What is the Purpose of Theological Education? Abraham Folayan (cte 1)



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What is the Purpose of Theological Education?
Abraham Folayan (CTE 1)
Theological Education (TE) is in a state of crisis in many parts of the world. The interrelated question of means and ends as well as aims and purposes continue to be raised. Issues of resources and governance, of priorities and faculty development seem to dominate the debates. According to Banks, only intermittently and in a limited way did discussion revolve around the aims and purposes of theological education – whether

TE institution is attaining its primary goal? Does it need to strike a better balance between spiritual formation, professional development, and academic excellence?1


There is a worldwide call for renewal of TE, an appeal that theological questions be raised about the aims and purposes of TE. In the Third World, some have observed that the prevailing paradigm of theological education, and even current proposals for its reform, exist within a Western frame of reference that is fundamentally flawed.2 Cheesman points out that “Two Thirds world Christians are radically rethinking the structure and context of theological education as they have received it at the hands of the missionary enterprise.”3 This received structure, helpful as it is, has become a heavy financial burden and questions about its very existence have become a compelling imperative. If we understand clearly the purpose for its existence, then we might be in a better position to think creatively about the way we organize it.
Noelliste believes that “essential to the renewal of theological education is the retrieval and the maintaining of its uniqueness and distinctiveness … Theologically understood then, theological education consists in the formation of the people of God in the truth and wisdom of God for the purpose of personal renewal and meaningful participation in the fulfilment of the purpose of God in the Church and the world.”4 On this view, theological education is the process of formation that leads to the transformation of the world through the individual and the collective participation of God’s people in God’s mission.

Why do we have a theological school in the first place and what is it there to do? When this goal is clear, other dimensions of the theological education task can be structured appropriately. Yet, an appropriate goal in one context may be inappropriate in another. A goal is a statement of intention and may sometimes sound idealistic when compared with realities. It was Farley who once observed that “any essay on the nature and purposes of theological education is inescapably a contribution to utopian literature.”5 Nevertheless, we must decide, no matter how tentatively, why we have a theological institution. TE must be purposive because it concerns a God with a mission for his Church to fulfil in His world. The Seminary should recognize that “the educational goals lay the necessary foundation for integration of all the institution’s educational processes, integration which leads to fulfilment of the Mission Statement.”6


The purpose of TE should share something of the purpose of education. So, exploring the purpose of education might inform our expectation about the purpose of theological education. According to the educational tradition of pre- Christian Africa, character formation and learning of specific skills are inseparably related. The relevance of education arises from societal need, the sharing and transmission of collective spiritual and moral values, and the close relation of education to work.7 This system is closer to the Christian educational ideal than today’s secular education. In America, for instance, Puritans established schools intended to equip citizens with knowledge and skills to be a happy, useful member of society and a committed servant of God. This was replaced late 19th, early 20th centuries by Dewey’s ‘value-free’ secular education. Dewey believes man is fundamentally good, that evil is product of environment and that application of the scientific method could solve all social ills and that careful consideration of consequences is the only proper foundation for ethics.8

According to Dewey:

Human problem situations are part of the evolutionary adjustment process ... Questions about a highest good are ill-conceived. There is neither unchanging natural order nor divine purpose to which appeal can be made, and no ground for the hopes religion stirs other than the intelligence humans have for resolving all their problems.”9

This atheistic and humanistic position stands in contrast to the Christian belief of Creation – Fall – Redemption, and the need of divine help for inner transformation. Education in today’s secular state is basically anthropocentric with a humanistic purpose while theological education is theocentric with a God –centred purpose.


Martin Luther King Jr. on the Purpose of Education says “Education has a two-fold function to perform in the life of man and in society: the one is utility and the other is culture.”10

For Whitehead, “education is the acquisition of the art of the utilization of knowledge.”11 Theoretical ideas should always find important applications so that knowledge is kept alive and prevents us from becoming “inert”12, a major danger for all education. For the Universities, Whitehead describes them as schools of education and schools of research. But the primary reason for their existence is neither the mere knowledge conveyed nor the mere opportunities for research. Rather the justification for a University is that it preserves the connection between knowledge and the zest of life,13 the imaginative acquisition of knowledge.14 Education should aim at bringing quality and fulfilment to human life. Ainley refers to “the new trinity of Vocational, Education and Training aimed at preparing the entire workforce for a flexible future of rapid and unpredictable change.15 Vocational education does not pursue purely disinterested knowledge.


