The Gospel Pursued Together

In 2018, after several years of transition throughout Palmer and the broader university, the faculties of Eastern University’s Christian studies department and Palmer Seminary merged to create Palmer Theological Seminary and College. In fall of 2022, Professor Pete Enns taught his first seminary course in over a decade.  

Dr. Enns joined the Biblical studies department of Eastern University in January of 2012. He is the author of several books, including Curveball: When Your Faith Takes Turns You Never Saw Coming (or How I Stumbled and Tripped My Way to Finding a Bigger God). His podcast, The Bible for Normal People, seeks to bring “the best of biblical scholarship to everyday people.”

“PTSC has two different student populations. The questions being asked in undergraduate theology are not what is being asked in seminary.” The distinction between these two populations lies in the focus and mission. In an undergraduate setting where the students are often younger, faith is discussed as a journey throughout life, and he seeks to encourage those students to “not box God in too much.”

Dr. Pete Enns

While the goal for seminary students is similar, Dr. Enns encourages them into a culture of theological wonder and ministry. “They tend to be less hesitant than undergraduate students in interrogating their faith. By virtue of being seminary students, they are more likely to be walking into the classroom with the question ‘How do you see God in the world?’” Each of these questions and postures is appropriate given the average age and life experience of the two populations, as well as the assumed focus that is expected from those seeking a ministry education. 

For Dr. Enns, PTSC’s motto The Whole Gospel for the Whole World Through Whole Persons has space for both demographics with each of their respective needs and questions. It reflects that the study of theology is a task for everyone in every life season, not only those pursuing vocational ministry. “The whole Gospel is not a compartmentalized thing for us… it removes the sacred/secular divide.” With one seminary class, on the theology of Genesis, under his belt at PTSC, he looks forward to more synergy between the graduate and undergraduate faculty. “They’re all wonderful people.”