Only a very few can be learned, but all can be Christian, all can be devout, and- I shall boldly add- all can be theologians.
Desiderius Erasmus Roterodamus
Who We Are
As its name implies, NTE is a system of interconnected people and organizations that believes the Christian faith is proactively lived out. The Network supports disciple-making through focused efforts to:
Engage – Engagement is the intentional application of attention and effort to issues and challenges arising out of the faith commitments of people and organizations.
Equip – To equip is to prepare a person or organization for a particular task or to enable them to operate in a specific environment.
Encourage – To encourage is to provide stimulation and support to motivate Christ followers as they make their spiritual journeys, individually and collectively..
Jesus has never called us to be Christians. But He constantly invites us to be His disciples. One can be reduced to a passive acceptance of a set of religious statements. The other is a lived reality that requires a robust, proactive engagement with Him and the world into which He came. The Network for Theological Education (NTE) exists to support those who choose to be disciples as well as the churches that encourage and develop them.
NTE exists because people are recognizing the failures of traditional theological education models to address modern realities. In engineering, failure is a term used to describe the condition cause by the bending, breaking, or collapse of a structure such that it can no longer fulfill the function for which it was designed. That could be a description for much of what is happening in theological education, today. Our purpose is to respond to the challenge so that disciples and the churches that nurture them, are strengthened.
What We Do
Founded in 2011, The Network is committed to bringing quality theological training and engagement to the local, or “grass roots” level. We work with Christian educational institutions, local churches, and nonprofits to:
1)Provide access to theological training in terms of time (flexibility in when and how courses are offered,) location (you don’t go to the seminary, the seminary comes to you), and resources (particularly financial ones.)
2)Develop curriculum focused on learning how to think theologically, flexible enough to address varying local contexts while being integrated enough to establish a strong foundation for theological engagement.
3)Establish of a spiritual culture that recognizes study (training, education) as an essential element of Christian service. Learning is serving.
4)Provide a continuum of educational product to meet a variety of instructional needs and approaches. Encourage life-long learning and engagement.
5)A strong commitment to quality, at whatever level of teaching is provided. Course content can still be rigorous, even when simply taught.
What We Believe
About Our Faith Statement
The Network was formed by Christ followers deeply concerned about how we engage with the world around us, learn from one another and how we pass on what we have learned. Our faith statement is not very lengthy or wordy. It is intentionally limited in scope for a number of reasons.
We find that few people are willing to engage in meaningful conversation and learning if the ‘engager’ is doing all the talking. Learning is shaped by sharing and listening to other viewpoints, not lectures. Therefore, outlining our theology of all things related to faith and life is more likely to inhibit conversation as opposed to inspiring it. We want genuine engagement with our students.
The Christian faith is not a mindless, monolithic cult. It is not organized by a “priest class” and its faithful followers. On the contrary, the Christian faith is informed and nurtured by a rich variety of spiritual traditions, customs, creeds, concepts and language whose roots originate in the life and work of Jesus Christ. With this is mind, we welcome everyone and seek to explore, understand and learn from our collective diverse experiences of faith and devotion.
As followers of Christ, we acknowledge that we don’t think we have all the answers. However, as educators [instructors / professors], we will share our journeys and how we arrived at our beliefs and ideals we adhere to. Think of this statement of faith the way you would the red “You are here” dot on a hiking trail map. It is designed to provide you with a starting point of reference as you navigate your ongoing journey. Throughout your specific excursion with us, you will always be free to explore and wander off the beaten paths.
What we believe
Here are our five essentials:
1)We believe in one living, eternal and true God, who is creator of heaven and earth, and who manifests Himself in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Each person has its own distinct personal attributes but the three are without division in nature, essence or being.
2)We believe in Jesus Christ, the Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. He suffered under Pontius Pilate and was crucified, died, and was buried. On the third day He arose from the dead, ascended into heaven, and now sits on the right hand of God the Father Almighty. From there He will come to judge the quick and the dead. We believe that salvation is made possible through His death and resurrection.
3)We believe in the Holy Spirit who provides illumination for men and women to understand the truth and enlightens and empowers the believer in worship, study, and service.
4)We believe the Bible is the record of God’s revelation of Himself to humankind. Its authority comes from God who is its author, and provided the divine inspiration to human beings resulting in its being written. The Bible is to be understood and interpreted through the person and work of Jesus Christ.
5)God alone is the Lord of the conscience. As God has given men and women free will to choose, it is not for this Network to undermine or repress that right.
Please bear in mind, we recognize that these five precepts are by no means an exhaustive expression of the full spectrum of Christian belief although, they do form a solid foundation from which to carry out and animate our mission. We have chosen these five because we believe them to be essential to Christian faith and because together they provide an uncluttered framework by which to explore matters of personal faith and public life.