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Home School of Divinity ALTERNATIVES TO TRAINING FOR CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.

ALTERNATIVES TO TRAINING FOR CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.

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ALTERNATIVES TO TRAINING FOR CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.

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By David Kingdom – Copyright 1978

 

Editor’s note: A lot has happened since this article was written. With the advent of the Internet those who wish to study theologically and biblically have resources once dreamed of. Now there are video and audio lectures and notes for students. The danger is there is a great variety of quality of material. We recommend the following website that has study material of the highest order. If you are a Pastor and have the gifting and time the Internet gives you a unique opportunity to prepare lay members for future ministry. Also those men who sense God’s call to pastoral ministries can begin under such a Pastor to prepare themselves maybe for future theological and biblical studies at a seminary or bible college of repute. You can find additional resources here many from our own site. 

 

We shall begin by looking at the state of flux which exists today in respect of the whole matter of the training of the ministry.

 

SEMINARIES UNDER ATTACK

 

1.1  Until recently it has been widely assumed that the training of the ministry should take place in a residential college or seminary (to use the 'American' word) over a certain period of time usually of three or more academic years in duration.

 

1.2. The seminary model, it was generally believed, was of universal validity, so it could be transported from Western Europe, the United States, Canada and Australia to the Third World, and transplanted without too much difficulty to continue its operations in cultural contexts which were radically different to the cultural matrix in which it originally came to birth.

 

1.3. Now the seminary model, sometimes called the "monastic model" because the seminary withdraws men from Real-life situations in order to train them, is increasingly being to searching criticism. This criticism seems partly to have arisen from a growing dissatisfaction with both the quality of men emerge from seminaries, and the inadequacy of the preparation for the ministry which they have received therein. In itself, however, this criticism would not have led to the questioning of the seminary model as such, but only to a demand for better methods of selection to ensure that more men of the right spiritual caliber will be selected, and for more adequate training; to be given within the seminaries themselves. Undoubtedly, this is all that some critics are demanding.  And attempts are being made to meet their demands by seeking better(?) methods of selection (e.g residential selection conferences, a psychiatrist's report, etc) and by reshaping curricula content. So, for example, both the London Bible College and Spurgeon's College have recently restructured their curricula in conjunction with the National Council for Academic Awards in order to set up a degree course in theology and related subjects which, it is hoped, will be more closely feared to the demands of the ministry today that the B.D. of London University for which students were previously prepared.

 

1.4. Other critics, however, are not content with better methods of selection and the restructuring of the curricula of residential seminaries. For them this approach is not nearly radical enough, for it makes the questionable assumption that the foundation is right. All that is needed is for a new type of building to be erected upon it, or more conservatively still, some more rooms to be added to it.

 

1.5. The radicals (so called not because they are radical in their theology but because they want to attack what they see to be the root (radix) of the problem) begin by questioning. First, the value of residential seminaries and, then, the biblical basis for them.

 

1.6. Many have come to realize that, historically spearing, resi4entail seminaries are of recent origin. They have not been the only means (in the history of the Church) of training men for the ministry. Robert Brow has rightly observed: "We forget that seminary training as a requirement for ordination is a very new idea in-the Church of God. Theology as a special subject, the Green of the sciences, was a universil~v discipline, it was only required as ~a preparation for academic work, not for the normal parish - ministry. Seminaries were invented by the Council of Trent and ordered in all dioceses for the indoctrination of priests aLainst the Lutheran heresy. Protestants trained their ministers through the universities or by the apprenticeshi,-, system for the best part of three centuries. The first Presbyterian seminary was in Pittsburgh (1794), followed by Princeton (1812) and Yale Divinity School (1822). The Anglicans had a college at Chichester in 1839, but it was not until well on in the twentieth century that graduation from a theological college was considered necessary.'

 

1.7. If residential seminaries have not always existed then the presumption must be that they are not indispensable in training men for the ministry of the Lord. Thus the pretensions of seminaries to be the only proper means of training for the ministry are exposed.

