faithpulpit

Sat, Sep 01, 2007

Definition and Direction Statement, Part 2

Faith Pulpit
Faith Baptist Theological Seminary
Ankeny, Iowa
September 2007

 

Definition and Direction Statement, Part 2

 


 

 

 

FBBC&TS Exists as a Baptist institution of Christian Higher Education.
As a Baptist institution, we believe in the primacy of Scripture over creeds and the formulations of councils. We consider the New Testament, especially the Epistles, to be foundational for faith and practice. We hold to the two ordinances: communion as a memorial of Christ's death and believer's baptism by single immersion as a public testimony to the truth of the gospel. We believe in the New Testament origin of the Church and so we distinguish between the Church and the nation of Israel. In our dealings with our constituencies, we stress the centrality of local churches in God's plan for this Age in contrast with His work through para-church institutions and agencies such as our own. We do believe, however, in the independence of our institution from external control. We champion the separation of church and state, the priesthood of the believer, saved church membership, individual soul liberty, local church autonomy, congregational government, and the two church offices of pastor and deacons. As a historic regular Baptist institution, we seek to indoctrinate our students so that they will live and teach these Baptist distinctives.

FBBC&TS Exists as a Fundamentalist Baptist Institution of Christian Higher Education.
As an institution, we expect nothing less than complete allegiance to our doctrinal statement, historic position statement, music philosophy statement and other position papers. This expectation extends to the Board of Directors, to the administrators, to the members of the faculty, and to the staff personnel. We are not a fundamental institution that merely believes in the fundamentals of the faith; we are a fundamentalist institution that earnestly contends for the fundamentals of the faith as they were articulated by the apostles: the inspiration of Scripture and its inerrancy, the virgin birth and deity of Christ, His substitutionary death and physical resurrection, and His literal return to the earth.

We value traditional expressions of worship and music in our chapel services, and we try to inculcate this value in our students as they develop biblical convictions concerning worship and ministry. We reject pragmatism as a philosophical basis for ministry. We refuse to cooperate in ecumenical endeavors with apostates and with believers who work with apostates.

We want to avoid activities that appeal to the old sin nature, that conceal the presence of Christ in the life of the believer, and that compromise the Christian testimony of the individual and of the institution. So, we yearn for the abundant life in Christ, for a life of submission to the will of God, for a life that is awakened to righteousness, for a life of holiness and reverence. Therefore, we are careful about what we wear (clothing being modest and appropriate), what we see and hear, what we do with our bodies and our minds, and how we spend our time. We do not want to be conformed to this world, but we want to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We do not seek to produce our own self-righteousness, but we desire that Christ may be at home in our hearts.

Our fundamentalist position should not give rise to an attitude of belligerence or pride. Instead, we seek to glorify God for He alone is worthy of praise. Our fundamentalism stems from our fear of God, our submission to Christ, our commitment to the truth, and our love for people. FBBC&TS exists as a Fundamentalist Baptist institution of Christian higher education to disciple.

FBBC&TS Exists as a Fundamentalist Baptist Institution of Christian Higher Education to Disciple.
Jesus Christ commanded His followers to make disciples of all the nations (Matthew 28:19), and we take His great commission seriously. Faith exists, therefore, as an institution for advanced discipleship. For this reason, we are convinced that Board members, administrators, faculty members, and staff personnel should all model authentic Christian lives before our students. We must all lead as servants, and we must all show what it means to take up our crosses and make sacrifices daily. Students should see Christ in us as they see His transformational power and His virtues. They should desire to know Christ as we know Him. They should follow us even as we follow Christ.

Every building on campus should be a place for discipleship, and every event on the calendar should be an occasion for discipleship. Discipleship should take place in the classroom, in the cafeteria, in the gym, on the athletic field, in the residence halls, in ministry team vans, and during music lessons. Discipleship should take place before, during, and after chapel. As administrators, faculty members, and staff personnel serve in the local churches in the area, they should see how they might seize those opportunities to enhance the Christian service experiences of the students who are working with them.

When we select faculty members, we do not only look at their academic credentials and professional standing, we also look for their passion to train disciples. We expect faculty members to spend time with students outside the classroom so that the educational experiences of our students are not merely cognitive but profoundly affective. We not only want to fill the minds of our students with knowledge, we want them to follow Christ.

At Faith we purpose to provide a campus environment that, like a greenhouse, is conducive for Christian growth. We want to nurture maturity, biblical discernment, personal responsibility, self-discipline, social graces, and good decision-making skills. We have developed a student handbook that governs much of student life, but we do not want to trust in the handbook to produce disciples of Jesus. Instead, as students faithfully follow the handbook, this results in an institutional culture that should encourage Christian growth. For this reason, our philosophy of student discipline is mainly corrective and formative and restorative (i.e., utilitarian and restitutive) rather than punitive (i.e., retributive). Without a handbook, we might encourage our students to adopt a relativist world-view and to live according to the will of unregenerate humanity (1 Peter 4:3); but, on the other hand, with a heavy-handed approach to student discipline, we might encourage our students toward a legalistic view of sanctification. We know that many of our students are young and impressionable, and so we want to disciple them by providing them with discipline, direction, and opportunities for decision-making within the boundaries of the institutional standards. It is our desire that our graduates would apply the unchanging truth of the Bible to the specific situations that they will face during the rest of their lives, with the intended purpose that the prudent principles of Faith's standards of conduct will provide them with good examples of how this is done.

We firmly believe that discipleship takes place as the mentor models the life of Christ before the disciple. For this reason, although we are open to the possibility that a limited number of courses and certificates might one day be offered through online instruction, we resist the possibility that we should offer entire degrees exclusively through online instruction. Disciples must spend some face-to-face time with their mentors, and this is the pedagogical opinion of the faculty and Board of Directors.