow-up series for the previous chapel series, “Tables.”
“Praying through from ‘Tables,’ and sitting at the table, now we need to live it out,” Whitford said, “now we need to actually get to the nitty-gritty of what the gospel is all about.”
Based on his previous studies, Whitford believed the book of James would serve as a basis for a practical application He explained that in the world, gospel principles seem counter-intuitive, but it is the opposite for faith.
“If we see it from the spiritual perspective, it’s totally practical, it’s life-giving, it’s the good news,” Whitford said, “if we can’t live it out, then what’s the point?”
Student reaction to the chapel series so far has been positive. Senior Grace Osimo described the series as being very direct in discussing the issues, making them more real.
Sophomore Madison Johnson expressed that the “Practical Gospel” series focused on important aspects of what Christians can do today that will bring them closer to God.
“I think the point is to give us some tangible tools to help cultivate what I would call genuine Christianity,” Johnson said, “like what could we do today to be closer to Christ, what could we do today to better reflect the Lord. I think that’s an important thing.”
Josh Bohnert, a junior and a university chaplain, described the personal impact of the series as an encouragement to share his faith with others more. A lot of Christians compartmentalize their faith, according to Bohnert, when there should be a connection between faith, knowledge, and actions. He explained that to him, the series seems like a call to Christians to assess their faith to see if they believe in God with their heart, mind, and actions.
“I think that’s kind of the point, to kind of check their faith,” Bohnert said, “anyone can understand the gospel, or the atonement for their sins in a really heady level, but once it hits your heart, you will really start acting out the practical gospel.”