Justin Barrett and Rebecca Dorsey Sok have co-founded a new venture, Blueprint 1543, with a mission to integrate Christian theology and the sciences to answer life’s biggest questions. The Knoxville-based organization is focusing on three broad initiatives—leadership development, sciences-engaged theology, and science stewardship—supported by a portfolio of programs and projects. Blueprint 1543 will be developing their own projects, as well as consulting and coaching for partner organizations. Sok and Barrett have managed over $16 million in grants with multiple funding partners (such as the AT project, and TheoPsych: Bringing Theology to Mind). This new venture signals their exit from running Fuller Theological Seminary’s Office for Science, Theology, and Religion (STAR), which also supported interdisciplinary research and programs in faith-science integration. Sarey Martin Concepción joins Barrett and Sok as Blueprint 1543’s Director of Communication. BP1543 is currently building its roster of partners from the fields of theology, philosophy, and the sciences. To stay up to date on projects and opportunities, follow on Facebook, Twitter, or sign up for their newsletter. More information at www.blueprint1543.org.
J. I. Packer —”One of the most influential evangelical leaders of our time” (Christianity Today)— passed away yesterday at age 93. Across the web, tributes are pouring in about his life, ministry, and sprawling legacy. Below are links to some of them:
“Remembering J.I. Packer” – Regent College
“J. I. Packer, ‘Knowing God’ Author, Dies at 93” – Christianity Today
“In Memoriam: J. I. Packer” – Catholic Herald
“Reformation Theology in the Hands of a Servant” – Desiring God
“Now He Truly Knows” – Sydney Anglicans
“J. I. Packer Goes on to Glory” – Michael Thomson via Ben Witherington (patheos)
June 24, 2020 – “Following extended conversations with and consultation of seminary faculty, alumni and friends, Dean Todd D. Still, Ph.D., announced today, with strong support from university administration, the formation of a Wesley House of Studies at Baylor University’s Truett Seminary. In conjunction, he announced that Dr. William J. Abraham, a theologian, philosopher, author and minister, will serve as the founding director of this strategic initiative.
In this role, Abraham will ensure that students attending Truett from Wesleyan traditions are nurtured and networked for the ministries into which they are being called. Additionally, Abraham, who will regularly teach courses at Truett pertaining to Wesleyan thought and practice, will collaborate with individuals, congregations and organizations in the Wesleyan tradition in the recruiting, training and placing of students and in supporting and educating ministers who are already engaged in gospel service.” Read more…
(This post was recopied from an announcement on Baylor Universities website. Click here to read more)
From Baptist Standard:
ABILENE—Hardin-Simmons University’s board of trustees voted to close Logsdon Seminary.
President Eric Bruntmyer announced the board’s action in a letter released about 9 p.m. on Feb. 7.
“The board approved new programs, and it closed other programs at the undergraduate and graduate level including Logsdon Seminary and its programs,” Bruntmyer stated. “In the next week, the appropriate deans and vice presidents will be communicating the details of these actions.”
He went on to write the trustees “made these decisions with prayerful consideration and spiritual discernment, emphasizing that Hardin-Simmons will continue to hold to the Christian values on which it was founded.”
Students will continue to participate in chapel services and weekly Bible studies, and they will have “expanded opportunities to participate in ministry events locally and abroad and to take additional Bible courses,” he wrote.
Financial considerations noted
Bruntmyer noted the board had adopted The Way Forward, a strategic financial plan that calls for an annual evaluation of all academic programs and provides “a sustainable framework” that positions the university favorably in “an increasingly competitive marketplace.”
“Under The Way Forward, Hardin-Simmons University will always pursue financial excellence, which will allow us to maintain our academic excellence,” he wrote. “In the coming weeks, months and year, the HSU campus will change. Structural adjustments like these are important as we strive toward achieving financial excellence not only for ourselves, but for those to come.”
In Oct. 2018, HSU trustees voted to close four Logsdon Seminary extension campuses in Coppell, Lubbock, Corpus Christi and McAllen, along with other cuts in programs and personnel.
At the time, Bruntmyer noted “some external revenue sources are evaporating,” pointing particularly to decreased Cooperative Program support. He also noted the Baptist General Convention of Texas was eliminating pro-rata funding for all its partnering universities.