 

1.8. More important that the awareness that seminaries are of recent origin is the questioning of the value of the seminary as a means of trainin!1,for the ministry. It should be appreciated that this questioning is not so much directed to the content of the curriculum, or to the teaching methods employed, as to the value of tie seminary per se.

 

1.9. This is questioned on several grounds. Firstly, the seminary abstracts men from real-life situations, with the result that what is learned is not able to be related to the world in which people live, work and die. It is too much like a greenhouse for the rearing of exotic plants, and too little like 'the school of life' in Tillich theology is taught in interation with people as they are. One result of this is that too many seminaries cannot minister to people, and so they 'drop-out' into university-lecturing or school teaching. 'Theory, theory and more theory is pumped in to well beyond saturation point, so that when it comes to be pumped out again as practice, q good deal has already evaporated and some of the rest turns out to be irrelevant'(Derek Bi6g- 11inistry and Training: Towards a Biblical Understanding p 20). Secondly, and this especially true in the Third world, and notably so in Africa, seminary training removes a man from his culture with the result that he either comes to despise it preferring the middle-class European culture of his missionary mentors, or even if he does not ;despise it he is so far alienated from it as to be ineffective in coinf,'iunicatin­the Gospel within it. In many parts of the vorld church leaders complain that students return to their people from seminaries so changed as to be virtually useless in their churches.

 

1.10. 17hirdly, seminaries encourage students to view the ministry as a 'profession, and their diploma or degree as a status-symbol. In the Third ',.-Iorld where education is seen very largely in terms of the means to social and economic salvation this can be quite disastrous. The acquiring of a symbol of academic achievement becomes the dominating motive for seeking seminary training. Thus status not service is the goal, in contradistruction to the example of Christ who came not to be (;;lark 10.45). So, to give one example, an African served but to serve  principal of a theological College in Nigeria, must needs leave it at the age of sixty or so to study for his doctorate in Canada! Or, to choose another example, from South Africa many of the graduates of a certain seminary refuse to return to the country districts from which they came, but insist on working in urban areas where there is more money and status. In fairness, one should add that Europeans are guilty of the same kind of attitude as well.

 

1.11.1 Fourthly, the value of seminaries is being questioned on the &round that they have a built-in tendency to become removed from the on-goinc, life of local churches. As institutions which major in intellectual preparation for the ministry they develop their own impetus so that even in evangelical seminaries a disproportionate given to ,roportionate time is E Bultmann and too little to, say, the biblical doctrine . of sexuality and marriage. The result is that the theologizing which goes on in seminaries is largely sterile and irrelevant to the life, as it actually is, of the churches. Thus unlike, say the theology of the Corinthian correspondence, it is lacking in power and relevance.

 

1.12. To those who would reply that the answer lies in seminaries becoming more closely related to local churches the critics point out that seminaries have a built-in tendency to move away from the life of the churches. Their orientation is towards the university rather than towards the churches. This can be seen in the way in which the demands of the university have since the Second World Vlar shaped the curriculum content of seminaries and Bible Colleges. So, for example, when I asked that we be provided with a course of lectures on the Reformation in the college where I was trained for the ministry I was told that the demands of our degree course (London B.D.) would not permit it to be done.

 

1.13. Not only is the value of seminaries being questioned today, but also their basis in Scripture. This is not being done by anti-intellectual fundamentalists, but by thoughtful and competent theologians.

 

1.14. The Scriptural basis of seminaries is questioned, in the first place, because according to the New Testament the place both of the manifestation and the development of gifts of ministry was the local church. If the 'manifestation of the Spirit' (1Cor.12,7) is bestowed for for the body of Christ, should not the development of the particular gift manifested be within the body? V.hat ground in Scripture is there for devolving ine upon a body other that the churchthe traini% of persons Lifted by the Holy Spirit to preach and teach?

 

1.15. Now the issue as between seminary and church as the locus for

training is not to deny that gifts can be developed in a seminary, but that gifts are more properly developed within the total ministry of the Church. Those who are opposed to seminaries argue very strongly that the local church alone has Scriptural warrant to train for the ministry, in the narrower sense of that word.