Common to the above description of education are two main purposes which converge in the peculiar nature of man and his environment. Peters is right when he says: “human beings inhabit a personal as well as a public world, they are circumscribed by a Nature that has to be accepted as well as transformed, that should be an object of enjoyment, of wonder and of awe as well as material to be mastered for human purposes.”16 The purpose of education concerns personal formation and functional formation (utility). Theological education as education should share these concerns in its purpose. The distinction lies, however, in the word ‘theology’. What is theological about theological education? According to Edgar, the obvious answer is the content ... it is education that is about theology, about God. Not only the content, the purpose is definitive of what makes something theological education.17 Cunningham believes: “it is theological because its philosophical underpinnings and its goals are theocentric in addition to its content.”18 The greatest challenge for theologians and theological educators according to Volf, is to keep God at the centre of what we do. If we succeed here, we’ll succeed, even if our efforts get stifled by lack of funds, obstructed by inadequate pedagogy or lack of sensitivity to context, and marred by faulty institutions and warped institutional cultures. If we fail here, we’ll fail utterly, no matter how brilliantly we do as fund-raisers, institution-builders, cultural analysts, and teachers.19 For Volf, God is the triune God - creator and redeemer.20 Theological education must not be robbed of this nuclear centre and purpose. “The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. And the main thing for theology is God.”21 Sadly, theology has become fragmented scientific disciplines sometimes existing without the love and experience of God.22 This is neither Christianity nor theology.
A fundamental question of the purpose of TE concerns the very basis of its existence. “A purpose is a statement of the primary reason for being for an institution, a program, or a department in theological education. It tells who, does what, and for whom.”23 This question of purpose is a constant one on the agenda of evangelicals. Mouw believes there are some good instincts among those who question the value of theological education. One instinct is embedded in a deep commitment to effective ministry. Evangelicals are shaped by pietist and populist passions, and we know that study in a Seminary has often had the effect of dampening spiritual ardour and fostering clerical elitism.24 When evangelicals have questioned the need for formal theological education, it has often been out of a devotion to a high, rather than a low, view of the ministerial calling.”25 At pivotal moments in evangelical history, theological institutions were established for the purpose of sustaining evangelical identity. Yet, the importance of theological education to evangelicalism has often been slighted, if not ignored, because of evangelical convictions about the priority of heart over head knowledge and it was felt that existing schools were neglecting essential elements of Christian faith and witness.26 Mouw identified two major historical struggles that have affected evangelical theological education. The first was the reaction of many of the early post-Reformation pietist groups against what they perceived as the “dead orthodoxy” of scholastic Protestantism which promoted a religion of the head and not of the heart. Secondly, when the “dead orthodoxy” was replaced, it was by the “live heterodoxy” of the Enlightenment modernism – a rationalism that glorified a secularizing anthropocentrism. This produced among evangelicals, painful struggle against the mindset of the academic.27 It was felt that short-term training sessions in outreach discipleship was all that was needed for successful ministry.28 Although this mindset is still abroad today in some quarters, evangelicals on the whole have moved significantly forward in its appreciation and commitment to theological education. It is the charismatic churches, at least in Africa, who for different reasons now pay less than adequate attention to theological education. Both they and few evangelicals rightly point to successful ministries led by those with little or no theological education. The editors of AJET once argued for the importance of theological education by asking the rhetorical question: “Theological Education: can we do without it?29
According to the Manifesto on the Renewal of Theological Education, TE concerns the formation of leadership for the Church of Christ in its biblical mission. This formation combines spiritual and practical with academic objectives in one holistic integrated educational approach,30 that serves the essential purpose of theological education. When Cobb was asked by Ban,” what are we doing when we do theological education?” His terse answer was ‘Formation’.31 Ban then identifies formation of Christian identity as the desired goal of theological education and this requires Christology as the basis of integration of its task. Indeed, “Christology deserves to provide the foundation for all Church education, especially the preparation of theological students for Christian ministry.32
Historically, the purpose of TE has largely been related to church ministerial training. A group of NE Asia theologians defined the purpose of theological education as “an intensive and structured preparation of men and women of the church for participation in the ministry of Christ in the world.”33 Lienemann-Perrin describes it as “education for church service … taking place under church auspices.”34 Robinson identifies a two-level purpose for theological education: “in a broader sense it is for preparing the people of God for doing God’s will in this world; and in a narrower sense it is for preparing candidates for doing the ministry of the Church.”35 In Robinson’s Indian context, theological education should seek to liberate the oppressed and downtrodden. The point is: purpose must be related to the contextual location of the Church. In several African countries for instance, where tribalism, corruption and bad governance are normative, theological education must prepare church leaders that are challenged to lead churches that are exemplary – churches that will be light and salt to the nation. Sadly, many churches and leaders have compromised their prophetic role and become partakers in the ills of society. An exemplary lifestyle must begin in the Bible College Community through praxis – reflection ministerial training.
This clerical approach to defining the purpose of theological education has been related in part to the idea of profession. The formal characteristics of a profession are given by Cheesman,36 but in day to day usage, ‘professional’ might mean no more than competence in a task. The idea of Christian service as profession had its roots in the American context and especially when Schleiemarcher used it in his argument to secure a place for theology in the secular universities of the Enlightenment era. Neibuhr employed this model describing theological schools as professional schools like medical and law schools.37 Kelsey however believes that defining the purpose of theological education in professional terms “distorts and finally destroys theology.”38 And in any case, the professional model cannot be regarded as normative for all churches. According to Carroll, “that model would be dysfunctional for many settings such as Africa, for example, where churches are undergoing explosive growth in membership and where there is a severe shortage of seminary trained leadership.”39 But if ‘professional’ means doing a job to the high standard society expects, then theological education should seek to produce that kind of professional. “The idea that standards of competence in church work can be less than those in society must be rejected” so Cheesman, who also rejects the use of ‘professional’ as implying special status in society.40 The craze for status among Church leadership in some countries is seen in the ‘Rev. Dr’ syndrome and there seems to be no shortage of back street shops and Colleges ready to award for a fee or free these bogus ‘doctorate’ degrees that have very little relationship with professional clerical competence.
Carroll has given three dimensions of expertise that are required of ministers and which should be cultivated right from theological colleges:

  • as ‘definer of meaning’ especially in their roles of preacher, teacher, counsellor, bringing the Word of God to meet the needs of their situation.

  • as ‘builders of community’, bringing theological insight into the nature of the Christian community and assisting them to be built up into maturity as Christians.

  • as ‘mediators’ in the “church–social context interface” mediating not only between individuals and God but between individuals and society.41

This kind of ‘professional’ clergy is urgently needed for the churches of Africa. A more urgent need, according to Fletcher, is for ‘religious authenticity’ based on an assured sense of divine call rather than on membership of a religious caste. Rather than arguing against a professional model of ministry, Fletcher’s findings argue for the importance of keeping together the authority of expertise and the authority from divine call.42 Calling and professionalism must go together.


Cheesman cautions that in the rush to respectability, it would be easy to lose the positive Bible College ideals of humble service in an ordinary capacity without seeking the public admiration of society.43

Bible College teachers whose attitude focuses on the perks of professional status would reproduce similar discontent detrimental to their students’ future service. It is suggested then, that “the professional, or vocation, of church leadership must remain a by-product, as it were, not the raison d’etre44 of theological education.


The purpose of theological education as church leadership preparation involves the academic dimension of the triadic objectives. How far should the purpose of theological education be defined in terms of academic formation? Here, our discussion is not primarily about the relationship of theological education to the university or the academia. Rather, it is whether there is a valid cognitive component in theological education and how far this component constitutes the goal of theological education. Fitzmier’s rightly states that “loving God with the mind is one of the great ends we seek in theological education.”45 The command to holistically love God and neighbour builds theology and theological education on biblical grounds. According to educational psychologists, our cognitive abilities include knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. If so, there are different dimensions and levels of doing theology and a wide scope for using our mind in theological education. We are given minds that can enquire. There is divine confirmation of this when God told his people: “in the future, when your son ask you, ‘what is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?’”46 Making enquiries about Christian tradition is a valid cognitive component of theological education. As long as this enquiry is based on the truth claims of Scriptures, and is carried out by believing members of that community it should not matter whether it is done in a village Bible School or in the University. The negative attitude to the location of theological education within secular academia has some of its roots in deviations from cardinal truth claims of Scriptures as well as a neglect of the purpose of the enquiry: obedience. Cheesman made a similar point: “the rise of the Bible College Movement from the 1870s on was partly a protest at the questioning of the bible and the secularization of studies.”47 Prior to this, theological education was for those with high academic qualifications. As Brereton observes:

I think of those whom we hesitated over and at first rejected because of a want of the qualifications which we considered of first importance. And then to see how God has rebuked us by showing how wonderfully he could use them. … God is building windows for the cathedral of the skies out of the rejected lives and fragments of consecrated service for which the wisdom of the world has not room.48

Fitzmier noted that many students coming to seminaries were not well prepared academically. “This is not to suggest that theological education is solely an academic enterprise, but that however one defines theology and its study – with Farley as a habitus, with Hugh and Cobb as the formation of Christian identity, or with Wood as critical thinking about the validity of Christian witness – the use of the mind is critical to the enterprise. Academic rigor is a channel perhaps the chief channel, to thinking about God in the context of theological education.”49
Commenting on what he calls the “week six syndrome” when new theology students are frustrated, shocked and fearful about new methods of teaching

