The Francis Asbury Society (FAS) has kindly made available a series of four videos introducing the life and theology of Jacob Arminius. The videos are the product of a partnership between FAS and Asbury University, and they feature Dr. Thomas McCall, of Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, and Dr. Keith Stanglin, of the Austin Graduate School of Theology. The four videos include talks on (1) the Biography of Arminius, (2) God and Creation, (3) Providence and Predestination, and (4) Sin and Salvation. McCall and Stanglin are well-suited for this project, having recently coauthored Jacob Arminius: Theologian of Grace, which looks to be a great new resource on the important Dutch theologian. Here’s a recommendation from Calvin Theological Seminary’s Richard Muller:
“Keith Stanglin and Thomas McCall have provided a much needed introduction to the thought of this major theologian that is both scholarly and accessible. They set aside the prejudices and stereotypes that have often plagued the study of Arminius and provide a significant access to the main themes of his thought–a work to be studied by scholars in the field and valued by all students of the early modern roots of contemporary Protestant thought.”
Session 1: Biography of Arminius (Stanglin)
Session 2: God and Creation (McCall)
Session 3: Providence and Predestination (McCall)
Session 4: Sin and Salvation (Stanglin)
Another way to frame this issue would be to consider whether the money should go directly to the schools or follow the student. It has been pointed out to me that if UMC ministerial candidates got equal funding for the official or approved school of their choice, then that would certainly be more fair and equitable. Also, the schools that are in high demand would thrive while those institutions that are faltering in their task would become irrelevant. You would get to see which schools are really doing a good job and which ones are presently being propped up for other reasons. Shouldn’t there be equal funding opportunities for all UMC ministerial candidates?
So, if the UMC were really interested in rewarding schools that serve the denomination by training more clergy, would we not also reward those approved but not official seminaries that train the most clergy? If the money followed the students, the whole system would seem much more equitable.
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.
I was privileged to attend an academic conference this past Saturday on the future of the holiness tradition. The conference was a project of the Francis Asbury Society and funded by an anonymous donor with the theme of “understanding and communicating Christian holiness in our day.” Attendees were invited from the faculties of Asbury Theological Seminary, Asbury College, and the Francis Asbury Society, and each faculty member was allowed to invite a student who might be interested in the future of the holiness movement. The keynote speaker was Dr. Graham Walker, President of Patrick Henry College, who presented a stimulating paper called “These Perverse Times: A Diagnostic.” Dr. John Oswalt, Professor of Old Testament at Wesley Biblical Seminary, delivered a paper on “Holiness and the Scriptures.” Dr. Paul Vincent gave a paper on “Holiness and the Nineteenth Century: Our Problem or Our Promise.” Each session was followed by discussion and interaction with the speaker. After the last paper, we divided into small groups to discuss some of the issues that had been addressed during the day. The conference concluded with a large group discussion led by Dr. Oswalt and a time of prayer. Overall, I found the conference to be very fruitful, and I learned a lot about the holiness tradition. Having been quite eager to get involved in a group like this, I was very excited to be a part of this meeting. I am encouraged and look forward to seeing how our Lord works through the holiness tradition as it continues to grow and flourish in the coming days.
Photo: Statue of Francis Asbury
It probably won’t take a long perusal of this blog to discover that Anglican Bishop N.T. Wright has had a significant influence on both my theological thinking and the way I read the Bible. So, it will come as no surprise that I was excited about his visit to our Asbury Theological Seminary this week. Wright delivered two lectures entitled “Use of Scripture in Contemporary Political Discourse” and “God in Public: Biblical Faith in Tomorrow’s World.” Both lectures were quite compelling and full of important insights about the way Christians should engage in the realm of politics. However, my favorite event of the week was the New Testament Colloquium where Wright presented a talk entitled, “Acts and the Contemporary Challenge of the Gospel.” The events were rounded off by a small talk back session where I was fortunate enough to sit at a table with the Bishop and discuss a few matters of exegesis in Romans as well as get the above picture. For those who are not familiar with Wright and his work, his website has more than enough material to start with. It is worth the time to listen to at least a little of what he has to say. I particularly appreciate his desire to communicate with people in every level of society. Wright’s is no ivory tower theology. I’m surely not the first to say that he writes with a scholar’s pen but a pastor’s heart.
Grace and peace,