Books, Brokenhearted Theology, Fuller, Future, Leadership, Ministry, Ramblings

Some Thoughts on Fuller Seminary

Fuller recently appointed Andy Crouch, a senior editor at Christianity Today International and author of Culture Making, as a member of the board of trustees.  Fuller posted an interview with Crouch on their website (full version here) and I’m going to post a few excerpts here (with my emphasis added in bold), with a couple of comments below:

I was drawn to Fuller first of all by the great number of friends who have been students, faculty, and staff there. Even though I live three time zones away, I’ve been paying visits to friends in many stages of their education and leadership at Fuller for years now. I would be hard pressed to think of an institution that has shaped more of the people I have learned from, prayed with, and served alongside in ministry. So deeper involvement with Fuller made a great deal of sense. I also am energized by Fuller’s global and ethnic diversity, by its remarkable entrepreneurial spirit, and by the sheer breadth of expertise and excellence, from missiology to psychology to biblical studies to musicology, that converge here. Who wouldn’t be drawn to that?

I am also passionate about a deeply biblical Christianity. I attended a much more liberal seminary than Fuller, in the early 1990s, and at that time we were just seeing the emergence of a generation of evangelical scholars who would end up offering a much more persuasive historical and critical reading of the New Testament, in particular, than the self-styled historical critics had offered themselves! Now much of that work has borne fruit and we are able to approach the New Testament texts with a confidence quite unlike either twentieth-century liberalism’s sterile skepticism, or that century’s brittle fundamentalism. Fuller managed to avoid the Scylla and the Charybdis of twentieth-century Protestantism and maintain a deeply evangelical confidence in Scripture that is now simply the most intellectually serious game in town. There is great work ahead in recovering a “proper confidence” (to use Lesslie Newbigin’s phrase) in the gospel, and I see Fuller at the very heart of that project for both the academy and the church.

Most of all I want to see this institution flourish, which really means I want to see people flourish. The test of any institution is whether it creates an environment for human beings to become gloriously alive and more deeply capable of bearing the image of God in all its manifold diversity. So I would want to see scholars become better scholars, preachers become more vivid and truthful preachers, missionaries become more fruitful missionaries, counselors become more effective counselors, worship musicians become more skilled and sensitive leaders, and so on. I’d want to see our various ethnic cultures and our various temperaments and talents be seen more and more as indispensable gifts to the whole Body of Christ.

I loved reading Crouch’s reflections on evangelicalism and the church in a Western context and Fuller’s part in this chapter of the church’s history (Marsden’s Reforming Fundamentalism: Fuller Seminary and the New Evangelicalism is a much recommended resource and overview of the formation of what is now evangelicalism) and, honestly, am continually encouraged about choosing to study (and now work) at Fuller.  All institutions of any size have flaws, large and small, but I find Fuller making a lot of great choices that are benefiting individuals and communities across the world.

So, if you’re trying to choose where to attend seminary, study theology, do graduate work in psychology, etc., consider Fuller.  It is a good place.

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