Fitzmier said:

what lies at the root of these feelings is the realization that critical thinking about God is a very sharp two-edged blade, that it cuts in more than one direction, and that it can both heal and wound. Unfortunately, this realization comes as a surprise to many students. Very few come to school accustomed to thinking critically about Christian faith, and when they begin to learn how to do so, all manner of frightening possibilities emerge.50

Not all theological education operate at the tertiary academic level. Reflective wisdom about God is the privilege of every believer. “The fund of knowledge is not for a few who can achieve the critical distance, but those who can achieve the critical embrace of love.”51 Any model of theological education that glorifies the intellect at the expense of faith and love cannot be truly Christian. Loving the Lord with our mind is a response to his prior redemptive love and cannot be carried out in contradiction of that love. So the purpose of theological education cannot be detached from this cognitive love.


Sargent states: “the basic, overriding goal of evangelical theological education is spiritual formation with a view to communicating with clarity and power the historic faith.”52 Most theological institutions would agree. Westerhoff argues that “the major weakness of contemporary theological education is the emphasis upon knowledge and skills rather than upon the spiritual development of the priest and the formation of priestly character.”53 Spiritual formation, refers to “an intentional process by which the marks of an authentic Christian spirituality are being formed and integrated ever anew.”54 It is a life-long, open-ended process of being formed in the image of God in Christ through each and all of our daily experiences as we submit to the divine help of the indwelling Holy Spirit. It is a human as well as a divine process which on our part cannot be left to chance. Perhaps the human part is what Henri Nouwen describes by his analogy of “hospitality”- creating a safe, free and friendly space for students, not to change them but to offer them an appropriate habitat for change to be effected.55 The ICAA Manifesto requires that

our educational programmes must deliberately foster the spiritual formation of the student. We must look for a spiritual development centred in total commitment to the lordship of Christ, progressively worked outward by the power of the Spirit and into every department of life. We must devote as much time and care and structural designing to facilitate this type of growth as we readily and rightly provide for cognitive growth.56


For theological education, the Iona document makes it clear that spiritual formation should be seen as “a responsibility which must be shared and which involves three main elements, all of equal importance: the person in formation, the training institution, and the wider church.”57 Theological institutions must therefore consider spiritual formation as one of the primary tasks, involving all of the institution – the students, teachers, staff and members governing bodies. The whole community, its life, curriculum, relationships, everything is involved. While College intentionally designs specific programmes to provide opportunities for spiritual formation there is a sense in which

our spirituality is not what we explicitly express, nor what we profess to believe, but how we order our loves. That ordering may be unarticulated, even quite unconscious, but the resultant spirituality pervades our whole life and involves our whole person.58

And this in turn affects our College community. Furthermore, the College alone is not able to accomplish the task of spiritual formation: the sending church and what goes on there impact the students. While spirituality is a product of both individuality and community, the great message of the Task Force on Spiritual Direction of the ATS as noted by Cheesman is that: “the spiritual formation and development of seminary students begins with and is dependent upon, the spiritual formation and development of the faculty”59 as a team. It can be facilitated by any events or experiences including the critical study of theology. This is the paradox of the human and the divine in Christian life. We are to use every intentional means and programmes of the College to enhance spiritual formation, yet grace rather than human effort must be asserted. And for those who feel that academic theology and spiritual theology are incompatible, it is important to note that

“every experience of the love of God transforms our imagination and our mind and the mind’s knowledge of God helps us to live for transcendent values. It is the theologian who wishes to live in a purely academic cocoon, enjoying the ‘security of footnotes, bibliography and equivocation’ who is fundamentally sick.”60


Indeed, “spiritual maturity is more important for good theology than good theology is for spiritual maturity, and it is the spiritually mature, all other things being equal, who make the best theologians.”61 So, there ought not to be conflict in pursuing simultaneously the triadic objectives of theological education with formation as the overarching purpose.
If formation is so important to the purpose of theological education, the study of the culture of seminaries may provide some insight into factors that promote this formation. Three points were made in a study reported by Fitzmeir:

  1. a school’s culture is its most powerful instrument of formation.

  2. the faculty of a school is most responsible for shaping student experience of theological education.

  3. and formative theological education requires prolonged and intensive exposure to a particular educational institution.62

Vatican II takes seriously the issue of formation:

spiritual formation should be closely associated with doctrinal and pastoral formation. The students should learn to live according to the standard of the Gospel, to be firmly established in faith, hope and charity, so that the practice of these virtues may develop in them a spirit of prayer, may strengthen and protect their vocation and invigorate their other virtues, intensifying their zeal for winning all men to Christ.63

A helpful dimension of ‘human maturity’ has been added to the three-fold objectives:

a prudent system of training will therefore aim at developing in the students a proper degree of human maturity. This will be chiefly attested by a certain stability of character, the ability to make carefully weighed decisions, and a sound judgement of events and people.64

Such human maturity is not provided by Christian Education alone, there is need to take advantage of the results of sound psychology and pedagogy. You may be deeply spiritual yet lack the ability to effectively manage human relationship or the ability to teach.


