What does it mean to refer to theological education as discipleship?
Based upon several years worth of conversations it seems like the answer depends upon from which side of the conversation someone is approaching the question. For those anchored in the local church, the answer often challenges assumptions about education related to unnecessary difficulty and perceived lack of financial value. For those working within an academic context, the answer often is concerned about a reluctance for a student to submit to the necessary discipline for a successful educational journey.
From my perspective, it isn’t a question of whether theological education is discipleship (it is!). The key question is how do we restore a holistic understanding of discipleship that takes into account the work of seminaries and the Church?
Below are a few reflections related to this previously posted on InDepth:
Many would refer to Winebrenner Seminary as an “institution of theological higher education.” That is an accurate description of our role, especially when viewing us from the perspective of accrediting agencies and non-faith-based entities. But that only speaks to a portion of our identity. Winebrenner carries out the mission of equipping leaders for service in God’s kingdom in the context of higher education. Another way to express this is that we are a catalyst for discipleship that happens to have accreditation. We will continue to explore theological education as discipleship as we move into the future.