Why did we include the word “school” in our name? It’s a common enough word that enjoys the luxury of being instantly understood by most people. But it also carries enough cultural baggage to make it a risky choice often requiring substantial qualification. This blog is the second in our occasional series that explains our name.
Words carry paradigms. Most of us who have been immersed in the Western education system have thereby come to associate the word “school” with factory-type buildings, large classrooms, seat-time, professors, lectures, note taking, book learning, rote memorization, quizzes, exams, grades, etc. Some of us like this approach to learning. Others don’t. But most of us share this cultural definition of schooling whether we picked it up through our experience in public or private schools at any level.
Our choice to include the word “school” in our name, in spite of its present-day baggage, is both principled and practical. Even though we view the Western schooling paradigm to be foreign to the biblical paradigm of education, we’re not willing to abandon the word “school” because it still correctly carries the idea of serious ordered learning that’s essential in developing strong church leaders. Nearly everyone associates the word “school” with high levels of discipline, scholarship, and acumen which we view to be core competencies in those who must master the Scriptures, guard the faith, and establish churches. These competencies are substantial enough to be worthy of the academic credit and degrees that we grant as an accredited educational institution or “school.”
A biblical purist might suspect that our choice to include the word “school” in our name reveals a not-so-subtle compromise with the prevailing culture. But we view it to be a solid example of how biblical theology ought to be translated into contemporary culture. We’ve created a school that avoids the schooling paradigm yet maintains the highest standards of academic discipline, integrity, and ministry competence that is legitimately represented by the degrees that we grant as cultural currency. That’s what’s in our name.