Tom King finished his BA in Theology at Union School of Theology this summer, ahead of a big move to Thailand in September with his wife Nerys. Read here what he’s learned over the last three years, and how it will equip him for the future.

“As I sat in my last ever exam at the end of the three year BA in Theology at Union School of Theology, writing about Paul’s view of the law in Galatians, I was reminded of just how good our God is.

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. Galatians 2:20

How awesome is that?! Our sin is dead and gone because of Christ’s death and resurrection in our place, and now we live, having been raised with him, with him living in us because he loves us! Praise God! It was an odd thing to leave an exam smiling and having thoroughly enjoyed the previous two hours of essay writing.

It was an odd thing to leave an exam smiling and having thoroughly enjoyed the previous two hours of essay writing.

Luther (who has kind of become my theological hero) said, “The Epistle to the Galatians is my epistle. To it I am as it were in wedlock. It is my Katherine.” I’ll raise a pint of Wittenberg beer to that.

And there, in a nutshell, is the beauty of the last three years. Having felt called to mission in South East Asia for a number of years, I arrived at Union thinking I’d learn how to be a missionary. And whilst I’ve been hugely shaped and influenced by opportunities to think through and grapple with various missiological issues like the theological justification for work among vulnerable women, how preaching can be effective in oral cultures, and how I even begin to study and learn about folk Buddhism with the intention of explaining the gospel to Buddhists, it’s been much, much more than that.

I have gained a greater appreciation for what it means to think theologically.

Greek helped me appreciate the New Testament with fresh lenses. Church History helped me make new friends like Luther, laughing out loud in the library as I read him talk about farting, and being close to tears as I read his accounts of how God sustained him as he sat with his daughter on her deathbed. Systematic Theology helped me understand how the church has understood subjects like the Trinity, and the Person and Work of Christ, over the last 2000 years, and rejoice in who God is and what he has done for us in Christ. Biblical Studies forced me to wrestle with issues like understanding Matthew, Mark and Luke alongside John, how we know that Isaiah wrote Isaiah, the structure of the covenants, and what exactly Paul meant by ‘faith in Christ’. I could go on: lectures on Pastoral Theology, and Preaching, as well as all the other stuff like pastoral workshops, preaching feedback sessions, and – to be honest – just sitting and chatting over lunch or a coffee.

The truth is that all these things will contribute to my effectiveness in cross-cultural mission. I definitely don’t have all the answers, but as a fellow student put it, I have gained a greater appreciation for what it means to think theologically. I have been immensely privileged to study at Union School of Theology. The lessons I’ve learned will impact the way I think about, preach and teach the Bible in a cross-cultural context for the rest of my life. But the most important thing is that over the last three years I have learned to love God more, be more grateful for his love for me as I realise how undeserving I am of it, and rejoice all the more in his goodness, and grace, and love.”

Tom and Nerys are moving to Thailand in September and will be based at the Tamar Center

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