Every year, PBTS formally opens the new school year with a convocation as the seminary comes together in worship to affirm its theological commitments. It is an occasion to formally welcome new faculty members and likewise, to offer to God the mission that it has received in theological education.
Dr. Paul Kelly, assistant professor of Educational Leadership at Gateway Seminary in Ontario, California gave the Convocation address on a biblical theology of the youth and the significance of the church’s ministry to the youth. He began with the Old Testament; citing narratives that characterize youthfulness in terms of physicality, sexuality, and developmentally. These words are: alma, betulah, bahur, yeled, and na’ar. Likewise, in the New Testament, Kelly provides an exegetical treatment of each word, and attempting to draw out a biblical understanding of “youth”. These include the Greek words used in the New Testament: pais, parthenos, and neaniskos.
Kelly concludes that from biblical theology, the concept of “adolescence” does not match with the biblical data. In the Scriptures, the youth were given “adult” responsibilities but were under authority due to a lack of experience, and high tendency for “folly”. And yet, the age of being a “youth” should be a time of great vigor and “passion”.
Kelly urged the seminary community to reconsider one’s outlook towards the youth. He reminded them of the need to help youth discover their place in the broader church, with avenues for their expression of gifts, including participation in leadership. According to Kelly, “They need to have responsibilities in the church”.However, they need role models as they gain experience as adults. Role models that are “good examples of passionate Christian adulthood.”
Kelly ends with a call to faith communities to “call youth to passionate faith” towards raising a “new generation of Filipinos that carry the message of Christ across these 7,100 islands and around the world.”
The convocation also recognized new faculty members for the year 2017-2018, signing the seminary’s Articles of Faith. These include, Mr. Fritz Gerald M. Melodi as adjunct faculty for the Theology Department, Ms. Ryanne Leal as adjunct faculty for the Music Department and Ms. Seonggyeong Kim as Piano Instructor.
The Seminary convocation as an occasion, continues to remind the seminary of its identity as a Spirit-led community united in a mission of forming God-called men and women for the Church in the world.