“What theology do you teach?” This is a common question that we receive, and it’s a good one!
We genuinely view the question a little differently than most organizations, so please believe we’re not trying to skirt the issue.
The truth is that we, as an organization, have no specific theology. You can read our Statement of Faith here (and you should!), but beyond these seven simple truths we strive to be theologically inclusive.
Notably, we are not a seminary. We are not teaching a comprehensive theology. It is not our objective to conform every student to a common theological perspective, as it would be at a seminary.
Instead, we view our role as challenging the theology of every student. We believe that every Christian should be looking to Bible, prayer, and application to confirm, change, or refine their beliefs.
- The Bible. The Bible is of highest importance. A student should be able to use the Bible to defend any specific belief.
- We should prayerfully ask the question, “Does this belief confirm the nature of God and the full Biblical narrative that we know to be true?” No answer or leading received in prayer can contradict the Bible (see #1).
- We should seek to see our theology applied. Any idea that we can support in the Bible and understand via prayer, we should see active in our lives. If we’re not seeing it, is the problem us (almost always!) or is it our understanding (proceed back to #1)?
We want to be realistic, because we want our students to feel comfortable in this program. From a practical perspective, there are two kinds of Christians that will NOT be comfortable here:
- Those who refuse to believe the Holy Spirit does miraculous and supernatural stuff today (for example, cessationist) will feel pretty weird. When we pray, we expect things to happen. There’s room for diverse ideas and space to discuss what the gifts of the Spirit are and when they are legitimate. But we’re going to ask God for big things, with the full expectation that He has the power and the will to do them, including healing.
- Those who don’t believe the Bible as it is written will be uncomfortable. There’s plenty of space for diverse ideas about context, translation, and interpretation. Our discussion is open, for instance, to ideas about a literal versus allegorical 7-day creation. But Christians who are prone to invalidate large portions of the Bible, or who want to marginalize the Bible’s witness on the basis of perceived historical injustice will have trouble engaging. We will hold the Bible as a central, infallible anchor point for all discussions.
It’s not necessarily that those who aren’t aligned with these things aren’t welcome, but rather that those who firmly hold these beliefs will struggle to connect meaningfully with our program and student body. However, students who are uncertain or respectfully skeptical are encouraged to apply and engage.
But, for real…?
Practically speaking, Brad Pauquette, our director and lead teacher, grew up in the Vineyard movement. This non-denominational movement strives to hold in tension the full display of the charismatic gifts of the Spirit with a commitment to biblical scholarship. This background informs Brad’s leadership and teaching style.
Practically speaking, we’re going to pray and expect things to happen. We’re going to expect God to show up in profound ways (and He often does!) and we’re going to see miracles happen in front of our eyes. We’re going to assume that God is powerful enough to protect the Bible, and that it’s as true today as the day it was written.
Beyond our statement of faith, we believe that theological diversity can actually be very helpful. We’re truthfully not concerned with transubstantiation or millennialism. These ideas are not going to keep anyone out of heaven. If our brothers and sisters can connect with these ideas or practices and they enrich their faith walk, we’re for it!
Our program is open to professing Christians of all denominations and backgrounds. Our goal is to help each student refine and defend their theology, in preparation for reaching the specific audiences the Lord is calling each one to.
Our spiritual development is chiefly practical. We’re equipping our students with practical tools with which to share the light and love of Jesus, including the full gospel. Learn more about our Spiritual Development curriculum here.
Questions? Let’s talk about it. Click here to contact us.