Here are the Long-Forgotten Lyrics to “So Many Views”

TEDSWARNING:  This post gets deep into the weeds of my evangelical divinity school experience.

Several of you have asked me for the words to “So Many Views,” the parody song I co-wrote about my experience at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where I was a student from 1989-1992.  I am not going to mention my co-author or the members of the band we formed that performed this song and others.  The innocent must be protected!  Tim and Karl, if you want your full names mentioned let me know.  🙂

For the uninitiated,  I referenced this song in my recent post on Southern Baptists.  Here is the relevant part of that post:

At this particular moment in my life (it was the early 1990s), I needed a place like TEDS.  I loved the fact that evangelicals could disagree on some matters of biblical interpretation.  (I even co-wrote a song about it titled “So Many Views,” sung to the tune of the Monkey’s “I’m A Believer”).  I learned how to think critically and theologically.  I knew that there was a larger theological world out there beyond the evangelical boundaries of TEDS and my experience in Deerfield gave me the skills to navigate it.

At TEDS I learned that evangelicals championed orthodox beliefs– the deity of Christ, the redemptive work of Christ on the cross, the resurrection, the inspiration of the Bible, the Holy Spirit’s role in the pursuit of holiness, and the necessity of living-out the Great Commission through evangelism.  But I also learned that evangelicals differed on what my professors called the “secondary” or “minor” doctrines: the ordination of women, the proper form of church government, the proper mode of baptism, capital punishment, the relationship between God’s providence and human free will, the gifts of the Holy Spirit (speaking in tongues, healing, prophecy, etc.), war and peace, and the way one’s faith should manifest itself in the political sphere, to name a few.

I had classmates from every Protestant denomination imaginable–Lutherans, Baptists, Methodists, Mennonites, Anglicans, and Presbyterians.  Students were preparing for ministry in evangelical denominations like the Evangelical Free Church, but they also trained for work in non-denominational megachurches and mainline Protestantism denominations.

At this particular moment in my life (it was the early 1990s), I needed a place like TEDS.  I loved the fact that evangelicals could disagree on some matters of biblical interpretation.  (I even co-wrote a song about it titled “So Many Views,” sung to the tune of the Monkey’s “I’m A Believer”).  I learned how to think critically and theologically.  I knew that there was a larger theological world out there beyond the evangelical boundaries of TEDS and my experience in Deerfield gave me the skills to navigate it.

I understood the culture at TEDS as representative of the spirit of American evangelicalism.

Here are the words to “So Many Views.”  As noted above, we performed it to the music of “I’m a Believer.”

Came to TEDS to learn about theology

Seems the more I learned, the less I got

Oooh, Carson’s out to get me (and so is Doug Moo…)

That’s the way it seems

Parsing and accents in my dreams….

 

CHORUS:

So many views (so many views)

What do I believe now? (what do I believe now?)

Gotta choose (I gotta choose)

Can women preach? (can women preach?)

With all I owe, (oooooh)

Gotta believe now I couldn’t leave now if I tried

 

What is the women’s role in ministry?

Should their heads be covered or should they not?

Oooh, Grudem’s out to get them (and so is Doug Moo…)

Liefield and Tucker too (and so is Doug Moo…)

Will someone please tell me the right view?

 

CHORUS

 

Am I dispensational or covenant?

Should I sprinkle or should I dunk?

Oooh…Kaiser’s out to get them (and so is Doug Moo…)

Who will be next?

Gotta keep my finger on the text….

 

CHORUS

 

Should my sermons be expository or topical?

Should their be 3 mains or only 2?

Oooh…Larson’s out to get them (and so is Doug Moo…)

Critique form and pen

Gotta watch my videotape at ten

 

CHORUS

There you go.  I am sure some of you will have a field day deconstructing the evangelical seminary experience of thirty years ago, but this was my world back then.

Doug Sweeney is the New Dean of Samford University’s Beeson Divinity School

Sweeney

Congratulations to Doug Sweeney!  He moves from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois to Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama. Doug replaces founding dean Timothy George.  Here is the press release:

Douglas A. Sweeney has been named the new dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Birmingham effective July 1. 

Sweeney is only the second dean to serve the interdenominational seminary, which was established in 1988 with Timothy George as the founding dean.

Sweeney’s appointment follows a national search to replace George, who is retiring as dean at the end of the current academic year. 

