The Board of Trustees announced today that Dr. Timothy Tennent would be the next president of Asbury Theological Seminary. Dr. Tennent has been a professor of world missions at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and is an ordained elder in the United Methodist Church. I found myself quite encouraged and hopeful after the initial announcement. Gordon-Conwell is known for both its evangelical commitments and its academic excellence. The election of Dr. Tennent by the Trustees certainly indicates that they intend to keep Asbury on a theologically conservative evangelical trajectory. I’ve copied the press release from the seminary below.
ASBURY SEMINARY ELECTS NEW PRESIDENT
WILMORE, Ky. (Feb. 17, 2009) – Timothy Craig Tennent, Ph.D., of Ipswich, Mass., has been elected the eighth president of Asbury Theological Seminary by the Board of Trustees. Asbury Theological Seminary, a private graduate school in the Wesleyan tradition with an enrollment of more than 1600 students, offers master’s and doctorate degrees in theology, biblical studies, missions and ministry studies.
Tennent, 49, comes to Asbury Seminary from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Mass., where he has served as professor of world missions and Indian studies since 1998.
Dr. Dan Johnson, chairman of the Board of Trustees stated, “The board is very excited about the unanimous election of Dr. Tennent. Dr. Tennent is a scholar’s scholar, a professor’s professor. He is a world Christian with world vision who will take Asbury Seminary into wonderful new arenas.”
“I am honored to have been selected to be president of Asbury Theological Seminary,” Tennent says. “We are delighted to be moving to the historic and beautiful garden area of central Kentucky. My wife, Julie, and I have always said that wherever God sends us, we will go. God has taken us to China, India, Nigeria and many beautiful churches in the southern United States and in New England. Now we have the great opportunity to help Asbury work with a global constituency and play a stronger role in preparing ministers from around the world for God’s work around the world.”
Tennent received his M.Div. in 1984 from Gordon-Conwell; the Th.M. in ecumenics, with a focus on Islam from Princeton Theological Seminary; and did graduate work in linguistics (TESL) at the University of Georgia. He completed his Ph.D. in non-western Christianity with a focus on Hinduism and Indian Christianity in 1998 at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.
He is also one of the first four graduates from a new leadership development program funded by the Lilly Foundation and developed by the Lexington Seminar.
The leadership training program “covered innovation in everything from theological practice, shared governance, fundraising, negotiating personal dynamics in education to working with boards,” Tennent says. “During the three-year program, I met with dozens of deans and many presidents from schools across the theological spectrum, and learned a great deal about many of the unique challenges that we are facing today.”
Tennent is passionate about classical, orthodox theological education. “I am alarmed by the growing trend away from serious theological reflection and do not believe that the church will be adequately prepared to face the challenges of pluralism and post-modernism without a more robust theological preparation,” he says. “I am also passionate about the emergence of the Majority World Church. I believe that the Western church continues to have an important role in global missions, in partnership with the increasingly vibrant Majority World Church.”
About Asbury Theological Seminary:Asbury Seminary is a Christ-centered graduate school in the Wesleyan holiness tradition. Our faculty, staff, and students come from a variety of denominations and cultures and we offer a number of degree options in three campus locations — Kentucky, Florida and Virtual. We believe each person has a purpose. We are a community called… For more information, please visit asburyseminary.edu.