|Why Heritage Seminary? Some thoughts from Stan Fowler…|
I have been a part of Heritage Seminary since the beginning. I thought it was important when we launched the school in 1993, and I believe it is just as important now. I want to be a theologian in service of the church, especially my own denomination (Fellowship Baptist), and Heritage is the seminary that is committed to the values of my kind of church. But it isn’t about being narrowly denominational, because there are various kinds of evangelical churches that are virtually indistinguishable. That is why we named the school Heritage Theological Seminary rather than Heritage Baptist Seminary back in 1993—we are serious about serving like-minded churches that exist under various labels.
The churches that I’m talking about need a theological school that is committed to the inerrancy of the Bible in all that it teaches; to the imperative of world evangelism beginning at home; to the church as a community of disciples;to the equipping of those who will teach, lead, and plant mission-driven churches; and to the challenging task of communicating the unchanging gospel of Christ to a rapidly changing world. My colleagues and I are deeply involved in the life of our churches and committed to scholarship and teaching that serve the church.
The form of seminary education has changed dramatically during the decades of my ministry. The typical seminary student now is someone who is 40 years old with a family, someone who is studying part-time and commuting from some distance while juggling other responsibilities. Others would like to study at seminary, but they live too far from campus to commute at all. We exist to serve these people, and we have been making changes for several years to do it. We have used creative scheduling for at least 15 years to accommodate commuting students, and we now have two years of experience with what we call multi-modal courses that include minimum time on campus enhanced by online experiences. We are constantly looking for the most effective ways to make seminary education accessible.
Theological education today is an incredibly challenging task, but it is also a rewarding task. Churches like mine need a seminary like Heritage as an educational partner of the church, and we are determined to be an effective partner. The exact shape of that education is in transition, but join with us in making it what it needs to be.