“I am absolutely delighted at the choice of Dr. Doug Sweeney to be the next dean of Beeson Divinity School. He brings to this role superb scholarly credentials along with a deep love for Jesus Christ, the Holy Scriptures, the Lord’s church and God’s mission in the world,” George said. “The future of Beeson Divinity School is as bright as the promises of God, and I look forward to welcoming Dr. Sweeney as our friend, colleague and leader.” 

A world-renowned scholar of American theologian Jonathan Edwards, Sweeney comes to Beeson from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois, where he is the Distinguished Professor and Chair of Church History and the History of Christian Thought and founding director of the Jonathan Edwards Center. 

Having served on Trinity’s faculty since 1997, Sweeney was the founding director of the Carl F.H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity, 2000–2012. He raised nearly $4 million for the center, supervised staff, collaborated with boards, and hosted conferences and lectures. 

Prior to his tenure at Trinity, Sweeney served at Yale University where he edited The Works of Jonathan Edwards and was a lecturer in church history and historical theology.  

Samford Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs J. Michael Hardin said, “Dr. Sweeney brings together internationally renowned scholarship, academic administrative experience and a deep love and commitment to the Church of Jesus Christ.”

Samford President Andrew Westmoreland said, “Dr. Sweeney is ideally prepared to provide wise, visionary leadership for Beeson. His commitment to the relevance and authority of Scripture, his strong record of scholarship, his devotion to equipping those called to ministry and his engaging, irenic spirit will serve him — and Samford — well.”

Gary Fenton, former longtime pastor of Dawson Memorial Baptist Church, Birmingham, and senior advancement officer at Samford, is delighted by Sweeney’s appointment, having personally benefited from his book, The American Evangelical Story: A History of the Movement.

“Dr. Sweeney is an outstanding evangelical scholar, who is committed to excellence of the mind, spiritual depth and Christ-like passion,” Fenton said. “He is an excellent choice to build on the rich theological foundation that Dean Timothy George has provided for this school. I am so grateful for the school’s past and excited for its future.”

Sweeney is an active member of St. Mark Lutheran Church, an evangelical Lutheran church affiliated with Lutheran Congregations in Mission for Christ, serving as both an elder and vice president. A former Baptist, he is a longtime Sunday School and Bible teacher, whose ministry extends into many other churches.

Sweeney holds degrees from Vanderbilt University (Ph.D., M.A.), Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (M.A.) and Wheaton College (B.A.). He and his wife, Wilma, have one adult son.

“I consider it a great honor and privilege to serve as the next dean of Beeson Divinity School. I have long been an admirer of Dean Timothy George, and think that Beeson is the best-conceived and cultivated divinity school in all of North America,” Sweeney said. “My approach to theological education meshes well with Beeson’s guiding confessional documents, academic culture and personal approach to teaching and mentoring students. In fact, for me, moving to Beeson is like moving to a school that was designed to facilitate the kind of academic work, ecumenism and ministry I have done all my life. These are exciting times in which to serve the Lord together at Samford. Please pray with me that God will guide us firmly into the future.”

What is Going on at Fresno Pacific University?

students_on_green_east_hall

Fresno Pacific University is a Christian school sponsored by the Mennonite Brethren.  It also has a seminary.  As Tim Huber reports at Mennonite World Review, the seminary president and three faculty members have been removed from their positions after the school received pressure from some of its conservative constituents.   Apparently some of the concern centered on Greg Boyd’s view that the United States is not a Christian nation.

Here is a taste:

In response to concerns from Mennonite Brethren constituents, Fresno (Calif.) Pacific University has removed its seminary’s president and severed ties with three high-profile pastors.

FPU announced Aug. 15 that Terry Bren­singer, president of Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary since 2013, will leave his administrative role and become professor of pastoral education in January after a semester-long sabbatical.

The university also announced that Greg Boyd, Bruxy Cavey and Brian Zahnd — Anabaptist-oriented pastors who served as visiting lecturers — are no longer connected with the seminary’s Master of Arts in Ministry, Leadership and Culture program.

Formerly known as Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary, FPBS changed its name when it merged with FPU in 2010.

In an interview, Brensinger said his removal and the release of Boyd, Cavey and Zahnd were changes involving the university president and denominational leaders.

“These weren’t my choices or decisions,” he said. “The seminary president reports to the university president since the merger.”

A university press release attributed the changes to concerns by “a growing number of pastors and congregations” about the direction of the seminary and “some teaching positions of visiting lecturers.”

