UNITY THROUGH DIVERSITY
ACTS is an educational meeting place, where faculty and students come together in the conviction that more can be learned through cooperation than in isolation.
The benefits of this arrangement are easy to see; ACTS students have access to a broader range of resources than any one seminary could offer independently. Together with our shared faculty, programs and areas of study, the result is graduates who are better able to serve God in their own unique context.
ACTS stands for the Associated Canadian Theological Schools of Trinity Western University. Each associated seminary retains its own unique denominational independence and culture. What brings us together is our shared dependence on God’s grace and direction.
By living, learning and serving together, we come to appreciate the faith of fellow believers from traditions other than our own. This cooperation ultimately results in a greater understanding and commitment to our own local church – allowing us to live out the gospel where God has placed us.
Benefits of providing theological education within a consortium:
ACTS faculty have studied, ministered and taught around the world. They are experts in their fields, both in their academic work and as practitioners in active ministries. As a result, they can effectively and confidently prepare you for a wide range of vocations.
With multiple denominations under one roof, our students get a front-row seat as followers of Jesus from different traditions think together about what it means to follow Christ. This creates a balanced learning environment that welcomes and engages multiple perspectives, helping you become more fully aware and engaged in your own church.
As partners with Trinity Western University and fully accredited members of the Association of Theological Schools, our seminary programs meet the same high standards as university graduate education. You experience the best of both worlds – an academic university education and a practical seminary education.
Bringing together multiple denominational traditions can be challenging at times. But it forces us to let go of caricatures and easy answers as we seek the heart of what Jesus taught. Seminary is where the church can do its thinking. You will be equipped to apply in your church what you learned in seminary – faithfully living out the gospel as the body of Christ in the world.
Degrees offered by ACTS are conferred jointly by the member seminaries and Trinity Western University. ACTS students are simultaneously students (and then graduates) of one of the member seminaries and the university.
Currently the ACTS consortium is composed of four denominationally-rooted schools:
Our mission as the Associated Canadian Theological Schools of Trinity Western University is to develop godly servant leaders who have a love and burden for people based on a strong commitment to Jesus Christ, the Word of God, and the ministry of the church, who will energetically strengthen, revitalize and actively multiply communities of effectively ministering believers in Canada and around the world.
More specifically, ACTS seeks to achieve the following goals in and through our graduates:
Enrich the personal and spiritual life of every student.
Affirm, live under and promote the authority of the Bible as God’s Word, producing graduates who have a thorough knowledge of Scripture and who are competent to interpret, apply and communicate it.
Develop leaders who understand and uphold the convictions and distinctions of their denominations, applying them effectively in the work of church planting, church growth, evangelism and discipleship.
Equip graduates to address competently the Canadian cultural mosaic, reaching it with the gospel.
Train pastors, global workers, church planters, evangelists, counselors and other vocational and non-vocational church leaders to have a transforming vision for worldwide ministry and a biblical perspective on the dynamics, range and development of church leadership.
Ensure that the classroom experience of students includes a connection between the learning material and ministry situations.
Foster excellent thinking, writing and speaking skills that enable students to make a significant contribution to Christian scholarship.
Provide Christian leaders with people-helping, organizational and communication skills needed to develop and support effective ministries.
The members of ACTS Seminaries are wholeheartedly committed to historic orthodox Christianity as expressed by the statements of faith of Trinity Western University and the denominations represented by our member seminaries
These shared values shape and maximize cooperation within the ACTS partnership.
ACTS is a multi-denominational partnership committed to working inter-denominationally with one another. This makes ACTS a welcoming place to study for students from any denomination. We are committed to theological education for effective, relevant ministry in any context where God calls Christian women and men to serve.
While ACTS is a diverse learning community, we hold a common commitment to the Bible as authoritative over our teaching and life. Our educational programs emphasize training the whole person and applying Scripture to our daily personal and interpersonal behavior.
God calls us to holiness. This involves bringing our personal and corporate life into conformity with the mind of Christ, and challenging us to love God and serve others. ACTS expects graduate students preparing for Christian ministry to consistently model a godly lifestyle on and off campus. Our Community Covenant expresses the commitment of our faculty, staff and students to pursue holiness as we live and learn together.
ACTS students represent a variety of traditions and points of view within the broad context of the Evangelical Protestant faith. In fact, about half the student body come from denominations other than the four that support our seminaries directly. Living and learning in community with those who are different from ourselves but who love Jesus is an amazing experience.
Can multiple, diverse, and even sometimes competing denominations work together to create a cooperative seminary program to equip pastors, church planters, global workers, and other Christian leaders for the challenges of 21st century ministry? The history of ACTS Seminaries answers with a resounding “Yes!” The result has been a joint learning environment for real-life Christian service that witnesses to our essential oneness in Christ.
