The vision statement of Sovereign Grace Theological Seminary is:
As is always the case with a vision statement, each word is significant, so it is helpful to explain in a little more detail what is intended by the statement.
A centre of excellence. The Lord God created mankind to bear his image, and gave to us a mandate to subdue the earth (Gen 1:27-28). This implies that all our work should be done in such a way as to honour God by reflecting the standards of orderliness, faithfulness, excellence and competence which are so abundantly evident in his own work of creation. As God’s children we desire to glorify him in the work of SGTS by ensuring that all aspects of the ministry will demonstrate the highest standards of excellence (Ps 104:1, 31-34; Eccl 9:10; 1 Cor 10:31; Col 3:17). We consider this particularly important in the African context, where lesser standards are so often considered acceptable. It is therefore our intention that the Seminary’s administration be orderly and efficient; that the scholarship of the faculty should be thoroughly informed, reflecting the highest academic standards; that the teaching offered should communicate effectively with students, helping them to grow to the highest levels of personal development and ministerial competence; and that all our work should be rooted in a profound relationship with the Triune God.
Reformed Biblical. The Christian tradition in which the Seminary stands is the Reformed tradition. We believe that God did a mighty work through the Reformation, at which time some of the most essential aspects of Biblical truth were rediscovered. However, our first and final authority is the word of God itself, the Holy Scriptures of Old and New Testaments. We believe that there is always more light to break forth from God’s holy word, and that the Lord continues to speak to us, guide us and relate to us through his word. All aspects of the ministry of SGTS must therefore bow before the voice of God in Scripture, and all of our ministry to others must make that voice heard.
Scholarship. There is always a need for the church to listen attentively to what God is saying in his word. As much we need to stand on the shoulders of those who have gone before us, we also need to listen afresh to the voice of the Spirit who “rides most triumphantly in his own chariot”. There is a need to explore the word on its own terms, so that we may hear the voice of the Spirit more clearly, and there is a need to study how that word must be applied in our own day and our own circumstances. Thus the Seminary aims, through its faculty, to enrich the church through meaningful research into the Bible and its application to life today. This will also provide a foundation for the Seminary’s teaching programme.
Devotion. We live in an age when mankind has become convinced that he is the captain of his own soul and the master of his own fate. Though we are surrounded by wrecked marriages, wrecked families, wrecked churches, wrecked nations, we seem unable to divest ourselves of the notion that a little more effort and a little more technology on our part will repair the wreckage. Too often, theology and theological training have been hijacked as just another technology by which we may control our world. The Bible teaches us that a life of wisdom, which begins to move towards solutions, is one in which we “acknowledge and take to heart . . . that the Lord is God in heaven above and in the earth below. There is no other” (Deut 4:29, NIV). All of our efforts will avail nothing if God does not act. It is not enough to confess this truth with our mouths; it must become ingrained in our consciousness and form the wellspring of all our actions. Hence we consider it crucial that a profound life of devotion and prayer should underlie all that we do. Only in this way will we learn to live as humans and not as gods.
Teaching. As can be seen from our mission statement, we have a central focus on training men for the ministry. We also desire to equip other believers with a deeper knowledge of God through his word. This clearly means that teaching must be a central function of the Seminary. In addition to learning about God through godly scholarship, in addition to growing closer to God in our devotional life, we want to help others to grow in their knowledge of God and love for him. We wish not merely to throw out knowledge, for people to fumble with as best they can, but to interact, especially with our students, helping them to learn and grow towards the goal which the Lord has for them.
Impacting Africa. As God has determined the periods and places for all the nations of the earth (Acts 17:26), so he has placed us in the heart of Africa. We see it therefore as our primary calling to minister to our own continent. We do not wish to restrict our vision just to one country or region, but to lift up our eyes and see the fields that are white for harvest: we have a continent to reach. Africa is a very wealthy continent, yet it is also a needy continent; it especially needs preachers who will clearly proclaim Christ and skilfully shepherd God’s flock. Our vision, therefore, is not merely to see the continent before and around us, but to be tools in God’s hand to make an impact on it so that it will be changed and transformed by the grace and power of God.
With the gospel of Christ. The root cause of all mankind’s problems is our alienation from God and the fact that he has handed us over to do what ought not to be done (Rom 1:28). No human technology or ideology can prevail to deliver us from our plight as long as we remain under God’s wrath. This is no less true of Africa than it is of any other part of the world. But we are not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, “because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes” (Rom 1:16). Our primary method of impacting the continent must therefore be the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is the foundation of all our scholarship, devotion and teaching.
And a God-centred world view. Africa has been blessed with the gospel for a long time. Yet the continent has not been transformed by the gospel as it could and should have been. One of the chief reasons for this problem is that the gospel has often remained confined to people’s “religious” life; it has not come to rule every aspect of their thinking so that family life, work life, political life, farming, infrastructure and church life are all viewed from a distinctively God-centred perspective. Sovereign Grace Theological Seminary thus considers it essential that our research and teaching should help to develop and propagate a God-centred perspective that will truly transform every aspect of life on our continent.