Read the rest here.

Southern Seminary Adopts the Nashville Statement

southern-baptist-theological-seminary1

If you want to teach at Southern Seminary, you just may have to sign the Nashville Statement.  The Board of Trustees recently voted to make it part of the school’s “confessional documents.”  Here is a taste of Andrew J.W. Smith’s piece at the seminary website:

The Nashville Statement is a document that affirms biblical teaching about gender and sexuality and seeks to clarify Christian beliefs on some of the most pressing cultural issues. It was published earlier this year by the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and signed by evangelical leaders across the United States, including each Southern Baptist seminary president. That Southern Seminary adopted it, according to Mohler, is a matter of responsibility.

“Southern Seminary takes its confessional responsibility with great significance,” Mohler said in an interview immediately following the Board’s public session Monday evening. “Years ago, our Board of Trustees recognized the need of adopting certain statements that clarify and establish the meaning our longstanding confessional documents: the Abstract of Principles, adopted in 1859, and the Baptist Faith and Message, as revised in 2000.”

Like the “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy” and the “Danvers Statement on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood” — both previously adopted by the board — The Nashville Statement is a “timely addition” to that list of official documents, according to Mohler. Faculty members at Southern Seminary and Boyce College agree to sign and teach according to the Abstract of Principles and the revision of the Baptist Faith and Message. The Nashville Statement was adopted to help interpret those two binding statements and specify the seminary’s conviction on matters not directly addressed in the central confessions of the institution, Mohler said.

Mohler emphasized The Nashville Statement does not reflect new thinking. Instead, he said, it affirms historic Christian teaching about human sexuality.

Read the entire piece here.

I am sure that all the Southern Seminary faculty already affirm the beliefs set forth in the Nashville Statement.  But it unclear whether or not faculty will be required to sign it.  See our coverage here.

The Seminary and the “Evangelical Mind”

Divinitychapelduke

Lauren Winner is Associate Professor of Christian Spirituality at Duke Divinity School. Her lecture on Christian thinking in theological seminaries was one of the highlights of “The State of the Evangelical Mind” conference in Indianapolis.

First, Winner observed that evangelical students often arrive at Duke Divinity School (and presumably other seminaries) hostile to the idea that Christians are shaped by “the great tradition” of the church.  She urged seminary professors to show their evangelical students that Christianity is not “extractable” from Christian tradition and history.  Too often evangelicals arrive at seminary ignorant of the fact that the Bible was shaped by, and is the product of, centuries of theological conversation and debate.

Second, Winner argued that evangelical seminaries must combat “instrumentalism,” or the idea that the purpose of reading Biblical passages or practicing spiritual disciplines is to get satisfactory solutions for pressing problems and concerns. For example, the purpose of prayer, Bible reading, and other spiritual disciplines is not always about “getting something.”

Third, Winner called for an attentiveness to reading.  She quoted a passage from Anselm’s Meditation on Human Redemption: ”

Consider again the strength of your salvation and where it is found.  Meditate upon it, delight in the contemplation of it.  Shake off your lethargy and set your mind to thinking over these things.  Taste the goodness of your Redeemer, be on fire with love for your Savior. Chew the honeycomb of his words, suck their flavor which is sweeter than sap, swallow their wholesome sweetness.  Chew by thinking, suck by understanding, swallow by loving and rejoicing. Be glad to chew, be thankful to suck, rejoice to swallow.

On this point Winner appeared to be echoing her former colleague Paul Griffiths on spiritual reading.  When Christian scholars read they tend to “cannibalize”  the text.  Is it possible for scholarship to be read in a “delightful way?”  Winner also encouraged seminaries to assign fiction and poetry because these genres can tell us things about God and the world that traditional theology is incapable of communicating.

Fourth, Winner argued that seminaries should teach students that “thinking is an action.”  Activism is good, but it is shallow unless supported by serious thought.  For example, Winner wondered why every sermon has to end with a charge to “do something.”  Why can’t a sermon, she asked, challenge hearers to “think differently about something.”  In the end, “thinking differently about something” is a form of action.

Fifth, Winner reminded pastors that they have a responsibility to the life of the mind. They are faced with the task of inviting the members of their congregations to see the world Christianly. Winner, who in addition to her work at Duke serves as an Episcopalian priest in a North Carolina congregation, said that she is less concerned that her parishioners understand the different views of the atonement and more concerned that they can think about “naptime” or “grocery shopping” in a Christian ways.  What would it mean, she asked, “to see the world, the whole world, through a Christian eyeball” in such a way that we “see Jesus” in every aspect of daily life?

