This review of selected precedent literature traces currents of thought important to the contemporary debate on the nature and purpose of theological education. Of particular concern in this review is to trace the various perspectives on the relationship of the church and theological education.
Ted Ward is described as one who keeps "an eye on the future" as he seeks to make a difference in the present. Over a long and distinguished career in education, missions, and international development, Ted has never shied away from asking hard questions, sharing his perspectives, or tackling an injustice. As we sat together on his balcony on the Florida coast, we talked about issues related to theological education and the church. You will note that Ted's comments range around the world, move easily between theoretical analysis and practical realities, and as always, confront controversial issues head on.
This article revisits a concern that plagues contemporary theological education: How does one conceptualize the relationship of theological education and ministry development? The problem is stated and some contemporary solutions described.
Both the seminary and the church blame each other for contemporary deficiencies in the development of leadership. This article argues that the mutual finger-pointing is neither helpful nor indicative of deeply rooted problems in the theological education. Several diagnoses and descriptions of efforts to address underlying problems are offered.
Houston reviews the history of mentoring and provides a context for the examination and critique of its current relevance. He proposes a multifaceted description of the "Christian mentor" which underscores the strengths and limitations of the contemporary application of mentoring to the Christian life.
In discussions over the future of higher education, the voices of pastors and lay people often go unheard. This paper emerges from a three year research study with five pastors which explored the nature of educational ministry in their congregations, their insights concerning pastoral education, and introduces some of their ideas for how pastoral education might be transformed.
An analysis of eight hundred and two participants in theological education through distance learning, this article explores who enrolls in doctoral programs, their reasons for enrollment, and what these students identify as the advantages of doing theological education through distance-mediated programs.
Part Two of this articles offers discussion of student-documented weaknesses of these same doctoral programs.
Theological schools often capitulate to the academy's public, critical rationality, or to the church's desire for skilled practitioners, or to both. These choices are a reaction to the Enlightenment's influence on the task of theology, which required it to be scientific in order to make truth claims. Two trends may enable us to reorient the theological task, and thereby theological education. First, we should view theology as the acquisition of wisdom, of biblical discernment for the covenant obedience of God's people. Second, we must acquire wisdom through a theologically-informed use of Scripture. The result would be theological schools which communicate virtue-forming and virtue-formed knowledge, which teach the character and skill of wisdom rather than mere knowledge, which teach the character and skill of wisdom rather than mere knowledge content, and which structure the theological disciplines around the unified task of acquiring wisdom.