Current students offered ‘teach-out’ program
In a subsequent statement from HSU issued Feb. 8, the university clarified that the trustee decision affects Logsdon Seminary and its graduate programs, but the Logsdon School of Theology will continue to provide undergraduate Christian education.
“Current seminary students will be provided a teach-out program to finish their degrees,” according to the statement.
Theological college in Nottingham ‘no longer financially viable in the long term’
After 156 years, St John’s College, Nottingham, is to close, it was announced this week.
The majority of the 28 employees at the former theological college, including tutors, will transfer to new posts in institutions that have agreed to continue the college’s distance-learning and youth-ministry work; but there will be redundancies by the end of next summer. Students have been reassured that their courses will continue until they have completed them.
A statement issued this week said that the college’s council had agreed, on 11 November, “that the operation of the current configuration of St John’s is no longer financially viable in the long term”, and that the process of closure would begin.
The Principal of the Eastern Region Ministry Course, the Revd Dr Alex Jensen, suggested this week that there was “great fear” in the Theological Education Institutions (TEI) sector that other closures could follow.
“Hardly any college or course is financially sustainable,” he said. “I think there is a recognition in the Ministry Council that there is something wrong. . . The question is if changes will be made before the next college or course falls by the wayside.”
The broader context for theological education was illustrated by figures from the Ministry Division seen by the Church Times this week (News, 6 December), which suggest that the Renewal and Reform target of a 50-per-cent increase in ordained vocations is unlikely to be met by 2020 (News, 2 September).
There have been signs of trouble at St John’s for some time. Last year, there were 60 students at the college, compared with 108 in 2016-17, and 223 recorded in June 2016, according to a report from the Quality Assurance Agency.
For the full story by Madeleine Davies see: https://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2019/6-december/news/uk/st-john-s-college-to-close-after-156-years
Press Release: The School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews has secured its largest ever research grant of £3.4 million from the John Templeton Foundation to support the creation and launch of a free, online encyclopaedia of theology.
The Encyclopaedia will grow to include material from the world’s major religions, beginning with Christianity and expanding to Judaism, Islam, Buddhism and Hinduism, offering articles written from within the faith traditions they describe.
Brendan Wolfe, Honorary Reader at the School of Divinity, will serve as the Encyclopaedia’s Principal Editor, with Dr Steve Holmes, Senior Lecturer, as Chair of the Editorial Board.
Citing restrictions on selling its current Pasadena property and unexpectedly high construction costs, Fuller Theological Seminary officials announced it won’t be moving to Pomona, California, in 2021 as planned.
Fuller president Mark Labberton said Southern California’s high construction costs—higher than the school’s conservative estimates—and “differences with the City of Pasadena” over the sale of the land led the board on October 24 to vote unanimously to stay at its 13-acre Pasadena location.
“Our board just decided … that though our plans were so full of promise and hope and our welcome in Pomona had been so great, that the better and wiser decision for the long-term wellbeing of Fuller is to stay here in Pasadena,” Labberton said in a statement posted last week on the Fuller website.
For the full story see “Christianity Today.”
You can read the entire announcement here: https://www.dts.edu/presidentialsearch/
From Christianity Today:
A record-setting $75.5 million donation stands to change the trajectory of Gordon College by boosting scholarship funds to make the school more affordable and expanding opportunities for non-traditional students.
For the entire article see Christianity Today.
Good news. Our Twitter handle is now @theologynews. Be sure to direct all responses there. At the start of this project Theology News was working with the Twitter handle @theology_news. The more natural @theologynews handle had belonged to a certain Adam Kendry way back in 2011 or 2012. After an email to Adam about our project he kindly released the name since he had not posted on Twitter since 2012!
Thanks Adam Kendry from the Theology.News team!
With support from the McDonald Agape Foundation, Yale Divinity School has established a new endowed professorship: the McDonald Agape Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity.
Its inaugural holder will be Teresa Morgan, who is joining YDS from the University of Oxford in 2022.
See the full announcement here: https://divinity.yale.edu/news/3-million-mcdonald-agape-gift-supports-creation-endowed-professorship
London School of Theology is delighted to announce the appointment of Reverend Professor Mark J. Cartledge as its new Principal. Mark is currently Professor of Practical Theology at Regent University School of Divinity in Virginia Beach, USA. He will take up the position on 1st January, 2020.