In the end, Winner’s words for evangelical seminaries and seminarians apply to anyone trying to live out the claims of Christianity.  But I also wonder if we need to do a better job as Christian scholars to engage in scholarly work and practice informed by the kinds of spiritual practices she discussed in her lecture.  I have been thinking about this for some time now.

Rod Dreher Publishes E-Mails from Duke Divinity School Controversy

Duke

You can read them here.

Get up to speed here.

Some quick thoughts on what I have read:

  1. Faculty were invited to attend the Racial Equity Institute training at Duke.  They were not forced to attend.
  2. Regardless of what one thinks about racial equity training, Griffith’s response to Anathea Portier-Young‘s e-mail was unnecessarily rude and provocative.  If Griffiths does have a legitimate critique of this training, he is not going to get very far convincing others with an e-mail like this.  The e-mail was very unprofessional.  Nevertheless, in an environment defined by academic freedom he has the right to express his views this way.
  3. Keep your eyes on the prize.”  Interesting way for Griffiths to end the e-mail.
  4. One of the best things I have read about this kind of racial sensitivity training is Elisabeth Lasch-Quinn’s book Race Experts: How Racial Etiquette, Sensitivity Training, and New Age Therapy Hijacked the Civil Rights Revolution.  I recommend it to all involved.
  5. Elaine Heath‘s original response to Griffiths is fair, but I think Dreher has a point when he says that Heath was assuming a lot when she described Griffiths’s e-mail as a model of “racism, sexism, and other forms of bigotry.”  Thomas Pfau, who holds an endowed chair in the Duke English Department, seems to agree with Dreher here.
  6. Griffiths sounds like he can be a real pain in the neck.
  7. For someone who has never been part of an academic institution–Christian or otherwise–Dreher sure seems to have this case all figured out.
  8. How will the faculty who Griffiths offended respond this week?  How will Griffith’s defenders respond this week?  This will say a lot about the Christian character of the Duke Divinity School community.  One self-proclaimed “conservative” student has already said that “repentance” is needed.  Dreher seems most concerned about how this all relates to the culture wars.
  9. This raises a big question for me:  Where does one draw the line between exercising academic freedom and using such freedom to undermine the community of a Christian institution?  Often-times Christian schools use “community” to stifle academic freedom or marginalize independent voices. Those who approach issues from a Christian perspective or confessional commitment that might be different from the dominant Christian culture of the institution can be easily ostracized.  I have seen this happen.  At other times independent voices spew forth their ideas without any consideration for how they might hurt or damage the community in the process.  I have seen this happen.

In the end, I am sure there is a lot more to this story.  It will be interesting to see how it unfolds.

Fuller Theological Seminary Students, Faculty, and Alumni Urge Administrators to Make It a Sanctuary Campus

fuller

Fuller is an evangelical seminary in Pasadena, California.  (Check out George Marsden’s excellent history of Fuller, Reforming Fundamentalism).  

This letter to the administration was signed by hundreds of students, faculty, and alumni.

Here it is:

21 November 2016
Dr. Mark Labberton, President
Dr. Joel Green, Provost
Dr. Steve Yamaguchi, Dean of Students

Re: Fuller Theological Seminary Sanctuary for Undocumented Immigrants

Dear President Labberton, Provost Green, and Dean Yamaguchi:

We the undersigned students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Fuller Theological Seminary write in response to Donald Trump’s election as President of the United States to express our commitment to the safety and dignity of all students and workers in our seminary community. We request that Fuller begins the necessary process to declare every campus a sanctuary for undocumented students and workers.

We, like Dr. Labberton, are dismayed and disoriented concerning this election. Moreover, we are fearful of the hatred that has spread across the country such as xenophobic chants directed at Latina/o youth, bullying of Muslim and LGBT individuals, incendiary graffiti and vandalism. As you know, our own Pasadena campus and its students of color have not been exempt from the hostility that this election season has provoked.

President Elect Trump proclaimed his intention to deport undocumented immigrants currently living in the United States as well as repeal the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA)—which provides relief from deportation and work benefits to hundreds of thousands of young people in the United States, including Fuller students and staff. If these policies are enacted they will prove devastating, subjecting students and workers who are integral to our community to punitive measures, and in contrast to Fuller’s stated commitment to “work for the good of human society.”

