Faith’s Distinctive Goals
November 1, 1988
Faith Baptist Theological Seminary
Faith’s Distinctive Goals
Robert G. Delnay, Th.D.
Founders usually form their institutions to express some compelling idea. Ever since it opened, Faith Baptist Theological Seminary has published its goal to train Christian leaders who are Bible expositors. To train such leaders involves several compelling ideas. Since Faith is a seminary, not a church, it includes some activities and excludes others. Now that we are in our third year, we are in a position to assess what we have begun and to reaffirm what we are trying to do. We do believe that our seminary expresses a number of compelling ideas.
1. The Balanced Curriculum
To produce Christian leaders, we seek more than to train them in some skills. We believe that a pastor or a missionary needs to have certain key understandings. For this reason we have attempted to set up a curriculum that teaches English Bible and how to exegete it; we also require enough work in both Biblical languages that our graduates are able to expound both testaments. We offer a strong department of theology, so as to integrate the understanding of what the Bible teaches. We require church history so as to give them wisdom regarding the past and that they may understand the present. We offer courses in pastoral theology so that they can face their ministries with some confidence and understand Biblically what they have already learned in church.
We believe in balanced ministries. We want to produce pastors who have a heart for missions, and missionaries who are able to pastor a church. We believe that whatever their calling, they ought to see it as it relates to local churches.
We trust that from such balanced course offerings our students and graduates will gain a biblical view of the church and indeed of the heritage denoted by the words Baptist, fundamentalist, dispensational and separatist. We will trust their own grasp of Bible and history to compel them to embrace that heritage.
2. Personal Contact
Along with a working curriculum, we encourage in class and out of it personal contact wit the faculty. Some values are caught better than taught, and while we seek to score every time we meet in class, we also try as teachers to keep ourselves available to our students. We hope that they will catch from us a greater thirst for God. We hope they will gain a love for discovery, a zest to get truth off a printed page. Whether through us or in spite of us, we hope that they will show enterprise and leadership, especially in evangelism and church growth. We hope that they will come to regard truth and right as passions, not just as options, and that they will make a life commitment to truth and right.
Admittedly this puts a burden on us as faculty to be the sort of persons we can offer to students as life models. It demands more than training. It demands that we commit ourselves to Christ and to His service and that we pull together in this great task of ministry. This demand we accept.
3. Spiritual Fervor
We believe that a Christian leader should be a person of God. Therefore we recoil at the thought of producing religious technicians or politicians. We purpose to balance scholarship with a walk with God, and vital Bible stud with earnest prayer. We purpose graduates who bear and value the fruit of the Holy Spirit, who have learned to worship, who have a healthy skepticism of the flesh and of trying in its strength to do the work of the Lord. We purpose to see integrity of character, people big enough to admit their wrongs. We believe in separation, but a separation that springs from a love for Jesus Christ, a love that excludes the allurements of the world and the vanity of fellowship with those who walk disorderly. We long to produce soldiers who can endure hardness for His name’s sake.
Some may wonder is such goals can be attained in a community of scholars. We believe that they can, and we pray to that end.
4. Expository Preaching
We disavow the very thought of seminary graduates who preach their first sermon when they candidate somewhere. We believe in the importance of preaching as the primary way to spread the gospel (Luke 4:43,44, 1 Cor. 1:21). In a day when preaching has fallen on hard times, we purpose that our graduates should be communicators, in all that terms implies.
Furthermore, we purpose that they be able preachers. They should know how to organize biblical material into a workable plan. They should be able to proclaim it with clarity and confidence. They should be able to make it interesting and compelling. We believe that preaching rightly implies a reality situation, so that even classroom preaching is to meet the needs of its hearers.
In addition, we believe in expository preaching s the method of choice (2 Tim. 4:1,2). We believe that to preach the Bible is the best and necessary way to build up converts into disciples. We purpose students who love Scripture enough not to neglect it, nor to take it for granted, nor to study it carelessly, nor to bend it to say what they want it to.
We believe that churches are best served by a well-educated ministry, so long as that education begins and ends with personal acquaintance with Christ. It is that sort of education that Faith Baptist Theological Seminary intends to provide.