Toward A Theology Of Higher Education -- By: David S. Dockery

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 62:1 (Mar 2019)
Article: Toward A Theology Of Higher Education
Author: David S. Dockery


Toward A Theology Of Higher Education

David S. Dockery*

* David Dockery is president of Trinity International University/Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2065 Half Day Road, Deerfield, IL 60015. He delivered this presidential address at the 70th annual meeting of the ETS in Denver, CO on November 14, 2018.

Abstract: This article provides a call for a full-orbed and theologically-shaped vision for the work of evangelical higher education. Recognizing the abundance of challenges to such a vision, the author appeals to the best of the evangelical heritage and the larger Christian tradition to encourage faculty and staff to think deeply about the distinctive work of Christian higher education. Believing that a theology of evangelical higher education will help develop connecting and unifying principles for Christian thinking, living, and learning, grounded in the truth that God is Creator and Redeemer, the article appeals for thoughtful and exploration and wrestling with the foundational questions of human existence as understood from the vantage point of the Christian gospel. The author suggests that these commitments will help develop a comprehensive and historically informed view of what it means to be a part of the Christian intellectual tradition as we seek to shape the Christian educational enterprise for the years ahead.

Key words: theology, evangelical, Christian intellectual tradition, faith, learning, academic freedom, higher education

Challenges abound in the world of evangelical higher education in 2018.1 Today there are more challenges from more different directions than I have ever seen. Anyone interested in the present state and future challenges of evangelical higher education will want to keep an eye on cultural and global trends, for our work never takes place in a vacuum.2 These introductory observations do not begin to address changes in higher education such as focus, funding, philosophy, methodology, and delivery systems. The list of challenges facing evangelical higher education is lengthy, including legal, cultural, governmental, denominational, financial, and

more.3 Tonight, however, I want to address a big-picture issue that moves to the very heart of the mission of evangelical higher education.4

I. Evangelical Higher Education: An Introduction

Evangelical higher education involves a distinctive way of thinking about teaching, learning, scholarsh...

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