This past Monday and Tuesday, October 13-14th, saw history in the making. The first ever SAET symposium was held at Calvary Memorial Church in Oak Park, Chicago, where Todd Wilson, one of the board members of the society, is the pastor. SAET is pronounced, sat, and stands for Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology.
A small group of 13 to 15, composed of mostly pastors, came together in Chicago for the symposium. This year’s theme was Resurrection, and several papers were presented and discussed. Gordon Conwell’s New Testament professor Scott Hafemann, although he did not present a paper, gave oversight to the symposium and all the discussions. Gerald Hiestand, the president of the SAET Society also discussed the future of the SAET Society and facilitated discussion around potential directions for SAET.
While the vision for SAET is still coming together, those who attended the first symposium were enthusiastic about the benefit of starting this new community of fellow pastor-scholars. Among the group was David Rudolph, a messianic Jewish pastor from Los Angeles who is helping develop the first ever Masters of Divinity degree that specializes in messianic Jewish theology, Stephen Witmer, a pastor of a church in Maine, and Owen Strachan, the managing director of the Carl F.H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Chicago.
“It was sort of intimidating for me,” said Bradley Cochran, one of the attenders. ”Most of these guys are Cambridge or Oxford graduates with Ph.D.’s. Gerald’s vision for the SAET has birthed new discussions on important issues surrounding the heart of the gospel message itself, and the vision for the Society I found irresistible.”