A Professorship Of Missionary Instruction In Our Theological Seminaries -- By: A. P. Happer

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 033:131 (Jul 1876)
Article: A Professorship Of Missionary Instruction In Our Theological Seminaries
Author: A. P. Happer


A Professorship Of Missionary Instruction In Our Theological
Seminaries

Rev. A. P. Happer

It is generally admitted that there is no more important duty laid upon the church than that of preaching the gospel in all the world. In order to qualify men for preaching the gospel to people at home it is considered necessary that the preacher should be well educated. As new activity has been manifested in behalf of infidelity and science and philosophy, “falsely so called,” special provision has been made for meeting the new phases of error. At first the subject of pastoral theology received but little attention in our Theological Seminaries; but when attention was called to the importance of special training in this part of ministerial duty, arrangements were made in some of our Seminaries that instruction in pastoral theology should engage the special attention of a professor. The young men who enter our Seminaries have had the opportunity of becoming acquainted with the philosophy, science, and literature which are current in western lands, yet with all their opportunities of forming a general knowledge of these things, the theological student is thoroughly instructed in them by professors who have devoted special attention to these studies.

Very different, however, is the case of those who contemplate the service of foreign missionaries. They are called to go forth into lands widely separated from our own. The climate, soil, productions, and industries of those lands are very diverse from those of our own. The people of these lands have systems of philosophy, cosmogony, metaphysics, government, education, and religion the very opposite of

those in our own land, and also different from all the nations of the West, of ancient and modern times, with which systems the course of study in our colleges gives the students more or less acquaintance. The experience of former missionaries has showed that different methods of labor have been successful in different parts of the mission field, according to the character and circumstances of the people among whom the labor has been performed. This experience has been gained at the expense of much time and labor; and the results of such experience are very difficult to gather up and render useful. But so far as facilities are afforded in our Theological Seminaries to those students who would wish to acquire the knowledge of the above designated subjects, which is so important to him in his contemplated work among the heathen, there are simply none. It appears most wonderful and strange that it is so. It will appear almost unaccountable to every one who comes to consider it, that it should be so. This is a probable explanation of the fact: In 1812, wh...

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