 

1.16. Secondly, it is argued that seminaries are, in fact, usurping the functions which the Church should exercise according to the gift and direction of Christ, her head. Thus thouGh churches may recommend students for training it is the seminaries who select them, whereas in the New Testament Churches selected (under the direction of the Spirit) men for ministerial tasks (e.g. Acts 13:1-3 ). Furthermore since seminaries are bodies which are much narrower in composition than the membership of churches, their students must of necessity be exposed to a more restricted range of Christian experience and pastoral opportunities Thus they result in the top-sided development of gifts, emphasising the cerebral out of all proportion to the practical. Again, it is ar,;ued, this is the result of the usurpation of the function of the Church.

 

1.17. These, then, are some of the reasons why today seminaries are under attack. Their value as training; institutions is being questioned because it is argued that they

(1) abstract students from real-life situations

(2) divorce a student from his culture.

(3) encourage students to view the ministry as a profession and

(4) have a built-in tendency to become removed from the life of the churches.

 

Their Biblical basis is questioned on the ground that, they

 

(1) are not the place according to the teaching; of the New Testament where gifts are bestowed and developed - the Church is this, and

(2) Usurp the functions which the ascended Christ exercises through His Church.

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. SOME SEMINARIES REPLY

 

2.1. By "reply" I do not mean that they have directly replied to the arguments against them which I have outlined above but that they have tried to reply to the situation in which these arguments have arisen.

2.2. This reply has taken the form of what is called Theological Education by Extension or TEE for short). Significantly this originated in what we might call) using a traditional but neat  too exact terms the "mission field",

 

2.3. TEE. began in Guatemala; Latin Americain 1962, The Presbyterian seminary in Guatemala City, the capital; had in twenty-five years produced only ten men still serving in the ministry, and this in a situation of rapid church-growth. In 1962 the seminary had only six students in residence.

 

2.4. In order to meet this situation it was decided to change the location of the seminary to a rural area, since the great majority of the Presbyterian churches were in country districts.

HT owever, changing the location of the seminary did little to bring about improvement. So it was decided to change the structure of

the seminary. Instead of the teaching being centralized in one place it was decentralized. A team of travelling tutors was set up who journeyed to selected centres to instruct groups of students for the ministry. These were no longer obliged to leave their churches and families. They could now receive instruction in their own area and whilst still serving within the churches to which they belonged.

 

,21.5. By the end of 1963 the number of students being taught had increased to fifty, and there have been a further increase since then. Since 1962 T.E.E. has spread to other Latin lnerican countries, the Far East, and Africa including South Africa.

 

2.6. The method of instruction employed in Guatemala, and since widely copied elsewhere, is programmed learning through the use of programmed texts. Programmed learning 'is a planned process, whereby the student is guided through a selected path of information, with which he instructs and successfully achieves the objectives set for the course' (Peter Savage)

 

2.7. It is important to distinguish the concept (T.E.E.) from the method (programmed learning) employed. Programmed learning is

no necessary part of T.E.E. for one could practice the principles of T.E.E without using programmed texts (though programmed texts do fit in well with a decentralized approach to training)

 

2.8. 'Philst the typicaluniversity-orientated seminary has used the classical approach, involving the mastering of packages of material T.E.E. uses the nuclear approach. It is so.called because it has

•           nucleus. It starts with an issue, a concept or a problem which

•           student has. It then works out from it devotionally, exegetically, and contextually e.g. polygamy in an African tribe.

2.9. Many advantages are claimed for T.E.E., but we would be foolish to ignore its disadvantages (which tend to be overlooked by its enthusiastic advocates).

 

2.10. Its advantages are several. Firstly, a student is not removed from his own church-situation. He is already a leader within it, not a would-be leader as the typical "student for the ministry" often is. Since he is not removed from his church-situation the student training through T.E.B. is not deprived of a relevant frame of reference, He is able to relate what he learns to where he is (i.e. in a church-situation ).

