In The History of Theological Education, Justo Gonzalez traces the historical intersections of theological education and the Church. Unfortunately, over the past few hundred years there has been a slow drifting apart of local churches and sites of theological education (what we may refer to as seminaries today). At times, the changes have been subtle enough that without further investigation someone may simply accept the division between seminaries and the Church as the way things should be and have always been.
However, there are multiple biblical and historical examples supporting the idea that theological education should be integrated into the life of the Church. In many cases, theological education is already in the local church, we just identify it with the word “discipleship.” I’ve been engaged in multiple conversations over the past years challenging church and seminary leaders to view theological education as discipleship. The responses range from support to “if theological education is discipleship, then it’s just going to be a ‘glorified Sunday School’” (from the seminary side) to “if discipleship is theological education, then it is going to be too difficult for the ‘average’ person” (from the church side).
From my view, theological education is discipleship so this is a conversation we need to continue to have until there is a greater level of clarity, understanding, and agreement. Over the coming weeks, I’ll be exploring some points for consideration as we work together to restore a holistic understanding of how theological education is discipleship.
Before we conclude this series, we’ll also spend time considering the “so what?” question for leaders in both church and educational contexts.
– Dr. Brent C. Sleasman, President
– Image by lil_foot_ on Pixabay, accessed via Adobe Spark
If you would like to talk further about any ideas shared through this InDepth blog, please email Winebrenner President, Dr. Brent C. Sleasman at firstname.lastname@example.org.