New LCJE Agency Member
By Jim Sibley, Director of the Pasche Institute of Jewish Studies and Associate Professor of Jewish Ministry
The Pasche Institute of Jewish Studies (PIJS) is the newest agency member of LCJE.
The Pasche Institute began in 2004 at Criswell College in Dallas, Texas, for the purpose of multiplying and training leaders for ministry to the Jewish people and to significantly contribute to the scholarship of Jewish studies.
Named for the late Albert and Dorothy Pasche (PASH-ee), longtime supporters of both Jewish ministry and of Criswell College in its early days, the Pasche Institute offers fully accredited Master’s degree programs of interest to those called to Jewish ministry. The Master of Arts in Jewish Studies may be the only accredited, graduate level degree of its kind among evangelicals in the United States, although similar degree programs at other schools are also on the drawing board. The Pasche Institute also offers a Master of Divinity degree with a concentration in Jewish studies. In fact, Diana Owen is the first recipient of the MAJS degree, with her thesis on “The Pesth Mission of the Church of Scotland: Its Establishment and Influence.” This should be of particular interest as our next international meeting is scheduled for Budapest.
These degree programs are designed to equip students to serve effectively in Messianic congregations in a variety of roles, including that of congregational leader. The need for trained leadership is an acute need, both in the U.S. and internationally. Both the Southern Baptist Messianic Fellowship and the Association of Messianic Congregations have given their support and encouragement to the Pasche Institute. The academic programs are also designed to prepare students for roles in mission agencies that minister to the Jewish people, for Jewish ministries in local churches, and for making disciples from among the Jewish people. Graduates who have the opportunity to continue with doctoral studies should be prepared to excel on the foundation they will have established at PIJS. Should graduates pursue research and writing in the subject areas covered, they should be fully prepared for this, as well as for teaching Jewish Studies on the undergraduate level.
Jim Sibley and Todd Bradley organized the new educational venture after making a successful presentation to college administrators and trustees early in 2004. Sibley has been active in Jewish ministry in both the U.S. and Israel for the past 24 years, and was named Director of PIJS, effective in March 2006. He has been an individual member of LCJE for many years and has also served a term on the International Coordinating Committee (1991-95). Bradley, following a distinguished career in the military, pursued theological studies at Western Seminary, writing his doctoral dissertation on the concept of the Messiah held by the Hassidic group, HABAD. He is a professor of missions at the college, and is also an individual member of LCJE. Both Sibley and Bradley have had a burden for, and a calling to, Jewish ministry.
The Pasche Institute’s flexible schedule of semester and intensive courses attracts master’s-level as well as undergraduate students. The educational curriculum includes courses in Jewish studies taught by a nationally-known faculty of adjuncts in an intensive, one- or two-week format that attracts students nation-wide. The faculty includes Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum (Senior Professor of Jewish Studies), Dr. Barry Leventhal, Dr. Randall Price, Dr. Michael Rydelnik, and Dr. Tuvya Zaretsky, in addition to Sibley, Bradley, and Dr. Lamar Cooper, Executive Vice President and Provost of the college.
The Lilly Wolff Resource Center is housed in the Wallace Library of Criswell College, to serve the needs of the Pasche Institute of Jewish Studies. This special collection of Jewish resources is being developed featuring rare books and research tools. These include an extensive collection of books by, and about, Jewish believers in Jesus as well as historical materials relating to the history of missions to the Jewish people. These materials date to the early 1600’s and include a facsimile edition of Pugio Fidei, the missionary manual developed in the late thirteenth century.
Lilly Wolff was a Holocaust survivor who was involved in Jewish ministry in Dallas for many years and was also an early supporter of Criswell College.
“I believe this is the right initiative at the right time for all the right reasons,” Criswell College President Jerry Johnson said. “It’s biblical, strategic and gives us a unique voice out there.” In addition to the academic programs that the Pasche Institute will offer to students, it will also offer training seminars for local churches to facilitate ministries for outreach and evangelism among Jewish people.
PIJS operates under the authority of the Board of Directors of Criswell College, but an advisory board provides prayer support and counsel on the institute's direction and plans. Among others, Gary Hedrick, Director of CJF Ministries and a member of LCJE, serves on this advisory board.
Criswell College has emphasized evangelism and missions throughout the school’s 34-year history. The Pasche Institute picks up on the mandate to prepare “God-called laborers who will take the Gospel ‘to the Jew first, and also to the Greek,’” Sibley said, quoting Romans 1:16. We believe God has raised up this academic institute for the purpose of training leaders for gathering the harvest from among the Jewish people. Thus, “Reaching the Remnant,” is our focus in all that we do.
The logo features a menorah, the most enduring and ancient symbol of the Jewish people. Lamps historically have also been seen as symbols of learning and of knowledge. The horizon that divides the logo is meant to suggest the dawn of a new day, and the Morning Star is the Star of David, whose coming as the virgin-born Messiah was the harbinger of His return as the Sun of Righteousness, who “will rise with healing in its wings” (Malachi 4:2). At that time, “the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD, as the waters cover the sea” (Habakkuk 4:14). He is central to all of our motivations, our hopes, and our affections.