2.11. Secondly, the student is not removed from his own cultural situation. He remains, while learning, a man of his culture. He is not required to adopt another culture in order to learn and to meet certain academic requirements. This is very important, especially in the Third World, for there the removal of a man from his culture in order to train has often resulted in his being lost to working among his own people.

 

2.12. Thirdly, though it takes longer to train a man, more men can be trained through T.E.E.

 

2.13. Fourthly, more can be achieved at a lower per capita cost.

 

2.14. Fifthly, courses can be more easily tailored to the individual level of the individual student (though the employment of programmed texts coul(' in practice work against this. See below 2.17; 3.10,11)

 

2.15. Sixthly T.E.E. can be used with considerable flexibility. There can be flexibility as to the number of courses taken in a year. Some studentc. can work at a faster pace than others, so allowance can be made for thi7 fact. The timing of a tutor's visit can be flexible as well, e.g. once a week or once a fortnight.

 

2.16. But there are disadvantages to be recognised. Firstly, despite claim, to the contrary, the tutor may have less contact with his students undL T.E.E. thanin a good residential seminary where there is a good staff-student relationship. A once a week or once a fortnight visit, especially if a tutor does not stay over until the following day, may well result in not more but less contact with students.

 

2.17. Secondly, programmed learning, the method closely associated with T.E.E. can encourage mental laziness. Some African students have been known to look up the expected answers!

 

2.18. Thirdly, writing programmed texts is very demanding and very time-consuming. For instance sequence can be wrong. Moreover, texts canno' simply be "translated'! from one culture to another.

 

2.19. Fourthly, programmed learning may not be suitable for some subjects. For example, there could be considerable difficulties in teaching the biblical languages. (though a programmed text on New Testament Greek is now available in Spanish). A subject such as ethics, which is not readily susceptible to a programmed approach, presents formidable difficulties.

 

2.20. Fifthly, programmed learning may encourage a simplistic attitude of mind. For example, sometimes alternates are not so easily seen, as for example, in the matter of human responsibility and divine sovereignty.

 

2.21. I have outlined a very significant way in which some seminaries have replied to the challenges and questionings of the hour. It will not have escaped your notice, I trust, that I have spoken of some seminaries replying. Some have not, preferring to continue, like the Church of Rome, supper eadem. They may make changes in curricula, but they remain, for all that, traditional residential seminaries.

 

2.22. Others, as we have seen, have responded. But it should be appreciated that they still are seminaries. T.L.E. has not abolished seminariesj it has decentralized them. This can be seen in the following statement which is taken from a hand-out on T.E.E. put out by the Africa Evangelical Fellowship. 'In accordance with practices elsewhere these programs will be connected with Bible Institutes for recognition and credit. They will not replace existing Bible Institutes, however, nor is it likely, that they will reduce the number of full-time students (the opposite has been the experience in some places)'

 

2.23. This quotation shows that a seminary is still needed to provide accreditation (and also library and research facilities). In deed for this missionary society T.E.E. seems to be seen as reinforcing the residential seminary.

 

III. AWAY WITH THE SEMINARIES

 

3.1. Some of the critics of residential seminaries are still not satisfied. For them T.E.E. has not abolished the seminary; it is the same leopard with different spots! They would chance that the seminary approach and the seminary mentality are still enshrined in T.E.E.

 

3.2. I shall quote somewhat extensively from Derek Bigg's privately circulated paper which I have already mentioned. Bigg makes two basi criticisms of T.E.E.

'In the first place, extension seminaries have not as a rule resulted from the application of a Biblical strategy thought out from first principles. Lack of students, lack of funds, or simply dissatisfactiu. over the long-term results of traditional methods, has usually been the main motive for change. In other words, we have here a pragmatic solution to a pressing problem. This is always a dangerous procedure and in the long run is likely to end in frustration and disillusionment'. (page 25).

 

3.3. I think that from the origin of T.E.E. onwards there is a great deal of evidence to support Bigg's contention. This is not, however, to deny that T.E.E. is not an improvement on the training given in traditional residential seminaries, but it is to say that T.E.E. does not yet rest upon an adequate theological basis.

