I would like to say something about the ethos and mission of St. Timothy’s Theological College and Seminary. STTCS has been founded by a small cadre of gifted, mature and experienced theological professors who are personally and selflessly committed to the project of training a new generation of priests and other leaders for service to the Church.

But times have changed. Educational technologies have changed. And we have changed too. In many ways these changes have greatly expanded our potential and our opportunity to effectively and efficiently educate the next generation – to an unprecedented level. The potential of on-line interaction between student and professor, as well as access to educational and research materials, has expanded to an unprecedented level in just the past two decades. And yet we live and move and have our being in a “post-Christian” world.

It is a world in which the seductiveness of sin has significantly muted this potential and our opportunity. In many ways, it could be said that a new “dark age” has begun. And as a result, our civilization has become perilously fragile. And yet the Gospel proclaims that the light has come into the world, and the darkness will never apprehend it.

And thus we labor on. And we labor not to produce leaders that will merely preside over the collapse of our civilization. No. Our vision is to produce whole cohorts of renaissance-trained leaders and teachers who will begin colonizing the inner spaces of our eviscerated “post-Christian” culture, to help build a new one – right now – and not wait to build upon the ashes of our own folly. And we are going to try to do this by giving to this generation of scholars – not by taking from them. Jesus himself came to minister to others, not for others to minister to him. And we should too.

Over the last two hundred years or so we have lost much ground in our struggle to fulfill the Great Commission: [to] “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Mt 28:19) For worldly, post-Christian people, the “cross of Christ” is a complete, nonsensical abstraction. They even say that religion itself is completely groundless, a completely arbitrary decision that one makes in order to make him feel better while he gets through life.

But Christianity is not groundless. Christianity is God’s well-attested witness to the world about the truth that is in Christ. And unless we teach our future leaders to read and to think critically, they are going to be completely blown away by the seductive arguments of the atheists in our secularized university system which seek to detract from this witness. Our religion is entirely built upon evidence. It is built squarely upon the testimony of God himself – in his creation, in our souls, in the flow of our history, and in the space-time revelation of Jesus Christ in that history. It is not Christianity that needs an apology. It is the religious and secular existentialisms of the state and its “scientific” mythologies that need an apology.

St. Paul calls these epicurean-like pseudo-scientists “enemies of the cross of Christ.” Because these people don’t believe in truth at all. They hardly believe in ideas. They only believe in “real things.” Their God is something that their senses can come into contact with. (Whatever that means) Thus their God is not the invisible Christian God, Paul says. Their God is their belly.

But note well. What is St. Paul’s reaction to the atheist of his time? It is weeping. What is our reaction to atheists? It is anger, isn’t it? It is even rage. It is gnashing of teeth. It is what the people did to Stephen when he preached the truth to them about their stubbornness. I would suggest that the proper mindset to engage the arguments of the atheists today is compassion. It is weeping. Because their souls have been lost. Or in the process of being lost. If you are thinking about ministry, you must have this compassion and love for the souls of dying men.

The Revd Dr Paul K. Hubbard, president