Category : Seminary / Theological Education

(WSJ) Case Thorp–A Seminary Snubs a Presbyterian Pastor

Today’s identity theology merely replaces northern European, male, cisgendered theology with another set of adjectives seeking to exercise power over others in the name of justice. But this is a false justice, because it lacks the divine righteousness that gives meaning to all lesser forms of justice. Call it retribution theology, a form of tribalism at its worst.

Christians need a theology that prophetically denounces sexism, homophobia and racism—in the past and in the present—without the divisiveness inherent to identity theology. This sort of inclusive theology is central to Mr. Keller’s preaching and ministry, which is done in one of the most diverse places in the world, New York City. Theologians like Mr. Keller focus on God, scripture, loving others, and missionary work. They’re not very concerned about their own navels.

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools,” Martin Luther King said in 1964. Is Mr. Keller not our brother? I am sad that my alma mater chose to undermine King’s vision and succumb to the demands of identity theology. When Mr. Keller stands before the seminary community next month, he will not deliver an acceptance lecture for the Kuyper Prize. Instead, he’ll demonstrate grace and magnanimity, for Mr. Keller’s unity with his detractors will truly be in Christ.

Read it all.

Posted in Anthropology, Ethics / Moral Theology, Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Pastoral Theology, Politics in General, Seminary / Theological Education, Sexuality

Princeton Seminary Rescinds its Award of the Kuyper Prize to Tim Keller

Dear Members of the Seminary Community,

On March 10 I sent a letter to the seminary community addressing the emerging objections to the Kuyper Center’s invitation to the Reverend Timothy Keller to speak at their annual conference and receive the Kuyper Prize. Those who are concerned point to Reverend Keller’s leadership role in the Presbyterian Church in America, a denomination which prevents women and LGBTQ+ persons from full participation in the ordained Ministry of Word and Sacrament.

As I indicated in my previous letter, it is not my practice to censor the invitations to campus from any of our theological centers or student organizations. This commitment to academic freedom is vital to the critical inquiry and theological diversity of our community. In talking with those who are deeply concerned about Reverend Keller’s visit to campus, I find that most share this commitment to academic freedom. Yet many regard awarding the Kuyper Prize as an affirmation of Reverend Keller’s belief that women and LGBTQ+ persons should not be ordained. This conflicts with the stance of the Presbyterian Church (USA). And it is an important issue among the divided Reformed communions.

I have also had helpful conversations about this with the Chair of the Kuyper Committee, the Chair of the Board of Trustees, and Reverend Keller. In order to communicate that the invitation to speak at the upcoming conference does not imply an endorsement of the Presbyterian Church in America’s views about ordination, we have agreed not to award the Kuyper Prize this year.

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Marriage & Family, Politics in General, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Sexuality

(JE) Opposing Tim Keller at Princeton Seminary

Unfailingly thoughtful and cerebral, frequently appearing in secular media as a religious and cultural commentator, Keller is one of the most influential pastors and Christian thinkers in America today. He is a guru of the rebirth of urban evangelical Protestant Christianity. His theology like his denomination’s is orthodox and Reformed. Keller typically avoids culture war issues and hot button debates. He affirms traditional Christian sexual ethics and marriage teaching but rarely speaks about it. His churches are full of New Yorkers who are socially liberal but drawn to his intellectually vibrant presentation of Christianity.

One Princeton graduate, a minister in the liberal Presbyterian Church (USA), has been quoted in The Christian Post denouncing Keller’s scheduled appearance at her alma mater in her blog, which declares:

…An institution designed to train men and women for ministry shouldn’t be awarding fancy prizes to someone who believes half the student body (or is it more than half?) has no business leading churches. It’s offensive and, as I have taught my four and five year olds to express, it hurts my feelings.

She also complains that “he (and the denomination he serves) is also very clear in its exclusion of LGBT people.”

Read it all.

