Comments on a Cover

I enjoyed the cover of the summer 2004 In Trust magazine. You seem to have identified every connection that is important to students and institutions. The cover art can serve as a roadmap as administrators and board meet to discuss the divergent ways an institution places itself in the world.

— Leah Gaskin Fitchue,
President Payne Theological Seminary
Wilberforce, Ohio

Without a doubt you have had many wonderful magazine covers, and I should have complimented those, I suspect. But the summer 2004 cover, portraying a community of sorts, complete with nearly twenty labeled buildings placed like spokes of a wheel around the seminary, is most unfortunate.

The drawing has a clear message. The seminary is the center of all that is going on spiritually in the culture. All roads lead conspicuously to and from it.

This drawing is biblically incorrect. The local church should have been placed in the center. The local church is God's only strategy for winning/impacting the world. All roads lead to and from it. The local church alone is front and center in the great spiritual struggle that exists in our culture. All other institutions should have been listed around the church, not the seminary.

I have huge respect for graduate level theological education, and I am grateful for the years I spent in education. However, the local church is the epicenter of God's great strategy. May I suggest that the next issue, offsetting this unfortunate visual error, emphasize the biblical role of the local church and the seminary's role to serve it.

— Jim Garlow, lead pastor
Skyline Wesleyan Church
 LaMesa, California
board member, Haggard School of Theology
Azusa, California

Talking Points

In early July, Paul Martin, senior minister of Macedonia Baptist Church here in Denver and host of a weekly radio program, invited Hugh Harris, minister of Erie United Methodist Church, and me to join him for an on-air discussion of the relationship between theological education, the local church, and denominational bodies. Because of this invitation, I read the summer issue of In Trust magazine with more intentionality than ever. (Paul receives In Trust as a trustee of the American Baptist Seminary of the West, and I receive the magazine as a former member of the board of trustees of Iliff School of Theology.)

Our discussion was lively, with the three of us declaring that "new" relationships between churches and seminaries are essential in these early years of the 21st century. The three of us on the program are graduates of three different schools of theology: Hugh Harris, Iliff; Paul Martin, Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology of Virginia Union University; and Gil Caldwell, Boston University School of Theology. Despite our different backgrounds and ages, we share common concerns and felt the article by Kathryn Sime, "Blessed be the family ties," was right on.

These are crucial times for the ministry of the Church and therefore for those institutions that prepare persons for ministry in the Church. The summer 2004 issue of In Trust is chock full of ideas and challenges that ought to be important to all "who bear responsibility for institutions of theological education" (from the In Trust mission statement). Thank you for an issue that, if taken seriously, could minimize unnecessary tension and defensiveness and move us all to a new and better place.

— Gilbert H. Caldwell, former board member
Iliff School of Theology
Denver, Colorado

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