Jesus Christ commanded us to love God and neighbor—thus as Christians we are called to seek the wellbeing of all people, particularly those who are poor, marginalized, discriminated against, and mistreated. Furthermore, Jesus tells us in Matthew 25 that however we treat the least of these among us, we have treated him.

In light of our Christian convictions and the very real and immediate threats faced by members of our community, we ask the seminary take the following steps immediately, if it has not taken them already:

1. We ask for an unequivocal, public declaration of Fuller’s support for and protection of undocumented students, staff, and their families on our campus.
2. We ask that Fuller guarantee privacy by refusing to release information regarding the immigration status of students and staff.
3. We ask that Fuller refuse to comply with immigration authorities regarding deportations or raids.
4. We ask that Fuller publicly reaffirm the admission and financial aid policies toward undocumented students.
5. We ask Fuller to educate members of the Fuller community, including faculty, staff, and students, on the potential implications of immigration policies on our community.

This past week Dr. Labberton and Dr. Mouw wrote of Fuller Seminary’s non-negotiable commitment to the evangel, the gospel, which calls us to faithfully enact God’s good news of love, justice, and mercy. This is not a time to wait and see how federal policies develop. To the contrary, it is a time to courageously affirm our Christian convictions and proactively work to safeguard the wellbeing of our community. We ask that Fuller act now to fulfill its mission “to put our biblical convictions into practice, even when the price is high.”

Awaiting Your Action,
In Christ The Undersigned:

Martin Marty on Seminary and Public Life

As some of my readers know, I have a Masters of Divinity (MDiv) degree from a well-known evangelical seminary.  I also received an M.A. in Church History from the same seminary, which served as a springboard to my future graduate work in American history and an eventual job as a history professor. 

When I arrived at seminary I figured out pretty quickly that I did not want become a minister. But I still decided to finish the MDiv degree.  Though I knew I would not enter the ministry or even pursue ordination, I thought that broad training in theology, Biblical studies, moral philosophy and practical theology would help me to be a more thoughtful Christian in the church, the academy, and public life.

I thought about my decision to finish the MDiv degree after reading Martin Marty’s response to Libby Nelson’s recent Inside Higher Ed piece on the decline of seminary education in America.  Marty believes that the way to revitalize theological seminaries and divinity schools is to “locate” them “in the public economy.”  Here is a taste of his piece at Sightings:

Now to the attached source.  If its author, Libby Nelson, writes about a “crisis in theological education,” even if it takes off from the story of one seminary, she wisely confers with and cites leaders, such as Stephen Graham, of the Association of Theological Schools. Together, they chronicle chiefly the fiscal dimensions of downturns and changes in the public ethos out of which the cohorts of seminarians traditionally have come. Name anything that hits higher and especially graduation or professional education in most fields, and you will find that it hits all this harder in theological and ministerial education.
      
We won’t repeat what is in the source. The single purpose here is to try to locate seminaries and graduate divinity schools in the public economy, whether this refers to notice, status, spirituality, politics, or more. Leaders, of course, are asking how to adapt and innovate. As online education increases at the expense of group-“formation” of leaders, as more and more second-career candidates turn to theological education even as the total number of aspirants to ministries decline, they are brain-storming, think-tanking, praying, planning, and hoping. They can point to many positive signs and to the need for ever-better educated and trained religious leaders, even as they have to ask whether the old model (often of denominationally-based) seminaries based on liberal-arts undergraduate training will meet the needs of ministries when science-and-religion, belief-and-unbelief, indifference and “difference,” spirituality and alternatives, are warring for allegiance and commitment among among citizens.

Fuller Theological Seminary Picks Mark Labberton as New President

…to replace the retiring Richard Mouw.

Here is the press release:

The Fuller Theological Seminary Board of Trustees has announced that Dr. Mark Labberton has accepted the call to serve as the seminary’s fifth president, beginning July 1, 2013. Labberton has served at Fuller Seminary since 2009 as the Lloyd John Ogilvie Associate Professor of Preaching, and director of the Lloyd John Ogilvie Institute of Preaching.

