From Judaism to Seminary: Eric Targe’s Story

Eric Targe’s faith journey is one of richness and, ultimately, fulfillment.

Eric, a 2016 Advanced Placement Master of Divinity graduate from the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS), grew up in New York in a multiethnic, interfaith family. His mother, who is Puerto Rican, grew up Roman Catholic, while his father is an Ashkenazi Jew. Before they got married, Eric’s mother converted to Judaism, so his early years were spent in a conservative Jewish home.

“The spiritual journey of my family took us from Judaism to Roman Catholicism, Christian Pentecostalism, and studies of various new age spiritual practices like Reiki,” Eric explains. “Along this journey, my family visited a Baptist church that planted and watered seeds of the Gospel in my life.”

During a season of doubt and frustration in his early high school years, Eric further watered those seeds and began a spiritual search of his own, which led him to the Book of First John.

“The Holy Spirit used the beauty of that letter, as I read it in a Borders Bookstore in Syosset, New York, to show me that it was only in the God of the Bible that there was light and no darkness at all,” he says.

When it came time for college, Eric initially thought he would pursue a path to become a professional singer, but his experience encountering God led him elsewhere. In fall 2009, he began his theology studies at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago.

After graduating with his bachelor’s degree, Eric joined Moody Church’s staff as a pastoral resident, followed by roles as director of disability ministries and pastor of college and disability ministries.

Eric Targe preaching.

In 2023, Eric and his wife, Rebecca, discerned that the Lord was calling their family to minister at Park Community Church in Chicago, where he serves today as teaching pastor.

Amidst his time at the Moody Church, Eric also pursued his AP Master of Divinity at TEDS. This program reduces the overall number of hours students need to graduate with an MDiv while also allowing them to take additional advanced electives in areas they are passionate about.

“When the time came for me to apply to seminary, TEDS was my top choice, partly because I had come to know so many pastors who graduated from TEDS and was impressed by their Bible-focused, Christ-centered preaching,” Eric shares. “One of those pastors encouraged me to apply for the Kern Scholarship, which would pay for 100 percent of my tuition. It was the financial aid from that scholarship that sealed the deal for me.”

One highlight from Eric’s time at TEDS is his time in Dr. Peter Cha’s courses.

“They were some of the most formative classes in my ministry because I was able to see the organizational structure and culture of the churches I have served at in a different way, as well as how to make changes in productive ways,” Eric says. “My AP MDiv also allowed me to take higher level seminar electives that enabled me to focus on topics of my interest.”

In many of those classes, Eric studied and wrote about disability theology, which was the focus of his ministry at The Moody Church and is now the aim of his teaching as an adjunct professor at Moody Bible Institute.

Overall, Eric feels his TEDS experience grew him exponentially in his love for God and His people. He believes it challenged him to think deeper and love wider as well.

“I believe Trinity prepared me to better define the parameters of orthodoxy and to engage in healthier dialogue with those who believe differently than myself,” Eric says. “This has meant that as I do ministry in Chicago, I have been able to stand in truth while working across denominational lines. I also believe that my Trinity education has made me a better student of God’s word and a better pastor of the souls entrusted to my care.”

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Trinity has been entrusted with the Gospel since 1897, and every day we are called to live with purpose. In today’s ever-changing culture, TEDS immerses students in a community of biblical orthodoxy and practical living. The TEDS faculty is among the most widely published in evangelical academia and has deeply influenced the leaders shaping the present and future of evangelical Christianity across the globe.

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