Seminary in Oregon Introduces Christian Earthkeeping Program This Fall

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George Fox Evangelical Seminary’s 12-credit concentration will emphasize responsibility for and stewardship of creation

take care of the Earth

George Fox Evangelical Seminary of Portland, Ore., will offer a new concentration, Christian Earthkeeping, to its curriculum beginning in the fall of 2010.

The concentration, a 12-credit regimen of four courses taken over a two-year period, is designed to develop evangelical leaders who cultivate the care of creation in their communities. Course organizers cite Genesis 2:15 – a biblical reference in which God commands humankind to “take care of the Earth” – as the program’s scriptural foundation.

In the program’s first year, students take two courses. Theology and Stewardship of Creation covers Old Testament theologies of creation, stewardship and the role of humanity in the “created order.” The second class, Theology and Ethic of the Land, incorporates a five-day retreat during which students consider a Native American understanding of the land, the relationship between science and faith, and issues such as agriculture, conservation, land use and consumption of natural resources.

In the second year, the class Eschatology, New Creation and Communal Ethics focuses on the New Testament theologies of eschatology, Trinitarian community, soteriology, and Jesus’ kingdom. The second class, Poverty and Restorative Earthkeeping, will incorporate a five-day retreat that encourages students to ponder the integral relationships between earthkeeping, global systems and issues such racism, sexism and poverty.

“We are doing this because we believe the Bible directly commands us to ‘keep’ the Earth,” said program director Dan Brunner, a professor of Christian history and formation at the seminary. “The evangelical church has been silent on this topic, and the Christian leaders of our future need a theological and biblical basis for earthkeeping.”

The program will expose students to a broad spectrum of authors, experts and practitioners in earthkeeping. The goal is to empower students through theological reflection, spiritual disciplines and community praxis, Brunner said.

Graduates of George Fox Evangelical Seminary are trained for ministry inside and outside church walls. They work as pastors, church staff, hospice workers, and as military and hospital chaplains. Others have successfully planted churches, including multi-ethnic congregations, and overseen denominational and parachurch ministries in the United States, Canada, England and South Africa.

A seminary education also prepares graduates for postgraduate academic degrees and teaching jobs in seminaries or colleges.

The seminary offers a Doctor of Ministry (DMin) degree in leadership and spiritual formation, global missional leadership, and semiotics and future studies. Also offered is a Master of Divinity degree and Master of Arts degrees in theological studies, spiritual formation and ministry leadership. Students also may earn a certificate in spiritual formation and discipleship.

George Fox University is ranked by Forbes as one of the top 100 colleges in the country and highest among Christian colleges. George Fox is the only Christian university in the Pacific Northwest classified by U.S. News & World Report as a national university. More than 3,300 students attend classes on the university’s campus in Newberg, Ore., and at teaching centers in Portland, Salem, and Redmond, Ore., and Boise, Idaho. George Fox offers bachelor’s degrees in more than 40 majors, degree-completion programs for working adults, five seminary degrees, and 12 master’s and doctoral degrees.

Daniel Brunner
Professor of Christian history and formation


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