by the Founder, Dr. T. T. Shields (1873-1955)
Those responsible for the founding of this Seminary cherish an educational ideal which is found in the New Testament. “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord” (Phil. 3:8). The Apostle Paul was a gifted man by nature. He was a man of keen, vigorous, massive intellect. Moreover, his natural powers had developed to the full, through the highest culture which the schools of his day could provide.
Even an enemy recognized that he was a man of “much learning.” But when this great scholar was converted, he joyfully laid all his great abilities at the feet of Christ. He explicitly declared that even his every thought was brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; and in the verse we have quoted he discloses the great motive and aim of his life. He esteemed the knowledge of Christ to be the most excellent of all sciences, and tells us that it had become the rule of his life to subordinate every consideration to this one supreme end, to count everything “but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord.”
We believe, therefore, that this represents the Christian ideal of education: Christ must be put first, the end of all education must be to know Him better. If we study languages, mathematics, literature, history, or any of the sciences, it must be with a view to obtaining a better knowledge of Christ.
The pursuit of such an ideal can be maintained only in a healthy spiritual atmosphere. A man is not likely to develop an aesthetic taste in a coal mine; it is not probable that one would grow as a musician amid the din of a boiler-making establishment. So to keep always in view this worthiest of all ideals, one must not only be possessed of vigorous spiritual health himself, but his soul must breathe the atmosphere of the heavenly places in Christ.
Hence we believe that such an ideal is most likely to be realized in association with a New Testament church, founded upon New Testament principles, surcharged with the power of the Holy Spirit.