A Message from Dr. Douglas Bendall
Founder and President
Thank you for your interest in The Newark School of Theology.
Who we Are
The Newark School of Theology was founded in 1997 in Newark, New Jersey, to provide seminary level courses to inner-city ministers and lay persons. Many of our graduates have completed their undergraduate degrees, gone on to graduate studies, have been ordained, or have established their own ministries.
We are known for the quality of our textbooks and faculty. We are recognized for the support and encouragement we extend to each of our students. Our classes are small to ensure that every student may fully participate in class activities.
In Spring 2018, it became necessary to relocate our educational ministry. We were obligated to suspend our programs. Books, files, records, papers, furniture and equipment were placed into storage; and we began to look for a new location. Nearly all classes were suspended. We relocated into a single office space and placed the school into hibernation until a permanent new facility could be found.
Restoring our Educational Ministry
Although The Newark School of Theology is still in need of a permanent location where classes can meet, the Covid 19 Pandemic has forced colleges and universities throughout the world to offer their programs online. This unfortunate circumstance suggests that now is the time to restore our educational ministry by offering online classes.
A New Vision for Theological Education
As initial steps toward restoring our programs, we are offering two classes in the Spring. The first class, Theology and Quantum Physics, expresses a new way of thinking about God and a new vision for Theological Education that follows from the relocation of The Christian Faith from within the framework of Classical Physics into a new location within the World View of Modern Cosmology.
A New Framework for Doing Theology
The second class, Reading the Psalms as The Word of God, is the initial offering of a New Program for the Academic Study of Scripture being introduced at The Newark School of Theology. This new Program, Reading Scripture as the Word of God uses the theological insights developed in the Theology and Quantum Physics course as foundations of a new way to interpret Biblical texts.
The class on the Psalms is founded upon the finding that theological analysis of Modern Cosmology discloses the presence of a Creator of the Universe whom persons of faith call God. It follows, therefore, that in reading the Psalms as the Word of God the class leader and students may assume that modern readers come to participate in something of the same consciousness of God that the original participants of Worship at the First and Second Temples did. It is this, admittedly imperfect, reconstruction of the consciousness of the ancient worshippers that justifies confidence that by reading the Psalms modern readers gain entrance into the faith of the original participants at worship and participate indirectly in the I-Thou relationship that ancient Israelites enjoyed with YHWH.
Confidence in the authenticity of reading Scripture as the Word of God is strengthened by the World View of Modern Cosmology. God’s creative action in the Universe is described by using the core ideas of Alfred North Whitehead’s description of the Creative Action of God (Science and the Modern World, 1925) and Erwin Schrodinger’s Equation (1925). It also draws upon a theological generalization of Paul Dirac’s mathematical analysis of events in terms of the superposition of alternative outcomes of novel events (The Principles of Quantum Mechanics, 4th ed., 1957).
This provision of a new framework for interpreting Scripture constitutes the most radical change in the foundations of Biblical interpretation since the time of Isaac Newton.
Why is This Important?
Experience teaches us that beliefs and actions are determined by what we have learned to be most real and most important. These beliefs change from Age-to-Age as well as among nations and individuals. However, in every civilization there is always a general understanding of how the world works and general agreement upon what most members believe to be of greatest importance and value.
At The Newark School of Theology, we recognize that when what is thought to be Real is consistent with what is believed to be of greatest Value these two foundations of belief support and strengthen each other. Values are understood to rest upon facts, and facts are interpreted in terms of their values. When facts and values are firmly held together, they define a world view that is integrated and coherent. History shows that it is the World view of every society that serves as the foundation for all its serious thinking and practices. The two great pillars that support every society are its basic understanding of Reality and the Values it holds in common.
Religion and Science in the Modern World
The two most influential belief systems of the modern world are religion and science. However, many people think these have little to do with each other. Yet the founders of the two pillars of modern science, Albert Einstein and Max Planck, perceived deep relationships between religion and science. Einstein spoke of a Cosmic Religion that is “the strongest and noblest mainspring of scientific research”. Planck declared “Both Religion and science require a belief in God”. Both affirmed that religion and science have a common origin. Our goal is to seek the common origins of religion and science and, thereby, to bring both disciplines into a harmonious and mutually supportive relationship with each other.
Healing the Breach between Science and Religion
A breach stands between religion and science in contemporary society in the sense that these two main pillars of society do not presently support and reinforce each another. Facts and values are largely seen as independent of each other. There are, of course, many exceptions to this rule. But vigorous public disagreements about facts and “alternative facts” and refusals to guide public policy by science imply a significant disconnection between facts and values among leaders and many members of the general public.
When the two pillars of society do not support each other, confusion and disarray follow. This is the present state of the World. Humanity needs the cooperation of religious leaders and scientists to address threats of global warming, pandemics, political instability and war. The practical significance of religion and science working together to address the pressing issues of our time must be evident to every thinking person.
The Newark School of Theology and Human Flourishing
The Newark School of Theology is committed to the renewal of its educational ministry. Its aim is to restore friendship and cooperation between religion and science by approaching the study of theology with a world view that is rooted in modern science. Its goal is to play a role in creating a society that makes its highest priority the well-being of human beings.
The Judeo-Christian contribution to Human Understanding is
WE ARE MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD
Grace and Peace,
The Rev. Douglas Bendall, M.Div., Ph.D.
Founder and President
The Newark School of Theology
Newark, New Jersey
Copyright: RDBendall 2021