Our vision is to help bring theology back into the heart of the church
Theology serves the church. The great theologians of the classic Christian tradition were always rooted in the realities of church life, whether Irenaeus in Lyons, Augustine in Hippo, Luther in Wittenberg or Calvin in Geneva. Theology was a discipline of ‘faith seeking understanding’, not an abstract academic discipline primarily to be conducted in the clinical atmosphere of university classrooms. It was therefore a discipline intimately connected with the realities of ordinary people living the Christian life in the context of the church. Theologians were those set apart by the church (and sometimes into an academy which was closely linked to the church) to be its ‘doctors’ – those who reflected on the faith of the church, its experience, life & doctrine, to guard it, teach those entrusted with the cure of souls, and develop it to meet new challenges and questions. It was only in the Enlightenment that theology began to be rooted primarily in an increasingly secularised academy, distanced from the life of the church. Theology needs to come back to the heart of the living church, both for the sake of theology (to enable it to be connected into the actual living of Christian life and encounter with God), and for the sake of the church (to enable it to bear witness to the grace and rule of God with theological integrity and distinctiveness).
St Paul’s Theological Centre (SPTC) aims to be a new kind of theological institution, dedicated to play a part in restoring theology to the heart of the church. Its unique quality is the combination of excellence in theology and teaching within the context of a vibrant local church, rather than a university, residential college or diocese. Holy Trinity Brompton provides a very special context in which to offer theological training. Its global profile, due to the Alpha Course and related resources that have become widely used worldwide, can draw speakers and students from around the world. At the same time, its many different ministries (family life, social transformation, youth and students, worship central, etc...) and its wider network of church plants, and other associated communities also make it an ideal context in which people can learn the kind of practical theology and skills which are so necessary if the church is to flourish into the future. It aims to articulate, develop and teach a theology that is true to HTB’s Anglican evangelical charismatic roots, yet also embraces the best of orthodox, classical theology throughout the church worldwide, whether Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, Pentecostal or more.
SPTC has four related aims:
Lay Training: to provide training in theology and Christian practice for lay people in HTB and beyond.
We aim to provide resources for lay people in HTB and other churches that will raise the level of theological understanding amongst lay leaders in church and society.
Ordination Training: to establish new pathways for Church Leadership Training.
We are looking to help develop church-based ordination training, so that ordinands and other Christian leaders can combine access to theological excellence in teaching with practical involvement in local church life.
Developing theological resources: to offer theological resources for pastors throughout the world.
Just as the Alpha Course was developed in HTB and spread from here, we hope to help make it possible for any local church to run their own theological training by making the resources we have here available to other churches elsewhere in the world.
Support HTB & Alpha: to be a theological resource for the growth of both HTB & Alpha.
SPTC aims to provide theological guidance for both HTB and Alpha, as they grow and develop.
Hear what past guests have to say about their experience on the SPTC theological courses.
Never has been it more urgent for Christians to give a reason for the faith that is within them. In the midst of the conflict between literalism in religion and the disintegrating world view, the appeal of mature biblical faith is very clearThe Rt Revd Richard Chartres
Bishop of London
Patron of SPTC
In my view this is the most interesting and important thing that is happening in British theological education