Training For The Ministry In View Of Changing Academic Standards -- By: J. S. Cleland

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 087:346 (Apr 1930)
Article: Training For The Ministry In View Of Changing Academic Standards
Author: J. S. Cleland


Training For The Ministry In View Of Changing Academic Standards

J. S. Cleland

It may be presumptuous for one who has never been a member of the faculty of a school of theology and who has made no careful study of the curricula of these institutions to express his views concerning their educational problems. For ten years, I have been a dean in church colleges. My contact with the seminaries is through the boys who go from college to seminary and my views are colored by the ideas expressed by these boys before and after their seminary courses; and also by the ideas of the larger number of boys who think seriously of the ministry and talk about courses in the schools of theology but who finally enter other fields of work.

The fact that the people of the nation are better educated than they formerly were and that the percentage of those who are receiving higher education is rapidly increasing, presents to those who are responsible for training men for professional life the problem of preparing their charges to be the leaders of educated people. The faculties of different kinds of professional schools have been dealing with this problem and are strengthening their courses in order to meet a demand for a higher standard of training. Everyone is familiar with the great advance that has been made in the requirements for teaching in our several grades of public schools. In the most advanced communities, the bachelor’s degree is required for those who teach high school. The story of the improvement in medical education is an interesting and significant one. There are still some physicians practicing who have had no formal training in medical schools. These men are the survivors of a day when the physician learned his trade by taking instruction directly from a practicing physician, and the art of healing was learned by apprenticeship in the older doctor’s office. The number of medical schools is greatly reduced in com-

parison with the number in existence a few years ago. Those schools which now give medical training are, with but few exceptions, strong, well-organized institutions operating on a sound educational and scientific basis. The standard medical schools now require at least two years of college work for admission, the best ones require a full college course, and those that accept students directly from high school are not considered as wholly respectable. What is true of the professions of teaching, and of medicine, is true too of engineering, law, and other professions and occupations requiring technical training. It is because the other professions have gone forward so rapidly and so remarkably that the theological seminaries face the necessity of recognizing that they too must train men for a day wh...

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