When discussing formation in theological education, important insights can be gained from Christian traditions other than our own. Catholic theologian William Cahoy in responding to Farley’s position cautions against assuming that “the story of mainline Protestant theological education is … the story of theological education per se.65 For instance, the call for the recovery of paideia and formation is not new, the call “feels like a vindication” since these concepts to a far greater extent than for Protestants, have remained central elements of Catholic theological education. Catholics do not also share the laments about the “clerical paradigm.” While for Protestants, ordination may have become functional and problematically so, it has been understood by Catholics to bring about an ontological change in the one ordained, not only a change in his function. Priestly formation is central for Catholics and it should be central for all theological education.
Binding all of this together as a unifying theme for understanding the purpose of theological education, Fitzmier proposed the notion of “Christian vocation” which has a rich definition and therefore theologically multilingual”.66

Fitzmier believes that every Christian has the opportunity to make meaning in their lives by the most basic Christian truth to love God and to love neighbour. This ‘vocation’ with its applicability in all Christian traditions can provide the fundamental starting point of Christian discipleship. The assumption of theological Colleges that most students come through a proper process of vocational discernment and clarity is probably misplaced. Yet Colleges conduct their training on this shaky assumption, rightly expecting positive response to active discipleship only to be disappointed repeatedly by contradictory lifestyle and attitude of students. Several students come to Bible College not on the basis of vocational conviction but as reluctant substitute for the first or second choice of their vocational ambition, coming only because they failed to secure a secular university or polytechnic admission. Unless they see and accept this ‘failure’ as divine direction for their lives, their motivation for formation would be low. Those who come with clear Christian vocational conviction are the best motivated and respond most favourably to advanced discipleship and to holistic formation which make the purpose of theological education easier to achieve. The question is often asked: is the theological education institution to be blamed for failure to achieve its purpose or should the blame go to the sending churches? As Fitzmier wisely points out:

there is little to be gained by faculties complaining about the failure of the churches to ‘send us well prepared candidates’ or by the churches bemoaning the fact that ‘graduates are so ill-prepared for ministry.’ The churches and the theological schools are joined at the hip; a failure to acknowledge our interdependence and our mutual responsibility will only make things worse.67

The ‘body’ principle of the New Testament demands this interdependence and mutual responsibility68 in working towards the purpose of theological education. The individual student also has a significant share in this responsibility.


Conclusion
Attempts to define the purpose of theological education have been influenced by the ‘unity-in-diversity nature of Christian theology. While we talk of ‘one faith, one Lord, one baptism’, this oneness is perceived differently in different contexts. So is theological education. Sometimes its purpose is defined by historical understanding of Christianity: that Christianity is paideia, given by God in Jesus Christ, turning on a radical conversion possible only by the Holy Spirit’s help, and taught only indirectly by study of divinely inspired Scriptures in the social context of the church understood to be in some ways a school.69 The goal will be knowledge of God – forming person’s souls to be holy. Often it is defined by the nature, needs and mission of the Church, - preparing those who will lead the work of the Church. At other times, the purpose of theological education is defined as academic activity. Whether the objective is academic, spiritual or ministerial, theological education must seek to provide the theological and educational environment that would facilitate the formation and transformation of those with the divine call to love and serve God in his mission to the world through the Church.
When all is said and done - and all that is appropriate must be said and done - we have to agree with Williams that Theological Education whatever the purpose we assign to it, is the work of the Holy Spirit. Unless we start here and commit ourselves to an education which is this fundamental, we shall miss the mark no matter how many schemes and theories we lay on.70 General education requires an efficient performance of tasks, theological education in addition, requires the spirit of that performance – love to God and neighbour. The extent to which this purpose governs all that comprises its common life is the criteria of excellence in a theological school.71 Schner describes this purpose as ‘formation’ – an activity which pervades the whole of the process of the institution and recognized in each discreet part of the process.72


Bibliography

1. Ainley, Patrick, Vocational Education and Training, London,Cassell, 1990,pp5f

2. Amirtham, Samuel & Pyron Robin(eds) Invitation to the Feast of Life, Geneva, WCC, nd, p157

3. Ban, Joseph(ed),The Christological Foundation for Contemporary Theological Education, Macon, Mercer Univ.Press, 1988, p18

4. Banks, Robert, Reenvisioning Theological Education:Exploring a Missional Alternative to Current Models Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1999, pp9f

5. Brereton, Virginia, Training God’s Army: The American Bible School,1880-1840, Bloomington, Indiana Univ. Press, 1990,p59

6. Bromiley, G. W., & David B. Barrett (ed.-English), The Encyclopedia of Christianity, Vol.2, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2001, p.65

7. Carroll,Jackson, “The Professional Model of Ministry; is it Worth Saving?” Theological Education, 1985, Vol. 21.2,p28.

