Lutheran Faith Tradition

Despite the changing faces, places, and cultural context over the decades, the Bible remains at the heart of a Trinity’s education. The Rev. Eugene Stime, our first president, with students lifting the Bible high, in 1953.

If collegiate study is a feast, the Bible is Trinity’s main course. Gathered around the table are an array of faculty and students, seeking to interpret God’s revelation faithfully and apply it to an ever expanding range of opportunities for mission and service. With a legacy of biblical study, Christ-centered education and service, Trinity continues to transform lives and cultivate students who will transform the world.

Over the years, we have adapted to changing needs in the church and world at large. Indeed, the look and feel of our biblical education has been translated from generation to generation. Nonetheless, the heart of a Trinity education is an encounter with Christ through the study of God’s word.

Trinity’s Distinctive Educational Model

Many colleges and universities throughout North America include biblical study and theology within their curricula, but Trinity’s approach remains distinct - and exhilarating. We do not focus on force feeding students the answers to tough theological questions. Rather, we emphasize faithful engagement with the Bible and training in biblical interpretation, giving appropriate attention to the importance of biblical interpretation in Christian history. This allows faculty and staff from various perspectives to challenge themselves and each other to appropriately interpret God’s truth (2 Timothy 2:15). This creates a lively environment in which students learn to take ownership of their faith and, when necessary, challenge the dominant interpretations of their day—just as Martin Luther did centuries ago.

Trinity fosters stimulating environments where various positions within Christianity are welcomed, heard, and debated.

Uniting Trinity’s biblical community is not a homogeneous set of interpretations, but a shared commitment to holding up biblical revelation—and letting it bring light to the chief questions of our day.

“As much as I am personally committed to authentic Lutheran theology,” says Dr. Jeff Mallinson. “I savor the typical scenario at Trinity, which is a group of students gathered around a table with the Bible in the center, rather than sitting at the feet of an authority so they can learn to parrot their professor’s dogmatic conclusions.” Trinity responds to the plurality of perspectives within our postmodern age; we teach students to understand how to critically commit to an informed, passionate, and engaged faith.

Students learn to incorporate their biblical knowledge into the toughest problems they will face in their chosen profession and field of study particular in Trinity’s 24 credits of required biblical core coursework. This is a tough but rewarding endeavor. Student Yelena Guba thinks this is especially important in the business world. “Over the years,” she says, “business has earned a reputation for corruption and deceit. Unfortunately, greed has ruined many people’s better judgment. Of course, several thousand years ago, God warned about such things: ‘Do not pervert justice or show partiality. Do not accept a bribe, for a bribe blinds the eyes of the wise and twists the words of the righteous. Follow justice and justice alone, so that you may live and possess the land the LORD your God is giving you” (Deuteronomy 16:19-20).

Throughout coursework for her business degree at Trinity, Yelena has learned “the importance of ethics, and how they must be the foundation of any corporation. As Christians, we are called to be the image of God; this in itself creates a great responsibility for us to love our neighbors, and to act in all honesty, integrity, and justice.” Trinity’s call to students to reflect on the importance of the Bible for their professions is cultivating students like Yelena who will fill important leadership roles in future decades.

Pan-Lutheran, and not just for Lutherans

Students need not be Lutheran to attend or to enjoy their time at Trinity.

They will, nonetheless, have a chance to encounter four emphases that are at the heart of the Lutheran tradition: (1) commitment to a distinction between law and gospel within Scripture, (2) the importance of mission and service to humanity flowing from a Gospel-centered community, (3) the importance of education for all Christians avoiding undue dependence on human authority, and (4) the importance of Christ as the center of the biblical narrative. Christians throughout the world treasure these emphases and Trinity students are contributing to this critical conversation.

Our interest in balance at Trinity is principled and bold. As people of the cross, we challenge faulty assumptions wherever they are found, whether in the church or in the public square. Of course, we also teach students to take intellectual and ethical stands with charity and humility. This has never been easy. In fact, almost a century ago Samuel Miller, founder of the Lutheran Bible Institute movement, recognized the challenges of steering a clear course:

There has been a struggle to hold to the Bible as the revealed and inspired Word of God in a world that has felt that progress demanded that in many cases we move away from the foundation of the Bible. It has been against the stream of the world view of progress that we have insisted the Bible lays a foundation of eternal verities. It has been a struggle to keep a balance in times of great extremes. Ultra-conservatism and dead orthodoxism stand frowning on the right side, while emotional-experience religion stands shouting and exhorting on the left. LBI has tried to keep a balance.

In keeping with its heritage, Trinity seeks to provide faithful Christian education, with the Bible at the center of and integrated throughout various liberal arts disciplines to challenge the flat, secularist view of the world. In so doing, it seeks a course that resists the errors of anti-intellectualism on the one hand, and on the other, undue surrender to the values and ideologies of the day. Therefore, Trinity seeks students, faculty, and staff who are courageous enough to be a part of a distinctively intellectual, faithful, and engaged dialogue.