Our vision for the future of Denver Seminary must be forged from ore mined deep within the legacy and values of the Seminary. Questions such as, “What defines this institution?”, “What commitments center everything that we do?” and, “What provides a foundation for our vision?” must guide us in the process of crafting strategy and executing our mission. We believe that these five characteristics are woven throughout the tapestry of our school’s history.
We are people of the Book, believing the Bible to be our final authority for faith and practice. Since our founding, the Seminary has been committed to the inspiration, inerrancy, and authority of the Bible. That commitment remains strong and unyielding; it defines us and shapes us. The Bible forms the basis of our doctrinal statement and the centerpiece of our curriculum. We study the Bible and look to it as our authoritative reference, assessing theories and arguments for congruence with what it affirms. We marvel at its intricacies and revel in its simplicity. We meditate on it and contemplate how profoundly it describes the human condition and God’s saving solution for us. We preach and teach the Bible. We sing it, recite it, and constantly find ourselves looking to it for truth that endures while the world around us changes.
We are people of the Truth, committed to seeking truth in all disciplines. We have the courage to ask tough questions and allow the text of Scripture to take us to answers that we may not want to face. Vigorous scholarship is robust and relentless, the kind of scholarship that does not blink when the skeptic questions our faith. Vigorous scholarship does not shrink back and retreat to the comfortable confines of tried and true axioms that the already convinced repeat to one another in order to avoid facing their own doubts. Neither does vigorous scholarship descend into the catacombs of academic irrelevance, “the knowing of more and more about less and less.” At Denver Seminary, scholarship means knowing more and more about what matters--the real questions of real people in the real world. Vigorous scholarship is what Dr. Grounds described in 1965 when he wrote of the Seminary, “Here is no unanchored liberalism--freedom to think without commitment. Here is no encrusted dogmatism--commitment without the freedom to think. Here is vibrant evangelicalism--freedom to think within the bounds laid down in Scripture.”
We are people of the Faith, committed to the great core confessions that have defined Christianity for centuries. We cling to these great core truths of the faith for they frame our understanding of God, the world in which we live, and His work in it. Furthermore, we confess these great truths as a way forward for those trapped in the mire of indifference and relativism. Around that common confession and our agreement with the doctrinal statement of the Seminary, we engage in gracious and serious conversations about many different areas of faith and life. At times we may disagree about the interpretation of particular passages, about theological issues of secondary importance, about the expression of Christian ethics in public life, and about the application of Scripture to ministry. At all times, however, we will be known as a community that relates to one another charitably, with a penchant to listen before speaking and a desire to learn that trumps the instinct to defend and to tell. The freedom and courage to think is only half the equation for a vibrant learning community; freedom and courage to listen completes it. Our conversation with those with whom we disagree, particularly outside the community of faith, must be marked by charity and respect. The apostle Paul described the manner we desire to relate to all people with these words, “speaking the truth in love” (Eph. 4:15).
We are people of the Gospel, a community of humbled and broken people who have found life anew in its redemptive power. We come together knowing that Christ has rescued us from the bondage and the penalty of our sin simply through the death of his Son on the cross because he loves us. And we live like those for whom redemption, grace, and reconciliation are more than theological concepts—they are the breath of life that sustains us each and every moment of each and every day. We believe that redemption comes only through honesty with ourselves and through the truth of the gospel. So we nurture interpersonal mentoring relationships throughout the Seminary experience that drag us out of our hiding places so that we can move into the light of Christ’s searing gaze of love. We are committed to an integrated learning process that redemptively addresses the needs of the whole person. We also believe that our redemptive relationships must go beyond the community of faith and reach into the lives of those who have yet to confess faith in Christ. We help one another develop and model a grieving compassion for the lost and, like our Savior, we seek their salvation (Luke 19:10).
We are people of the Kingdom, committed from our founding in 1950 to global mission because of God’s concern for the redemption of all peoples. Our commitment to mission provides rationale and urgency to our task. We will make the uncomfortable realities of a blinded and broken world an abiding issue in our educational process and we will challenge ourselves to courageously face the indifference and self-indulgent tendencies that keep us from whole-hearted commitment to the mission of God in the world. Furthermore, we value and embrace the marvelous diversity of God’s people and we will nurture meaningful partnerships with other like-minded schools and agencies in the work of the Kingdom around the globe.