Learn, innovate, push
I wanted to post this testimonial from the Dean's blog under last week's post on differences in philosophy: "This one semester of seminary has been more valuable to my church and myself as a pastor than the six previous years of education combined.":-)
Interesting that the new Wesley Seminary does not include "Entire Sanctification as part of it's theological identity. Is the exclusion of this doctrine intentional? Will you be training new generations of Wesleyan clergy who will disregard this former doctrinal distinctive of The Wesleyan Church?
Not at all. The goal was not to use formulaic language but fresh. Wherever you read Christ likeness and transformation you should hear sanctification.
OK, you can read the same language at Reformed or Westminster seminaries. Christlikeness is a pretty well used term and means whatever the interpreter "feels." Even Nazarene Theo Seminary still uses Holiness and Entire Sanctification to distinguish itself from other schools. Face it Ken, you don't really believe in the old Wesleyan doctrine and don't want to be linked to it. Maybe you should be honest and promote your seminary as a "Postmodern" school of theology.
I am Wesleyan because I believe God wants to empower us and it is possible to go the rest of our lives without ever intentionally violating God's known will in a conscious decision or succombing to clear cut temptation and that it doesn't have to be a struggle to do so. Is that distinct enough from the Reformed tradition?
Sure Ken. I am convinced. I guess I was wondering why a Holiness Seminary seemed hesitant to proudly declare the primary doctrinal distinctive of it's existance as stated in the Discipline or used to be last time I looked. Saying "Christlike" instead sounds pretty generic and evasive I think. But what to I know, you are the expert!
I resist terms that only communicate to insiders. I feel the same way in faculty interviews. Don't ask candidates what they think about jargon, ask them what they think about substance. Don't ask, "Are you Arminian?" Good grief. Ask them:1. Do you believe anyone can be saved?2. Do you think that how you live after you are converted has an impact on your eternal destiny?and3. Do you believe a person by the power of the Holy Spirit can consistently make the right decision when faced with temptation?Who cares about lingo? I want to know substance!
Well If you are interviewing faculty or a new pastor I guess these are valid questions. I don't use old theological language either. But it sounds to me that your new seminary is being marketed as a one size fits all and you are avoiding the traditional denominational distinctive of The Wesleyan Church. No problem if that is your intention, but it looks to me that maybe IWU and maybe the entire denomination is trying to distance themselves from the Holiness movement. If I was looking for a Wesleyan seminary that would provide an education in Wesleyan/holiness theology, I guess schools like Asbury or NTS at least seem willing to publically identify with this theology instead of trying to minimize it with generic terms. They would be more appealing to me. But like I said you are the expert and no doubt you have marketing professionals advising you.
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