Theological Education -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 037:147 (Jul 1880)
Article: Theological Education
Author: Anonymous

Theological Education

No. V. Diversities In The Curriculum Of Our Theological Schools

The four preceding Articles on Theological Education have, with more or less emphasis, suggested the following ideas.

1. Our theological seminaries should be so regulated that some candidates for the ministry may make farther progress than others in special studies. Some can and should pursue Hebrew and Greek literature to a greater extent than others. Some can and should devote more time than others to historical investigation. It would be comparatively useless for some men, but eminently important for others, to study the more complicated theories of philosophers who oppose the Christian system, to master the more recondite speculations of theologians who defend that system.

2. Our theological seminaries should be so regulated that some candidates may be more thoroughly instructed than they now are in the fundamental studies of their profession. Here and there a man leaves the seminary without such an acquaintance with the English language as will enable him to prepare a sermon for the press. He does not even know how to divide the sermon into paragraphs, the paragraph into sentences, or to punctuate the sentence. Here and there an alumnus cannot construct an argument in logical form, nor explain the Biblical passages which support it. Still, in certain respects, these men are better qualified for usefulness in the ministry than are some of their better educated classmates. Not a few of the more accurate scholars prove themselves to be unfit for the pulpit. The more scholastic ought to have been more carefully trained for their practical work; the less scholarly ought to have been specially disciplined in the fundamental branches of clerical study. There is an antiquated stanza, familiar to us in our childhood, and capable of new and various applications at the present day:

“In point of sermons, ‘tis confest,
Our English clergy make the best;
But, what seems paradox at first,
They make the best, and preach the worst.”

3. From these, and from other facts like these, arises the necessity, or at least the importance, of an elective system of theological study.

4. From a large variety of similar facts arises the importance of in-

structing one class of students in large part by public lectures, and another class in large part by private conversation. For some theological students the public lecture is in some measure lost. It is not understood, or it is misunderstood. These men need to study a printed text-book; to be questioned familiarly in regard to it; to converse individually with their instructor; to receive daily fro...

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