Theological Education In England -- By: George F. Magoun

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 024:95 (Jul 1867)
Article: Theological Education In England
Author: George F. Magoun


Theological Education In England1

Rev. George F. Magoun

[The object of this Article is to set forth the condition, progress, and prospects of theological education among English Congregationalists. Most of the public institutions in Great Britain for the training of Congregational2 ministers are in England. One is in Scotland — the Theological

Hall at Edinburg, founded 1811, Rev. W. Lindsay Alexander, D.D., and Rev. A. T. Gowan, D.D., Professors. Two are in Wales — Brecon Independent College, founded 1813, and North Wales Independent College, Bala, 1842. There are, besides, three institutions of the same character in the British Dependencies — one in British North America, at Montreal, established 1839, and two in Australia, at Melbourne in Victoria (1861), and at Sydney in New South Wales (1863). Ten of the “theological colleges,” as they are termed, are in England.3 They represent fairly the whole number in Great Britain and her colonies. The statements that follow are drawn in part from the documents named below, and other publications, and are in part the result of personal examination and inquiries.]

The late Chancellor of the Exchequer, Mr. Gladstone, uttered in his place in Parliament, not long before his retirement, emphatic and weighty testimony to the character and intelligence of the English Congregational body, as the leading one among the “Dissenters.” Critics of the established church have recently made very significant admissions concerning the superior ability of the ministry of the Congregational churches. The Dean of Canterbury, for example, reviewing in the Contemporary Review four volumes of sermons, by Dr. Raleigh, Rev. R. W. Dale, Rev. H. R. Reynolds, and the late Mr. Hull, pronounces them “far, very far above the average of such publications “in the church of England. “An Anglican volume owes its publication most frequently,” says the Dean, “to the eminence of the preacher, or to the affection of the flock, or to the occasion of delivery; very seldom, indeed, to the fact that the sermons are in themselves worth publishing. Already the Nonconformists have passed us by in biblical scholarship and ministerial training; the specimens which we have given of their sermons are such as the church of England in our day could hardly show.” The

great majority of the present English Congregational ministers were educated at the “theological colleges” — eleven hundred and twelve out of eighteen hundred and twen...

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