Golden Gate report focuses on distinctive characteristics

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP)--President Jeff Iorg shared unique traits of Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary during his June 21 report to the Southern Baptist Convention.

Iorg told messengers Golden Gate shares with its five sister seminaries "an uncompromising commitment to the Bible as the Word of God and an unwavering commitment to the Great Commission as our purpose for existence."

The first unique characteristic Golden Gate can claim is that it is the only Southern Baptist entity based a great distance from the South.

"Golden Gate serves where a small fraction of the population is Southern Baptist. This means we are not only a sending school, we are also a sent school," Iorg said. "We prepare people for missions on the mission field of the American West."

Another characteristic that sets Golden Gate apart from other seminaries is that it is a system, not a seminary campus. Operating five fully accredited campuses in five locations - Mill Valley and Brea, Calif.; Vancouver, Wash.; Denver; and Phoenix -- students are able to earn a full master's degree without leaving their ministry.

As a multicultural institution, the seminary also is uniquely positioned to reach out, Iorg said, explaining the third characteristic that drives Golden Gate: "Golden Gate does not have a majority ethnic population in its student body.

"We reflect this diversity in our faculty and staff. We require intercultural training as part of our master of divinity and master of theology degrees," Iorg said.

The seminary's urban focus also is a unique characteristic of Golden Gate, Iorg said. With campuses located in major metropolitan areas of the West -- San Francisco, Los Angeles, Portland, Denver and Phoenix, Golden Gate's students often live and work in difficult urban environments while in seminary.

The last characteristic Iorg shared is the fact that Golden Gate is the only Southern Baptist seminary that does not have a college.

"We have made this choice because of the demographic and strategic realities of the West," Iorg said. "Put most simply, the number of Baptists and Christians in western states does not make it economically feasible to start another college. And in Southern California, where it might be possible, we already partner with and support California Baptist University, one of the fastest-growing Baptist colleges in the nation.

"Golden Gate celebrates the strength of the Southern Baptist seminary system," Iorg said, referring to each of the other five seminaries by name. "We affirm the historical significance of Southern, the evangelistic heritage of Southwestern, the missions passion at New Orleans, the renewal of Southeastern and the emerging strength of Midwestern. We also celebrate Golden Gate Seminary. We are different, on purpose and with a purpose. We are a western, metropolitan, regionalized, contextualized, multicultural, intercultural seminary system."


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