In the biblical record, the act of hospitality is frequently a theological drama of the work of reconciliation. In light of a Christian understanding of knowledge as rooted in relationship and the centrality of reconciliation to the mandate of ministerial training, hospitable space is an essential element in effective ministerial training. Some specific praxis implications of hospitable ministerial training include building an atmosphere of trust, reciprocity, and modeling the character of God.
Despite all that has been written, conferences that have been attended, and our best efforts, leadership development remains a critical need for our churches. Over claims of either relevancy or expediency, some churches have abandoned higher education and have started training leaders from their own ranks of volunteers. This three-part series suggests that the academy can assist the local church with this need by taking a holistic approach to developing emerging leaders and finding ways to partner with the local church in the process. The first article (Fall 2009) briefly reviewed the academy’s relationship with the church and addressed ways to increase a leader’s capacity to lead, focusing on the first domain, the leader’s heart or character development. This second article examines the next domain of holistic development, the leader’s knowledge. It will seek to answer the question, “What do ministry leaders need to know and where should it be learned?” The third article focuses on the final domain—skills. The expected abilities of ministry leaders will be discussed. All three articles will consider the implications to the curriculum and suggested church involvement.
The paper provides an analysis of moral development theory developed by Jean Piaget and Lawrence Kohlberg. The paper explores the primary critiques of Kohlberg’s moral development theory, including justice (the right) as the primary motivation for morality. The paper examines the research of Martin Hoffman’s view of empathy (the good) as the primary motivation for morality. John Gibbs takes Hoffman’s research a step further by advocating that the primary motivation for morality is co-primary (the right and the good). A Wesleyan view of moral psychology is developed by following Charles Wesley’s famous stanza, “Unite the pair so long Disjoined: Knowledge and vital piety.” This statement is a framework to discuss how empathy and justice become the primary motivation for moral development. The paper argues for a Wesleyan view of morality that includes the transformation of the human emotions and affections by the “means of grace” as a basis for moral development. The paper concludes by exploring how congregations can be a means of grace in shaping and forming moral persons.
John Milton Gregory is familiar to many Christian educators through his 19th-century publication, The Seven Laws of Teaching. For most readers of this important book, little is known about the author himself. This article explores the religious life and theological foundations of John Milton Gregory, who was both author of The Seven Laws of Teaching and founding president of the University of Illinois. Utilizing his spiritual diaries preserved in his daughter’s biography of her father and archival sources from the University of Illinois, this essay offers a theological and spiritual understanding of this important historical figure.
A systematic theologian offers a theological aggiornamento (bringing-up-to-date) of two critical doctrinal areas that affect Christian education: (a) the doctrine of Scripture, with particular attention to recent challenges to the inerrancy of Scripture; and (b) the doctrine of humanity, with particular focus on the latest findings from neurophysiology and current evangelical reworkings of the doctrine of theological anthropology. For each doctrinal area explored, implications for Christian educators are indicated and discussed.
The conversation between theology and education is the missing ingredient for shaping a distinctly Christian process of education. This article calls for a productive conversation between the social sciences and theology to establish an educational process that is redemptive in nature. As a corrective to disintegrated education, biblical theology can inform educational process to help it become a means of grace for the learner, and in that sense it can be understood as sacramental.
This is to be a reflection on how to understand the discipline of theology, and practical theology in particular. The reflection entails what it means to engage in practical theology in the educational ministry of the church. In the process, a modest proposal will develop for the trajectory of practical theology that is characterized as a lifelong habitus that every Christian of all ages is engaged in as a part of God’s kingdom. This habitus is propelled by what I propose as the Three Pillars of Christianity: the Great Commandment, the Great Commission, and the Great Communion. These biblical maxims reveal the identity of and calling for the people of God within the very ministry of the triune God in his kingdom on earth.
