Globalization at Denver Seminary
"As the center of world Christianity continues to shift from the West to the South and East, and as our own country becomes more ethnically diverse and less Christian, equipping students with a heart and perspective for the world is both a biblical mandate and a leadership imperative.
"Professor Andrew Walls, in his chapter, 'Globalization and the Study of Christian History' in Globalizing Theology, comments that for Western students, and for many Western scholars, 'nothing in their theological education has prepared them for intelligent participation in a church that is principally African, Asian and Latin American in composition, or enabled them to realize the changed place of Western believers within that church.'" - Dr. Randy MacFarland in an introduction to his article in the Winter 2007 issue of Denver Seminary Magazine.
Denver Seminary's educational programs are changing to intentionally address the growing need for those in ministry to lead with heightened sensitivity and skill in multicultural ministry settings. The following describe just a few of the ways in which we are providing environments and opportunities to students to see the world and their Christianity in different ways:
- Local foreign language initiatives
- Partnerships with other seminaries around the world
- Non-western faculty
- Globalization awareness component in every degree program
With an ever-increasing number of non-English speaking immigrants in the Denver Metro area, Denver Seminary offers programs to equip leaders in these communities.
Spanish program IDEAL
IDEAL (Instituto para el Desarrollo y Adiestramiento de Líderes) is a program for the growing Latino/a community in the Denver area. Classes include basic Bible and theology to equip Hispanic Christian leaders to make an impact in their local communities.
Korean program KLEI
KLEI (Korean Lifelong Education Initiative) is a program for the burgeoning Korean community in Denver. KLEI offers a variety of classes for Korean lay-leaders and for pastors, equipping them to make an impact in their local churches.
On January 23, 2008, Denver Seminary entered into a formal relationship with PCTS (Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary) in Seoul, Korea. Presidents from both schools signed an official contract agreement at a special ceremony on Denver Seminary's campus. The partnership provides student and faculty exchanges between the schools and helps promote scholarly discourse to enhance theological education. This partnership was forged through the help of Denver Seminary's Associate Professor of Theology and the Director of Korean Initiatives, Dr. Sung Wook Chung.
Denver Seminary has entered into a relationship with SETECA (Seminario Teológico Centroamericano), an interdenominational seminary in Guatemala City, Guatemala. SETECA is the largest residence seminary in Latin America, with over a thousand students in its various programs, many of whom come from a number of different countries. This is truly a peer relationship, in which both institutions believe that they can contribute to each other's calling to serve the Kingdom of God and the worldwide church of Jesus Christ. This effort has been spearheaded by Dr. M. Daniel Carroll Rodas, Distinguished Professor of Old Testament. Before coming to Denver Seminary in 1996, Dr. Carroll taught for many years at SETECA and continues as adjunct there.
This partnership has several components. Denver Seminary will provide assistance in the creation of a formal counseling program at SETECA and in the development of the library. In addition, Wilmer Ramírez, an adjunct faculty member at SETECA, became the full-time Director of Hispanic Initiatives at Denver Seminary in January 2008. He took over the leadership of IDEAL (Instituto para el Desarrollo y Adiestramiento de Líderes) program on campus, a Spanish training program in Bible and theology, as well as help SETECA with online courses and an occasional intensive course in Guatemala. On the other hand, Denver Seminary students can take a class at SETECA to fulfill the globalization requirement of their degree program. It is hoped that these initial steps of constructive interchange between Denver Seminary and SETECA can grow to include other projects, such as faculty and student exchanges and hosting for short faculty sabbatical leaves.
- Read the report from the July 2008 trip that Director of Seminary Relations, Sarah Rymer, took to Guatemala
Special arrangements were made between Denver Seminary and the Conservative Baptist Seminary of Taiwan in the 1974-1975 academic year which made it possible for three students -- Andrew Ts'ai, Roger Lai and Silas Chan -- to come to Denver Seminary and graduate with their M.Div. Degrees.
In 1997, this informal agreement was formalized and made it possible for students with a TOEFEL score of 550 and a recommendation letter from the faculty of the Conservative Baptist Seminary of Taiwan to come to Denver Seminary. The students need to have completed the required number of courses in Taiwan before coming to Denver. They may work on either the M.A. or M.Div. degrees. In either case they would actually graduate with their degree from the Conservative Baptist Seminary of Taiwan. There is also a requirement that they serve for a minimum of two years in Taiwan after receiving their degree.
Denver Seminary is committed to hiring exceptional faculty, and we believe it is important to include professors whose background is non-Western. A diverse mix of faculty provides attention to application of biblical and theological principles in settings outside suburban America and enriches the learning environment. Currently, Denver Seminary has faculty members from Guatemala, South Korea, Haiti/Jamaica, and Canada (including French-speaking Canada). We also currently have adjunct faculty hailing from China and Africa.
Textbooks and collateral reading from non-western scholars provides an important voice for formulating positions on various issues. Some of the textbooks used by Denver Seminary students and faculty include The Next Christendom: The Coming of Global Christianity by Philip Jenkins; The Global God: Multicultural Evangelical Views of God edited by Aída Besançon Spencer and William David Spencer; Voices from the Margin by R.S. Sugirtharaja; and many others.
At Denver Seminary, every degree program includes a globalization awareness component. This requires students to intentionally wrestle with ministry needs in different contexts. While the globalization awareness component is often conducted in a classroom environment, many students will have the opportunity to experience other cultures first-hand -- whether on an American Indian reservation, in Denver's inner-city, in Guatemala City, or on personal missions trips during the course of their study.