Tigerville, SC (December 4, 2019) — Leaders of the International Alliance for Christian Education (IACE) announced last week that the organization would launch operations in January 2020, seeking to unite Christian educators in every global region around their mutual commitments to Christ-centeredness and confessional solidarity.
The IACE will seek to provide strong connections and collaborative opportunities for a growing list of Christian education programs on every continent.
IACE president David S. Dockery said the new alliance would not seek to compete with nor replace existing organizations doing similar work. But he said a network is needed to represent all sectors of Christian education, complementing and partnering with the existing organizations whenever possible.
“The IACE will be more focused than some other Christian education networks, in light of its exclusive confessional composition,” Dockery said.
The core criteria for membership include a Christ-centered mission and employment policies, cooperative and collaborative spirit, confessional commitments rooted in the truthfulness of Holy Scripture, and a cultural witness that reflects biblical orthodoxy and historic Christian teachings.
“For several years, our association's board and senior leadership have been convinced God is calling us to seek to ally ourselves and actively collaborate with a larger circle of confessionally congruent fellow Christian educators from around the world,” said Ralph Enlow, IACE board chair and president of the Association for Biblical Higher Education. “That divine prompting has found expression and embrace in the emergence of IACE.”
Three membership categories will serve educational and academic organizations, degree-granting institutions, and partners who exhibit a commitment to intellectual discipleship while encouraging the work of Christian education.
By the end of 2020, IACE leaders plan to form a fellowship group intended to connect the shared interests of confessional Christian colleges and universities, gap-year programs, and seminaries/divinity schools.
North Greenville University President Dr. Gene C. Fant, Jr., has been asked to serve as treasurer for the IACE governing board of its 50 charter institutions and seven organizations, with more expected to join before the January launch. Leaders are considering a separate affiliate membership status for institutions that meet some, but not all of the criteria for full membership.
“I am excited about the work of IACE because it is a great cloud of like-minded educators and organizations, encouraging and reminding me that as we are about Kingdom work, including the work of education, we have many partners around the world and in all levels of learning,” Fant said. “The IACE is an alliance of encouragement and professional edification for our shared work.”
In addition to Dockery and Fant, other IACE officers include Enlow; Carl Zylstra (vice-chair), past-president, Dordt College and executive director, Association of Reformed Colleges and Universities; and Barbara McMillin (secretary), president, Blue Mountain College. Other board members include: Robert Sloan, president, Houston Baptist University, Mark Bailey, president, Dallas Theological Seminary, and Peter Teague, president, Lancaster Bible College/Capital Seminary, among others.
In addition to the governing board, more than 20 key Christian leaders will serve as the board of reference members and/or senior fellows, including:
• Robert C. Andringa, managing partner of the Andringa Group and former president of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities
• D. A. Carson, president, The Gospel Coalition
• Graham Cole, dean and vice president for education, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
• Yoon Hee Kim, president, Torch Trinity Graduate University, Seoul, South Korea
• Josh Moody, senior pastor, The College Church, Wheaton, Illinois
• Russell Moore, president, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission
• Michael Oh, president, Lausanne Fellowship
• Karen Swallow Prior, professor of English, Liberty University
• Thom Rainer, president, Church Answers and past president, LifeWay Christian Resources
• Luder Whitlock, president emeritus, Reformed Theological Seminary and former president, Trinity Forum
Because key leaders, institutions, and alliances are involved, IACE can be thought of as a network of networks and organizations. The launch has prompted enthusiastic responses from key leaders in Christian higher education.
“As an institution committed to our core values of being Christ-centered, biblically faithful, academically excellent, and mission-focused, it is imperative these days to associate ourselves with organizations who share common convictions,” said NGU Board Chair Dr. Travis Agnew. “That is why I am so pleased to connect with IACE. I believe this partnership will allow North Greenville to do what we are called to do in an even greater capacity.”
“Through IACE, Christian education’s many separate networks can discover and model what it means to affirm and live out ‘in essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty, in all things love,’” Andringa said. “IACE is a visionary initiative with an audacious promise.”
“Having our various Christian education sectors linked together through IACE as an ongoing network holds promise for making our united movement and each sector much more effective as we collectively or individually face challenges,” said Paul R. Corts, the former president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, Palm Beach Atlantic University, and Wingate University.”
Dockery said IACE plans an initial membership gathering for February 12-14, 2020 in Orlando, FL. He says it is possible that the alliance will schedule larger biennial or triennial meetings as IACE develops.
For a more detailed introduction to IACE, please visit the organization’s new website at iace.education.
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