The Regional Synod of New York

Understanding Theological Education….by Looking Back


In order to understand fully what we are doing and where we are going, we need to understand where we have been. A significant portion of the history of theological education in the RCA is wrapped up in the history of the denomination’s two seminaries: New Brunswick and Western. And so our first two Understanding Theological Education in the RCA colloquies, continuing last year’s successful series, will focus on those histories.

On Wednesday, September 29, 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm, we will learn about the history of NBTS and its role in RCA theological education from John W. Coakley, L. Russell Feakes Memorial Professor of Church History, emeritus, at NBTS and General Synod Professor emeritus of the Reformed Church in America. A widely published author of medieval and American Christianity, John, who holds degrees from Wesleyan, Rutgers, and Harvard Universities, is the author of thirty-one articles or essays and twenty-seven book reviews, and the editor or author of six books, including New Brunswick Theological Seminary: An Illustrated History, 1784-2014 (Eerdmans, 2014).  After a response by Dennis Voskuil, we will open up for questions and discussion by the entire group.

The second part will come on Wednesday, November 3, 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm, as we look at the history of Western Theological Seminary and theological education in the midwestern RCA, presented by Dennis Voskuil, president emeritus of Western Seminary and a Senior Research Fellow at the Van Raalte Institute of Hope College in Holland, Michigan. Dennis began his ministry pastoring several congregations in Michigan and Massachusetts, then served as professor of religion at Hope from 1977 to 1994, when he became president of Western. Retiring from the presidency in 2008, he returned to teaching church history full-time, then as an adjunct at WTS from 2014 to 2017, when he began two years of service as interim president of Hope College. His presentation to us will be followed by a response from John Coakley, and then a time of questions and discussion for everyone. 

Both of these colloquies will take place on Zoom. There will be no cost for attending the programs, but all participants do need to register.