Mission & Founding Principles
Changing Lives, Transforming Communities
The McAfee School of Theology at Mercer University forms Christian leaders whose practice and scholarship, empowered by their passion for God and neighbor, change lives and transform communities.
The School accomplishes this mission by:
Integrating spirituality with service
Practicing spiritual disciplines that nurture us for Christian service
Embracing ethnic, gender, and theological diversity to enhance our spiritual growth and moral formation
Creating opportunities to learn in community, experience transformation, and risk action
Integrating theological inquiry with prophetic vision
Interpreting the story of the Christian faith through sacred scriptures and traditions
Connecting faith to global contexts in ways that engage personal, communal, and political realities
Critiquing the structures of our society from an informed prophetic voice
Integrating worship with witness
Celebrating God’s presence in worship as the source of the Church’s call to community and global transformation
Reading cultural contexts to create holistic strategies for ministry
- Proclaiming the love of God in Jesus Christ through dialogue and in partnership with others
The Ten Founding Principles of the McAfee School of Theology
Based on Jesse Mercer’s vision, the McAfee School of Theology is founded on ten principles that have guided its inception and will continue to guide its formation and character:
- The School shall be founded upon the belief that Jesus Christ is the Word of God, the center and focus of faith.
- The School shall spring from Mercer University’s conviction about its own vocation as an institution, borne and nurtured by Baptists and Baptist churches and committed to undergirding the work and witness of the church as a community of faith.
- The School shall seek to educate students who are:
- literate and disciplined in the study of sacred scripture;
- articulate in understanding the historical and theological issues of faith;
- effective preachers and interpreters of the Christian gospel;
- wise and compassionate in personal and social ministry;
- prepared to integrate faith and life in the spiritual formation of congregations.
- The School shall be devoted to the preparation of men and women who combine the call of God’s spirit with the intellectual gifts, the emotional maturity, and the spiritual discipline to become effective and responsible pastors and leaders in ministry.
- The School shall be inclusive in spirit and practice, affirming the open search for truth, and fostering tolerance for religious and intellectual diversity.
- By underscoring both scholarly discipline and the experience of ministry, the School shall seek to break through the dichotomy of theory and practice, claiming both reason and compassion, the mind and the heart as gifts of God and conceiving ministry as bringing the sacred to bear upon every dimension of human experience.
- The School shall hold steadfastly to the high and defining traditions of Baptists, including the priesthood of believers, the separation of church and state, the autonomy of the local congregations as the context for mission and ministry, the centrality of scripture to the life of faith, and the resolve that neither creeds nor human affirmations of faith should stand as tests of orthodoxy.
- While holding firmly to its high calling and to its specific responsibility for theological education among Baptists, the School shall also accept its responsibility to embrace the whole world as the creation of God and to serve the wider Christian community as the people of God who are called to live out God’s purpose and presence in the world.
- The School shall embody the historical traditions of Mercer University, valuing both intellectual freedom and the affirmation of faith as the foundations of the University.
- The School shall serve as a continuing resource to churches, pastors, and professionals in ministry for their continuing education and as a reference and placement service for churches, pastors, and other church leaders.