The Caspari library and classrooms were a little busier than usual during the month of April this year. Fifteen theology students from Norway were here as part of the second Caspari Theological Course in cooperation with the Lutheran School of Theology in Oslo, Norway. And so the air was filled with discussions on the Jewishness of the Christian texts, current political issues, the theology of the Messianic movement, the issues facing Palestinian Christians, and so much more.
The students took the course as part of their studies for a master’s in theology in Norway, but the program itself was planned and carried out by the Caspari Center. During the course of the program the students studied New and Old Testament backgrounds while touring the country to see the historic and biblical sites they studied. We wanted to help shed light on the connection between the two testaments, and to show just how much the study of first-century Israel can enrich the study of the Bible. A deepened understanding of the interdependent relationship between early Christianity and Judaism will hopefully serve to reveal Christian anti-Semitism as a self-contradiction.
But aside from the obvious benefits of being able to study the Bible in its original context, during their stay with us the students were also exposed to the Messianic movement through a visit to a Messianic congregation, a lecture by Messianic scholar Richard Harvey on the theology of the movement, and participation in a Messianic Shabbat
During the concluding dinner we asked the students to reflect on how their stay in Israel had affected them, and several of them answered: “We have become better theologians.” We at Caspari Center feel privileged to take part in shaping tomorrow’s pastors and teachers. And in a way the students have become both examples of and ambassadors for Caspari’s vision: “To equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Messiah may be built up.” Examples because the students will someday serve God’s people in congregations and min
istries in Norway, and at the same time ambassadors because hopefully they will be supporters of the local body of believers here in Israel. And in that way the global body of believers, Jews as well as Gentiles, may be built up into one body in Christ.