Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Dr. Timothy Tennent, new president of Asbury Seminary

Asbury Theological Seminary announced its new president today at long last. Brian Russell was on the search committee and has a post on it here.

These sorts of decisions set trajectories. Any sense out there of what sort of trajectory this sets for Asbury in the future?


dan said...

there is a big sense of excitement on campus! hugs, profs with big smiles, prayers of hope! the chapel was absolutely packed, the scene was electric as everybody waited for the announcement.

there was talk of great faithfulness. we talked about love, unity, and forgiveness.

if that's an early indication of the trajectory, it should be good.

Mark Schnell said...

I'm a student at Gordon Conwell where Dr. Tennet is currently a professor. I read the press release from Asbury and they call him a professor's professor. I would agree with that. One thing I know for sure; the students love him! He's one of those profs. that students always say with great enthusiasm, "You've got to take his world missions class. He's awesome!" He is a great scholar but an approachable guy that clearly loves students. He will bring that care for students AND serious theological scholarship to his role as president.

I'm excited for Asbury, he's a fabulous choice.

Ken Schenck said...

Here is his bio from the Gordon Conwell website.

Keith Drury said...

A hopeful and positive ending to a messy period... sometimes it takes a new leader to provide a "bookmark" so a church (or a seminary) can move on... this sounds like a good decision.

John Mark said...

Ken, I hope not. I think that Asbury's heritage is a wonderful thing, in fact I am a supporter of the Francis Asbury Society, which, as you well know, exists to foster the ideals that enabled Asbury College and Seminary to be the wonderful place it has been for many people. though I never made it to seminary myself, and did not even major in religion in college, my life has been enriched greatly by the ministry of people such as Dr. Al Coppedge, Dr. Dennis Kinlaw and others associated with Asbury.
One of the things I see in whats left of the American Holiness Movement is that we no longer (some of us, anyway) feel that we have any real need to exist as "yeast" in the larger body of Christ. While I am thankful for "mere Christianity" and all with whom I can fellowship, I hope we never lose our educational institutions to some sort of generic evangelicalism. I recall that you pointed out once that Wheaton's history is just that-that in the very early days they had Wesleyan leanings, at least.
Where the colleges and seminaries go, the churches tend to follow, generally speaking. There are exceptions, to be sure.
But if Asbury becomes just another "good evangelical school" the world will be a poorer place for it, I think.

John Mark said...

I should point out, though it probably is obvious to most of you, that I don't fully understand the relationship between the college and seminary. I do know that Dr. Kinlaw was president of both, so I realize there is separation, but sometimes they seem to be the same to me in my mind, partly because they are adjacent to one another, and so on.

John Mark said...

At the risk of running off the mouth, I would point out that concerns about the future of Asbury have been voiced as far back as around 1990.

Ken Schenck said...


I would actually argue that some of those trajectories panned out. For example, under Dunham the relationship of Asbury with the Wesleyan Church distanced. I don't think Asbury has ever really been in danger of going liberal, although perhaps some have thought so.

For the record, the college and seminary are completely distinct at president and have been since the seminary was spun off from the college under Henry Clay Morrison. Kinlaw has never been president of the seminary. When I was a teaching fellow, I do remember him giving an impassioned plea at a faculty retreat for the seminary not to go liberal.


John Mark said...

Thanks for the correction on Kinlaw.

Ken Schenck said...

On the issue of Tennent and the Wesleyan tradition, see this interview. Thanks to Brian Russell for this.