The Christian Citizen Series: Part 1
July 29, 2019
Theological education in North America: Crises and faithful creativity
Dr. Philip Thompson
April 8, 2019
This is the first of a series of articles surveying the current crisis of theological education and one school’s response to it. Perhaps it is fitting that the series begins in Lent, with its call to “repent.” Scott Cairns, a poet and Orthodox Christian, says repentance “turns without regret, turns not so much away, as toward, . . .”Theological schools in North America are facing a time when they must turn toward new models and philosophies.
It is indisputable that theological education in North America is in the midst of a time of change, even crisis. It has been for some time. Nearly fifteen years ago, at Bethany Theological Seminary’s one hundredth commencement, Stanley Hauerwas delivered the address. The title he chose was not celebratory: “Seminaries Are in Trouble.” He began, “Seminaries are in trouble. Seminaries are in trouble because churches in America are in trouble. Freestanding seminaries . . . are particularly in trouble.”[ii]
It is indisputable that theological education in North America is in the midst of a time of change, even crisis. It has been for some time.