Mark is an ordained minister in the Church of England, as well as a theologian and scholar. He has worked in parish ministry, overseas theological education in an Anglican seminary in Nigeria, and as a university chaplain at the Universities of Liverpool and Durham.
He has also taught in secular University departments in the UK (Lampeter and Birmingham). During this time, he has remained active in ordained ministry at parish level and regularly leads worship, preaches and participates in congregational life.
Mark holds an MPhil from Oakhill Theological College and a PhD from the University of Wales.
Mark’s research has focused on Practical Theology and Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity. He has written and edited a number of books, as well as a large number of journal articles and chapters. His most recent book is co-written and is entitled Megachurches and Social Engagement: Public Theology in Practice (Brill, 2019).
See the full announcement here: https://lst.ac.uk/new-principal/
From Regent’s Park College, University of Oxford:
We are delighted to announce that the new Director of the College’s ‘Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture’ will be Professor Anthony Reddie, currently Extraordinary Professor of Theological Ethics at the University of South Africa.
Professor Reddie is a leading scholar in the field of Black Theology; editor of Black Theology journal, and the author of over 70 essays and articles on Christian Education and Black Theology, and the author or editor of 18 books. He comes to the Director’s post after working as Europe Secretary for the Council for World Mission.
His latest book – Theologizing Brexit: A Liberationist and Postcolonial Critique (Routledge, 2019)* – will be the subject of a panel discussion at the 2020 conference of the Society for the Study of Theology, and is the first intercultural and postcolonial theological exploration of the Brexit phenomenon. He is in demand as a conference speaker (booked for Greenbelt 2020) and is also a trustee of the ‘British and Irish Association for Practical Theology’.
After over two decades, the Centre is preparing to move into a new phase with a relaunch this year, and the appointment of Professor Reddie opens up new and exciting research possibilities. As the Centre seeks to build on a strong tradition of interdisciplinary approaches to religion and culture, Professor Reddie will initiate a new strand of work with his expertise in understanding the growth of religiously inspired nationalism across the world.
Professor Reddie will take up the post of Director of the Oxford Centre for Religion and Culture on 1 January 2020.
See the full announcement here: http://www.rpc.ox.ac.uk/anthony-reddie-ocrc/
I am very grateful for the trust which Andy and the College are showing in me and am humbled by this appointment. I am deeply committed to St Mellitus and delighted to be part of the next season in its exciting journey. It has been a great joy to be part of the college staff team for the last 4 years and to see the college continue to flourish by God’s grace. I am inspired by the creative, innovative and missional spirit which underpins the work of the college and I love the breadth of students that the college attracts, both lay and ordained, and the way it equips them to play their part in God’s missionary work in the world today. I have such hope for what God is doing and will continue to do in our nation through the College and I look forward to working with the Dean and the staff team in our vision to train and equip people to share the Gospel, plant and lead churches and be a vibrant witness to Christ in a changing world.
Hannah is an excellent theological educator who is passionate about evangelism and mission and equipping others to share the Gospel. As a part of the college staff team for the past 4 years, Hannah has brought great energy, enthusiasm and wisdom and is much loved by both staff and students. As Director she brings a great love for people as well as a proven commitment to the vision and values of the college and a missional, can-do attitude. We are looking forward to her taking on this new role in the life of the college.
An update on Fuller Theological Seminary’s status regarding the sale of its Pasadena property…
Dear Fuller Community,
Earlier today the board met in an urgent session to discuss the surprising turn of events last week when the buyer for the Pasadena property withdrew. As promised, we are updating you with new developments, knowing that not all questions can be answered.
For many months now, the trustees, administration, faculty, and staff have been working hard on multiple initiatives whose common purpose is to put Fuller on a far more focused path to a flourishing future. While there is much positive momentum, we have met major challenges to the reset for future sustainability. Since formulating our original Pasadena to Pomona move, several things have dramatically changed, including: the buyer we’ve been working with since January has dropped out owing to decisions made by the City of Pasadena, and construction costs for the Pomona campus have escalated significantly.
What are the immediate options?
The Executive Committee of Trustees, senior administrators, and the Real Estate Task Force set in motion immediately to establish two scenarios that we presented this morning to the board for review and final decision in October: (1) pivot to a combination of Pasadena/Houston/Arizona/virtual campus distribution or (2) delay but proceed with the Pomona/Houston/Arizona/virtual option.
