Christian Scholar ~ Servant Ministries – From Baltimore to Bangladesh

| November 3, 2015

by Dr. Thomas Adam Corson

Map Bangledash“Igniting Fresh Passion” and the ministry of God’s Word are themes that are very much in keeping with Christian Scholar ~ Servant Ministries (CSSM).  Knowing Mr. David Moyer, MBS Executive Director, for some 25 years was another happy impetus to a partnership between CSSM & MBS.

CSSM was founded in the context of my serving on the faculty of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. I was very much involved in pastoral & missional roles with the Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions Christian Fellowship alongside the more typical responsibilities of patient care and teaching.  The university is a vigorous place for learning, teaching, and research.  However, it is also a place of spiritual need and inquiry.  In East Baltimore, God has gathered the world within a city block.   Trainees & patients travel from all over the world.  And certainly there is a cohort of very capable American students and physicians.  My first trip to the MBS Book Store on Franklin Street was as a medical student; my roommate, one of the original pre-doctoral students to come to Johns Hopkins from the People’s Republic of China in the late 1970s, was interested in a Bible!

One reflection from my earliest days in Baltimore was that while the achievements of Johns Hopkins are to be admired, the modern research university is a place where many people live a great deal of their lives and yet are not necessarily the individuals who go to the neighborhood Bible study or local evangelistic service.   Another observation was that those who do profess Christ also need encouragement and discipleship at this formative stage of their lives.  There are many demands to higher education, but especially for those who are caring for patients, who may be suffering greatly or perhaps even dying and who may be their age.  Medical education obviously is not just “book learning”, and some of what made Johns Hopkins exemplary was the very joining of the university and the hospital from the beginning.

The tilde (~) in the name of Christian Scholar ~ Servant Ministries is also representative of a joining, only in this instance the wedding of scholarship and service.  The two should never really be divorced, but understandably some gifted individuals veer more to intellectual pursuits and gifted others to acts of mercy.   Medicine is a discipline that calls for a mind to think analytically and robustly, but also a heart to care deeply and compassionately.

There are challenges for the Christian in the university to integrate one’s scholarship and service under the Lordship of Christ.  Those challenges are not only at the student level, but can extend and deepen for a Christian faculty member.  CSSM was founded with a vision of undergirding Christian faculty and nurturing young Christian scholar ~ servants.  However, in its ministry, CSSM has also reached out freely to others who may not share the Christian faith and has done so in other disciplines & levels of education beyond graduate medical education.  One course I helped develop at Johns Hopkins was “Religion & Medicine”, one of the first of its kind to be funded under the John Templeton Foundation.  Students came from all kinds of religious & cultural backgrounds, including interested atheists!

One recent endeavor for CSSM in which MBS was supportive took me to Bangladesh.  I had been to this South Asian country 7 times previously, including a couple of occasions with a Johns Hopkins student and resident.  This time, however, my focus was not on medical endeavor, but teaching at the William Carey Academy in Chittagong, Bangladesh.  It is an English-medium, American curriculum college preparatory school from K-12.  It is a Christian school, but most of the students are not Christians!  Only 20 % of the Class of 2015 were believers.  There was an emergency need for a teacher, and I answered the call with students in grades 9-11 and subject areas of English 9, English 10, Ethics, U.S. History, and Algebra.  A tremendous opportunity to use my background in the Christian liberal arts to teach these classes, but also to consider the Christian worldview with energetic young people from Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, and Christian backgrounds.

Christian Scholar ~ Servant Ministries is multidimensional, and so too is the Maryland Bible Society.  CSSM is grateful for the friendship of MBS, which has helped CSSM extend its outreach from Baltimore to Bangladesh!

Category: News

About the Author ()

For over 200 years, the mission of the Maryland Bible Society (MBS) has been to see that every individual has an opportunity to own a Bible regardless of their native language or financial situation. Here in Maryland this mission has been mostly fulfilled. We now are turning our emphasis to encouraging and helping people read, understand and live out the truths and principles God has given us through His Holy Scriptures. As a non-denominational ministry, MBS is uniquely positioned to offer God’s Word without note or comment to Christians from all denominational backgrounds. This position allows us to work with all local Christian churches, serving and assisting them as they follow God’s lead. MBS has and will continue to establish and build partnerships that promote the distribution of the Bible, supply related sources and provide educational opportunities. Our vision is to ignite fresh passion for God’s Word to be lived out in the daily lives of people in Maryland and the world beyond. God’s Word contains truths that speak to all of the important areas of our lives: family, marriage, work, friendships, finances and parenting. It serves as the ‘road map’ for the often-overwhelming experience of life. It is a comfort, an encouragement, a teacher. It is convicting, edifying and inspiring. The Bible reveals our purpose in life. The Creator of the Universe has given us His Word to guide and direct us as we serve Him and live in the world.

As we embark on this renewed vision, our desire is to impact lives. As God leads us on this great adventure, we invite you to partner with us. Lives will be transformed as the Holy Spirit works through the Scriptures, resources and opportunities provided by MBS. Join us as we ignite fresh passion for God’s Word among individuals, ministries, local Churches, and businesses.