Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What's in a Name? (part 2)

As I discussed in my last post, the transition in name from Friends Bible College to Barclay College in 1990 was not philosophically rooted in the teachings of Quaker theologian Robert Barclay but was simply historical in nature. But what about the future direction of the College? Could God be calling the College back to a similar template forged by the founders of the Quaker movement?

Consider Robert Barclay as an example. It states in his Apology that one primary reason for writing this work was to be "uniquely personal in his thinking through of his own religious journey from the strict Calvinism of his youth to his Quaker convincement" (pg. xix). In fact, many scholars of Barclay have noted down through the centuries that "one of the most significant portions of the Apology has been his direct counter to Calvin's doctrine that was prevalent in the churches of his day" (Apology, pg. xxiii).

Could it be that through the rebirth of Barclay College over this past decade that God intends for her to offset the strong Reformed theology of the Post-Modern Church in order to balance the theological palette of His Kingdom? Other than at her conception in the early 1600's, I can think of no better time in the history of the Church for Evangelical Friends to be exclusive in her doctrinal orientation. Just as God used Quakers centuries ago to reform the Church after the Great Reformation so He may be calling Evangelical Friends to balance His Church theologically at this time.

The theological palette of God's Church is made up of a rainbow of color in which the Holiness movement of Friends is a part. My vision for Barclay College is to have our students exposed to the full theological color board of God's Church in their under graduate studies, critique His palette through our future Masters program, and contribute original expressions to it in our future Doctor of Arts degree that will support the rich theology of Friends.

In my opinion the theological expressions found in orthodox Christianity is not a matter of right or wrong, good or bad, but just simply to be viewed as different. Thus, there should be mutual respect for one another, appreciation for the differences and the contribution each one makes towards the glory of God and the good of Christ's kingdom.

However, when it comes to the future of Barclay College I think God may be leading her to be more intentional in theological focus. Maybe future hires will be men and women who are not only proven scholars but are people who are convinced that through the atonement of Jesus Christ and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, that Christians can have the life of God imparted into their very being, enabling them to live without sin and to emulate the life and teachings of Jesus.

Perhaps in the future God may lead Barclay College to people of high academics who believe and can articulate to students that at the time of full consecration a second distinct work of grace occurs and a literal transfer of nature takes place in the Christian. Through this definitive act the recipient becomes entirely sanctified which purges the conscious, perfects the heart in love, and provides Christ followers with a perfect standing and relationship with their Creator.

I believe the future educational matrix of Barclay College should not only expose students to the rich doctrine of holiness but provide practical application as well. I would like to see every student receive multiple exposure to the fullness of the Holy Spirit through their Barclay College experience, knows what the life of holiness looks like in everyday life based upon our tradition, have an understanding of how it is structured vocationally, and be committed to it's globalization for the transformation of the world and the glory of God.

Like queen Esther from the Old Testament, possibly God has raised Barclay College up "for such a time as this." I may not agree with all of Robert Barclay's propositions as defined in his Apology but concerning the doctrine of holiness we are yoke-men. This aspect of his philosophy I would like to see Barclay College expand into her future academics. Who knows, as far as the future of Barclay College is concerned, there may be several connecting points with the historical name she bears.

Thanks for stopping by!

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