8.Cheesman, Graham, “Competing Paradigms in Theological Education Today,” Evangelical Review of Theology, October, 1993, p484

9. Cheesman,G. “The Philosophy of Theological Education: Historical Overview”, Unpublished CTE Lecture Notes, Belfast, Sept. 2005

10.Cheesman,G., “Is Professional” a Suitable Adjective for Theological Education? http://www.theologicaleducation.org/resources.php Unpublished Article, Nov. 2005, p. 2

11. Cheesman,G., “Spiritual Formation as a Goal of Theological Education”, http://www.theologicaleducation.org/docs/resources2 Unpublished Article, Nov.2005,p. 2

12. Cunningham, S., “Who is a Theological Educator” in AJET, Vol.16:2, 1997, p.80

13. “Decree on the Training of Priests”, Vatican II, Optatan Totius, 28 Oct. 1965, pp.713f

14. Edgar, B., “The Theology of Theological Education”, Evangelical Review of Theology, Vol.29:3, July2005, p.208

15. Fiorenza, F. S., “Thinking Theologically About Theological Education”, Theological Education, Vol24, Supplement II, 1988, p. 106

16. Fitzmeir, J., “The Aims and Purposes Literature: Notes from the Field”, (From “Resources for American Christianity”) http://www.resourcingchristianity.org Nov. 2005, CTE A 165

17. Ford, L., A Curriculum Design Manual for Theological Education: A Learning Outcome Focus, Eugene, Wipf & Stock, 1999, p.343

18. Hoffecker, W. A(ed), Building a Christian World View, Vol.2, Phillipsburg, Presbyterian and Reformed Publi., 1988, pp.275 279 (277)

19. Holmes, A. F., Fact, Value, and God,+ Leicester, Apollos, 1997, pp.158ff

20. Hopewell, J. F., “Theological Education” in Concise Dictionary of the Christian World Missions, London, Lutherworth, 1971, p.591

21. Johnson, R. K., “Becoming Theologically Mature: The Task of Theological Education Today for American Evangelical Seminaries” in Ministerial Formation, 73, April, 1996, p.43

22. Kelsey, D., To Understand God Truly: What’s Theological About a Theological School, Louisville, John Knox, 1992, p.131

23. Kelsey, D., Between Athens and Berlin: The Theological Education Debate, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1993, p.11

24. Lienemann-Perrin, C., “Theological Education” in Muller, Sundermeier and Bevans (eds), Dictionary of Missions, Theology, History, Perspectives, Maryknoll, Orbis, 1997, p.427

25. Manifesto on the Renewal of Evangelical Theological Education, ERT, 19:3, July 1995, pp.308, 312

26. Niebuhr, H., The Purpose of the Church and its Ministry, NY, Harper & Row, 1956, p.4

27. Noelliste, D., “Towards a Theology of Theological Education”, Evangelical Review of Theology, Vol.19:3,

July 1995, p.299

28. Nouwen, H., Reaching Out, Glasgow, Collins, 1976, p.69

29. Peters, R. S., Essays on Educators, London, George Allen & Unwin, 1981,p.87

30. Pobee, J., (ed), Towards Viable Theological Education, Geneva, WCC, 1997, p.140

31. Robinson, G., Theological Education in India: The Journey Continues, Chennai, The Christian Literature Society, 2000, p.32

32. Sargent, T., “Then Value of Theological Education for Ministry and Service” An Address given to the Baptist Union Assembly, Scotland, Oct.24, 2001

33. Schner, G., “Formation as a Unifying Concept of Theological Education”, Theological Education, Vol.21:2, 1985, p.94 - 112

34. Whitehead, A. N., The Aims of Education, London, Ernest Benn, 1932, p.6

35. Williams, M., “Theological Education and Ordination Training”, BJTE, Vol8, No.1, 1996, p. 22

36. Volf, M., “Dancing for God: Challenges Facing Theological Education Today”, ERT, Vol.29, No.3, July 2005, pp.200f



1 Banks, Robert, Reenvisioning Theological Education: Exploring a Missional Alternative to Current Models, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1999, p.9f. Other interrelated questions being asked about TE are: Is it relating properly and realistically to its contemporary context, especially its immediate local and wider church setting?

