Doug Strong | Dean of the School of Theology

– I’m Doug Strong. I’m the Dean of the
School of Theology at SPU, and I wanna talk to you about
Seattle Pacific Seminary. Theological education in a formal sense has been around for a long time and there’ve been a lot of folks who have struggled with
what its relevancy is. If it isn’t relevant to the
real needs of the church and what people are really involved in, then it’s really not helpful. Philipp Spener the founder
of Pietism wrote a whole book on how theological education
needs to be reformed for the sake of the real needs of people, and what Spener said is that
a true theological school, to be relevant, needs to
be a nursery of the church and a workshop of the Holy Spirit. First we are a nursery of the church, nursery meaning a place where things grow. We think about how you go to the nursery to buy the plants for your garden, well if you’re a nursery for the church, you’re gonna be seedlings. Seminary in fact, the word means seedbed, so it’s a place of growth. The other term that Spener used was workshop of the Holy Spirit, and I love this. The workshop is a medieval concept of working together for a craft. Well what’s the craft? The craft is the craft of ministry, that we need to learn a set of skills, but we’re going to do that
in a workshop under a master. Well the masters that you’re
going, would apprentice with, of course they’re faculty,
exceptional faculty, but if it’s a workshop of the Holy Spirit, actually the students
and the faculty together under the master of the Holy Spirit. And we do this at SPS, this
workshop of the Holy Spirit, in a model that we call
academy, abbey, and apostolate, three terms that talk about what we hope for in a theological school and what we attempt to do together. An academy is kind of what
you’d expect at a seminary, a graduate program. It’s rigorous, it’s intellectually
going to challenge you. We’re gonna talk about the
important issues of the day from the aspects of Biblical studies, from systematic theology,
ethics, church history, and practical fields under
the tutelage of this faculty where some of the most
published faculty in the US. We also emphasize two other aspects we call abbey and apostolate. They’re relatively unique
among theological schools. The abbey is the idea that we are as a community of believers together going to work in our sense of community for what it is that God wants of us, and we’re going to do that
through some retreats, through small group
accountability, through prayer, time as a community of believers. And then apostolate, and that’s simply a
term that means mission, going out, being led out by
the Lord to do God’s work, and that’s something
that should be happening in our ministry and in works
and acts of reconciliation even while we’re here at seminary. That’s what it means to
be a seminary for today, as I said a nursery, a place of growth, and a workshop of God’s spirit. And we hope you’ll join us. Thanks. (strong high-pitched percussion music)

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