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The Beirut Benchmarks

Developed and unanimously endorsed by participants in the ICETE Doctoral Consultation
Beirut, Lebanon | March 2010

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Doctoral study within an evangelical Christian institution is founded on an understanding of knowledge that is more than academic. In the Bible, acquiring and exercising wisdom involves a combination of faith, reason and action. It requires

  • right belief and committed trust in the living God (“the fear of the LORD is the first principle of wisdom”),
  • creative and humble use of the rationality God has granted to humans made in his own image, and
  • appropriate living in the world to reflect God’s calling and participate in God’s mission.

Doctoral study, therefore, pursued on such a foundation, will be confessional, rational and missional. For a Christian, doctoral study is one dimension of what it means to “love the LORD your God with all your heart and mind and soul and strength.”

Within such a framework of Christian identity and commitment, the doctoral qualification will be awarded to students who are church members commended for faithful discipleship and recognized leadership, and who demonstrate the following qualities through appropriate examination:

  1. Comprehensive understanding, having demonstrated a breadth of systematic understanding of a field of study relevant to the Christian community of faith, and mastery of the skills and methods of research appropriate to that field.
  2. Critical skills, faithfully exercised, having demonstrated their capacity for critical analysis, independent evaluation of primary and secondary source materials, and synthesis of new and inter-related ideas through coherent argumentation, and their commitment to exercise such skills on the foundation of biblical faithfulness to Jesus Christ and his church.
  3. Serious inquiry with integrity, having demonstrated the ability to conceive, design and implement a substantial project of inquiry resulting in a sustained and coherent thesis, and to do so with Christian and scholarly integrity.
  4. Creative and original contribution, having produced, as a result of such disciplined inquiry, a creative and original contribution that extends the frontiers of knowledge, or develops fresh insights in the articulation and contextual relevance of the Christian tradition, some of which merit national or international refereed publication.
  5. Contextual relevance, having shown their capacity, in the course of their doctoral program and in their expectation of its future potential, for biblically-informed critical engagement with the realities of their cultural contexts.
  6. Ability to communicate, having shown an ability in communicating about their area of expertise to peer-level academic audiences, and, where appropriate, to non-specialists in local Christian communities and the wider society in culturally relevant ways, including their mother tongue, for example through teaching, preaching or writing.
  7. Missional impact, having shown that they are committed, and can be expected, to use the fruit of their doctoral study, the skills it has given them and the opportunities it affords them, to promote the kingdom of God and advance the mission of the church (both local and global), through Christ-like and transformational service, to the glory of God.

Participants in the ICETE Doctoral Consultation:

  • Bernhard Ott, European Evangelical Accrediting Association (EEAA), Switzerland
  • Bulus Galadima, ECWA Theological Seminary Jos (JETS), Nigeria
  • Carver Yu, China Graduate School of Theology (CGST), Hong Kong
  • Chris Wright, Langham Partnerships International (LPI), UK
  • Chuck Van Engen, Latin American Leadership Development Program (PRODOLA), Costa Rica
  • Daniel Koh, Trinity Theological College (TTC), Singapore
  • Davi Charles Gomes, Andrew Jumper Presbyterian Post-Graduate Centre (CPAJ), Brazil
  • Douglas Carew, Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology (NEGST), Kenya
  • Elie Haddad, Arab Baptist Theological Seminary (ABTS), Lebanon
  • Ian Payne, South Asia Institute of Advanced Christian Studies (SAIACS), India
  • Ian Shaw, Langham Partnerships International (LPI), UK
  • Las Newman, Caribbean Graduate School of Theology (CGST), Jamaica
  • Luke Cheung, China Graduate School of Theology (CGST), Hong Kong
  • Oscar Campos, Seminário Teológico Centroamericano (SETECA), Guatemala
  • Parush Parushev, International Baptist Theological Seminary (IBTS), Czech Republic
  • Paul Bowers, International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE), USA/Africa
  • Paul Sanders, International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE), France/Lebanon
  • Ralph Enlow, Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE), USA
  • Riad Kassis, Overseas Council International (OC), Lebanon
  • Scott Cunningham, Overseas Council International (OC), USA/Africa
  • Sergiy Sannikov, Euro-Asian Accrediting Association (E-AAA), Ukraine
  • Theresa Roco Lua, Asia Graduate School of Theology (AGST), Philippines
  • Weanzana wa Nupanga, Faculté de Théologie Évangélique de Bangui (FATEB), Central African Republic

Also endorsed by:

  • The Governing Board of the International Council for Evangelical Theological Education (ICETE)
  • Langham Partnership International (LPI)
  • Overseas Council International (OCI)
  • Asia Theological Association (ATA)
  • Association for Evangelical Theological Education in Latin America (AETAL)
  • Euro-Asian Accrediting Association (E-AAA)
  • South Pacific Association of Evangelical Colleges (SPAEC)
  • Accrediting Council for Theological Education in Africa (ACTEA)
  • Caribbean Evangelical Theological Association (CETA)
  • European Evangelical Accrediting Association (EEAA)
  • Association for Biblical Higher Education (ABHE)