Jeff Iorg Blog

The Adventurers

Aug 25 2014

When I announced we were selling our primary campus near Mill Valley, California and relocating to Southern California, we expected a student exodus – at least a small one! After all, students came for ministry training and any disruption to those plans is an unnecessary distraction. Well, that simply has not happened. 

Most of the students who were already enrolled have stayed, and to our surprise, a significant number of new students have enrolled for the Fall semester – with full knowledge that the seminary may relocate before they complete their degrees. These students will have several options for finishing their degrees – moving to Southern California, taking online courses, taking courses at the new Bay Area Campus, or at any of our other campuses. No matter the option chosen, these students will have to make extra effort to graduate. 

When asked why they wanted to be part of a seminary in major transition, several cited the transition as the attraction. They have told me they admire our school’s resolute commitment to our mission, our willingness to make dramatic changes to assure our long-term health, and the unity and determination of our faculty and staff who are making all this happen. One new student described this as a “once-in-history opportunity” to see God’s people “doing something no one has ever done before.” He called it a “great adventure.” 

That’s the attitude we see reflected in so many who are staying with us or joining us during our transition. It’s a privilege to work with such amazing people and train such enthusiastic students. When this is all over, we will look back with awe at God’s sustaining grace to get us through it. We will also share a unique bond as the people who went through it all together. It’s not too late to get in on the adventure. Spring enrollment is just around the corner!


A Seminary by Any Other Name is Still a Seminary

Aug 18 2014

After we announced the sale of our property in Mill Valley, California and purchase of a new campus site in Ontario, California, an oft-asked question was “Is the seminary going to change its name?” The name Golden Gate Seminary connects us with a beautiful bridge and rich heritage in the San Francisco Bay Area. Under that name, we have sent more than 8,000 graduates across America and around the world. Our current name has served us well and helped define our identity. 

We have had a growing sense; however, that bearing a name so closely associated with an iconic landmark won’t serve us as well when our primary campus is in the Inland Empire east of Los Angeles. Ever since we have been seriously considering relocating, we have also been analyzing the options and factors related to a new name. While there are many challenges with making such a change, choosing to do so now - while we are relocating - is the wisest course of action. 

Since we are owned by the Southern Baptist Convention, a vote of the messengers at the annual meeting (actually two votes in consecutive years) is required. Our Board of Trustees has voted to ask the SBC to change our legal name to - Gateway Seminary of the Southern Baptist Convention. The primary designator “Gateway Seminary” will be used in public communication. Here are the top ten reasons we chose this name: 

1. It eliminates geographic identity – since our program can be offered anywhere in the world.
2. It differentiates us from other SBC seminaries by breaking the denominational pattern of geographic names.
3. It gives us the opportunity to build a new evangelical brand – managing the message of how we market ourselves to accentuate our strengths.
4. It connects to our heritage as Golden Gate Seminary – Gateway is already the name of our magazine.
5. It connects with a biblical motif – Jesus is the Gate (John 10:7, 9).
6. It has multiple marketing angles - gateway to your future, gateway to the world, gateway to your ministry, etc.
7. It is distinctive – no other seminary has this name.
8. It retains our Baptist identity and denominational affiliation.
9. It can be used with our award winning logo, nameplate, and tag line.
10. It follows the well-received pattern established by LifeWay Christian Resources of the SBC and Guidestone Financial Resources of the SBC. 

Our proposed new name may also have some weaknesses, but far fewer than the other options we considered. Like anything new, it will take some getting used to it. Several of us have had a few months to adjust and the more we use the new name, the more we like it. Judging from the early response, many of you like it as well. Given time, it will have the same powerful meaning as “Golden Gate Seminary” has had for so many of you for the past 70 years.


The War on Women

Aug 11 2014

American feminists have decried the treatment of women in our country for the past 50 years. They have used the phrase “the war on women” to describe how they have been treated. Examples of their complaints include economic discrepancies, educational limitations, career obstacles, and restrictions on birth control choices. Some of these are valid issues and legitimate debate could be made on the relative merits of each. But has there really been a war on women? 

When a war happens, people suffer and die. It’s happening right now in Nigeria and Iraq – and it truly is a war on women. Christian girls in Nigeria have been kidnapped and are still being held hostage. Reports indicate some have been raped, pressured into forced marriages, forced to convert to Islam, or sold into slavery. In Iraq, ISIS has done the same to hundreds of Yazidi women – as well as burying women and children alive. 

Where is the outrage about the real war on women? Why aren’t American feminists bombarding elected officials and demanding intervention to stem theses immediate crises and long-term strategies to protect these women? When the Nigerian girls were kidnapped, many prominent women posted signs demanding their release on social media. Wow, is that the best we can do? 

Call me a chauvinist if you want to, but it still seems to me that real men bristle when punks and bullies rape and pillage. The Bible is pretty clear that governments were instituted to protect the weak by forcefully crushing and then containing rampant evil. Americans – men and women – should never apologize for being at the forefront of international efforts to stop violent despots. 

Innocent women are dying – right now, today – and moral integrity demands we do something about it because we can. Mrs. Obama – rather than hold up a sign on Twitter – how about asking your husband to intervene decisively in the real war on women?


Frustrating Inconsistencies

Jul 28 2014

Our culture is full of frustrating inconsistencies. For example, an NFL player was recently suspended for two games for beating up his fiancée (now his wife) in an altercation in a casino. For making disparaging comments about gays, another NFL player was suspended three games. 

You read that right. In professional football, making a negative comment about gays is worse than beating up your wife. Let’s not single out the NFL. In our culture, derogatory words are the ultimate intolerance. We can’t allow any politically incorrect comments on any subject. Free speech doesn’t go quite that far! 

Here’s another example – a bit more personal. Last Saturday, Ann and I (along with thousands of other tourists) were strolling the Embarcadero in San Francisco. We were passed by about a dozen naked men riding bicycles. When a traffic light turned red, the peloton stopped and a couple of them got off their bikes to stretch. It was more disgusting than erotic, but nevertheless quite a display of frontal nudity to a mixed audience - including many little girls. 

Many people laughed, some turned their children away, and others took pictures. I thought of a friend of mine. When he was 19, he urinated in a public park (while high on pot). There’s no excuse for that behavior, but the consequences have been severe. Two little girls saw him, told their parents, who called the police, and he was arrested. He was convicted of indecent exposure and has been labeled a sex offender for more than 30 years. It has limited housing options and cost him job opportunities. No matter what he has done since, this stain from his past won’t go away. 

What frustrates me is my friend’s behavior wasn’t much different than those men on their bicycles. Yet, in San Francisco, public nudity is legal – but supposedly only at “festivals.” Exposing yourself in front of children adds to the ambiance that is San Francisco. 

Since our culture has cut loose from its moral moorings, the drift has put us into troublesome waters. We face more and more situations that leave us scratching our heads and wondering, “Where did decency and good judgment go?” I’m not sure where they went, but they seem gone for good.