Theological Education in the Twenty-First Century

By Markham, Ian S. | Anglican Theological Review, Winter 2010 | Go to article overview

Theological Education in the Twenty-First Century


Markham, Ian S., Anglican Theological Review


Educators like to imagine that education matters. We like to believe that the leadership of a congregation is improved when that person has a graduate degree and three years of study. We like to think that pouring resources into education is worthwhile. We argue that the more resources we devote to theological education, the better the clergyperson, and therefore the stronger the congregation.

Yet one challenge for the leadership of theological education is this: the traditions that spend most on theological education are declining, while those who spend much less are getting stronger. So, for example, die Presbyterian Church (USA) has some of the finest seminaries in the world (Princeton Theological Seminary and Columbia Theological Seminary), but the Presbyterian Church lost two hundred thousand members from 1999-2004, which is more than any other mainline Protestant denomination during that period.1 Contrast this with Pentecostalism, which as David Martin explains, "includes about a quarter of a billion people"2 and in the United States alone has some ten million members and growing.3 The training for these pastors is often very limited and informal. Much of the congregational leadership is raised up from within and learning is limited to the Bible college. This comparison seems to suggest that the better the theological education, the less effective the congregational leadership.

In this article, I shall argue that theological education needs to allow the issues of denominational health to be much more central to the curriculum and program of the seminary. Leadership in theological education should have less to do with the survival of this or that institution and instead should involve a commitment to producing a stronger and more creative graduate who can make a difference to the nature and size of a congregation within the Episcopal Church (or whichever tradition the seminary is linked with). This argument will be constructed under three headings: the first is the importance of the theological underpinning; the second is the willingness to learn from congregational studies, globalization, and technology; and the third is an imaginative curriculum that weaves tiieology together with the insights learned from congregational studies, globalization, and technology.

To make this article manageable, the area of exploration has been limited to die following. First, the focus is theological education in seminaries. I recognize that there are many forms of theological education beyond die seminary- - in congregations, in dioceses, and in lay programs. All of these forms are important (and parts of my argument can apply to these areas); however, my expertise does not extend to a full exploration of these areas. Second, the focus is on the Episcopal Church. Much of the argument can be applied to other mainline denominations, but the context out of which I am writing is the Anglican one.

Theological Underpinning

Creating a bigger congregation is never a goal in itself. If a leader wants to be in the business of building up a large organization, then he or she should organize a presidential campaign or join a major global corporation. Instead, this is a gospel work. As a priest in the Episcopal Church, I believe that the Eternal Word was made flesh, and that in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, humanity can discern the nature of die Creator - a creator who loves humanity and seeks to five in relationship with each and eveiy person. Any vocation to the priesthood must arise from a belief in the truth of the gospel.

The Episcopal Church must be careful to retain this commitment to the core Christian narrative. The American church scene already has a denomination specializing in supporting those who seek to create their own theological identity, winch can be taken from any source or tradition. The Unitarian Universalist congregations welcome everyone - from those who are skeptical of God through the pantheist to the theist. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Theological Education in the Twenty-First Century
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.