By Jason Hiles, PhD
College of Theology
July 18, 2016
Grand Canyon Theological Seminary equips scholars, ministers and Christian leaders within the context of a denominationally diverse environment that is shaped by an interdenominational mission and vision.
The faculty includes representatives from more than a dozen denominational traditions that span the evangelical spectrum. Likewise, the student body reflects a similar diversity of religious heritage and experience.
Denominational and theological diversity within the faculty and student body results directly from intentional recruitment and hiring practices which attempt to maintain a body of professors that is well-equipped to serve the various needs of its constituency.
Nonetheless, we must intentionally strive for unity in addition to diversity if we are to be effective in fulfilling our mission together. This requires careful thought about doctrinal dialogue, genuine love for one another and a resolve to be “quick to hear, slow to speak [and] slow to anger” (James 1:19).
Students are never asked to renounce their denominational heritage or waiver on their convictions about essential or non-essential doctrines. Rather, they are asked to ground their convictions firmly in the word of God and to sharpen their understandings through conversation with others of like mind and faith.
With such diversity, it is absolutely critical for the faculty and student body to diligently guard the unity we have in Christ Jesus. Toward that end, the seminary’s faculty and students are encouraged to make key distinctions between essential and nonessential points of doctrine in dialogue within the classroom and beyond.
In an increasingly post-Christian world, the need to unite as fellow believers without diminishing the wonderful diversity of Christian expression could not be greater. But any brand of unity that requires a compromise with respect to the essential truths of the gospel will prove too costly and, indeed, deadly from a spiritual perspective.
Rather, Jesus insisted on a unity rooted in our deep love for Him and a commitment to love one another. This may be described as evangelical unity, which is to suggest that this unity centers on the evangel or good news of Jesus Christ.
As we draw near to our Lord in loving obedience, we also draw near to one another as His body and bride. This sort of unity precludes the rejection of truth because it depends fundamentally on our Lord who is the very embodiment of truth (John 14:6).