Earlier this week John Piper announced the plan to expand TBI (The Bethlehem Institute) into an accredited college and seminary at Hope Commons, the new home of Desiring God.
I am writing this letter to express my amazement and joy over what God appears to be doing with this ministry.
Nothing here has been precipitous. It has been in the making for over ten years. I would say it goes back twenty-five years to Tom Steller’s earliest mentoring of apprentices and teaching hundreds of our people what used to be called LTTTR (Leadership Training through Theological Reflection).
Now a flash point has been reached for moving to new levels of training and a new place of ministry.
The new levels of education include moving toward becoming an accredited college and seminary. That means offering as soon as is feasible an accredited BA in Biblical Studies and an accredited MA and MDiv at the seminary level.
The new place of ministry means moving the classes and library and offices to Hope Commons at 2300 Chicago Avenue South. This former hospital building will house Hope Academy (K-12), Minnesota Teen Challenge, TBI, and Desiring God and Children’s Desiring God. The building is free from a visionary donor. But the ministries must pay to build out the space. That is what we are praying toward now.
The details of the vision and the move can be read in the document “TBI @ Hope Commons: Facility Expansion to Match New Vision” (PDF).
What moves me most deeply about this plan is that it is all built around a solid, biblical, Reformed affirmation of faith—The Bethlehem Baptist Church Elder Affirmation of Faith (PDF). The longer I have thought about it, the more it has seemed wise to me that the educational enterprise I would love to give my remaining life to is one that is robustly Reformed with all the vital signs connected with Christian Hedonism
Add to this that the dreamers at this stage in TBI include those who have long experience in higher education. They see the paralyzing effects of massive debt incurred by college students. We believe there is a way to re-conceive higher education to avoid this kind of debt so that students are free for radical mission. We do not aim at just being another school. It will have, we believe, a unique combination of theological, intellectual, affectional, communal, and financial commitments.
I would like to be a part of this vision for the remainder of my life. I believe the church and the world need leaders shaped by this vision of God. I pray that you will find it compelling.
Pastor for Preaching and Vision
Bethlehem Baptist Church
Via: Desiring God