From the President

Jay Smith, YTI President and Bridger Professor of Theology & Ethics

April 2016 Inscribed

Dear Friends of YTI,

“Doing Something New” – this is what the prophet tells us of God’s plans:

“Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth; Will you not be aware of it? I will even make a roadway in the wilderness, Rivers in the desert.“ (Isaiah 43:19 NASB95)

Dr. Jay SmithYellowstone Theological Institute clings to that promise. God is constantly doing something new. Every day, morning-by-morning, God is doing something new in our world: a child is born, a disease is healed, and an idea comes to life. YTI seeks to set itself apart from other divinity schools and seminaries in how it approaches the task of theological education. As the traditional seminary finds itself confronted by financial, cultural, and ideological problems, the traditional answers are simply not remedying the situation. These institutions face declining student enrollments and dwindling financial resources. What are the consequences? These organizations are slowly closing their doors. Theological commentator Tony Jones made this statement in a recent blog:

Theological education is becoming more accessible and more diffuse. Residential seminaries of all stripes have a lot to offer… But if they don’t retool themselves now, before it’s too late, they will simply continue to whittle away at their programs, faculties, and endowments until they have nothing left to provide.

In contrast, Yellowstone Theological Institute, a post-denominational and generously evangelical theological institution, begins its life from a radically different position. We are not defined by theological boundaries, but by a generous theological center—Jesus Christ, raised from the dead to give life to all who believe, through His Spirit. This generous center allows students to share life together in Jesus. It allows YTI to promote a generous conversation between Christianity, the world’s religions, and secular culture. We believe theological knowledge can only be learned in community, and thus our commitment to face-to-face learning remains unwavering. We have learned to navigate our postmodern culture and the treacherous theological waters that lie between the Scylla of fundamentalism and the Charybdis of cultural relativism, precisely by focusing on our robust theological center. This demands new teaching methods with emphases on critical and creative thinking, as well as reframing our historically orthodox theological trajectories for a new culture, indeed, a brave new world. We desire our students to be wholly prepared for ministry in an increasingly difficult context.

Yellowstone Theological Institute began its life with two professors, and in 2017 will increase that number to six encompassing the following specialties: Theology & Philosophy, Old Testament, New Testament, Counseling & Care, World Religions & Culture, Worship, and Ministry Practice. Keep us in your prayers and join us on the adventure!

Grace & Peace,
Dr. Jay Smith, President

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