The 1990s found Americans and American churches hotly engaged in “culture wars,” especially over the issue of Christian teaching regarding homosexuality. At that time, Princeton Seminary was deeply divided, with declarations and counter declarations being drafted by the faculty. Into this setting, Professor Choon-Leong Seow proposed a better way: “Let’s involve faculty colleagues in an academic dialogue on this subject and publish it so as to raise the level of the debate and to assist the church in coming to a common mind.” The result was his edited volume Homosexuality and Christian Community (WJKP, 1996), in which 13 PTS faculty, with a wide range of views, produced thoughtful essays from the standpoint of their disciplines. So successful was this faculty volume that two more followed in quick succession: Women, Gender, and Christian Community (WJKP, 1997), edited by Jane Dempsey Douglas and myself, and involving another 13 faculty colleagues; and Making Room at the Table: An Invitation to Multicultural Worship (WJKP, 2001), edited by Brian Blount and Leonora Tubbs Tisdale, to which another dozen faculty contributed. Significantly, Professor Seow was the only member of the faculty to contribute essays to all three volumes. Prompted by Leong’s leadership, these three volumes anticipated the vision of President Craig Barnes that Princeton Seminary and its faculty are at their best whenever they lead the church in reflection and discussion on difficult public issues. For this legacy, now woven into the Seminary’s self-understanding, we will continue to remain in Leong’s debt.
James F. Kay
Dean and Vice President of Academic Affairs, PTS
Joe R. Engle Professor of Homiletics and Liturgics
Director, Joe R. Engle Institute of Preaching