A Lapel Pin and Reasons for Joy and Gratitude


Over the years I have collected lapel pins. I have pins that point to theological institutions, the United States Military, academic credentials, and even one that tips a hat to the local police department where I live. I like a nicely done pin and believe it looks good on a suit jacket.

Bethlehem College & Seminary has never had lapel pins that point to our institution. But, given my affection for the school and my enjoyment of a good pin, one of the first projects I launched this year (along with our communications manager) was to have a pin designed and produced for our staff, faculty, board members, and whomever else might put one to good use. We went with a pin that is embedded with our colors and has our school crest engraved on it. The result was a nice-looking pin that is now noticed on suit jackets around our institution and beyond.

This week I had the chance to spend a good amount of time in Ft. Worth, TX at the annual meeting of evangelical scholars. The Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) has been around since 1949 and is a place where those who confess the Triune God and hold firmly to the inerrancy of Scripture come together to discuss their research and encourage each other in their work. As one walks around, seeing men and women from all over the world and a diversity of institutions, various lapel pins can be seen in hallways and at dinner tables. Some pins are more noticeable than others because they are so widely worn.

What struck me this year was how often I noticed the lapel pin of Bethlehem College & Seminary. Though a tiny accessory piece, it was a big reminder of how God has blessed our school. We are an intentionally small institution that is having a disproportionate impact on the lives of students and the larger world of evangelical scholarship. This is one of our institutional aims. Part of our vision is to raise up men and women who will season the academic world with the fresh insights of Christian hedonism. I left Ft. Worth having noted the presence of our leadership and faculty in the halls of ETS as well as in the ballrooms, giving lectures that brought our distinctive theological insights to bear on a plethora of topics. That our vision is becoming a reality even at this moment is a stunning answer to prayer.

Here is a list of ways Bethlehem had an impact at ETS this year:

  • President Rigney gave the annual Council of Biblical Manhood & Womanhood dinner lecture on Monday night. I was pleased to join Dr. Rigney at the event along with Chancellor Piper, a number of our professors, and several Bethlehem alumni.
  • Chancellor Piper, again with a host of Bethlehem men present, honored Lane Dennis and his wife Ebeth at the Crossway breakfast on Thursday morning.
  • Several professors delivered papers at the gathering this year:
    • Jared Compton
    • Joshua Greever
    • David Haines
    • James McGlothlin
    • Richard Shenk
    • Brian Tabb

In addition to the above, several other Bethlehem men attended (like Dr. Andy Naselli and Prof. Lance Kramer), and I was able to make several important connections as we seek to assemble a quality body of students for Bethlehem in the days ahead.

In the end, though lapel pins are not tremendously important, God used that tiny object on the collar of a jacket to give me a sense of joy and gratitude. I was overjoyed to see my Bethlehem brothers walking the halls and providing helpful content. And that joy overflowed into gratefulness to God for what he is doing among us.

I believe the days ahead are bright. I am thrilled to be part of this place. And I pray that God would lead you, dear reader, to pray for us and support us as we seek to provide an education in serious joy for the global glory of Jesus Christ.

Jonathon Woodyard,ThM
Dean of Admission & Assistant Professor of Theology and History


Prayer Requests:

  1. Pray for the Lord’s continued blessing in sending us men and women who desire to know him intimately and serve him in faithfulness and humility.
  2. Pray for continued provision of scholarships that will allow us to graduate students who are ready to launch into life and ministry without the financial burden of student debt.
  3. Pray that the Lord will use Bethlehem College & Seminary to equip a new generation of theologians and scholars who will handle the Word with reverence, skill, and joy.
  4. Pray for Serious Joy: The 34th Bethlehem Conference for Pastors, which we will be relaunching in February 2022. Pray for both our preparation and the pastors who will be joining us.