Is it creating the proper ethos for its members, an experience of community that is Spirit controlled? Is it providing an appropriate curriculum that integrates theory and practice and relates to contemporary issues facing the church? See also Kelsey, D., To Understand God Truly: What’s Theological About A Theological School, Louisville, John Knox Press, 1992, (who poses similar questions and explains that these signify real difficulties and deep ones, which if not addressed will result in the schools’ future being seriously compromised).



2 Ibid., p.10

3 Cheesman, G., “Competing Paradigms in Theological Education Today” in Evangelical Review of Theology, October 1993, p.484

4 Noelliste, Diememe, “Towards a Theology of Theological Education” in Evangelical Review of Theology, Vol.19:3, July, 1995, p.299

5 Quoted in Kelsey, D., To Understand God Truly: What’s Theological About A Theological School, Louisville, John Knox Press, 1992, p.15

6 Ford, L., A Curriculum Design Manual for Theological Education : A Learning Outcome Focus, Eugene, Wipf and Stock, 1999, p.343

7 Bromiley, G. W. & Barrett, D. B., (ed- English), The Encyclopaedia of Christianity, Vol.2, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 2001, p.65

8 Hoffecker, W. A., (ed), Building a Christian World View Vol. 2, Phillipsburg, Presbyterian & Reformed Publication , 1988, pp.275 – 279 (277)

9 Holmes, A. F., Fact, Value and God, Leicester, Apollos, 1997, pp.158f

10 http://www.toptags.com/aama/voices/speeches/puffed.htm , November, 2005 .Luther went on to say: “Education equips a person to become more efficient, to achieve with increasing facility the legitimate goals of his life. It must also train one for quick, resolute and effective thinking, an ability to sift and weigh evidence, to discern the true from the false. Intelligence plus character - that is the goal of true education”

11 Whitehead, A. N., The Aims of Education, London, Ernest Benn, 1932, p.6

12 Ibid., p.7

13 Ibid., p.139

14 Ibid., p.145

15 Ainley, P., Vocational Education and Training, London, Cassell, 1990, pp.5f

16 Peters, R. S., Essays on Educators , London, George Allen and Unwin, 1981, p.87

17 Edgar, B., “The Theology of Theological Education,” Evangelical Review of Theology, Vol.29:3, July, 2005, p.208

18 Cunningham, S., “Who is a Theological Educator?” Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology, Vol.16:2, 1997, p.80

19 Volf, M., “Dancing for God: Challenges facing Theological Education Today” in Evangelical Review of Theology, Vol.29:3, July, 2005, p. 200f

20 Ibid., pp 205ff

21 Volf, M. op. cit., p. 199

22 Cheesman, G., op. cit., p.484f

23 Ford, L., op. cit., p. 296

24 Mouw, R. J., “Challenge of Evangelical Theological Education” in Hart, D. G. & Mohler, A.R. Jr., (eds) Theological Education in the Evangelical Tradition, Grand Rapids, Baker, 1996, p.286

25 Ibid., p. 286

26 Ibid., p. 12

27 Mouw, R. J., “Challenge of Evangelical Theological Education” in Hart, D. G. & Mohler, A.R. Jr., (eds) Theological Education in the Evangelical Tradition, Grand Rapids, Baker, 1996, p.284

28 Ibid., p.286

29 The Africa Journal of Evangelical Theology, Vol. 16:2, 1997, p.77

30 “Manifesto on the Renewal of Evangelical Theological Education”, in Evangelical Review of Theology, Vol.19:3, July, 1995, p.308, 312

31 Ban, J. D., “Christological Foundations of Theological Education” in Ban, J. D., (ed) The Christological Foundation for Contemporary Theological Education, Macon, Mercer University Press, 1988, p.18

32 Ibid., p.23

33 Hopewell, J. F., “Theological Education” in Concise Dictionary of the Christian World Missions, London, Lutterworth, 1971, p.591

34 Lienemann-Perrin, C., “Theological Education” in Muller, Sundermeier and Bevans (eds) Dictionary of Missions, Theology, History, Perspectives, Maryknoll, Orbis, 1987, p.427

35 Robinson, G., Theological Education in India: The Journey Continues, Chennai, The Christian Literature Society, 2000, p.32 Products of TE must be able to articulate and practice the Christian faith in the Church as clergy, they must also be able to address social issues intelligently and theologically as church leaders. Denominational leaders in parts of Africa today are often called upon to comment on thorny national issues and clerical preparation must equip them

36 Cheesman, G., “Is ‘Professional’ a suitable Adjective for Theological Education?” http://www.theologicaleducation.org/resources.php , November 2005, p.2 : a body of specialist knowledge learnt over some years; membership of a self-regulating group that controls entry by examination and discipline members when necessary; competence in a field of service to the public, a sense of vocation and altruistic service; and a high status in society.

