Academic Freedom Statement
The Bible Seminary (TBS) provides academic instruction and vocational training for Christian ministers to perform as pastors, counselors, missionaries, church planters, and leaders. Supporting this mission are the seven adopted Core Values of TBS and basic Christian convictions stated in the TBS Covenantal Documents and the Faculty Handbook.
Diversity of education and religious viewpoint is available to society through the plurality of global academic institutions. At TBS, we invite the richness of interpretation and study of the Bible as we seek its deepest meaning and truth. TBS is to be distinguished as an academic institution that shares a basic set of Core Values among its students, faculty, administrators, and Board of Trustees. Instruction, research, and academic investigation are to uphold and respect the positions provided in the Core Values, the Ethos and Doctrinal Statements, and the Faculty Handbook. For example, the following statement from the TBS Faculty Handbook summarizes one of our institutional doctrinal positions that we expect all TBS faculty to uphold:
Creationism versus Evolution
God created the heavens and the earth (Genesis 1:1); God set the land to produce seed-bearing plants and trees (Genesis 1:11-12); God created all living things in the sea and on land, and the birds of the sky (Genesis 1:20-25); and God created man, male and female (Genesis 1:26-27). Scientific observations make obvious that God’s creation is uniquely enabled by God to adapt to its environment, making subtle changes over time to survive and thrive in the world – a process often described as “micro-evolution.” Humans have also adapted and diversified, as indicated by the many races, peoples, and societies that have developed through the ages. However, this ability to adapt is not a substitution for the absolute truth that God created humans in His image (Genesis 1:27), breathed life into man (Genesis 2:7), and, after the discovery of sin by the first humans, Adam and Eve, God dispatched mankind to the less-than-perfect circumstances in which we live life today (Genesis 3:14-24). Therefore, while we acknowledge the phenomena of micro-evolution, we reject the macro-evolutionary theory of how plants, animals, and humans came to exist. Rather, we embrace the biblical view of creation that God created the heavens and the earth and all that is within it, including humans. We are open to either a young earth view of creation (where “yowm” = 24-hour period) or an old earth view of creation (where “yowm” = an age).
In general, Academic freedom means individuals have rights to engage in intellectual debate, research, and speech, through written or electronic correspondence, on and off campus, without fear of censorship, retaliation, or sanction. This freedom encompasses rights to maintain academic standards and gives faculty members reasonable latitude in deciding how to teach assigned courses; encourages intellectual integrity; sustains pedagogical approaches consistent with disciplines taught; and informs evaluations of student work, all exercised within the shared boundaries defined by the TBS Covenantal Documents.
Academic freedom does not involve expressions that substantially impair the rights of others or the imposition of political, religious, or philosophical beliefs on individuals of the TBS community. Academic Freedom does not provide protection of faculty who demonstrate professional ignorance, incompetence, or dishonesty with regard to their assigned discipline or fields of expertise, or who engage in arbitrary or capricious evaluation of students.
All members of the TBS community have a right to due process. Anyone alleging or responding to a potential breach of academic freedom should follow the TBS Grievance Policy.
Lordship – Because He is Lord (Philippians 2:11), we will continually ask Jesus Christ to sit on the throne of the seminary and on the throne of the lives of its faculty, administrators, and students for the glory of God (1 Corinthians 10:31).
Bible – Because the Bible is the fully true Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16), we will offer and require the study of all 66 books of the Bible before graduation with a degree. We will seek to creatively integrate classical theological disciplines and ministry training by studying books of the Bible (i.e. Church History will begin with the Book of Acts and keep going; Pastoral Leadership will come through the study of the Pastoral Epistles; Systematic Theology will flow out of the study of the Pauline Epistles)
Prayer – Because apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5), we will continually seek to plug into the Vine Jesus Christ through yielding to Him in prayer. We will offer a unique emphasis on prayer, integrated with the curriculum, in classroom settings, meetings, and continual prayer opportunities in the life of the seminary.
Unreached Peoples – Because the return of Christ awaits the evangelization of all people groups (Matthew 24:14), we will keep our eyes on the unreached peoples of the world and train our students to have a heart for the fulfillment of the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20) by seeking to reach millions of souls for Jesus Christ.
