A Biblical Philosophy of Theological Education (7 of 7)

by | Aug 1, 2018 | Theology Matters

In this my last post on this subject I want to explain a second and third practical application of the biblical philosophy of education which guides CBTS.

B. Recognition of the Specific Responsibility of the Christian Ministry for Theological Education

As explained above the specific responsibility for theological education belongs scripturally to the Christian ministry and especially those members of the Christian ministry particularly gifted for this work.  This is of great practical importance.  Since the work of the Seminary could easily become a distraction to the elders of the local church which hosts it, the regular operation of the Seminary will be placed under the Seminary Board and a Chief Executive Officer (President or Dean).  As noted already, since the work of theological education is the responsibility of the Christian ministry (the pastor-teachers of local churches), the Board of Directors will consist mainly of such pastors.  Deacons and members of such churches, since they are charged to support the work of their pastors, may also be appointed to this Board.

This Board of Directors has authority over all the operations of the Seminary.  This includes overseeing the Seminary in the furtherance of its stated mission; assuring that the mission is being fulfilled; providing for the election and dismissal of Board members; supervising its financial operations including the approval of the annual budget and the compensation of its paid employees.  It will, therefore, meet regularly to give leadership to the Seminary.  This authority will be exercised through the Chief Executive Officer (also called the Dean or President) of the Seminary who is appointed by the Board and is responsible to it.

Experience has shown that individual, local churches who have endeavored to provide theological education may experience internal issues or problems which may destabilize the work of the Seminary or bring its work completely to a halt.  This is especially true if a Seminary is considered as solely a ministry of one local church. The Board of Directors of CBTS provides a broader and more stable basis for the Seminary.  The Board may, therefore, authorize the Seminary in the event of such instability in the Host-Church or for other good reasons to seek the oversight of another Host-Church and transfer the work of the Seminary to such a church.

Therefore, while the Seminary and its CEO are under the general oversight of the Host-Church in terms of the facilities provided to the Seminary and the spiritual oversight of the CEO, the specific operations of the Seminary and the CEO are under the authority of the Board.  Christian cooperation and good communication between the Board of the Seminary and the Host-Church and its elders are, thus, essential.  Since the Seminary is overseen by these interlocking authorities, questions may sometimes arise over whether an issue comes under the elders of the Host-Church’s authority or that of the Seminary Board.  Such issues will need to be negotiated by the Board of the Seminary and the elders of the Host-Church and a solution satisfactory to both entities reached.

C. Subscription to the Creedal Basis for Theological Education

Since the purpose of the Seminary is to communicate the things which Paul taught Timothy, this assumes and requires agreement with regard to the identity of those things on the part of the church hosting the Seminary, the Board of the Seminary, and the teachers teaching in the Seminary.  This necessary, doctrinal agreement is provided for Covenant Baptist Theological Seminary by means of the most historic and influential of Reformed and Baptist Confessions of Faith, the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith.  The Host-Church must subscribe to this confession; each member of the Board must be a member of a church which subscribes to this Confession and himself hold this Confession; and the President (Dean or CEO) must subscribe to this confession.  The instruction in the classes provided by the Seminary must also be doctrinally consistent with this Confession.  Though the Seminary may occasionally employ instructors who do not fully subscribe to it, the content of their class instruction must conform to the doctrinal teaching of the Confession.

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