Posted in America/U.S.A., Evangelicals, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education

Do not Take Yourself Too Seriously Dept–Seminary Offers Degree In Advanced Meme-Making

In a stated effort to train up Christian leaders in disciplines that will help them connect with a rapidly changing culture, Hope Bible College & Seminary announced Thursday its new course offerings in advanced meme-making.

“The first reformation was all about creeds, the second reformation was all about deeds—now we’re starting a new reformation that’s all about the dank memes,” college dean Chuck Lyle told reporters. “The best way to communicate truth to a postmodern world is by slapping a clever zinger on a picture of Leonardo DiCaprio or Robert Downey Jr., and we want to equip the next generation of Christians to engage culture with the dankest memes.”

Read it all from the Babylon Bee.

Posted in * General Interest, Humor / Trivia, Seminary / Theological Education

Forming priests among the people: Chicago's Episcopal seminary goes all in on field education

Theological schools debate how much field education is the right amount and how to integrate practical experience into ministerial training. But what if field education were inseparable from M.Div. courses? And what if seminarians’ primary classmates were the people in the congregations they serve during their three years of seminary?

Bexley Seabury Seminary, an Episco­pal school based in Chicago, has such a model in mind as it relaunches its M.Div. degree program. “At every step,” the school states, “students will be challenged to connect the content of their academic work with insights and reflections drawn from their internship experience.”

KyungJa Oh, director of field education and formation, sees the advantages of keeping students rooted in the context of ministry.

Read it all from the Christian Century.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, Episcopal Church (TEC), Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Travel

From Northern Nigeria to Northern Ireland; Third Anglican Leadership Institute Concludes

The Third Anglican Leadership Institute is now history. As I write some are still in the air, and some have landed and rejoined their families.

And what a great group they were. They spanned the full Anglican spectrum:

– From the Rector of a posh downtown parish in a mid-sized Australian city to the General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Burundi;
– From a Rector in Brunei where Sharia Law prevents him from even having a Christmas tree outside the Church to a leader of young adults in a large Brazilian church who surfs in his spare time;
– From a bishop in northern Nigeria where unless a man “steals” another man’s wife his own wife might accuse him of “not really being a man” to the assistant Rector of a booming Northern Ireland church who finished off 6 books while he was with us;
– From a former “Lost Boy” of South Sudan who runs a diocese that cannot afford him any salary and whose family must live in exile to a Deacon who assists the former President of GAFCON…

And on it goes. 16 marvelous people — all Anglicans from 12 enormously different socio-economic situations living in cultures vastly different from each other. Yet all united in Jesus Christ and experiencing the joy of becoming a family. Our closing dinner was a time of deep prayer followed by hugs all around. Those Africans love to hug.

Read it all (Diocese of SC photo).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Adult Education, Evangelism and Church Growth, Globalization, Ministry of the Ordained, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(CT) Wesley Hill–Henri Nouwen’s Weakness Was His Strength

What had prompted [Henri] Nouwen to embrace a spirituality and a ministry model like this one? Born in the Netherlands in 1932, Nouwen had grown up a pious, conscientious””and ambitious””eldest child. By the time he was five years old, Nouwen had acquired specially made child-size priestly vestments so that he could say Mass at a play altar. “I did all the proper things,” he would later write, comparing himself to the elder brother in Jesus’ parable of the prodigal son, “mostly complying with the agendas set by the many parental figures in my life””teachers, spiritual directors, bishops, and popes.” Two decades later, having already graduated from two seminaries, Nouwen was ordained to the Catholic priesthood at Utrecht, ready to fulfill a calling””an inevitability, it seemed to those who knew him best””he’d sensed from boyhood. In short, a walking specimen of oozing spiritual wounds, Nouwen most certainly was not. Gregarious, theatrical, often childishly playful, his priestly work led him from strength to strength.