 

3.4. The force of Bigg's second criticism can only be appreciated if we digress for a moment to explain his distruction between the leader­ship ministries of foundation and consolidation.

"Foundation ministries" (of apostles and prophets, 4h. 2:19-20) hay.. to do with laying the foundation of churches by means of 'a fully-sounded and constantly maintained ministry of teaching? (page 5) See 1Tim 2:7 of 11Tim 1:11. "Consolidation ministries" arise from, the n-ed to build upon the foundation already laid. 'Despite a full programme of didactic evangelism, Paul found it adivsable to build on the firm foundations he had laid by leavinL his fellow-workers in strategic centres for a certain period so that they could continue the teaching ministry. Timothy and Titus are the two best known to us, although several others are mentioned in passing(e.g. Acts 19:29; 20.4; 21;29;  11Tim.4:10-12). Here was a team of dedicated men, all committed to the task of adding; a solid superstructure to God's spiritual temple. Their chief responsibility was to "amend what wac defective" (Titus 1:5 ) and teach "what befits sound doctrine" (Titus 2:1 (page 6)

 

3.5• Bearing this distinction in mind we are now in a position to appreciate the force Bigg's second criticism. 'It is probably true to say (if we may be permitted a sweeping generalization) that the rock-bottom reason why extension seminaries have suddenly sprung into prominence is that past generations have‑ suffered from a shallow approach to the all-important leadership ministries of foundation and consolidation. This has left an aching void in the local "continuation ministry" which is now plain for all to see, and which must be filled somehow or other. Hence extension seminaries, which reach out to the untrained or inadequately trained leaders in the local Churches'. (p.25) (The ministry of continuation is 'the steady and increasing labour of keeping God's building in a good state of spiritual repair.' (p.7) It is committed to 'faithful men' (II Tim. 2:2) who are presumably elders, but perhaps are not exclusively so).

 

3.6. Bigg continues: 'So far, so good. Nevertheless, we are so glued to the seminary mentality that we are apparently incapable of seeing beyond extension seminaries to a truly Biblical situation in which training becomes the responsibility of local leaders, not visiting professors. The basic work is surely not the seminary, with all the puraphernalia of its top-heavy organization, but the local Church as the ideal school for future leaders' (p.26)

 

3.7. 77hat Bigg is saying is that the extension seminary still usurps the function of the local church, because the advocates of T.E.Q. have no. approached their task with clearly thought out Biblical principles which are found in the New Testament teaching on the Church and its ministry.

3.8. He does see the extension seminary as having a role to play, but it 'ought to be limited to that of undertaking repair work i.e. restoring God's spiritual temple to a condition in which it can once more fulfil its divinely-ordained function ? (p.26)

 

3.9. But, it could well be asked, should even this limited role be allovve' to an extension seminary as such ? Should there not be operating wi-".. in a group of Churches a number of men who have recognised gifts foi "consolidation ministries"? That is should not this work be seen as a task committed to an extra-church body but to an inter-church group  who move among the churches training; leadership within them, but always within the ongoing life and needs of the churches? Here surely Timothy and Titus, as well as Apollo:, are appropriate examples. Unless we allow a proper place for "peripatetic ministries", as I have elsewhere called them, we shall be forced to make the assutnptio­that any one local church has always the gifted men able to carry on this ministry. That this is not the case can readily be seen from the New Testament, as Bigg himself shows, and also from experience. Some churches could train leaders at present, others manifestly could not.

 

3.10. Bigg's third criticism is directed more to the method employed by T.E.E. than to the concept of T.E.E. itself. Ile says that 'there' appear to be good grounds for hesitation before accepting the frequently-made assertion that extension seminaries adjust relentlessly to the student. How true is this? In a seminary-centred programme using max-produced courses, hoer rool! is there for applying the principle of felt need?'

