Dr. Joe Miller, reposted from the Morethancake.org Blog

In thinking about the meaning of life beyond the grave, I was struck by the amazing story of James Maki, the nation’s second face transplant recipient. Maki, 59, was disfigured in June 2005, when he fell onto the electrified third rail in a subway station. His face and right arm were badly burned. Maki was left horribly disfigured.  Thanks to medical science, Maki discovered hope. When Maki saw his new face four days after the April 9 transplant, he told the lead surgeon,“I can’t believe you made me look so close to what I used to look like.” Susan Whitman, the widow of Maki’s donor, said “I am elated that someone else can get a chance. It goes a long way to taking the sting out of my husband’s death.

This story has stuck with me for two reasons.

First, because James Maki, a man mocked, ridiculed and disfigured from this accident, got a second face and a second chance at life.

Medical technology in the West is doing some incredible things.  There was a time when the idea of a face transplant was the stuff of science fiction stories, but now it is a reality.  There was a time when nobody believed such a miracle was possible, but now it is a scientific fact.  There was a time when this man’s life would have been forfeit, yet thanks to modern medicine, Maki now has hope of a second chance. If our minds can be opened to the possibility of a second-chance through medicine, then our minds should be open to the possibility of a second-chance through the resurrection-life of Jesus 2,000 years ago.    The Apostle Paul gives insight into just such a hope.

1 Cor. 15:12-19 (ESV)
Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

For Susan Whitman, the use of her dead husbands face to give Maki a second chance removed the emotional sting of death.  For all Mankind, the resurrection of Christ matters because it removes the sting of Death!

Second, I love this story because Susan Whitman used it to bring purpose to her husband’s death. She was thankful that one man’s death can bring hope to another.

Think for just one minute how marvelous this story is.  A wife faces the death of her husband.  She is grieved and without hope.  Then, through the power of medicine, she discovers that her husbands death can have meaning.  She discovers that her loss, can be gain for someone else.

1 Cor. 15:20-28 (ESV)
But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection, it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all.

For a grieving widow, science gave hope, we must consider the power of the resurrection of Christ matters because it gives us hope that we can have freedom from our sin!


Dr. J.R. Miller is a Professor of Applied Theology and Leadership & Dean of Online Learning at Southern California Seminary. You can find more of his work at www.morethancake.org



The Pastor and Doctrine: Some Reflections Part 2

Part 2 of the Series The Pastor and Doctrine: Some Reflections  By Dr. Jeremiah Mutie You can read part 1 here Doctrine is What is Believed, Taught, and Confessed by the Church In Early Christianity, because of the tradition that had now emerged, three main but...

The Journey to Mongolia

Journey To Mongolia by Katrina Leigh Carter, student at SCS Katrina took a leave of absence from the Seminary in order to be a missionary in Mongolia. We asked her to tell us about her journey which we hope to record here. Please pray for Katrina and the team! What...

The Pastor and Doctrine: Some Reflections by Dr. Jeremiah Mutie

The Pastor and Doctrine: Some Reflections, part 1 By Dr. Jeremiah Mutie             Once in a while, one hears a casual remark—sometimes by pastors and other church leaders—to the effect that we should not concentrate on doctrine because it is divisive. Rather,...

Prof. Cory M. Marsh will present a paper at the Bible Faculty Summit Annual Conference

Presented at The Bible Faculty Summit Annual Conference August 6–8, 2019, International Baptist College and Seminary, Chandler, Arizona The Rapture: Cosmic Segregation or Antidote for Oppression? A Critical Response to the “Racial Ideology of Rapture” by Nathaniel...

What Happens After the Wedding?

By Jennifer Ewing. In this second installment, Jennifer Ewing discusses what happens after the Wedding! You can read the first installment here! Marriage Supper of the Lamb Fourth, the church will “be seated with Christ at the marriage supper of the Lamb.”[1]...

Southern California Seminary Presents Dr. John Yeo, Ph.D as Professor of Old Testament

Dr. John J. Yeo serves at Southern California Seminary as Professor of Old Testament. His primary interests lie within Old Testament interpretation and Biblical Theology. His publications include the chapter on “Ruth” in A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the Old Testament (Crossway, 2016), an extended article on “Name Theology” in The Lexham Bible Dictionary (Logos Bible Software, 2012), and book reviews in various theological journals. He also served as a translation specialist on the Book of Job for the revised edition of the Christian Standard Bible (Holman Bible Publishers, 2017

Dean James I. Fazio will present a paper at the Ninth International Brethren History Conference

The significance of his research is that it focuses on a period of history that pre-dates John Nelson Darby’s initial gathering with the early brethren to break bread in Dublin in 1827-1828, which later came to be known as the Plymouth Brethren movement.

And They Lived Happily Ever After: The Fairy Tale Destiny of the Church

Harold Willmington identifies seven events in the “glorious destiny of the church.” This destiny is where ecclesiology and eschatology intersect. The destiny of the church includes the rapture, the distribution of rewards, the marriage and marriage supper, co-reigning, a new home, and being an eternal illustration of God’s glory. Each future event will be briefly described, followed by a discussion of the nature of fairy tale and truth, and conclude with a review of three princess tales which suggest some relation to this destiny.

Librarian Jennifer Ewing Publishes in Christian Academia Magazine

Students experience many barriers to producing quality research. Library anxiety is one. They mistakenly believe that they should be able to navigate a library by the time they reach college, and they feel shame that they cannot. Alex Nunes suggests that this current generation of students has an additional level of complexity for library instruction: because they have great confidence in their own (untaught) research abilities, they tend to dismiss the value of libraries. Thus, they are not prepared to produce quality student research.

Never Stop Preaching the Old Testament!

Preaching from the Old Testament is not too popular these days. Some well-known, influential pastors have even discouraged the practice. To call such efforts tragic would be an understatement—especially when one considers the theological richness of the narrative, prophetic, and wisdom literature of the First Testament (aka, Old Testament). Moreover, bearing in mind the apostle Paul’s own reverence for “the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:27), how dishonoring it must be to God, His holy Word, and even the office of the pastorate that a man leading a multitude of souls (Heb 13:17) would ever counsel other Christians against preaching and teaching the First Testament.