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Education for Ministry: Our Perspective
Education at New York Theological Seminary is a process of dialogue. Moving back and forth between action and reflection, we seek to bring questions and concerns that arise out of real life experience (both individual and collective) into dialogue with the disciplines of theological study. The result is
- a dialogue that centers on the Bible. We begin with the assumption that Scripture is authoritative for engaging, criticizing, and reformulating the issues of ministry in contemporary society. Keeping to the tradition of the Biblical Seminary in New York, we do not argue for any particular method of biblical interpretation but believe that the Bible is best read best from a variety of perspectives and methods.
- a dialogue that is multidisciplinary. We believe that the issues and problems of ministry require the best insights of history, theology, ethics, and the social sciences.
- a dialogue that is evangelical, ecumenical, and increasingly multifaith. The authenticity and integrity of one’s own faith tradition is best treated and developed in dialogue with other faith traditions. We believe that diversity intensifies learning in a manner that encourages creativity and presses students toward greater clarity in their own confessions and commitments.
- a dialogue with brokenness and bondage. Education must take sin seriously. Understanding the brokenness of individuals and the demonic forces that are loose in society is essential to understanding and experiencing change, forgiveness, and healing. For this reason education requires dialogue with the reality of sin at both the personal and systemic levels.
- a dialogue with the reality of God’s presence and reign in the world. We believe that education is to be in service to the living Christ who sought to serve others, guided and empowered by the Holy Spirit, and committed to the values by which the reign of God is governed. We learn from and teach one another to gain a liberating perspective on ourselves, our life, our task, and our calling in this world. Above all, education is experienced in an environment of prayerful openness that reflects the openness of God.
The Seminary is committed to theological education that engages the congregation as the basis for ministry as it seeks to transform the city and the world. Among our student body one will find individuals seeking ordination; working clergy who are currently serving as pastors of churches; religious professionals who serve in a variety of faith based settings; and lay persons looking to utilize their gifts for ministry more effectively. Our purpose is to help men and women find answers to personal, theological, and vocational questions, to enable them to achieve the highest level of excellence and faithfulness.
Programs of study at NYTS are designed for mature, working men and women who are either already in ministry or who are contemplating a shift from a secular to a religious vocation. Classes are offered in the evening or at other times that are accessible to those who work in secular employment. Students will find the emphasis upon learning in community a recurring theme in the curriculum. The rich diversity of cultural, racial, and denominational identities found within the classrooms of NYTS is seen as an important resource in this regard. Student will also find that a strong emphasis is placed upon the churches and congregations of the city that are the Seminary’s partners in the educational venture. These churches and congregations are regarded as being primary locations for developing pastoral identity, as well as being active or potential agents for transformation.