But Nouwen’s deepest self-identification was with the younger son in the parable, not in his outward behavioral choices but in what he described as an inner pain of lostness. This accounts, it would seem, for his constant talk of woundedness. His distance from God the Father’s heart, as he would put it in what is probably his second most-loved book, The Return of the Prodigal Son, had to do not with public rebellion but with an acute inner sensitivity and susceptibility to feelings of rejection. At one of his life’s crucial turning points, he recorded the following sentiment in his journal: “What I am craving is not so much recognition, praise, or admiration, as simple friendship. There may be some around me, but I cannot perceive or receive it.” This insensibility would dog him through his exit from the academy, through his twilight years spent as a carer in a home for disabled persons, through his quieter days of writing, until, en route to St. Petersburg for another viewing of Rembrandt’s Prodigal Son which had renewed his faith years earlier, he died.

Read it all.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * Religion News & Commentary, Books, Church History, Evangelicals, Other Churches, Religion & Culture, Roman Catholic, Seminary / Theological Education, Spirituality/Prayer, Theology

(Post-Gazette) A trinity of partners: Trinity School for Ministry blends several traditions

Students from multiple states and countries come here, attracted to a school that aims to be an “evangelical seminary in the Anglican tradition” ”” that is, blending the piety and urgent sense of mission that characterize evangelicals with the time-tested liturgy and sacramental tradition associated with Episcopal Church and its Anglican counterpart.

“This is really the place” for that blend, said Jim Hearn, a doctoral student from California, who joined an Anglican congregation through the influence of his wife and a trip to Israel.

Now Trinity is celebrating its 40th year, and while the mission remains the same, it’s being defined in new ways. The school says it has about 285 students, either full-time, part-time or on-line.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, America/U.S.A., Anglican Church in North America (ACNA), Episcopal Church (TEC), Executive Council, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology, Urban/City Life and Issues

(CW) Wycliffe College can boast of two new canons within its close knit family

If you haven’t grown up in the Anglican (or Episcopal) Church, you might think a “Canon” is just a fancy kind of camera. But to those familiar with Anglican tradition, a canon is much more. And now, Wycliffe College can boast of two new canons within its close knit family.

The positions were formally conferred on Annette Brownlee and Ephraim Radner, both professors at Wycliffe, during a late afternoon service of sung Scripture and prayer on Sunday, January 15, 2017, in Dallas, Texas. The Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Dallas, George Sumner, bestowed the honours.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Canada, Episcopal Church (TEC), Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, TEC Bishops, Theology

Echols Appointed Adjunct Professor of OT at South Carolina's Cummins Seminary

Cummins Theological Seminary in Summerville, [South Carolina,] is pleased to announce the appointment of the Rev. Dr. Charles L. Echols as a new Adjunct Professor of Old Testament. For this Spring Semester he will be teaching a course in the Major Prophets. In 2005, he was awarded the degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Old Testament by the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, England. He also holds degrees from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland and Trinity School for Ministry, Abridge, Pennsylvania.

Read it all.

(Diocese of South Carolina)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

(CEN) Oak Hill principal Mike Ovey remembered at memorial service


(Oak Hill College)

To compel attention in his lectures, where he never got to the end of the notes, he used Sooty and Sweep puppets to illustrate the Trinity. But staff feared that the meat cleaver sitting on his study chair might make visiting DDOs nervous.

His love of PG Wodehouse found expression in exam questions in which a couple of pages of Woodhousian narrative were populated by various ecclesiastical figures espousing different theological nostrums to which the candidate was invited to respond.

The Rev Andrew Cornes from Crowborough, his training vicar, recalled him as a fierce fighter for justice. Dr Dan Strange, now acting principal, said: “He had so little ego and no interest in self-aggrandisement.” His local pastor, Jonathan Prime said he was the best of listeners.

Present were his wife of 29 years, Heather and their children, Charles, Harry and Ana. Before they were a ”˜couple’, they had led a Bible study group at St Helen’s, Bishopsgate, while Mike was a Parliamentary draftsman and living in Clapham. Heather told Mike he should devote his life to teaching the Bible.