Local Church – Because the church universal (the body of Christ) is God’s plan (Matthew 16:18), comprised of local churches (Acts 20:28; Romans 16:3-5; Acts 5:42), we will have a symbiotic relationship of service, training and education with local churches and parachurch ministries.
Community – Because we were created for community (Genesis 1:26; Hebrews 10:24-25), we will seek to build a unique fellowship where we continually grow together in relationship and as followers of Christ, seeking to live as examples of biblical community, where authenticity and accountability are practiced, and where integrity is modeled and taught (Romans 12:4-5; Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-35).
Compassion – Because God has a huge heart for the poor and overlooked (Matthew 25:31-46), we will strive to motivate, equip, and train students to minister to “the least of these” as a lifestyle.
We believe in the inspiration and authority of Scripture – The Bible is the only inspired Word of God, fully true, and our sole authority for all that we believe and do (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20- 21; Matthew 5:18). We hold to the inerrancy of Scripture, as outlined in the “Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy.”
We believe in one God – There is only one true God who exists eternally in three Persons: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:26; Deuteronomy 6:4; Matthew 28:19; John 14:9; Acts 5:3-4,9; 2 Corinthians 3:17; 13:14; Hebrews 1:1-3, I John 5:7).
We believe in the deity and humanity of Christ – Jesus Christ is Lord, being fully God and yet fully Man, born of a virgin, as affirmed in the Nicene, and Apostles’ Creeds (Matthew 1:18-23; Luke 1:26- 38; John 1:1-2,14; Philippians 2:5-8; Colossians 1:13-20; Hebrews 1:8).
We believe in substitutionary atonement – Jesus Christ died on the cross as our substitute – taking upon Himself the penalty of the sins of fallen humans (John 1:29; Romans 3:25-26; 5:8, 12-19; Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 3:18).
We believe in the resurrection of Christ – Jesus rose from the dead in a bodily resurrection defeating sin and death (Romans 6:4-9; 10:9; 1 Corinthians 15:3-6).
We believe in salvation by grace through faith alone – A person is saved from eternal separation from God as a free gift when that person places their faith in Jesus Christ who is the only way to the Father (John 1:12; 3:16; 5:24; 14:6; Acts 4:12; Romans 1:16-17; Ephesians 2:8-9; Revelation 21:27).
We believe in the Second Coming of Jesus Christ – Jesus Christ will come again to judge the living and the dead (Matthew 24-25; Acts 1:9-11; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Revelation 19-21).
We believe in heaven and hell – Believers in Jesus Christ will be resurrected to everlasting blessedness and joy in eternal fellowship with God (1 Corinthians 15:35-57; 2 Corinthians 5:1-9; Philippians 3:20-21; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17; Revelation 21:1-7; 22:1-5). Unbelievers will be resurrected to conscious separation from God and eternal punishment (Matthew 25:41,46; Mark 9:43-48; 2 Thessalonians 1:7-9; Revelation 14:9-11;20:10-15; 21:8).
WHERE WE STAND ON SOME CONTROVERSIAL SOCIAL ISSUES
We acknowledge that the following social issues generate much pain and division in some faith communities, and we do not approach these issues lightly or glibly. But we also acknowledge that at the heart, these are authority of Scripture issues. We believe the Bible is clear about the following:
Abortion – We believe human life inside a mother’s womb begins at conception and that at conception, a real human being is created in the image of God (Psalm 139:13-16; Jeremiah 1:4- 5; Luke 1:39-45) and, therefore, that abortion is murder and wrong/sin (Exodus 20:13). We believe God offers full forgiveness to an abortive mother/father who has turned to Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:13-15; Ephesians 1:7).
Celibacy, Marriage, and Sexuality – We believe God created humans in His image, intentionally and immutably male and female, each bringing unique and complementary qualities to sexuality and relationships (e.g., Genesis 1:27; 2:18, 21-24; Matthew 19:4-5; Ephesians 5:22-33). Celibacy, marriage, and sexuality in general are gifts from God to be expressed: (1) within specific boundaries He designed for our safety and pleasure, and (2) within the confines of His purposes, which include gratefully honoring the Lord with our bodies and minds (e.g., Proverbs 6:20-7:27; Romans 12:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; 7:19-20; Ephesians 4:17-5:21).
