OUR VISION & OUR COMMITMENTS
Burden: [why we exist]
Erskine Theological Seminary exists because Jesus Christ calls laborers for His harvest who are skilled in the handling of the Word of God.
Values: [non-negotiable essentials that guide us]
Erskine Theological Seminary is grounded in
- the person and work of the only Savior of mankind, our Lord Jesus Christ;
- as He is presented in the inerrant and infallible Holy Scriptures;
- the summary of which is found in the Westminster Standards; and
- taught with academic excellence by qualified pastor-scholars
- in a nurturing and gracious community of learning.
Vision: [how we lift the burden]
Erskine Theological Seminary is a Biblical, Reformed, and Evangelical Seminary community of learning sustained in prayer, supported by a growing constituency, united in faith, and fueled by the power of the Holy Spirit for Gospel transformation in every area of life.
Mission: [how we move towards the vision]
Erskine Theological Seminary prepares men and women to fulfill the Great Commission of Jesus Christ through theological higher education that is ecclesial, missional, and confessional.
Philosophy of Ministry: [how we do our work]
Erskine Theological Seminary promotes the Vision and Mission through Biblical and confessional faithfulness, multiple modalities, and academic excellence, set in a loving, pastoral community of service.
Erskine Theological Seminary Seeks to Glorify God.
We are committed to honoring God in everything we do. We believe that our highest calling is to glorify and enjoy the God who made us. We believe that the only proper response to the grace of Christ is to love, trust, and obey him. And we seek, by the power of his Holy Spirit, to serve him and his Church.
Erskine Theological Seminary Is Biblical.
We are committed to the authority of the Bible, the historic Christian faith, and the gospel of Jesus Christ. As an agency of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church (ARP), the Seminary affirms with the ARP Church that “the Bible alone, being God-breathed, is the Word of God, written, infallible in all that it teaches, and inerrant in the original manuscripts.” The Scriptures are the standard by which we evaluate faith, life, and ministry.
Erskine Theological Seminary Is Evangelical.
We are committed to the essential doctrines taught in the Bible and repeated in the great creeds and confessions of the Church throughout its history. In particular, we are committed to the gospel of salvation by God’s grace alone, based entirely upon the redemptive work of Jesus Christ. We seek to keep this message of God’s grace at the heart of our teaching and to experience its reality in our lives and ministries. (See the ARP Church’s definition of “Evangelical Christian” below.)
Erskine Theological Seminary Is Reformed.
We are committed to the Reformed tradition and especially to the doctrinal standards of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, as set forth in the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. We believe that this tradition best captures the teaching of the Scriptures. Yet we recognize that we did not come to this conviction by our own wisdom or insight, but by God’s grace, and so we deal humbly, graciously, and respectfully with those who understand the Scriptures differently. We also recognize that we must continue to deepen our understanding of the Scriptures and to apply the insights of the Reformed tradition faithfully and thoughtfully to issues of faith, life, and ministry in a changing world.
These first commitments describe who we are (our identity). The remaining commitments describe whom we seek to serve and how (our mission).
Erskine Theological Seminary Serves the Whole Church.
We are committed to serving the whole church of Jesus Christ. Our Reformed tradition teaches that there is only one holy, universal, and apostolic church, to which all who confess Christ belong and whom we are bound to love and serve. It teaches us that the things that unite us with other Christians matter more than the things about which we differ. We therefore view the Reformed faith as a treasure to share with the wider church, not a cause for isolation. We find that diverse perspectives in our community enrich learning and prepare students to work respectfully alongside others in ministry. And so, while our first priority is serving the ARP Church and similar Reformed churches, we open our doors to students from many denominations, and, through academic programs, special events, and the varied ministries of our faculty, staff, and students, Erskine serves the whole church of Jesus Christ.
Erskine Theological Seminary Prepares Students for Ministry.
We are committed to preparing students for ministry. Because we are committed to the Church, our primary focus is on preparing men and women to serve in Christ’s church. We provide rigorous academic instruction in the Bible, theology, church history, and the practice of ministry, always seeking to apply these to the needs of the church and its ministry. We also seek to develop students’ spiritual and personal maturity, clarity about their gifts and calling, and the skills and dispositions required for effective ministry. The measure of our ministry is the faithfulness and fruitfulness of theirs.
Definition of “Evangelical Christian”
In 2008, the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church adopted the following definition of the beliefs that constitute Evangelical Christian faith. All faculty members and director-level staff members (hired since 2008) subscribe to this statement:
The word “evangelical” comes from a Greek root meaning “good news,” and it refers to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In a broad sense, Evangelicals are people who believe that the Bible is God’s inspired Word and that individuals can become Christians only by accepting Jesus Christ as their personal Savior. Evangelicals believe:
- The Bible alone, being God-breathed, is the Word of God Written, infallible in all that it teaches, and inerrant in the original manuscripts.
- That there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
- In the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ, in his virgin birth, in his sinless life, in his miracles, in his vicarious and atoning death through the shed blood, in his bodily resurrection, in his ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in his personal return in power and glory.
- That for the salvation of lost and sinful man, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
- In the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
- In the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
- In the spiritual unity of believers in the Lord Jesus Christ.