SPIRITUAL LEADERS PROMOTING A SPIRITUAL PROGRAM
A Christian…can learn mathematics, for example, from a teacher who is not a Christian; and truth is truth however learned. But while truth is truth however learned, the bearing of truth, the meaning of truth, the purpose of truth, even in the sphere of mathematics, seem entirely different to the Christian from that which they seem to the non-Christian; and that is why a truly Christian education is possible only when Christian conviction underlies not a part but all, of the curriculum of the school.
~ J. Gresham Machen, in Education, Christianity, and the State. (Jefferson, MD: Trinity Foundation, 1987. page 81).
From earliest days, the IPHC considered education and a well-trained ministry of great import. Its early leaders were all men who were trained and capable. They had a goal of balancing quality education with the vital spiritual energy of Pentecost.
The great IPHC leader G. H. Montgomery noted in 1938 that, “Education is bound to come in for more and more prominence in our ranks…Spiritual leaders will promote a spiritual program. We cannot afford to commit spiritual suicide by opposing education. Neither can we afford to let anything take the place of the Holy Spirit in the church and our ministry…” PH Advocate (Feb. 3, 1938).
Articles appeared, by S.N. Greene and others, noting the need for ministerial training and education for the creation of a clergy of which churches need not be ashamed. R.O. Corvin later added, “No denomination will rise above its highest educational institution….If we want a growing, spiritual…church, we must have a school of higher learning with those characteristics…”Advocate (July 26, 1945). A year later, Montgomery was pondering, as were many in that time period, “Do We Need a Seminary?” Advocate (Feb.15, 1946).
In 1966, the denomination had its first seminary in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The General Conference finally named the program at ORU as the official PH Seminary but, with Roberts leaving the denomination in 1968, the celebration was short lived. (Synan, Old Time Religion ).
In 1987, the dream of a Graduate School arose seriously once more as Jack Goodson and IPHC leadership began a plan to unify the education program of the denomination. This dream was further realized with the appointment of Dr. Garnet Pike as Dean of the I.P.H.C. Graduate School in 1992. In September of 1993, the denominations first graduate school opened its doors on the campus of Southwestern Christian University. It allowed students to become part of a milestone in denomination history. The school offered a Master of Ministry focusing on practical equipping for successful ministry and taught by some of the finest leaders in the country. The impact of the program on ministers has proven true the words of G.H. Montgomery “…Spiritual leaders will promote a spiritual program.”
by Marilyn Hudson, Author & Historian
Director of Library Services, Southwestern Christian University