 

3.11. 'Needs can, of course, be created artificially by churning out cartloads of programmed texts and then making a parachute drop every so often on the local Church, to find out what the students are doing with them. But real needs usually arise more spontaneously than this, and they seldom correspc.ild to the pre-digested answers of the course-writer! ' (p.26)

3.12. It must be admitted that Bigg has a strong case for questioning the heavy reliance upon programmed-texts which characterises T.E.E. But probably his criticism would be wet by the reply that much depends on how they are used.

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IV. LET THE CHURCHES BECOME SEMINARIES

 

4.1. If the case against residential seminaries is a strong one, it by no means followsthat the alternative is to commit the training of men

for ministry to the local churches as they are. In my view this would be disastrous simply because most local churches have neither the leadership, the vision or the gifts to undertake it.

 

4.2. This does not mean that they should never undertake it, but that at present they are not equipped to do so why do I argue thus?

 

4.3. In the first place, most local churches have neither a properly recognised or functioning eldership. Now since it is the function of elders to rule by leading (Heb. 13:17 ho hegoumenos ruler, leader is from hegeomai to lead, guide) it follows that where there is the lack of proper functioning eldership there will not be the kind of leadership necessary if the local church is to become a seminary.

 

4.4. For this to happen there must be a degree of doctrinal understanding which is for the most part lacking in local churches at the present time. In particular the leadership of the churches must be persuaded that it is part of the function of leadership to teach 'faithful men who will be able to teach others also'(IITim. 2:2) Secondly, the vision of local churches does not yet embrace their becoming seminaries in their own cultural context. Many local churches today strut-,ele to survive as churches, so they are not likely to have the breadth of vision which will lead to their becoming seminaries. They must be taught so that vision comes and impels them to act. They must be reminded that with God nothing is impossible.

 

4.5. How can the churches become seminaries? Let me suggest firstly, some general points, and then share with you the thinking of the church at Lynwuod, Pretoria as an example of iTwhat we trust will be happening when one Church, by God's enabling, becomes a seminary.

 

4.6. Firstly, churches can become seminaries by encouraging and helping Churches, parents to teach their children the -'lord of God. Timothy was       the contents of the Holy Scriptures from childhood

(2 Timothy 3:15), presumably by his grandmother and mother (IITimothy.1.5). The Christian home is where for many (but not all since some are call. by grace who do not come from Christian homes) training should be6ir­A reading of the life of Spurgeon demonstrates how vital a part the upbringing he received played in his preparation for the ministry to which God later called him.

4.7. The eldership (or leadership) of local churches should make the helping of Christian parents to discharge their responsibility to bring up their children in 'the nurture and admonition of the Lord' one of its top priorities. In this area I would suggest that the careful learning of a catechism, which is properly explained, is a great help.

4.8. Secondly, churches can become seminaries by concentrating on the training of men whose gifts and character are such as to mark them out for such training. Here again the leadership of a local church should watch for and encourage the development of gifts, but never should it view gift in isolation from Christian character (see I Timothy:3:1-7 where the primary emphasis falls on godliness of life and spiritual maturity). The Corinthians made the mistake of separating gifts from character.

4.9. Thirdly, churches can become seminaries which integrate theory with practice in a living community by setting up a training programme ( I use this word for want of a better) which is geared to the needs of

the ministry of the V.'ord in general, and to its own cultural setting in particular. Here, it seems to me, churches which are seminaries can correct a basic fault of the traditional seminaries which tend to turn out men all of one culture, and that middle-class. Thus a church in a working-class area ought to train men of the working-classes for ministry to the working-classes. A church in a middle-class suburb should train men of the middle-classes for ministry to the middle-classes. In this way the Gospel will be brought less on a foreign culture and more within a culture in which it can become truly "incarnated" in the life of a particular society.

4.10. Having made these general points I want to conclude by sharing with you something of the vision God has given to the Baptist Church at Lynnwood, Pretoria. In no way do I imply that our vision is a blue-print for all local churches, or that all of it has been translated into reality. tale are only at the beginning: vie have not arrived by any means.

