Theological Education – why bother?

 

Pastor's studying at New Creation Ministries.

“We also want to see the transformation of students according to the image of Christ. If our teaching – and indeed every aspect of the life of the school – does not lead to change in the lives of those who study, then they are wasting their time and we need to be asking ourselves some very hard questions. Then, the whole programme must lead to mission, the discipling of the nations – in Rwanda and beyond. The goal is not certificates, nor enabling our graduates to climb the ladder of church promotion, but to disciple those who come to us so that they in turn are equipped as disciple-makers. With that in mind, we need also to help our students address from a Christian perspective the particular issues that the church is facing. In the Rwandan context this means – among other things – wrestling with questions of ethnic division and reconciliation, understanding what God says about riches and poverty, responding to the Aids epidemic, and facing the challenge of a population roughly half of which is below 16 years of age. And, finally, the whole programme needs to be integrated so that knowledge, spiritual growth and Christian ministry are not regarded as three separate compartments, but are indivisibly related in a harmonious unity. Truth must produce character change, practical ministry must be shaped by truth, spiritual growth must feed into service, and so on.

 

The church is nourished through God’s own words: believers live by every word that comes from his mouth (Deuteronomy 8:3) – and churches eventually perish when they neglect what he has spoken. Many African churches are malnourished and ill-equipped both to be what they should be and to do what they should do. It is the vital role of theological educators to disciple the disciplers – to train those whose task it is to feed the people of God and equip them for mission.” – Keith Ferdinando (from Theological education- why bother?)


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