History of the CPT
THe First Ten Years
The idea for the Center for Pastor Theologians was conceived by Gerald Hiestand in the fall of 2004 during his transition from full-time pastoral ministry to graduate school. The transition left him with the distinct impression that much of what was taking place in the academy did not always translate easily into the life of the church. Increasingly convinced that the unique—and often diverging—social locations of the academy and the local church lay at the root of the disconnect, Gerald began to appreciate in fresh ways the benefit of uniting theological formation and pastoral ministry—a union typified by many of church history's greatest pastor-theologians: Athanasius, Augustine, Calvin, Luther, Edwards, Wesley, and more. Gerald began to envision a theological society that would pull together pastor-theologians dedicated to producing ecclesial theology—a theology born out of the context of the local church, and directed toward the ecclesial community.
In 2005, William Edmondson and Jonathan Cummings caught the vision and the three men began working together to flesh out what such a theological society might look like. In 2006, Dr. Todd Wilson joined the group and a workable vision began to take shape. A few months later, the Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology (SAET) was born. Dr. John Yates joined the board in the Summer of 2009, and Dr. Michael LeFebvre joined the board in 2012.
Formally incorporated in 2006, the CPT underwent numerous mission shifts before sorting itself out in it's current form. In 2013 the SAET was renamed the Center for Pastor Theologians (CPT), to better capture the scope of our mission. Today, the Center for Pastor Theologians is a broadly evangelical organization dedicated to helping pastor theologians provide faithful written, intellectual and theological leadership on behalf of the church, in light of the cultural challenges and opportunities of the late modern world.
In 2015, the CPT hosted its first theology conference at Calvary Memorial Church. The CPT Conference now occurs annually, bringing together pastors, scholars, and academics for robust dialogue on various theological topics.
In 2018 the CPT will officially launch its fourth pastoral fellowship. Looking to the future, the organization has recommitted itself to assisting pastors and scholars in navigating and leading the church through the theological and cultural challenges of the late modern world. The ultimate aim of the CPT is the renewal of the Christ's Bride, through the advancement of a robust, Christ-exalting ecclesial theology.