 

4.11. Lynwood Baptist Church was formed in January, 1972 with thirty eight members. It now has just over eighty members, so numerically it is not a large change. Its subordinate standard, which each elder is required to uphold, is the 1689 Baptist Confession of Faith. It has from elders, two of whom, Rev. Clayton Coles and myself, are set aside to work full-time.

 

4.12. For several reasons the church occupies a strategic position. Firstly it is located in the capital city of the Republic. Secondly through its two universities, the University of Pretoria (.;Zrikaans medium)  anC the University of South Africa (dual medium, somewhat akin to the Open University in the U.K.) excellent library and research facilities are available. Thirdly, the Church has built up significant cross-cultural contacts with some African Baptist Churches and pastors. Fourthly, the leadership of the Church has been able to communicate to the membership a vision of the tremendous opportunities which exist for training men on a Reformed theological basis. It was for this reason that in August 1973 a unanimous invitation was extended to me to become an elder with special responsibility for teaching and training both within and without the church.

 

4.13. It should be emphasized that so far only a beginning has been made. In the complex cultural and political situation of South Africa it is wise to hasten slowly, especially at the present time. So far I have given two courses of lectures. The first was on the Doctrine of God and the second on the Charismatic Movement. Both of these have been taped. One effect of these lectures has been to make thinking Christians in Pretoria aware of our intention to provide solid teaching for those who are willing to avail themselves of it. Sales of tlie tapes have been encouraging, particularly of the series on the Charismatic Movement.

 

4.14. I have begun to build up links with some African Baptists pastors who are keen to improve their knowledge of biblical doctrine, ethics,etc. It is likely that in the near future I shall be tutoring a small group of past(.Situated in one of the Bantu homelands. It is my policy to concentrate upon these key men who love the Lord but who are very conscious of the deficiencies of their training and their need to be better eguipped to meet the challenges of the present time, e.g. Black theology", A number of grouts such as the one envisaged could be set  in the Johannesburg/Pretoria area where there is a big concentration of urban Africans.

 

 

4.15. Another area in which we trust there will be development in the fairly near future is the setting up of a one year course (full time) in Christian leadership. Men who undertake this course would be selected by the elders of our church from among our own membership, and, irl consultation with the leadership of other churches, from Christians belonging to other congregations. Such a course would seek to combine theoretical and practical training within the context of the Church at Lynviood. the course would be on an explicitly Reformed basis theologically and would. concentrate upon biblical theology, the historico-grammatical exegesis of Scripture, Christian ethics, apologetics, pastoral counselling, etc. It would not be an attempt to indoctrinate an evangelical sub-culture, but it would try to get people to think theologically, and to develop the ability to apply biblical doctrine to life in its totality.

 

4.16. Perhaps at a later state there could be the development of longer and more advanced courses more particularly geared to the training of men for the ministry in the narrower sense of the word. In this case, and in the one above, the participants would be whites, but not exclusively so, should site be available and suitable.

 

4.17. It is also hoped to provide seminaries and/or lectures or addresses from time to time on many aspects of the life of the Church, the Christian family, the Christian as citizen. These could, to some extent at least, arise out of study-groups set up to investigate specific areas of concern e.g. social justice, Christian family life, marriage, etc.

 

4.18. As the work at Lynwood developer it is hoped that the Church will become a recognised centre for the application of biblical doctrine to life. In this connection library and research facilities will have to be provided and developed.

 

4.19. From the foregoing it is quite clear that much faith, hard work and sacrificial giving is going to be required to give our vision reality. The co-operation of other churches of like mind is welcome, because we believe that what the Lord has given to us should be shared.

 

4.20. In ending this paper with an outline of how the Lord has been guiding our thinking I do not wish to imply that our way must be your way, but only to show how one particular church is on the road to becoming a seminar in which,. hopfully, learning and doing, input and outlook, are related togdther in a living and meaningful proxis.

 David kingdom - Copyright 1978

This lecture was first given at the Reformed Studies Conference – 1978 at Melbourne, Australia

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David Kingdom – Copyright

Last Updated on Thursday, 27 February 2014 13:17  

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