The THS Academy for Pastoral Leadership is a Christian religious organization. It affirms the historical ecumenical confessions and creeds of the Christian Church. The National Association of Evangelicals Statement of Faith summarizes our historic Christian faith, and the convictions of the THS Academy as a religious organization:
- We believe the Bible to be the inspired, the only infallible, authoritative Word of God.
- We believe that there is one God, eternally existent in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
- We believe in the deity of our Lord Jesus Christ, in His virgin birth, in His sinless life, in His miracles, in His vicarious and atoning death through His shed blood, in His bodily resurrection, in His ascension to the right hand of the Father, and in His personal return in power and glory.
- We believe that for the salvation of lost and sinful people, regeneration by the Holy Spirit is absolutely essential.
- We believe in the present ministry of the Holy Spirit by whose indwelling the Christian is enabled to live a godly life.
- We believe in the resurrection of both the saved and the lost; they that are saved unto the resurrection of life and they that are lost unto the resurrection of damnation.
- We believe in the spiritual unity of believers in our Lord Jesus Christ.
(As adopted by the National Association of Evangelicals)
THS Academy Theological Emphases
Humans in the Presence of God
We confess that every person is separated from God by sin. The only way to cross this relational chasm is through Jesus Christ. His sacrificial death is the only basis for the forgiveness of our sins and our deliverance from the power of sin. Through trust in him, we are declared justified through the grace of God. But God’s grace may never be seen as a license for a continued lifestyle of sin. The assurance of salvation does not release humanity from obeying God’s commands.
Believers in Culture and Society
We affirm the love of God and the love of one’s neighbor are two sides of the same coin; together, they form the greatest commandment of God. We as Christians are called to serve our neighbor and our larger society. It must not be forgotten, however, that the kingdom of God is not of this world and therefore will not be realized in our world or in this time through political activity. We reject political activity when it acts as a substitute for the practices of Christian faith.
Humans as Sexual Beings
We declare that humans are created by God as male and female. This duality is part of the entire created order. The attraction of the opposite sexes is also the foundation of the reproduction and growth of humanity, and every other species. We also recognize that creation in its current, fallen state shows divergence from God’s created order, regarding both sexual identity and sexual attraction. We affirm however, based on the clear witness of Scripture, that this divergence is not God’s intention for humans.
The Work of the Holy Spirit
We confess the work of the Holy Spirit, who is the third person of the divine Trinity. It is the Holy Spirit who builds and sustains God’s church. Without the Holy Spirit we are unable to perform any work that gives proper glory to God. We also recognize that the spirit moves as he will, which is why Christians have a diversity of experience with his working. The unity and diversity Spirit’s work among the people of God must be treated with respect as the mystery that it is. No believer could claim to have the insight to render judgment of fellow believers because of their diversity of experience of the Holy Spirit.
The Holy Scriptures
We believe that the holy Scriptures are the revelation of the triune God. The Bible is the final measuring rod for all questions of faith and practice. We confess that the Scriptures are authoritative and infallible in all that they teach.
The Practice of Theology
We believe that theology must spring from the revelation of God. As such, theology is the reflection upon God’s person and ways, and not a body of human thought developed autonomously from the revelation of God. Theology by its nature is never neutral, it always seeks to confess the person and the ways of the revealed God. True theology can only be pursued by Christians since they may seek the inspiration by the indwelling Holy Spirit. We regard the pursuit of theology independent of the biblical revelation be false and futile.
We believe that theology should concentrate on themes that have a practical connection to the realities of human life. That does not mean that the pursuit of theology may compromise biblical revelation on the basis of human realities, but rather that the discipline should seek to address the questions and problems that people commonly have. Theology rising about questions whose answers have no influence on the life of believers makes little sense.
We believe that the practice of theology should serve the growth of faith and sanctification in the life of Christian believers. Growth of theological understanding needs to contribute to the growth of maturity in the life of Christian believers. We consider a theology which causes more confusion than conviction to be dangerous.
Theological Considerations Regarding Our Training Program for Pastoral Leadership
We believe in the revelation of God in the holy Scriptures. All theology must proceed from this revelation. It is the task of every generation to find and maintain connection to this source and to recognize and resist false teaching.
We believe that God achieves his purposes in and through the church of Jesus Christ. A Christian existence without the fellowship of the Christian faithful is for us inconceivable. We confess this reality for our day, as it has been true for the whole history of the Christian church.
We believe that the teaching of the Christian faith supports the believer’s knowledge of God. While we acknowledge that our own understanding is piecemeal, we are convinced that it is possible and appropriate to systematically express the foundational truths about God.
We believe that the love of God and of fellow humans is the foundation of pastoral ministry. This foundation is the source of the peace by which Christians are identified. Without these prerequisites, a person is unsuited for pastoral ministry.
We believe that specific skills and abilities for pastoral ministry must be acquired. Among these are included the ability to overcome hindrances to one’s ministry, dealing successfully with crises, and pursuing ministry goals with perseverance. Without these abilities, one cannot expect a successful performance of one’s ministry. Of singular importance is training in the ministry of preaching through which active faith among the people of God is released.
We believe that the spread of Christian faith is the goal of pastoral ministry. Whoever strengthens others in their Christian faith and wins new people to faith in Jesus Christ fulfills the primary mission of Jesus Christ.