All too often, we hear news of injustice, terrorism, persecution, disease, secularism, and poverty. We see the church building down the block turned into a flea market. We find the reports from our political leaders discouraging. And we are tempted to say with Elijah, “I’ve had enough, Lord.” (1 Kings 19:4 NIV)
But what’s on TV at 6:00 is not the real story. There is GOOD news! God is up to something - all we need are eyes to see! The international board of the Lausanne Movement was on the St. Davids campus recently and it was exciting to hear reports from around the world concerning how the Spirit of God is building His Church. He has not abandoned His great redemptive work. How could He? His Son paid the ultimate price out of His deep reservoir of love for this messed up world. And the One who, with great wisdom and power, created the universe and raised Jesus from the dead, is the One who right now is at work in and through those of us who believe. And to think I get to be part of equipping leaders for this great enterprise through an exciting center for ministerial formation.
I can’t tell you what a privilege it is to be associated with Palmer Theological Seminary. Since it began in 1925, this storied institution has been uniquely used by God. Committed to the historic Christian faith, yet intensely interested in living out the implications of that set of beliefs amidst the messy issues of a fallen social order, it continues to equip women and men to bring “the whole gospel to the whole world through whole persons.”
We are a diverse group and in this we reflect the metropolitan area in which we are based as well as the Kingdom of God. Both by design and preference, our faculty, staff and students come from different nationalities, church traditions, ethnic groups, political persuasions, and theological positions. The robust dialogue that results shapes and sharpens all in the same way the early church leaders were edified by their own diversity.
Perhaps most importantly, our diversity and our commitment to the active integration of faith, reason, and justice result in a passion for contextualized ministry. The great ministry of reconciliation for which we are equipping leaders is one in which the unchanging gospel must be actualized in infinitely unique circumstances and among people with varied backgrounds, perspectives, cultures, and needs. We understand that those who labor in today’s Church must use all their intellectual faculties animated by deep understanding and active love for “the other” in this ministry.
Palmer isn’t the place for those who are just looking for job training. But if you desire to join God in His amazing work through vital service to a messy world, we’d love for you to learn and grow from and with our outstanding faculty.
For the only cause that matters,
R. Keith Iddings, PhD
Provost | Eastern University
Interim Dean | Palmer Theological Seminary