Labberton’s unanimous election by the trustees followed a 10-month search and review of 250 nominations. Board Chair, Dr. Clifford L. Penner announced, “Along with my fellow trustees, I am delighted to welcome Mark Labberton to the presidency of Fuller Seminary. We are excited and inspired by the outstanding qualities and accomplishments he brings to this position. He is a scholar and academic leader, pastor for more than 25 years, accomplished author, and leading voice in many international ministries. Mark brings strong spiritual leadership, a wide range of experiences and the vision to guide Fuller into a new era of global leadership in seminary education. As a Fuller alumnus (M.Div.) and professor, he fully comprehends Fuller’s rich and diverse legacy.”

“Fuller has influenced my life and ministry in so many ways,” said Labberton. “I am honored to have this opportunity to work with faculty, students, staff, alumni, and our Board to further Fuller’s leadership in seminary education and its global outreach.” Labberton also expressed admiration for the leadership of Dr. Richard J. Mouw, who has served as Fuller President since 1993 and is retiring in June 2013. Commenting on the way Mouw has helped Fuller‘s public voice and life become widely known and understood, Labberton said, “I hope to continue the kind of generous, gracious, and irenic leadership that he established at Fuller and the world beyond.”

“Mark Labberton is an excellent choice to be the next President of Fuller,” said Dr. Mouw, “I know him to be a very gifted Christian leader who will be able to take Fuller into an exciting new future.”

Included among the priorities Labberton has already identified for his presidency are to strengthen Fuller’s commitments to the church, to deepen the ways Fuller addresses some of the key concerns and needs of the world, and to nurture a spiritually supportive community that includes all of Fuller’s regional campuses and the rich ethnic, language, and denominational diversity of the seminary.

Labberton encourages prayers for Fuller “at such a turbulent time in the church and in the world, when tangible demonstrations of God’s love are needed.” He also welcomes prayers for his new role as president, as he seeks to foster “careful understanding, deep and diverse community, courageous and wise decision-making, and effective creativity to address the challenges facing seminary education.”

With a Bachelor of Arts degree from Whitman College, Labberton earned a Master of Divinity degree from Fuller and a Ph.D. in theology from the University of Cambridge, England. In 2009, Labberton joined Fuller’s faculty with a key goal of empowering preachers through the development of small and highly diverse pastor-formation Micah Groups, which have now expanded into 25 U.S. states as well as several international cities.

Prior to coming to Fuller, Labberton served for 16 years as senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Berkeley, CA. “In the national and international setting of this university church community, the canvas for life and for the Gospel was big and wide,” Labberton shared. “I had the daunting joy of leading a team of staff and laity toward seeing and engaging the Gospel, each other, the campus, the city, and the world more fully.”
Labberton also served in the early 1990s as senior pastor of Wayne Presbyterian Church in Wayne, PA.

Long committed to international ministry and development, Labberton co-founded the Christian International Scholarship Foundation (now ScholarLeaders, Int’l), which funds advanced theological education of Christian leaders from the Majority World. He has also worked closely with John Stott Ministries (now called Langham Partnership), which provides books, scholarships, and seminars for Majority World pastors. Today, he continues to contribute to the mission of the global church as a senior fellow of the International Justice Mission.

A frequent lecturer and preacher at conferences, in congregations and at academic gatherings throughout the world, Labberton has authored: First Things: A Theology of the World, the Church, the Pastor, and the Sermon (2013); The Dangerous Act of Loving Your Neighbor: Seeing Others Through the Eyes of Jesus (2010) and The Dangerous Act of Worship: Living God’s Call to Justice (2007). He has also published articles in periodicals such as Christianity Today, Christian Century, Radix, and Leadership Journal, for which he also serves as contributing editor.

Labberton succeeds Dr. Mouw who announced last May his retirement from the Fuller presidency. Following a study leave during the 2013-14 academic year, Dr. Mouw will return to Fuller in a faculty role. Under his leadership Fuller has become the largest multidenominational seminary in the world with seven regional campuses, rapidly expanding online programs, and a new Korean-language Doctor of Ministry program. In addition, new centers of study, research and innovation have been established, including the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts. Known and highly respected as a key proponent of communicating with “convicted civility” in the public square, Mouw has participated widely in interfaith dialogues with Catholics, Mormons, Jews, Muslims, and others.

“With almost every nation and institution undergoing profound change, this is the time when the light and salt of the Gospel is meant to show up and make a real difference,” Labberton said. “Fuller is well-positioned to influence how the Gospel is communicated, understood, and embodied in the world.” 

From the East Bay of Northern California, Mark Labberton and his wife, Janet Morrison Labberton, have two sons, Peter (24) and Sam (18).

