(RNS) U.S. Seminaries Consider Radical Changes

For more than 200 years, Andover Newton Theological School (ANTS) has trained future pastors to have expertise in biblical studies, pastoral care and preaching.
But in today’s world, the nation’s oldest school of theology has decided that’s no longer enough, and other schools are starting to agree.

Under a recent curriculum overhaul, ANTS students must prove competency in key skills for the 21st-century church, including high-tech communication and interfaith collaboration. They still study theology, but unless they can use it to help others find meaning, they don’t graduate.

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4 comments on “(RNS) U.S. Seminaries Consider Radical Changes

  1. Pb says:

    How about studying scripture? People do not need theology. It is a good thing that early Christians did not think like this.

  2. Undergroundpewster says:

    As if they aren’t radical enough already.

    [blockquote]”In California, Claremont School of Theology will require that would-be Christian pastors will soon take some courses alongside future rabbis and imams at an institution to be named Claremont Lincoln University.”[/blockquote]

    I like that…”would-be Christian pastors…”

  3. Capt. Father Warren says:

    Just remember, in the Episcopal Church, “would be Christian Pastors” is where “would be Christian bishops” come from.

  4. New Reformation Advocate says:

    While some of this re-invention of the wheel is also going on in orthodox seminaries (few people can afford to pull up stakes and move their families somewhere for a three-year in-residence program of full-time study), I agree that this article seems symptomatic of a deeper problem. So many “mainline” Protestant churches seem utterly confused and have lost their way because they’ve succombed to a consumer mentality: i.e., find out what the consumer wants and discover a way to deliver it better than anyone else.

    It’s as if there were no classic core content or fundamental skills that had to be mastered to be a competent pastor. And to a significant degree, seminaries are increasingly catering to whatever their surveys show potential students want, even though many prospective seminary students are basically clueless about what training they really need.

    I mean, would anyone designing a first-grade curriculum first survey 5-6 year-olds in the community to find out what they want to learn and then plan everything around that?? No, adults decide what children need to learn.

    Now surveying actual pastors is a whole different story. Let them tell seminary curriculum designers what future clergy need to learn to be effective in parish ministry. But for heaven’s sake (literally), don’t ask prospective students what they want to learn!

    I appreciate Kendall highlighting the massive and pervasive turmoil in theological education these days in several recent threads. Whatever future seminaries look like, they probably won’t look much like they used to in the last generation or two. And actually, that’s probably a good thing. We weren’t doing all that great before. That’s a major reason why all the “mainline” denominations are in the deep trouble they’re in.

    David Handy+