We believe God ordained marriage to be a lifelong union between one man and one woman (e.g., Genesis 2:18, 21-24; Matthew 19:4-9, Mark 10:5-9, Ephesians 5:31). God’s design for sexual acts is within marriage for the purpose of moral human procreation and the unique pleasurable intimacy (one flesh) intended for husbands and wives (e.g., Genesis 1:27-28; 9:1; 35:11; Psalm 127:3; Proverbs 5:18-19; Song of Solomon 7:6-13; 1 Corinthians 7:5). Sexual acts outside God- instituted boundaries are sinful and defy God’s natural order, plans, and purposes (e.g., Exodus 20:14; Leviticus 18:7-23; 20:10-21; Matthew 5:27-28; 15:19; 1 Corinthians 6:9-13; Galatians 5:19; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:2-8; 1 Timothy 1:8-11; Jude 7, cf. Genesis 19). We do not believe in ordaining self-avowed practicers of such sexual sin, and do not believe in ceremonies that celebrate same-sex unions (e.g., Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:18-32; Hebrews 13:4).
• Ministry Leadership – We believe persons engaged in willful, ongoing sinful practice(s) should not serve in ministry leadership (Romans 1:18-32; I Corinthians 5:1-13 and 6:9-20; I Thessalonians 4:1-8; I Timothy 3:1-13; Titus 1:5-9), and those already serving in ministry leadership who engage in ongoing sinful behavior(s) should be disciplined and removed from ministry leadership (I Samuel 15: Matthew 18:15-18). We believe true repentance is an essential first step in the sanctification process necessary towards restoration of ministry leadership (I Corinthians 6:9-11; I Thessalonians 4:1-8). Therefore, anyone considering ministry leadership via a path that includes seeking a degree from and/or working for The Bible Seminary should evidence public and private freedom from sinful behavior(s) over time (Matthew 3:8; Acts 26:20; James 2:14-26), since ministry leadership is incorporated into official positions and roles at The Bible Seminary, including administration, board, faculty, staff, volunteers and students.”
It is a high honor and privilege to represent God to people by training for and serving in ministry. When people see someone “in the ministry,” they see that person as representing Christ’s church. It is for this reason that the Bible outlines in 1 Timothy 3 some of the expectations and qualifications of a leader in the church. It is very important for each member of the seminary community (no matter what their position) to seek to live up to these standards (with God’s help and empowerment). Thus, we ask each member of the seminary community to covenant to lead a life that is “above reproach” as defined by the following Ethos Statement. The heart of this document is healthy community full of grace and truth (John 1:17).
As a member of the seminary community, I agree, with God’s help and empowerment, to live by the following ideals to the best of my ability:
I will seek to walk with God through a personal relationship with Jesus Christ (Genesis 5:22; John 17:3; Mark 12:29-31; Ephesians 2:8-9).
I will seek to have no other gods than Jesus Christ (Exodus 20:3-6; 1 Peter 3:15). I will seek to keep myself from idolatry (1 John 5:21) by not making idols out of money, sex, power, people, material things, school, or ministry success.
I will work as “unto the Lord” (Colossians 3:23-24). I will give God my best in my family, in my job performance and in my training for ministry.
I will refrain from sexual immorality (1 Thessalonians 4:3-5). If I am married, I will be faithful to my spouse (Exodus 20:14). If I am single, I will remain celibate in my singleness. I will not engage in homosexual practice (1 Corinthians 6:9-11).
I will refrain from drunkenness or the use of illegal drugs (Ephesians 5:18). I will not allow a substance to control me, rather I will seek to be controlled by God. If I choose to “drink socially,” I will do so in a way that does not cause other people to stumble (1 Corinthians 8).
I will practice Biblical conflict resolution. If someone hurts or offends me, I will go to that person and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15,25) and forgive them (Ephesians 4:32). If this does not resolve the issue, I will then involve a second person as prescribed in Matthew 18:15- 17. I will not slander another person by talking negatively about him/her (Ephesians 4:31). I will seek to build others up with my words (Ephesians 4:29). If I cannot bring resolution through these steps, I will seek counsel.
I will be respectful of those in authority over me and submit to their leadership (Hebrews 13:17) unless they were to call me to do something contrary to Scripture (Acts 5:27-29). I will seek humbleness in my life (1 Peter 5:5-6).
