Celebrating Forty Years of Heart and Mind Discipleship: A Brief History of the C.S. Lewis Institute - page 5

 


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From the Spring 2016 issue of Knowing & Doing:  

Celebrating Forty Years of Heart and Mind Discipleship:
A Brief History of the C.S. Lewis Institute

J. Edward Glancy, J.D., C.S. Lewis Institute Fellow
with Joel S. Woodruff, Ed.D., President, C.S. Lewis Institute

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Master’s Degree Program with Seminaries

  A major initiative during Lindsley’s time as President was the creation of a unique graduate program where CSLI, in conjunction with Reformed Theological Seminary (RTS) and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), offered master’s degrees, certificates, individual classes, and auditable classes “to equip the working laity.”16 Classes were offered at churches in the Washington metro area, and students could earn a master’s degree from either of these seminaries.
 The program was successful, with fifty to a hundred registered students each year.

A Financial Crisis—and God’s Provision

  On the FBI website, there is an article17 that begins:

Hundreds of charities and philanthropic donors were shocked when they saw the front page of the Philadelphia Inquirer on the morning of May 16, 1995. The headlines read, “A bankruptcy shakes world of charities.”

 The newspaper article referred to the criminal investigation of John G. Bennett, Jr., and his operation of the Foundation for New Era Philanthropy. The article on the FBI website explains that it was eventually revealed that New Era was nothing more than a nationwide Ponzi scheme.
 CSLI was seriously impacted by the New Era foundation debacle. While the Institute’s seminary program was successful, it also necessitated raising more money to keep it sustainable. CSLI had received a commitment for a large donation from another foundation that was dependent on matching money from the New Era foundation. Since the New Era foundation turned out to be a Ponzi scheme, CSLI did not receive the anticipated, committed funding.
 A CSLI Board meeting was held, and the Board decided to turn the seminary program over to RTS and TEDS and return to a focus on individual discipleship and conferences.
 The need to pay off a significant unexpected debt created hardship for the leaders of CSLI, including Lindsley and Hiskey. Hiskey, however, has a wonderful story of provision. At a time when $45,000 was needed, Hiskey, driving with his wife in Idaho, felt he should call an old friend of his, a golf professional, to share what was happening. His friend listened to the story and simply said, “I can take care of this for you.” He offered to pay the entire amount. Hiskey recalls that they pulled off the road and wept at God’s provision.18
 Looking back, it is notable that, while TEDS decided not to continue long-term with its program, RTS decided to establish a metro Washington campus. Students today can earn a M.Div., M.A. in Religion, and M.A. in Biblical Studies at RTS Washington.
 And while the leaders of CSLI could not know it at the time, it would not be long before the Institute would initiate a number of new programs for heart and mind discipleship, including the Fellows Program.

 

Heart and Mind Discipleship and the Fellows Program: 1998–201019

  In early 1998, Tom Tarrants had just completed a period as copastor of Christ Our Shepherd Church in Washington, D.C., and was working on a doctoral program in Christian spirituality. His academic work didn’t require all of his time, so he prayed to God about how he could serve Him in his available hours. As he prayed, Art Lindsley’s name came to his mind, and Tarrants thought he should follow up.

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