Convictions Statement: Biblical Theological Seminary
Biblical Theological Seminary is an evangelical seminary committed to the gospel of Jesus Christ and a generously orthodox Christian faith for the purpose of preparing missional leaders to serve the church. We are intent on maintaining the following convictions in the life and work of our community:
In 1971 Dr. Allan A. MacRae and Rev. John (Jack) W. Murray stood in the parking lot of a vacant elementary school and prayed for God’s help in establishing a new theological school that would forward the vision God had laid on the hearts of both men. Allan MacRae was a gifted Bible scholar and communicator; Jack Murray a well-known evangelist with a knack for presenting the message of salvation.
Together they represented two passions that would become hallmarks of Biblical Theological Seminary — a deep desire to search and understand the Scriptures and a keen interest in effectively reaching people with the hope of the gospel. We believe God heard their prayer. We aspire to continue manifesting God’s answer to that prayer in our current endeavors, including through the unanimous adoption of this missional convictions statement.
The Missional Character of the Christian Church
We believe the life and witness of the church should be thoroughly shaped by its participation in the mission of God to reconcile the world to himself in Jesus Christ, and by the call of Jesus to be the people of God sent into the world to proclaim and live out the gospel.
We believe God’s missional character is of primary importance to understanding the proper role of the church in God’s purposes in the world. While the love shared by Father, Son, and Holy Spirit from all eternity past precludes any divine need, it is in God’s nature to desire to extend this love and the fellowship that it fosters to others. This element of the divine character is manifest both in the social nature of God’s being as well as in the creation of human beings in his image.
The subsequent fall of human beings threatened the pleasure, quality, and benefit of these divine purposes for creation, but it did not erase or destroy these purposes entirely. God’s continued desire to pursue the other, his creatures, now in rebellion against him, is demonstrated throughout human history, and is climactically revealed in the sending of his Son to provide the only sufficient and appropriate means of reconciliation between God and human beings.
We believe the Father’s sending of the Son, and the subsequent sending of the Spirit to reconcile the world to himself, provides the essential purpose of the church’s existence and that this missional pattern should thoroughly shape our life and witness. For this reason we also believe that the mission of God should constitute the unifying motif of theological education.
Biblical Seminary's Vision:
To be the first choice for training missional leaders for the church of the 21st century.
The Primacy of Scripture for Christian Faith and Life
We believe Scripture is inspired by God and as such is infallible and authoritative for the life and witness of the church throughout history and across cultures.
We affirm the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the inspired Word of God and believe the Bible is true and without error in all that it affirms. We also affirm the power of God’s Word to accomplish his purposes. The message of the Bible is addressed to all men and women, and through it the Holy Spirit still speaks today. He illumines the minds of God’s people in every culture to freshly perceive its truth through their own eyes; and thus the Spirit discloses to the whole church ever more of the multifaceted wisdom of God. Therefore, we are committed to diligent, humble, and receptive study of Scripture that seeks to honestly and creatively appropriate its teaching in the contemporary context.
We are also aware of the limitations of our finitude that prevent us from a full discovery of God’s truth. This awareness does not undermine our confidence in the authority of God’s Word. Rather, we are humbled and made more cognizant of our dependence on the work of the Spirit and the need to subject even our best efforts at interpretation to the wisdom and counsel of the Christian community past and present.
The Indispensable Significance of the Christian Tradition
We affirm the summary of Christian faith taught in the Apostles’ Creed and the Nicene Creed and are committed to seeking wisdom from the history and traditions of the church.
While church councils and creeds can never attain to the authority of Scripture or of Christ himself, they should not be dismissed or disdained. We believe that the illuminating work of the Spirit as the one who guides us into the fullness of truth is made manifest in the witness of the church.
We affirm the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds as examples of this witness, and as setting forth the primary doctrines of the Christian faith. We subscribe to these statements because we value the historical interpretive work of the church and wish to identify with the great cloud of witnesses upon whose work we are dependent. We believe that by embracing and functioning within these ancient guidelines we can create a safe place for faculty and students to explore the mission of God in relation to contemporary culture.
Additionally, we identify ourselves as evangelical Protestants. In doing so, we thereby deliberately identify ourselves with the Protestant Christian tradition and the orthodox, Bible-believing constellation of Christians in North America and throughout the world. While we do not believe that evangelical Protestants are the only orthodox Christians, this identification provides our frame of reference and the acknowledged perspective of our work.
OUR CORE VALUES:
Philippians 2:1-11 embodies our core values:
- Charity - I Corinthians 13
- Humility - Mark 10:45
- Integrity - II Corinthians 8:21
- Mutual Respect - I Cor. 12:21,25
- Excellence - I Cor. 10:31
The Necessity of Cultural Engagement
We are committed to ongoing engagement with culture and the world for the sake of our witness to the gospel, and to continual learning from Christians in other cultural settings.
Being finite and fallible human beings, we recognize the limitations of our perspective and the need to broaden our horizon of understanding by interacting with persons (especially Christians) from other traditions and cultures in the belief that there too the Spirit of God is at work.
We also recognize that our own cultural settings and assumptions can distort our interpretation of the Word of God. It takes both historical and cross-cultural interaction to be alerted to subtle cultural seductions and unbiblical assumptions that impact thinking and habits of life.
It is also true that God can work in a culture to surface issues of justice, equity, or mercy that the church has neglected. Therefore, culture is not only the context for our outreach as Christians, but is also a dialogue partner in the quest for truth. We also affirm the ways in which the gospel calls us to prophetic witness against cultural beliefs and practices that are contrary to the purposes of God. Thus we believe the most effective theological and ministerial training is carried on with constant awareness of our particular social and historical contexts.
Biblical Theological Seminary is committed to providing training that enables leaders to exegete culture as well as Scripture in order to engage and speak into our culture in ways that are faithful to the missional purposes of the God revealed in Scripture. Specifically, we are committed to preparing leaders for the task of establishing counter-cultural Christian communities for the common good.