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Salt Lake School of Theology Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever
The Truth Network Radio
March 28, 2021 9:51 pm

Salt Lake School of Theology Part 1

Viewpoint on Mormonism / Bill McKeever

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March 28, 2021 9:51 pm

Pastor Matt Emadi explains a new school that will begin this fall in Salt Lake City, providing an educational opportunity for Christians to get formal theological training. The website is found at

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Answering Mormons Questions by Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson deals with 36 commonly asked questions by your LDS friends and neighbors. It's a great resource for Christians who want to share their faith with friends and loved ones.

Be sure to pick up your copy today at your favorite Christian bookstore. Viewpoint on Mormonism, the program that examines the teachings of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from a biblical perspective. Viewpoint on Mormonism is sponsored by Mormonism Research Ministry. Since 1979, Mormonism Research Ministry has been dedicated to equipping the body of Christ with answers regarding the Christian faith in a manner that expresses gentleness and respect. And now your host for today's Viewpoint on Mormonism. Welcome to this edition of Viewpoint on Mormonism. I'm your host, Bill McKeever, founder and director of Mormonism Research Ministry. And with me today is Eric Johnson, my colleague at MRM. But we also have for you today our special guest, Pastor Matt Amadi.

That's spelled E-M-A-D-I. Matt is the pastor of Crossroads Church in Sandy, Utah. And for those of you who are not familiar with Utah, Sandy is located about 20 minutes south of downtown Salt Lake City. But Matt, I want to welcome you to the show. Thank you. Glad to have you on.

Thank you for having me. A lot of people who are in ministry see Utah rightfully as a mission field. You were telling me before that you are a Utah native.

Yes. And so you were already expecting some of the unique trials of ministering in Utah. Anything you want to pass on to any pastors outside of the state that might be considering coming here?

Yeah, that's a great question. If you're considering coming to Utah, come and expect a slow, difficult ministry, but very rewarding and worth the time and the effort. But this is not Texas. You're not going to come here and throw a sign up on the road and have a hundred people show up to a church plant on day one.

There are a lot of challenges. Obviously, Mormonism is still the predominant religion, and pastors just need to know that coming in. What you said is exactly what I hear from a lot of pastors who have come to Utah, succeeded in Utah, because we have seen, unfortunately, a lot of pastors come with very good intentions and they found out that it's not like Texas. We are not Bible Belt here. It is a unique ministry opportunity, but one that is very needed.

That is for sure. But we wanted to have you on because you have some exciting news about what you and some other pastors here locally plan on doing in the months ahead. And we wanted to talk about that.

So let me just jump into it. You and four other pastors here in the state of Utah, all with doctorate degrees, have decided to begin a theological school. Why don't you tell us about what your plans are? Yeah, so myself, Lucas Counterman at Gospel Grace, and Jared Jenkins at Risen Life have all gotten together. These brothers have PhDs in various theological disciplines to begin planning the establishment of theological training, accredited master's level theological training that could be offered right here in Salt Lake City.

Now, there's a lot to that and who we're working with and the details that we can unpack. But the goal is beginning this August to offer students an education towards a master's degree that they can receive from professors who are pastoring churches right here in the Salt Lake Valley. Now, what if you're not planning on going into the ministry proper?

Would this be something that an average quote unquote person might be interested in? Absolutely. The school is for, it's really for everyone. It is for the person who is thinking, I want to be in some kind of formal ministry, maybe vocational ministry full time, and I want to deepen my theological understanding, deepen my understanding of the Bible and how to teach the Bible.

Absolutely. This is going to be a rigorous academic education for those people. But, you know, the person in the church who says, maybe I want to get a degree and just continue to serve in my church and working in my job, but deepen my theological understanding, by all means, that's for you. It's for the person who wants to just audit some classes, you know, even not pursue the full degree, but take courses in particular subjects to deepen their understanding and be more effective and faithful. And someone listening to our station in Boise, Idaho, could be interested in this, take advantage of it?

Yeah. So I should, maybe I should just back up and say the Salt Lake School of Theology is working with Gateway Seminary in California. So we are technically under their umbrella and we are offering a Master's of Theological Essentials.

That is a Gateway degree, Gateway Seminary. Now we're offering classes in person, but every single class we offer, even if it's an in-person class, will have a remote access component. So some of the classes will be online only, remote access only.

We just have to do that for accreditation reasons. But even the ones we offer in person, somebody in California, Idaho, Nevada, can get in on their computer and log in and participate live in the class and in the lecture, listening and even asking questions and engaging real time. If somebody wanted to go to any kind of a school of theology in Utah right now, where would they go? Nowhere. There's nowhere.

There's nothing in Utah right now. As far as we know, there's no master's level theological training within 300 miles. Again, there are seminaries out there. There are online. I mean, online education is huge these days.

You can get a master's degree in theology from a seminary entirely online. So why are we doing this? Well, we think, one, there is value in the face to face interaction and in-person kind of dynamic that comes in the classroom and between teachers and students. But also, you know, let's say there's a guy in my church who wants to get theological education. Well, if he goes off to California or goes off to Kentucky, how likely is it that he's going to come back? A lot of times that doesn't happen. People leave and they don't come back. You know, they end up serving somewhere else and praise God for where they're serving. But we want to be able to offer theological training right here in the valley where we're presenting, you know, biblical theology, Old Testament theology, and giving students that kind of teaching, but also with the contextual element of the unique environment we have here in ministering to Mormons in the context we're in.