37Neibuhr, H., The Purpose of the Church and its Ministry, NY, Harper and Row, 1956, p.4

38 Kelsey, D., To Understand God Truly: What’s Theological About a Theological School, Louisville, John Knox, 1992, p.131

39 Carroll, J., “The Professional Model of Ministry: Is It Worth Saving?” in Theological Education, Spring, 1985, Vol. 21:2, p.28

40 Cheesman, G., “Is ‘Professional’ a suitable Adjective for Theological Education?”, op. cit., p.6

41 Carroll, J., op. cit., pp.35 - 37

42 Fletcher, J., in Carroll, J., op. cit., p. 41

43 Cheesman, G., “Is ‘Professional’ a suitable Adjective…” op. cit., p.6 “ the Bible Colleges need a public repudiation of the status side of professionalism and this has to have a twofold application: it should inform the attitudes to Christian service which are inculcated into the students: and it should determine the attitudes of tutors to their own jobs”

44 Johnson, R. K., “Becoming Theologically Matured: The Task of Theological Education Today for American Evangelical Seminaries” in Ministerial Formation, 73, April 1996, p. 43

45 Fitzmeir, J., “The Aims and Purposes Literature: Notes from the Field” from “Resources for American Christianity” http://www.resourcingchristianity.org , November 2005 This is from Jesus’ injunction in Luke 10 which is an echo of the OT in Deut 6.

46 Deuteronomy 6:20

47 Cheesman, G., “The Philosophy of Theological Education: Historical Overview”, Unpublished Centre for Theological Education Lecture Notes, September 2005

48 Brereton, V. L., “Training God’s Army: The American Bible School, 1880 – 1940, Bloomington, Indiana University Press, 1990, p.59

49 Fitzmier, J., op. cit., p.16

50 Ibid., p. 17

51 Pobee, J., (ed), Towards Viable Theological Education, Geneva, WCC, 1997, p.140

52 Sargent, Tony., “The Value of Theological Education for Ministry and Service” – an address given to the Baptist Union Assembly, Scotland, Oct. 24, 2001 (unpublished)

53In Fiorenza, F. S., “Thinking Theologically About Theological Education”, Theological Education, Vol.24, Suppl. II, 1988, p.106

54 Amirtham, S., and Pryon, R., (eds)., Invitation to the Feast of Life, Geneva, WCC, n.d., p.157

55 Nouwen, H., Reaching Out, Glasgow, Collins, 1976, p. 69

56 “Manifesto on the Renewal of Evangelical Theological Education”, in Evangelical Review of Theology, Vol.19:3, July, 1995, p. 312

57 Amirtham, S. op. cit., p.163

58 Ibid., p. 151

59 Cheesman, G., “Spiritual Formation as a Goal of Theological Education”, http://www.theologicaleducation.org/docs/resources2 p.22, Nov.2005

60 Ibid., p.26

61 Ibid., p.27

62 Reported in Fitzmier, J., “The Aims and Purposes Literature: Notes from the Field …” op. cit., p.21.A Seminary’s culture are “those shared(publicly available) symbolic forms – worldviews and beliefs, ritual practices, ceremonies, art and architecture, language, and patterns of everyday interaction – that give meaning and direction to the life of the schools and the people who participate in them.” from Jackson Carroll, Barbara Wheeler(eds) Being There: Culture and Formation in Two Theological Schools, Oxford, OUP, 1997, p268.

63“Decree on the Training of Priests”, Vatican II, Optatan Totius, 28, Oct. 1965, pp. 713f

64 Ibid., p.716

65 Fitzmier, J., op cit., p.11

66 Ibid., p.23 It may be defined in at least three ways:

ecclesially, as a calling to a specific role within ordained ministry.

personally, as a sense of individual religious destiny or meaning.

globally, as service which alligns one’s deepest passions with the most pressing needs of the world

67 Ibid., p.24

68 1 Cor.12: 21 - 26

69 Kelsey, D., Between Athens and Berlin: The Theological Education Debate, Grand Rapids, Eerdmans, 1993, p.11

70 Williams, M., “Theological Education and Ordination Training”, BJTE, Vol. 8, No.1, 1996, p. 22

71 Kelsey, D., To Understand God Truly: What’s Theological About a Theological School, Louisville, John Knox, 1992, p.161

72 Schner, G., “Formation as a Unifying Concept of Theological Education”, Theological Education, Vol.21:2, 1985, pp. 94 - 112




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