by Vern Poythress

What is public theology? Should Westminster Theological Seminary be involved in public theology, and if so, how? I would like to suggest a possible foundational framework for public theology and pastoral leadership. The framework would suggest ways in which the unique cluster of resources that WTS has inherited might be used in the service of public theology.

Resources at WTS

Many quarters of evangelicalism would like to engage in a theology related to the “public sphere.” But WTS has a depth of resources that make it valuable to think about what might be our distinctive contribution. We have a rich theological heritage in Reformed theology. We have a rich heritage of redemptive-historical interpretation of the Bible, and the use of biblical theology (from Geerhardus Vos and his followers). These potentially provide further depth in interacting with contemporary controversies. We have Van Tilian apologetics, which provides a framework for critical analysis of ideas coming out of the surrounding culture. Apologetics also instructs us on how to communicate with those who disagree. Finally, our heritage in biblical counseling, and its interaction with psychotherapy, gives us one key example of how fruitfully to interact with a cultural issue in a biblically grounded way, and not to lose our bearings in the process.