Eternity Bible College: For Everyone

Eternity Bible College: For Everyone February 18, 2015

Eternity “Bible College” is largely a misnomer. For most people, when they hear the term “Bible College” they think of a training ground for pastors and missionaries. But that’s not us. While we definitely have some people training for vocational ministry, such students probably make up Live-in-Light-of-Eternityless than 30% of our student body. We don’t discourage people from going into vocation ministry. Not at all. But we do encourage students—all students—to live our their God given creative and missional potential in all areas of life.

This is because we were all created for ministry. If you’re a Christian and you have the Spirit within you, then you’ve been called to ministry and have been given gifts to serve, love, and proclaim. That’s our primary vocation. That’s why we’re here. Every Christian has been called by their Creator to be a disciple of Jesus, make other disciples of Jesus, and become a Spirit-filled agents of change in the world. Whatever other vocation you pursue is secondary to, or part of, this primary vocation. Whether you’re a banker or lawyer or nurse or groundskeeper or pastor, this is simply the context in which you work out your primary vocation of being a Christ-follower who makes disciples.

That’s what I love about Eternity Bible College. We’ve got a wide range of students that fill our classroom. My youngest student was 16 and my oldest was 87, and my classes are filled with everyone in between: stay at home moms, business men, business women, nurses, lawyers, pastors, aspiring pastors, singles, marrieds, rich, poor, black, white, doctors, firemen, fishermen, and future missionaries.

EBC is for anyone who desires solid, practical, intense biblical theological learning in order to live out their primary vocation of being a Christ-follower.

And such diversity extends to doctrinal questions. Our college stands firmly in the Evangelical Protestant tradition, and we’ll take a bullet for those doctrines that constitute orthodox Christian beliefs (Trinity, Deity of Christ, bodily resurrection, etc.). We’re not doctrinal jelly-fish. But we all know that most of the heated debates surround secondary issues related to the end times, spiritual gifts, election, free will, church governance, and other questions that Christians, unfortunately, divide over. With these issues, we refuse to indoctrinate but are determined to educate; we don’t tell our students what to think, but we train them how to think. As long as they’re in our care, our students are not allowed to hold to their convocations without rooting such convictions in the text of Scripture. As professors, we challenge presuppositions and push back on doctrinal conclusions—even those we think might be right. Because a rightly held doctrine for the wrong reason won’t get you very far in the real world. And always, always, always, we seek to cultivate an addiction to the primacy of Christ and his word in all matters of doctrine.

We need to think. We need to study. We need to be ruthless in grounding our beliefs in the text of Scripture.

Two of the most exciting things about this textually centered education indoctrination approach are: 1) It promotes unity among Christians around the gospel of Christ and the authority of Scripture. These are what unite us. We can agree to disagree on various secondary issues, but these issues must not smother our passion to see the name of Christ boldly proclaimed among the nations. And 2) it helps ensure that students will not just believe things because that’s what they’ve always been taught. Rather, they will believe certain things because the Bible says so.

Like N.T. Wright’s popular level NT commentary series, EBC really is “for everyone.” Some people say, “I don’t want to move to California; geography is a hindrance to taking classes at EBC.” That’s okay, we’ll come to you. We have our entire degree online, so you can take classes from wherever you are.

“Ya, but I like to have an ‘in class’ experience.” Okay, we’ll try to bring the classroom to you. This is why we’re beginning to launch extension sites around the country (maybe even globe), beginning with the extension in Boise, Idaho, which I’m heading up.

“Okay, but I have a full time job. I can’t take off work to attend classes.” That’s fine, we’ll work around your schedule. We’ll offer many of our classes at night in 2-3 hour blocks, so you can work a full time job during the day and still only give up 1 night a week to take a class.

“Ya, but I already have a college degree. I don’t need another one.” I totally get that. Why don’t you consider auditing a class? It’s super cheap (it’s been free for the last few years) and you can do as much of the work as you want.

“Okay, okay. It sounds like there are a lot of options! But I still can’t keep up with a college level class. I can make it for about a month but then I just can’t handle the commitment or workload.” I understand that too. Many people want a teaching level somewhere between a church Bible study and a college class. This is why we created “The Silo Project.” Here, we have a video-based versions of most of our classes, but they are scaled down to go beyond “church Bible study” but they aren’t quite as heavy as a college level course. You can sample a few right now.

Eternity Bible College exists to offer biblical theological education to anyone who desires it. Hopefully, this includes most Christians. Check us out!

But Bible College shouldn’t just give people a bunch of Bible knowledge. And we agree. This is probably my favorite thing, and perhaps the most unique thing, about Eternity Bible College. True biblical learning should cultivate practice and worship; if it doesn’t, then it’s not true biblical learning. Stay tuned for the next post!

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