In 1985, representatives from four denominations met to discuss possible ways to cooperatively provide training for Christian service that they were unable to offer on their own. Out of much consideration and prayer, a shared vision emerged and the ACTS consortium was born
In 1988, the Baptist General Conference established Canadian Baptist Seminary, the Evangelical Free Church of Canada, along with Trinity Western University, created Trinity Western Seminary, and Northwest Baptist Seminary relocated its operations from Vancouver to the Langley campus of TWU. In addition to the three founding members of ACTS Seminaries, Mennonite Brethren Biblical Seminary (based in Fresno, California) became a formal member of ACTS in 1999.
Other seminaries have at times embraced the cooperative vision and shared in the educational mission of ACTS. Between 1999 and 2009, Ambrose Seminary (formerly Canadian Theological Seminary, serving the Christian and Missionary Alliance) sponsored a BC-based extension site within the ACTS consortium. Between 2004 and 2015 the Canadian Pentecostal Seminary (established by the Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada) operated as a member school of the ACTS consortium.
We choose to work together as brothers and sisters in Christ because this is the command Christ has given us. In his prayer for his disciples and the church in John 17:20ff, Jesus said “I pray for those who will believe in me through their message, that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me… I in them and you in me – so that they may be brought to complete unity.” We are not all called to be the same, but we are all called to be united in Christ. It is only when we are brought to unity through our oneness in Christ that the world may believe.
Affiliated Organizations, Institutes and Centres
Several educationally-oriented ministry organizations work in affiliation with ACTS to provide specialized training. ACTS and TWU also sponsor several research centres and institutes to offer resources for specific areas of ministry.
President and CEO: Danny Foster
CanIL offers training in linguistics and translation for individuals who will serve as Bible translators or work in related forms of linguistic and literacy ministries around the world. CanIL operates in affiliation with ACTS, providing the linguistic training component for the Master of Applied Linguistics and Exegesis program. CanIL also functions as the linguistics department of Trinity Western University. Each summer CanIL operates the Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) program in Canada. The institute integrates scholarship with service to language communities worldwide.
Director: Dr. Paul Yang
VIEW established an affiliate relationship with ACTS in 1999. The institute manages Korean-language delivery of a number of courses aimed at Christian Korean professionals. Our affiliation arrangement allows these courses to be offered for graduate credit through ACTS and TWU.
ACTS and TWU also sponsor several Centres and Institutes to promote specialized research and/or to offer resources for specific areas of ministry.
Director: Dr. Robert Hiebert
The Septuagint, the earliest Greek translation of the Old Testament and the Bible of the early Christian church, was one of the key religious texts in the third century B.C. Trinity Western University and ACTS Seminaries launched the Septuagint Institute, a hub for Septuagint research, translation, and publication projects.
Director: Dr. Michael Wilkinson
The Religion in Canada Institute is an interdisciplinary research centre and intellectual community of scholars at ACTS Seminaries and Trinity Western University committed to understanding the multifaceted role of religion in Canada for culture, individuals, and social institutions.
Director: Dr. Paul Chamberlain
The Institute for Christian Apologetics is a division of ACTS Seminaries. It strives to provide graduate level education and relevant training in Christian apologetics in a vital learning community. Its aim is to equip believers to respond thoughtfully to the challenges Christians face. Apologetics is the defense of the Christian Faith and involves presenting Christian truth claims with relevance and credibility to today’s culture.
The Institute for Christian Apologetics sponsors a variety of seminars and public events on campus and across the region. A specialization in contemporary apologetics is also available for students in the MDiv, MACS, and MTS degree programs.
Director: Dr. John Auxier
The purpose of Smarter Families Canada, as an educational outreach of ACTS Seminaries of Trinity Western University, is to equip local churches across Canada to become recognized centres of excellence for premarital counseling, marriage enrichment, parent education and recovery resources, in order to strengthen the institution of traditional marriage, to reduce the prevalence of divorce in our churches and communities, and to promote godly and healthy family relationships in our congregations.
Director: Dr. Kent Anderson
With University support and cooperation from the TWU Extension department, ACTS developed the Centre for Ministry Excellence (CME) in 2008. CME is an engine for the pursuit of creative initiatives that allow ACTS to assist our constituencies with leadership training and educational resource development in ways that fall outside the scope of traditional for-credit, campus-based programming. To date, much of CME’s energies have been focused on developing relationships with denominational and other ministry agencies that provide non-formal training to their members, helping these agencies to improve educational quality and opening pathways for ministry-based training to lead to for-credit Seminary degree programs. This initiative has included development of for-credit courses that can be taken as part of ministry-based training programs.