Doctor of Theology

Same-old, same-old isn’t working anymore.

The Church needs leaders who want to think more deeply, see more clearly, and be formed more fully, if we wish to leave a legacy of a vibrant, culture-engaging Church for the next century. That’s why we’ve created the Evangelical Seminary Doctor of Theology program! This program is for reflective practitioners of ministry, taught by experienced and wise scholar-practitioners, with the intent that fresh forms and expressions of ministry will emerge through this collaborative learning process.

The program includes traditional components (a series of core courses, taken as a cohort, as well as a dissertation) and nontraditional aspects (a series of specialized readings-and-research courses, supervised by a track mentor, in a fashion similar to the British doctoral system). It requires roughly the same number of credits and time frame as a typical Doctor of Ministry but with richer theological reflection and greater academic credibility. Its hybrid delivery provides both accessibility from a distance and the opportunity to utilize local resources for knowledge discovery.

Please note the seven tracks that are available:

  • Cchurch and Change (Missional theology)Read track descriptionNew for Fall 2019
    How leadership is understood and practiced in congregations has evolved over the centuries in response to cultural pressures, often without the benefit of clear theological thinking or missional intentionality. The result is an increasingly untenable and unbiblical model of the pastorate that often does more harm than good to practitioners and those they intend to serve. Therefore, the purpose of this track is to reimagine leadership roles and activities within both Church and church (hence the big “C” and small “C” in the description title), and in the process, help heal the clergy/laity split. It is to create and implement fresh, Spirit inspired ways of being and doing church in this generation and beyond.
    Do you have any questions for the track mentor? Click here to email Mike Dittman.
  • Semiotics and Spirit (Pneumatic theology)Read track description
    Jesus said, “You know how to read the signs of the sky; Learn to read the signs of the times” [Matthew 16:3]. The Greek word for “signs” is semeion, and semiotics is the study of signs and the art of making connections, seeing the relationships between things and reading the meaning of those relationships. Disciples of Jesus must learn to read the sign-language of the Spirit so we can join Jesus in his continuing mission in this world, particularly in these challenging but exciting days for the Church.
    Do you have any questions for the program director? Click here to email Tony Blair.
  • Trauma and Transformation (Restorative theology)Read track description
    “All real living is meeting,” claims Martin Buber, and from the very beginning of the biblical narrative we see this to be true. The “Trauma and Transformation” track will reside at the dynamic meeting space between theology and psychology in order to lead churches, families, and communities in creating restorative meeting spaces of their own– spaces of engagement between each other and God that can heal and transform the pain of a traumatized world, which is “the mission field of the 21st century”.
    Do you have any questions for the track mentor? Click here to email Janet Stauffer.
  • Revelation and Redemption (Biblical theology)Read track description
    With the Bible as the divine wellspring of God’s revelation of himself and his redemptive plan, this track immerses the student in a rigorous and generative study of theology as packaged in the Bible (Old and New Testaments). Students will engage biblical theology as contained in its own cultural context, historical setting, and patterns of thought as well as grapple with the profound reality that biblical theology is the study of God who has appeared in history and that the redemptive significance of this historical revelation mandates that their work has fresh and impacting relevance to the church and its mission.
    Do you have any questions for the track mentor? Click here to email Doug Buckwalter.
  • Mission and Movements (Contextual theology)Read track description
    Contextual theology refers to theology which has responded to the dynamics of a particular context. In this track, the student will discover the wonders of God’s work within contexts while anchoring that diversity in the constants which undergird all settings. The student will then examine (and maybe even develop) a theology of mission and movement for a context which interests her or him– one that honors historical and normative theology while staying in close conversation with a particular cultural expression.
    Do you have any questions for the track mentor? Click here to email Jim Ehrman.
  • Roots and Rhythms (Historical theology)Read track description
    According to G.K. Chesterton, “Tradition means giving votes to the most obscure of all classes, our ancestors. It is the democracy of the dead. Tradition refuses to submit to the small and arrogant oligarchy of those who merely happen to be walking about.” The Roots and Rhythms track explores historical theology and will train students to listen to the saints from the past as a means of providing grounding and framework for moving the church into the future.
    Do you have any questions for the track mentor? Click here to email Mark Draper.
  • Leadership and Liminality (Organizational theology)Read track description
    The “Leadership and Liminality” track explores models, behaviors, and assumptions of transformational leadership, particularly the kind of leadership that occurs in liminal spaces. “Liminality” refers to a threshold experience–in transition between stages of a community’s growth, or leading the margins to see and speak from a prophetic stance. A student in this track will explore the richness of a counter-cultural approach to ministry leadership and collaborate in the development of a vibrant new theology of organizations.
    Do you have any questions for the track mentor? Click here to email Tony Blair.

Program highlights:

  • 39 credits that can be completed in as few as 3 years
  • Online with three 3-day residencies per year
  • Choose from 7 cutting-edge research tracks
  • Designed for reflective practitioners
  • Supportive faculty mentor and cohort approach
  • Fully-accredited with no GRE or MAT required
  • Featuring Dr. Leonard Sweet as scholar-in-residence

Be sure to check out our requirements and opportunities page to see more details about the program and answers to common questions.

View our admissions page to learn more about the admissions process for the Th.D. program.

Please also be aware of our application deadlines for a fall start.

Doctor of Theology

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    Apply today for the Doctor of Theology!