Archive for December, 2010

Cinderella or the Prince: Mission Studies in the Theological Curriculum: A presentation to CTE, Belfast, by Dr David Smith

I begin with an ancient story. It comes from Plato and is found in Phaedrus. The story concerns Thamus, a king in Egypt who is said to have entertained a god named Theuth who was the inventor of number, geometry, astronomy and, crucially, writing. Here is the crucial passage:

Cinderella or the Prince.docx


Church Ministry Formation In Protestant Theological Education: The Contemporary Debate In Kerala, India (PhD), by Jaison Thomas B Th., M Div., M Th.

Beginning with the rationale for exploring the increasing dissonance between churches and seminaries in the context of fulfilling the objectives of theological education, this research investigates the effectiveness and impact of theological education on church ministry formation in Kerala, India. Issues emerging from the perceived gulf between the academy and the demands of ministry in the church and society have been identified for an historical-comparative social analysis by mapping the theoretical foundations and debates that have, more recently, defined theological education in both the Western and the Indian contexts.


Women Training In Protestant Theological Institutions: A Critical Appraisal Of Contextual Challenges In Kerala, India (PhD) By Jessy Jaison BBS., M Div., M Th.

While liberationist perspectives in feminism have galvanized much attention in theological education in the past 20-30 years around the world, Kerala, India stands as a ‘different case’ with its inherited cultural biases. Theological seminaries in Kerala default to an unhealthy hierarchical attitude and structure in spite of the influx of women in seminaries and the remarkable educational development of women in society at large. This study investigates the cultural and ecclesiastical challenges of women students and attempts to make a hermeneutical inquiry into the theological and cultural issues involved.


Excitement in Theological Education

Nothing could be more fundamental for theological education but I know of no writings on the subject. Excitement is somewhere between awe and fun, sharing characteristics of both but transcending each. It is a joyous agitation of spirit caused by God and truth on the one hand and possibilities on the other. It is at the root of theological education because good theological education only occurs when a student and a teacher form a relationship which acts as a bridge between them. Excitement – about God, ideas and truth, and about what can be done for God in this world – is the primary “goods and services” which passes across the bridge (in both directions).


Just as in missiology, the “Three Selfs” formula became a tired way of describing missiology because everyone claimed it whether they were doing good or bad mission, so the “three objectives” formula of theological education – that our aim is for the students to grow spiritually, academically and in practical service – has become tired and meaningless because of its current fog-inducing universality.  A key, perhaps the key, marker of excellence is not any of these things, it is excitement. Without this, theological education is inadequate. It passes on a distorted view of God, truth and the world, and is not worthy of its great themes. Accrediting agencies need to look above all for excitement.


So what implants the deep excitement and what triggers the surface enthusiasm? Here I must become more personal. For me there have been two things, ideas and people. We need to get excited about God and ideas related to Him and mission for Him – theology. If not, we should look for another job. And we need to get excited as teachers by the possibility of forming a bond with our students that becomes a vehicle for blessing them and influencing their lives and future ministry. To throw the stone in the pond that ripples out across God’s church as those they minister to, minister to others.


Surely we can be excited about that.

Creating mobiles or building monuments – Theological education in the framework of lifelong learning by Einike Pilli, DTh (Tartu University)

Theology as a discipline and theological education as the way of passing it on from one generation to another have come to a critical phase in many countries, including Estonia. Some visible and interconnected signs of it are the small number of enrolled students, the financial difficulties of theological schools, and the low status of the job of being a minister. These signs are the result of deeper problems, which include the gap between church life and academic Theological Education, predominantly rational, subject-centred and individualistic approaches to studies, which discriminate between practical and “theoretical” theology, and too little emphasis on generic competencies and experiential learning. These can be expressed as the issues of the goals, movement and structure of theological study (Kelsey & Wheeles, 1991, 17). Theological schools often find it difficult to close the gap between denominational interests and academic requirements (Pilli, T., 2006, 14). On the level of rhetoric, theological schools and churches say that they need each other. However, at least in the Estonian context, there is little communication and cooperation between the two sides when it comes to expressing clear expectations, defining learning outcomes and developing curriculum, guiding work-based learning and mentoring individual students.

Spirituality of Theology Students, Kenya by Naftali Lemooke

Many theological schools, colleges, and seminaries have been commended for the kind of products they are sending to the field after training. Spiritual men and women of God who go out there to serve God in their churches and of course make a big difference. Some churches across the world have also criticized theological colleges or seminaries for the kind of people they are training and sending them to go and serve the church, people whom theological training and qualifications doesn’t have any relevance and appropriateness despite them spending several years in training. This has broadened the gap between churches, community and theological colleges and seminaries.

spirituality Lemooke.doc

An examination of in-service training method of delivery of theological education with particular reference to the Deeper Life Bible Church by Rabia Kaunda

Deeper life Bible church is one of the fastest growing churches in West Africa. The church has grown out of the work of Deeper Christian Life Ministry. But both these organisations are referred to as Deeper Life. It was founded in Nigeria in the year 1973 by W. F. Kumuyi. It started in his home in Lagos as a Bible study group with fifteen members. By 1988, it had grown into a church with a congregation of more than 50, 000 members. The Deeper Life Bible Church has over one thousand congregations in and beyond Africa (See Isaacson, 1982, p. 17). W.F. Kumuyi now pastors the central headquarters church which has a single congregation of about 100,000 members in Gbagada, Lagos.

deeper life Kaunda.doc

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