Theological Education -- By: Anonymous
BSac 36:143 (July 1879) p. 560
No. III.—A Special Course Of Theological Study For Those Who Have Had No College Training
Most heartily do we agree with those who advocate a “higher training” for the Christian ministry, and a system of study to some extent” elective “in order to secure this higher training.1 But there are students who have not been “through college” — one hundred and ten students out of three hundred and seventeen in our seven Congregational seminaries, most of whom have not been “at college,” some of whom can scarcely be said to have had any “training” at all. What shall we do with them?
Whether they are called to preach, or should be allowed to preach, or will succeed in preaching, or should be “licensed,” “ordained,” “installed,” is not exactly within our arbitrament. They are impelled by sacred convictions. They are encouraged and recommended by those who know them best. They appear to be good, noble, earnest, perhaps bright, attractive, and promising, men. They feel their need of being taught and trained. After fair trial they are found to have suitable, if not superior, abilities. They make rapid progress, and endure severe tests, and can be qualified for
BSac 36:143 (July 1879) p. 561
excellent service. By common consent they lack only the requisite training.
The danger of admitting them into the ministry by any short or partial course of study is conceded; but it is not so great as the danger of letting them find their way into it without any course at all. The danger of making a regular and systematic provision for them is granted; but it is not so great as the danger of their being left to study without any fixed method or standard.
Whether they should be educated at the Seminary may be doubted. For such students the old plan of private individual instruction has many advantages. At first they can be taught best in a familiar, conversational way; they learn from text-books better than from lectures; they “take notes” slowly, slavishly, miserably, and unprofitably; what they learn must be drilled into them by constant repetition, and drawn out of them by frequent recitation. Their many defects and difficulties, mistakes and blunders require private treatment. More than other students do they need the close supervision and companionship of the teacher. For a year, at least, let them be tutored individually, if possible, by some accomplished pastor or seminary professor. This plan, in exceptional cases, we favor for the entire course. No other is so flexible, so considerate, so searching and stimulating, so thoroughly practical. Some Dr. Bellamy or Dr. West or Dr. Emmons, if he sh...
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