There are strong cases for both scenarios which can be discussed in future meetings (including next week’s special employee meeting); however, there are practical measures we must enact immediately in any case, which will include the sale of properties outside the “core” of the Pasadena campus.
The Executive Committee and Administration will deliver to the October Board meeting a strategic plan and fully informed recommendations for a long-term campus strategy with all of these new developments considered. Those scenarios include:
Scenario 1: Pomona/Houston/Arizona/Virtual
The board’s original vision was a Spirit-led one that had the short and long-term future firmly in view. The decision to leave Pasadena as a strategy for establishing long-term sustainability was and is still necessary for Fuller’s viability. The original vision for Pomona is bold, mission-centered, and future thinking. We must determine a location that will best support Fuller’s future.
Scenario 2: Pasadena/Houston/Arizona/Virtual
Our original vision was a good one, but fundamental changes require a major reboot. In this scenario, we keep a portion of the Pasadena campus and split our operations with Houston, Phoenix, and virtual offices offering near-term financial benefits, avoiding escalating construction costs and the disruption associated with building a new campus.
In the next two months, we will engage the research and due diligence necessary to evaluate these scenarios for board consideration in October to determine the direction that we will pursue.
Conclusions for Now
As we wrestle with all of this, it is easy to get overwhelmed. It is important to remember that our overarching goal is to create a new and better Fuller—we are continuing to move forward on that path. There is much good news, there are many ways in which Fuller is strong, and we must remember that God is with us. Whatever scenarios the board finally approves, we will make Fuller stronger with these initiatives:
- Simplify, streamline, and better integrate our degree programs and schools
- Scale Fuller’s students, faculty, staff, and facility size to projected demand
- Eliminate our operating deficit to work with a balanced budget
- Pay off our debt
- Reduce the cost of living for many in the Fuller community
- Create faculty, staff, and educational environments better tuned to the 21st century
- Raise financial resources for Fuller’s long-term benefit
Yours in Christ,
This blog was reposted in its entirity from https://www.biola.edu/blogs/talbot-magazine/2019/master-s-program-with-classical-theology-focus-starts-this-fall
This fall, Talbot will launch a new program: the Master of Arts with a focus in Classical Theology (MACT). The MACT is a 36-credit, residential, great-books program integrated around the interpretation of Holy Scripture. Applications are coming in, and we’ve begun interviewing candidates for the inaugural class. Would you consider joining us?
The MACT is distinct from Talbot’s other outstanding graduate programs in several ways.
- The MACT draws on a classical heritage. At the heart of the program is the long, classical Christian tradition of reading the Bible. Classic expositions of Scripture, from many cultures and from across the patristic, medieval, Reformation and modern eras, will be our textbooks. Representatives of the best modern scholarship will also share a place at the table.
- The MACT is integrative. Following the classic Christianity embodied in these texts, every MACT class seeks to integrate theology, history and exegesis together with personal spirituality for the sake of the church.
- The MACT is Socratic. This rigorous, ancient pedagogy is one of the most effective ways to reach deeper understanding of texts and to grow in the wisdom they teach. Class time is largely devoted to faculty-led discussion of classic Christian texts.
- The MACT includes mentorship. Each student will be assigned a faculty mentor to help guide their studies and to apprentice them in the discipline of Christian theology.
Here’s our fall 2019 schedule and faculty:
- The Trinity (Fred Sanders)
- Martin Luther (Ma Jenson)
- Psalms (Rob Price)
- Catechetical Institution (Kyle Strobel and Ryan Peterson)
Applicants for both full-time and part-time study are welcome. Apply online at biola.edu/classical-theology-ma.
Tue 13 Aug 2019By Marcus Jones
“The School of Divinity at the University of St Andrews has been given a major grant to invest in the research and teaching of science-engaged theology. The John Templeton Foundation has awarded the Scottish university £2.3m.The money will also go into an open online resource and two scholarships for undergraduates to come to St Andrews based on an essay competition.Dr John Perry, Senior Lecturer in Christian Ethics at St Andrews, said: “With this project, the University of St Andrews is pioneering a wave of interdisciplinary research and teaching.”
Read the entire announcement here: https://www.premier.org.uk/News/UK/St-Andrews-University-given-2.3m-grant-for-science-engaged-theology