Ministerial Education And Training In The Methodist Episcopal Church -- By: Daniel P. Kidder

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 033:131 (Jul 1876)
Article: Ministerial Education And Training In The Methodist Episcopal Church
Author: Daniel P. Kidder

Ministerial Education And Training In The Methodist Episcopal Church

Rev. Daniel P. Kidder

No interest of any church is greater than that involved in the proper education and training of its ministers. All earnest churches give great attention to this subject; and it is not an unfavorable omen of the future of Christianity that at the present time the best methods of ministerial preparation are the subject of mutual investigation on the part of different Christian denominations.

In the belief that so far as such investigations may be conducted in a fraternal spirit they can hardly fail to be advantageous, the present Article has been written. It is but just to the writer to say that it was not volunteered, but produced in answer to specific inquiries from a highly respected source.

Those inquiries assumed that the successes wrought out by the Methodist Episcopal Church during the comparatively brief period since its organization in December 1784, were in no small degree due to the efficient character of its ministers. They further indicated that many ministers and people of sister churches were desirous of understanding the nature and requirements of the system of ministerial preparation recognized by the church referred to, and also the nature and extent of any modifications of the system found desirable within recent years. The effort to respond satisfactorily to such inquiries makes it necessary to present a brief summary of facts which will illustrate in historic order the origin, development, and modifications of the system in question.

The idea seems to be more or less prevalent that very

decided, if not radical, changes have recently taken place in that system; whereas facts will show that the recent adoption of institutional instruction for ministers is but a realization of the full plan of ministerial preparation originally proposed by Mr. Wesley, and in perfect harmony with the system of training or field discipline which he and his followers were led to adopt as a providentially dictated necessity of their initial work.

The Methodist Episcopal Church owes its origin under God to what is known as the great Wesleyan revival of the eighteenth century. Two distinguishing characteristics of that revival were, first, a prominent recognition of the divine call as a necessary prerequisite for every true minister of the gospel; and, secondly, the practice of enlisting lay co-operation as a direct auxiliary of evangelistic effort. It cannot be claimed that either of these features of his subsequent ecclesiastical system was originated by Mr. Wesley. The first he believed to be required by the word of God. The second was taught him by the p...

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