ThD Tracks

There are currently 7 tracks available in our Doctor of Theology program. Click on any of the links below to read a description of the track and to learn more about the track mentor.

Semiotics and Spirit (Pneumatic theology)

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.

Track Mentor:

Leonard I. Sweet is an honors and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Richmond, having earned his Master of Divinity degree from Colgate Rochester Divinity School and PhD from the University of Rochester. The author of more than 200 articles, 1300+ published sermons, and more than sixty books, Leonard Sweet’s publications include the best sellers Soul Tsunami, Aqua Church, and Jesus Manifesto (with Frank Viola), as well as many other volumes that are revolutionizing the church’s mission. In 2006 and 2007, Sweet was voted by his peers “One of the 50 Most Influential Christians in America” by ChurchReport Magazine, and in 2010, he was selected by the top non-English Christian website as one of the “Top 10 Influential Christians.” His popular podcast, “Napkin Scribbles,” is widely quoted, as is his homiletics resource, Read more.

Do you have any questions for the program director? Click here to email Tony Blair.

Trauma and Transformation (Restorative theology)

“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”.

Track Mentor:

Janet Stauffer is a faculty member in the Marriage and Family Therapy department, mentor of the Restorative Theology: Trauma and Transformation track in the Th.D. program as well as Dean of Students. A licensed marriage and family therapist, she maintains her therapy practice at Fredericksburg Family Therapy Center. Prior work included a position at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic in Pittsburgh. Janet served 15 years on the board of Philhaven Behavioral Healthcare Facility and now is Chair of the LMC Legacy Foundation Board seeking to find and fund “a better way” for integrative mental health care. She has led retreats, presented at professional conferences nationally and internationally, and published articles in a number of journals.  Read more.

Do you have any questions for the track mentor? Click here to email Janet Stauffer.

Revelation and Redemption (Biblical theology)

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.

Track Mentor:

Doug first began to teach at Evangelical in 1993, soon after returning to the States after finishing his post-graduate studies in Scotland with Prof. I. Howard Marshall. Before coming to Evangelical he was working as a free-lance editor with Walter A. Elwell and J. D. Douglas for Baker Book House and Zondervan Publishing House on various theological and biblical reference works. In addition to his teaching duties, Doug also edits the Evangelical Journal, a semi-annual publication published by the seminary. He has written numerous articles and authored The Character and Purpose of Luke’s Christology (Cambridge, reprint 2005). Read more.

Do you have any questions for the track mentor? Click here to email Doug Buckwalter.

Mission and Movements (Contextual theology)

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.

Track Mentor:

Serving as an adjunct at Evangelical Seminary since 2006, Jim was asked to join the faculty and administration full-time as the Dean of Academic Programs in 2016. In January 2018, he was appointed the Vice President of the Seminary while also holding an appointment as the Assistant Professor of Leadership and Culture.

Before the full-time move to Evangelical, Jim served as the Executive Director for Love146, an international anti-human trafficking organization headquartered in New Haven, CT—where he also served as the gubernatorial appointee to the State of Connecticut’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Women. Read more.

Do you have any questions for the track mentor? Click here to email Jim Ehrman.

Roots and Rhythms (Historical theology)

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.

Track Mentor:

Mark Draper, who is originally from Philadelphia, comes to Evangelical via the Chicagoland area, where he completed his doctorate in Historical Theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School where he was also a Jonathan Edwards Fellow. He has served as the Assistant Director of the Niebuhr Center for Faith and Action and adjunct professor in history and religion at Elmhurst College.  While at Elmhurst College, Mark worked closely with campus ministries such as Cru, Intervarsity, and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. In this role, he developed a passion to train men and women at the seminary level to minster to college students and young adults to help them develop a Christian worldview.  Prior to moving to Chicago, Mark served as a library supervisor at the Free Library of Philadelphia. Read more.

Do you have any questions for the track mentor? Click here to email Mark Draper.

Leadership and Liminality (Organizational theology)

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.

Track Mentor:

Tony Blair has served simultaneously in both the academy and the church for the past two decades. He began pastoral ministry with the Church of the United Brethren in Christ in 1985 and serves today as a senior pastor of Hosanna! A Fellowship of Christians in Lititz, Pennsylvania. He has worked as a staff member, faculty member, and administrator in higher education since 1994, most recently as Professor of Leadership Studies and Dean of the Campolo College of Graduate and Professional Studies at Eastern University. Read more.

Do you have any questions for the track mentor? Click here to email Tony Blair.

Cchurch and Change (Missional theology)

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.

Track Mentor:

Dr. Mike Dittman oversees a disciple making network of missional communities in his church and community. He is also Director of National Ministries for the Church of the United Brethren in Christ and former department chair for Philadelphia Biblical University.

Along with his wife Pam, he co-directs a ministry to christian leaders called Haven For The Heart. Mike will be assisted in mentoring this track by Professor Robb Palmer. Read more.

Do you have any questions for the track mentor? Click here to email Mike Dittman.

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