As a pastor, I have been discouraged both by the lack of genuine theological integration in many contemporary forms of pastoral ministry and, frankly, the low levels of biblical literacy within the church. As someone engaged in the theological academy, I often have noted the scarcity of pastors at theological conferences (sometimes I have concluded that this is a good thing). All too often the biblical and theological scholarship of the seminary seems far removed from the actual ministry of the church. Pastors and laity alike lament the fact that so much theological scholarship seems so specialized, remote, and detached, while theologians sometimes complain that their work is not taken with due seriousness by the very people for whom they hope to serve. Meanwhile, the gap continues to widen – to the detriment of all.
Surely blame can be assigned to various sectors. But we at the Henry Center are not interested in refereeing such debates – instead we want to make a difference. We want to help bridge this gap between the theological academy and the church. Accordingly, the Henry Center houses a cluster of initiatives, each of which is aimed at applying practical Christian wisdom to important kingdom issues – for the good of the church, for the soul of the theological academy, for the sake of the world, and ultimately for the glory of God. It seeks to ground each of these initiatives in Scripture, and it pursues these goals collaboratively.
As an outreach ministry of Trinity and the TEDS faculty, we subscribe to the doctrinal standards of the Evangelical Free Church of America (the parent denomination of TEDS and the Henry Center). The Henry Center’s identity reflects that of the Trinity faculty; it includes Calvinists and Arminians, Lutherans and Anabaptists, egalitarians and complementarians, and much more. It includes North Americans, but it also gladly affirms and is indebted to the work of scholars from all around the world. We are all committed to God’s glorious gospel, and we are happy to partner with other evangelical ministries (including those with other doctrinal stances) in order to advance the kingdom.
This is a time of transition at the Henry Center. Following years of visionary and steady leadership by Dr. Doug Sweeney, I have been entrusted with the reins of the Center. I believe that the Henry Center has a vital role to play in the future of a robust and orthodox evangelicalism, and I covet your prayers as we move forward.
Thomas H. McCall