The purpose of this Ethos Statement is to maintain order (1 Corinthians 14:40) and to uphold integrity, respect, honor, and character (2 Timothy 2:20-22). There is plenty of grace in this community for mistakes (James 5:16), whereas there is not room in this community for blatant and unrepentant rebellion (1 Corinthians 5). I agree to do my best to live by this Ethos Statement with God’s help and power through Jesus Christ and for His glory.
The Bible Seminary strives to provide faculty, staff, and support services that do the following:
Promote belief in Jesus Christ as LORD and the centrality of discipleship by offering Christ- centered educational programs and courses.
Promote all 66 books of the BIBLE as the fully true Word of God by integrating the study of these biblical books into studies of classical theological disciplines and ministry training.
Promote the vital priority of PRAYER by modeling and teaching prayer in classes, events, meetings, publications, and retreats.
Promote awareness of and compassion for UNREACHED PEOPLES of the world by offering education in missions and engagement in cross-cultural endeavors.
Promote experiential training by integrating LOCAL CHURCH and parachurch ministry leaders, site visits, and service opportunities into educational experiences.
Promote authenticity, accountability, and integrity through genuine communication, collaborative learning, and ethical relationships in an academic faith COMMUNITY.
Promote COMPASSION by providing education and cooperative experiences in ministering to the poor, overlooked, and underprivileged.Progress in achieving each institutional objective is measured with Likert Scale assessments completed by students prior to beginning and upon completion of curriculum.
The student will demonstrate mastery of all 66 biblical books by completing a summative Capstone project (CAP 590) as the culmination of his or her program prior to graduating with a degree.
The student will demonstrate learning proficiency, progression in study skills, and academic achievement through successfully passing course exams, improving scores between pre-course and post-course assessments, research reports, written papers, and class presentations.
The student will demonstrate evidence of core ministry skills in basic and advanced hermeneutics, pastoral leadership, preaching and teaching, biblically-based counseling, and cultivation of personal and group spiritual formation by successfully passing course exams, improving scores between pre-course and post-course assessments, and submitting high quality research reports, written papers, class presentations, and ministry service reports.
The student will demonstrate exegetical comprehension and applied learning from the study of biblical cultures, languages, history and theology through successful engagement in course assignments and ministry activities within the seminary educational community and beyond, and by successfully passing course exams, improving scores between pre-course and post- course assessments, and submitting high quality research reports, written papers and class presentations.
The Bible Seminary exists to glorify God by training Christian believers in a context of biblical community in all 66 books of the Bible so that they can serve the local church and fulfill the Great Commission by the power of God’s Spirit.
The Bible Seminary admits students of any race, sex, color, disability, age, or national or ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the Seminary. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, sex, color, disability, age, or national or ethnic origin in the administration of its hiring policies, educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and other school-administered programs.
Philosophy of Education
We believe the Bible, written by many authors and inspired by one Spirit, is the best training manual for ministry.
We believe that engaging in ministry, analyzing ministry, and studying ministry – in association with called, life-giving, seasoned and Spirit-filled professionals – is an effective educational model.
We believe a balanced, Bible-based, Christ-centered, mission-focused educational approach includes a comprehensive curriculum that integrates studying all 66 biblical books along with studying standard historical, theological, and practical disciplines critical to developing professional skills for 21st century ministry.
We believe that challenging and nurturing students, getting them into the Word of God, and helping them think biblically while listening to the Holy Spirit, involves a unique combination of professional ministry training, cutting-edge tools, and extraordinary experiences.
We believe that interactive personal engagement over time, among groups of individuals with a common set of core values and doctrines and ethical standards, and with diverse backgrounds and experiences, can offer an exciting, family-friendly, practical, rich, and unparalleled learning environment.
We believe that a journey of theological education should accomplish the following:
Glorify the Lord
Be rooted in His Word
Nurture an intimate, faithful, trusting relationship with the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit
Cultivate a contextual and more profound understanding of God and creation, scripture and the world, heaven and earth, culture and history, time and eternity, and things seen and unseen
Equip students with relevant experiences, knowledge, relationships, training, and tools for a lifetime of ministry leadership
Lead to a passionate commitment to love and serve the Lord and others with all that students are and have, in perpetuity.