By Ed Thomas
God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things, and all He creates is beautiful and good. I try to reflect on this as I start each day. One incredible place God has created, and continues to sustain, is The Bible Seminary (TBS).
I was a rather late bloomer to the notion of formal biblical studies, enrolling in seminary at age 47 and graduating at age 52 (I attended TBS from 2014 through 2019). Returning to an academic environment after 25 years, I honestly had no idea what to expect from the professors,
the curriculum, or anything.
However, I was absolutely blown away at the high caliber professors and staff that God Himself called to serve at TBS! Never did I expect that I would be learning under world-renowned leaders in the fields of biblical languages, archeology, hermeneutics (Bible study methods), missions, and so much more.
It has been said that the Bible is like a swimming pool – shallow enough that a little child can wade in and drink without fear of drowning, yet so deep scholars can never find the bottom. Taking the analogy a step further, the vastness of the Bible is more like all the oceans of the world and then some, with 66 distinct regions.
Our TBS professors gave us an expert tour of all 66 books in this vast expanse, and we students experienced complete saturation among a beautiful mix of their knowledge, wisdom, compassion, and deep love for the Lord and each of us. We could tell that our professors had been there many times before and had explored depths much greater than what we saw.
One thing I so appreciated was that each was able to share their observations from different angles and vantage points, even when some of their perspectives varied. I witnessed mature, humble, gentle, grace-filled discourse in areas of divergence while at the same time all commonly held firm to Bible absolutes together. This is something our world greatly needs and I got to see it in action and learned how to replicate it in my life. I will be forever grateful for the preparation and development TBS provided so that my wife and I could be better prepared to invest our lives in spreading the Gospel and love of Christ.
Another beautiful place God created is the country of Japan. During one of my TBS missions courses, I experienced the Lord’s call on my heart for lost souls in the land of the rising sun. It has been a long season of preparation for my wife, Toby, and I (from our human perspective), but we appear poised to begin full-time missionary work building beautiful image-bearers of Christ in Japan starting in late 2023 or early 2024.
A great many people have asked, “Why Japan?” a question that we might also have asked a few years ago. What we have learned is that the Japanese are the second largest unreached people group on the planet. Of a population of about 127 million people, far less than 1% know Jesus (probably less than 0.5%). Japan has abundant material blessings and is quite economically and socially advanced. However, societal and workplace pressures can be absolutely crushing to the soul as indicated by high rates of loneliness, depression, and suicide among Japanese people. In fact, the Japanese government recently established an official “Minister of Loneliness” to tackle this problem. During the COVID pandemic, the number of deaths by suicide was about the same as deaths attributed to COVID. There is even a Japanese word for “death by overwork” – karoshi. Japan also has major looming societal issues: marriage and birth rates are so extremely low that the Japanese population is expected to decrease by one third over the next 40 years. We believe there is a great need for hope in Japan, and we know the Author of Hope, Jesus Christ, and look forward to introducing Him to the Japanese people!
We plan to serve with a mission organization planted in Japan six decades ago, Japan Mission (JapanMission.org). Our work will focus on evangelizing lost souls by sharing the love and hope of Christ, and assisting local Bible-believing churches in serving as spiritually-thriving centers of hope. As we move forward in community endeavors and relationship-building with local Japanese pastors, we ask for your prayers for the Lord’s blessings, favor, guidance, and provision as we seek to share the love, hope, and soul-saving Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ with people living in the land of the rising sun!
Ed Thomas earned a B.S. in Bioengineering and Biomedical Engineering from Texas A&M in 1989 and a Master of Divinity from TBS in 2019. His 25-year clinical career journey at Intermedics, Boston Scientific, LivaNova, and Japan Lifeline Company included several years based in Tokyo, Japan. Interestingly, Ed’s work included research, marketing, and sales of a cardiac rhythm management device implanted in one of his professors and that used a battery developed by the father of another of his TBS professors.