Biblical Seminary Names 4th President

Some of my regular readers might be familiar with Biblical Seminary, a small but thriving evangelical seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania.  I just learned today that Biblical has named Frank James III as its fourth president.  Here is the announcement:

The Board of Trustees of Biblical Seminary is pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Frank A. James, III as Biblical’s next president. “As chairman of the board I stand amazed at the providence of God to bring us someone so well prepared academically, experientially, and most of all, spiritually, to advance Biblical’s vision and the missional call into the next generation,” said Joe Longo. President-elect James will assume full responsibilities of the position on July 1, 2013, as President David G. Dunbar retires after 27 years of dedicated service.

Dr. Dunbar stated, “I was delighted to learn that Dr. Frank James has accepted the invitation to become the next president of Biblical Seminary. Dr. James is eminently qualified in terms of ability, education, and experience, to guide our school into the future. Under his leadership I believe the best days of the seminary are still ahead.”

Dr. James comes to Biblical after serving as provost and professor of Historical Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in Massachusetts. He also served as the third President of Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando (2004-2009). Dr. James has a DPhil in History from Oxford University and a PhD in Theology from Westminster Theological Seminary, Pennsylvania.

Dr. James is married to Carolyn Custis James, author and founder of Whitby Forum and Synergy Network for Women. They have an adult daughter, Allison, who lives in Orlando, FL. 

Congratulations.

Richard Mouw to Retire as President of Fuller Seminary

From the Fuller Theological Seminary website:

Richard J. Mouw, Fuller Theological Seminary president and professor of Christian philosophy, has announced that he will retire from the presidency in June 2013. The 2012-2013 academic year will be his last as president, a key leadership role he has held since 1993.  A widely respected scholar,  philosopher, communicator, and leader in the Evangelical world, Mouw has brought significant, positive change to both the seminary and the broader Church over the two decades of his presidency.

“Rich Mouw was destined to be president of Fuller,” says Fuller School of Theology Dean Howard Loewen. “He is fundamentally a conceptual leader with a big vision, and he has consistently demonstrated his deep passion for the transforming truth of the gospel, his ability to relate to his colleagues as a friend, and his heart as a consummate preacher and storyteller.”

Dr. Mouw first joined the Fuller faculty in 1985 as professor of Christian philosophy and ethics, coming with 17 years of experience as a professor of philosophy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He then served for four years as provost and senior vice president before being appointed to the presidency in 1993.

Under his leadership, the seminary has seen many beneficial changes that have helped to fulfill Mouw’s vision of Fuller as a premier seminary that is reaching a world in need. Fuller extended its reach during Mouw’s tenure as the seminary’s network of regional campuses across seven states grew and developed, with a new campus recently established in Houston, Texas. The Master of Arts in Global Leadership became Fuller’s first online degree, and a Korean-language Doctor of Ministry program was established.

Creative courses of instruction, research centers, and innovative programs have been developed during Mouw’s presidency, from the Lee Edward Travis Research Institute in 1998 to the Brehm Center for Worship, Theology, and the Arts in 2001 to the Center for Missiological Research in 2009. New academic chairs have been established and filled by world-class scholars, and Mouw has continued in former president David Allan Hubbard’s tradition of attracting the finest board members so that Fuller’s has become one of the most highly recognized boards in Christian education.

Highly respected for his commitment to interfaith and ecumenical dialogue, Mouw has represented the Presbyterian Church (USA) as co-chair of the Reformed-Catholic Dialogue, helped establish an annual series of discussions with Los Angeles area pastors and rabbis, built relationships with the Mormon community, participated in extensive exchanges with Muslim scholars—and devoted himself in numerous other ways to communicating with others in the public square with “convicted civility.”

Called “the most influential Evangelical voice in America–a true Evangelical public intellectual” by Duke Divinity School’s Grant Wacker, Mouw is also a prolific author. His 19 books include, among others, Uncommon Decency: Christian Civility in an Uncivil World; He Shines in All That’s Fair, Calvinism in the Las Vegas Airport, Praying at Burger King, two books on his theological hero—Abraham Kuyper: A Short and Personal Introduction and The Challenges of Cultural Discipleship—and, most recently, Talking with Mormons: An Invitation to Evangelicals. Mouw has also served on several editorial boards, including Books and Culture, and has been the editor of the Reformed Journal.

Following a study leave during the 2013-2014 academic year, Mouw will continue his involvement with the Fuller community in a faculty role.