I have served ministry organizations and churches across the nation, and around the world. Having seen a lot of exciting work and ministry, my new role at the Talbot School of Theology especially excites me. Specifically, four things come to mind that inspire me about Talbot as we work together on God’s mission for God’s glory. I am confident that these things will excite you as much as me. I am also confident that they will encourage students to journey toward their callings in Christ Jesus with us at Talbot.
First, I am excited that Talbot is a global institution with a global reputation. Talbot reaches a global network of God’s people. Students enroll and study at Talbot from around the world. Students learn alongside and learn from a diverse fellowship of fellow students from different countries, cultures and contexts. Talbot’s global reach couples with Talbot’s global reputation. People around the world know about Talbot and respect Talbot. From Nigeria to Nicaragua, people think “Talbot” and a quality, grounded education jumps into their minds.
Second, I am excited that Talbot is a multi-denominational institution. I have spent my life serving and cheering on Pentecostals, Presbyterians, Lutherans, Baptists, and others. For example, I recently spoke to a group called “The Fellowship of Evangelical Churches,” who have an Anabaptist background. Before that I was a part of a meeting of Pentecostals in Amsterdam. And, around the same time, I had a wonderful time with the Lutheran Congregations on Mission for Christ.
Talbot’s multi-denominational character provides unique and important opportunities. Students will be sitting and studying with others who love Jesus and who hold different conclusions about things such as modes of baptism, gifts of the Holy Spirit, or roles of men and women in pastoral ministry. I love that we train both men and women together at Talbot. I love that Talbot provides students with chances to hear from men and women who are journeying toward God’s calling for them. As students get to walk alongside others with different views, they learn humility, honor and unity. They learn to honor one another amidst differences. They learn to learn from each other, and to celebrate this opportunity. They learn to build one another up. At Talbot, students can both sharpen their own convictions, while learning how to prioritize the central essentials of the Christian faith.
Third, I am excited that Talbot is nestled inside of a university. Talbot’s relationship with Biola University provides unique and valuable resources to students, in both content and community. For example, Talbot students can access the wide array of library and research content available in a university context. Likewise, a university campus can help students prevent a separation of theology and ministry into an ivory silo. Connections with students in psychology, intercultural studies, business, humanities, or technology can help foster an interdisciplinary mindset, for both the life of the mind and the life of ministry. And the context of Biola does not appeal to me only theoretically. I am personally invested. I was so excited about Biola that I enrolled my daughter here while I was still a dean at Wheaton College. I think so highly of this university that I sent my daughter across the country for her education. Well before the role of dean opened up at Talbot, I invested something even more precious than my own self into this institution.
Finally, I am excited that Talbot is fully committed to the Word of God and grounded in its truth. Talbot began as many seminaries were compromising the core convictions of the Christian faith. Talbot has avoided theological and missional drift while remaining committed to the truth of the Bible. Such theological conviction has guided and guarded our educational labors for decades, as we trust the Word of God. Talbot also values twenty centuries of Christian witness and theological investigation and robust theological conviction. Talbot has trained pastors and theologians who honor the Word of God for both the academy and the church. Add to this a robust heritage of cultivating the life of the mind with programs in philosophy and investments in defending the Christian faith through apologetics and training new generations of apologists. In all of this, Talbot wants to form and equip students to know and to trust the Word of God. These students leave here — better yet, are sent from here — more equipped to faithfully serve God on his mission in the world.
Talbot is an amazing school. I am excited for students to begin their journey with us. At Talbot they will access the unique opportunities of a globally-rooted institution. They will join a community both united in essentials and diverse in all the best, kingdom ways. They will learn around the wholistic educational offerings of a university context. They will learn and love the Word of God and God himself as they prepare for what he has called each of them to do.
Learn more about Talbot School of Theology’s academic programs.
Learn more about Biola Dean of Talbot Ed Stetzer.