Baptismal theology and practices have always had a major influence on the educational efforts of the church, either setting expectations for those who are to be baptized or establishing requirements of instruction for children following their baptism. This article addresses the changes in baptismal theology and practice during the early and medieval church eras and their influence on the educational ministries of the church, particularly with children. A second article reviews changes from the Reformation to the present and provides a case study of how Horace Bushnell’s views of the spiritual nurture of children are grounded in his theology of baptism.
Baptismal theology and practices have always had a major influence on the educational efforts of the church, either setting expectations for those who are to be baptized or establishing requirements of instruction for children following their baptism. The first article in this series addressed the changes in baptismal theology and practice in the early and medieval church and their influence on the educational ministries of the church of these eras, particularly with children. This second article reviews changes in theology and practice from the Reformation to the present era and their impact on the church’s ministry with children, providing a case study of theological reflection by Horace Bushnell on baptism and the spiritual nurture of children. It closes with recommendations for ministry with children today in light of baptismal beliefs and practices.1
To fully comprehend our vocation as Christian educators, it is essential to recognize the realities of sin and grace. In spite of a culture that tends to lessen sin, Christian teachers are messengers of redeeming grace to their students. However, a clear understanding of the relationship between sin and grace is necessary to fully appreciate the grace of God and the goal of Christian education. This article discusses the doctrine of sin and its implications for Christian teaching.
Toddling to the kingdom: Child theology at work in the church. Edited by John Collier. London, UK: Child Theology Movement. 2009.
Children and the theologians: Clearing the way for grace. By Jerome W. Berryman. New York: Morehouse Publishing. 2009.
Review by Kevin E. Lawson, Director of PhD and EdD programs in Educational
Studies, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, CA.
Listening to children on the spiritual journey: Guidance for those who teach and nurture. By Catherine Stonehouse and Scottie May. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker. 2010.
Review by La Verne Tolbert, PhD, Adjunct Professor, Azusa Pacific University Graduate School of Theology, Azusa, CA; President, Teaching Like Jesus Ministries,
Pasadena, CA; Director, Society for Children’s Spirituality: Christian Perspectives.
Our covenant with kids: Biblical nurture in home and church. By Timothy A. Sisemore. Scotland, UK: Christian Focus. 2008. 208 pp.
Review by Amy Lin, Education Pastor, Evangelical Formosan Church of Irvine, doctoral student, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, CA.
Theology for a troubled believer: An introduction to the Christian faith. By Diogenes Allen. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press. 2010.
Review by Eddy F. Carder, Associate Professor of Philosophy, Prairie View A & M University, Prairie View, TX; Resident Fellow, B. H. Carroll Theological Institute, Arlington, TX.
Understanding and promoting transformative learning: A guide for educators of adults. By Patricia Cranton. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass (2nd Edition). 2006.
Review by Hokyung Paul Kang, doctoral student at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, La Mirada, CA.
Teaching that transforms: Facilitating life change through adult Bible teaching. By Rick and Shera Melick. Nashville, TN: B & H Publishing Group. 2010.
Review by Denise Moitinho, Adjunct Online Professor of Christian Leadership and Discipleship, Liberty University, Lynchburg, VA.
Teaching in a distant classroom. By Michael H. Romanowski and Teri Mc-Carthy. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books. 2009.
Review by Rex E. Johnson, Associate Professor of Christian Ministry and Leadership, Biola University, La Mirada, CA.
Awakening the quieter virtues. By Gregroy Spencer. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Books. 2010.
Review by Ellen Martin, Master of Arts, Christian Education (2005) and Master of Divinity (2010), Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, KY.
The Brazos introduction to Christian spirituality. By Evan B. Howard. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press. 2008.
Review by Linden D. McLaughlin, Chairman, Christian Education Department, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, TX.
Global awakening: How 20th-century revivals triggered a Christian revolution. By Mark Shaw. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic. 2010.
Review by Rich McLaughlin, Trainer and Networker, Spiritual Overseers Service International, Roselle, IL.
Grounded in the gospel: Building believers the old-fashioned way. By J. I. Packer and Gary A. Parrett. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books. 2010.
Review by Timothy J. Ralston, Professor of Pastoral Ministries, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, TX.