But also it keeps them here. They're in the church is serving here. They're ministering here. They're living here. They're learning in their local church, the environment, the culture, while at the same time pursuing their theological education.

And we think that's valuable. So for those who live in Utah, where will your physical building be? Where are they going to go for classes?

So right now the plan, we are setting up rooms in Risen Life Church in Holiday and Gospel Grace Church in downtown Salt Lake to be outfitted with the proper technology so that we can teach these classes and have the remote access component. So the in-person classes, at least for the near future, will be held at those two local churches. And so even though Gateway Seminary is a graduate school for the Southern Baptist Convention, you're saying that you don't have to be a Southern Baptist to be able to go and even get a degree at this school. No.

Yeah. This, I mean, really anyone can enroll, can take classes. This is for anyone who wants to pursue theological education. As part of Gateway, the professors affirm the Baptist faith and message. We have some other documents that the professors subscribe to, Chicago Statement on Inerrancy, Nashville Statement, and the abstract of principles so that the professors are agreeing to a common kind of core confession. But as far as the students, anyone who wants to enroll can enroll.

Now, I think there are people who are listening right now who are going, oh my goodness, this is going to be a great opportunity. SLST.US is your website. SL for Salt Lake, ST for School of Theology, dot US. And what kind of degrees, if they did want to get a degree, what are the degrees again that they can get?

Yes. So right now, the main bread and butter degree that we will offer is a 36 credit hour Master's of Theological Essentials. So it's a fully accredited master's degree. It's not the full Master of Divinity, which is a 90 hour program. It's a 36 hour degree that will give students the kind of foundational courses like Church History I and II, Old Testament I and II, New Testament I and II, Hermeneutics, in addition to some other courses that we are including that won't necessarily be part of the degree, but add to the students' experience in education. But the Master's of Theological Essentials, that's the main degree, 36 hour degree. Now, let's say someone wanted to enroll, and they don't have an undergraduate degree. Because again, this is a master's program. There's still an opportunity for them. So if someone does not have an undergraduate degree, they can pursue the diploma of Theological Essentials.

And that is an alternative option. If someone is over 25 years old and enrolls in the program and maintains a 3.2 GPA for the first year, they can apply for the master's by exception and still receive a master's degree. Now, in addition to the master's degree, we're offering what right now is called the Utah Church Ministry Certificate. We're probably going to change the name to the Intermountain Church Certificate or something, because we don't want this just to be Utah focused. But in addition to the degree, we're going to offer colloquiums, one day seminars, where we're going to bring in pastors from Utah, professors from around the country, guys like yourself who do apologetics and offer colloquiums on a particular topic. And we'll offer nine of those during a student's program. If they complete six, they can be awarded this additional certificate on top of the master's of Theological Essentials.

Wow. So you're going to begin in August of 2021, the fall semester. Yes, we are moving right along.

We've got the pieces in place. In fact, if you go to our website,, you can already apply. The information is on there on how to apply. You can't register yet for the courses, but we are on track to offer Old Testament church history and some of the practicum leadership courses beginning this August. And somebody is saying, OK, well, how much is this going to cost? Yes, yeah, so the reality is that seminary education is not cheap, so how much it's going to cost depends. So since we are affiliated with Gateway Seminary, which is one of the seminaries of the Southern Baptist Convention, if you belong to a Southern Baptist church, you are given basically half cost on tuition, which is about $275 per credit hour. So a three credit hour class costs you about $1,000 with fees and everything. Now, if you are not part of a Southern Baptist church, you pay the full tuition, which is about, oh, I'm going to get this wrong, but it's about $475 per credit hour. So there is a difference, and that's because just because they're affiliated with the Southern Baptist Convention, churches give to what's called the cooperative program, and that helps subsidize the cost for SBC church members. Now, if you're auditing a course, though, I think the course is $100 to audit a course.

That's an option, too. We've been talking to Pastor Matt Amati. He is the pastor of Crossroads Church in Sandy. By the way, Matt, why don't you mention, where is your church located if someone local here wants to attend? Yeah, so we are at 166 East and 106 South, 10,600 if you're from out of the state.

So we're just east of State Street in Sandy. And if you join his church, you're going to get half price. There you go.

What a salesman. There you go. But anyway, we've been talking about this new opportunity for education in the Salt Lake area.

But if you just heard that part, please listen to everything. There's also online courses that you can take as well. And I think this is something that people here in the state of Utah could greatly benefit from. And I'm glad that you're putting this thing together. Thank you. And I'm praying for its ultimate success on that.

That's for sure. But anyway, we're going to continue our conversation with Matt in tomorrow's show. Thank you for listening. If you would like more information regarding Mormonism Research Ministry, we encourage you to visit our website at, where you can request our free newsletter, Mormonism Researched. We hope you will join us again as we look at another viewpoint on Mormonism. . Looking for a book on Mormonism from a Christian perspective? Or do you have questions about the history or doctrines of the LDS Church? Bill McKeever and Eric Johnson are once again volunteering at the Utah Lighthouse Bookstore and would be glad to speak to you on Saturdays from 1 to 5 PM. The Utah Lighthouse Bookstore is located right there at 1358 South on West Temple Street in Salt Lake City. Be sure to come by any Saturday from 1 to 5 PM and say hi to Bill or Eric.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-12-10 10:47:29 / 2023-12-10 10:53:33 / 6

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