Mike’s parents, John and Ruth and sisters Elizabeth and Margaret were present. Dr Mark Thompson, principal of Moore College, Sydney, where Mike had done post-graduate study and lectured, led prayers.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, Parish Ministry, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Wycliffe Hall's response to an erroneous article in this past weekend's Sunday Times

From here:

An article in ‘The Sunday Times’ (22 January 2017) has been brought to our attention, which suggests that Wycliffe Hall’s “inclusive language policy” recommends that staff and students no longer refer to God as “He”, but as “the one who”. It does no such thing. Yes, inclusive language is encouraged at Wycliffe Hall in our preaching and our writing when describing people ”“ not ”˜man’, ”˜mankind’, ”˜every man’, but ”˜human’, ”˜humanity’, ”˜everyone’. Therefore careful thought is required when using older liturgy, hymnody, or Bible translations, in order to include the whole people of God. This is common sense and is common practice throughout the churches. But there is no suggestion that the traditional gender pronouns concerning God should be altered in any way. Indeed the Hall’s policy reaffirms that we should continue to speak of God as Father, Son and Holy Spirit, as Christians have always done

.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, Language, Seminary / Theological Education, The Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit, Theology

Lee Gatiss–A Tribute to Mike Ovey (1958-2017)

He was ordained in 1991 and served for 4 years as curate of All Saints, Crowborough in Chichester diocese. He and Heather then left to move to Sydney Australia, as Mike took up a post as Junior Lecturer at Moore Theological College. While there he also did research for an MTh, with a dissertation on the concept of truth in John’s Gospel, and made many friends.

I first met Mike in 1998 when he returned to the UK to be a research fellow at Oak Hill Theological College in London. Some of his lectures were quite stretching (such as this one, and this one which he contributed to The Theologian journal), and I never understood his compulsive need to talk about Arsenal football club and include diagrams or witty quotes in all of his handouts! But he was a good friend and a mentor. We met up weekly to read the Bible and pray together during a year when I was doing MPhil research in the Old Testament, and we’d occasionally pore over the Septuagint or a Latin Church Father, or he’d advise me about college committees he had gotten me involved with. Always with at least one cup of coffee (and occasionally with a glass of something different).

Mike’s PhD from Kings College, London (completed in 2004) was on the eternal relation between God the Father and God the Son in selected patristic theologians and John’s Gospel, which highlights his interest in integrating systematic, historical, and biblical theology. Much of this work made it into his most recent publication Your Will Be Done: Exploring Eternal Subordination, Divine Monarchy and Divine Humility. He was keen to encourage Christians to engage more carefully in systematic theology, which he saw as something of a weakness in evangelical circles. In a helpful talk from 2006, for example, he examined the biblical foundations of systematics and outlined a biblical method of engaging in it, which many found persuasive.

Read it all (my emphasis).

(Oak Hill College)

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Oak Hill College Principal Mike Ovey RIP

It is with profound shock and sadness that we announce the sudden and unexpected death of our Principal, the Revd Dr Mike Ovey, at the age of 58.

As the Oak Hill community comes to terms with the loss of our dear brother and leader, we cling on to the promise that ”˜For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life’. It reminds us that for Mike, death is not an end but a glorious beginning.

Read it all and you can read comments by Archbp Peter Jensen there.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * International News & Commentary, Death / Burial / Funerals, England / UK, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture, Seminary / Theological Education, Theology

Philip Plyming announced as new warden of Cranmer Hall theological college

[The] Rev Dr Plyming trained at Cranmer Hall, where he gained a first in theology, before undertaking a curacy at an ecumenical church in Basingstoke.

He went on to serve on the General Synod of the Church of England since 2009 and played a significant role in the church’s Renewal and Reform modernisation project, sitting on the Archbishop’s Simplification Task Group.

He is currently Vicar of Holy Trinity Claygate, a parish church in the Diocese of Guildford which has seen significant growth in recent years, and also Area Dean of Emly.

He is married to Annabelle, a hospice doctor, and they have two schoolage sons.

Read it all.

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, Anglican Provinces, Church of England (CoE), Seminary / Theological Education, Theology