Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 122:488 (Oct 65) p. 359
“Pre-Seminary Education,” Theological Education, Spring 1965.
This is the theme of the entire issue of the quarterly published by the American Association of Theological Schools. The periodical number is in effect a critical evaluation of the two-year (1961–63) study of the subject sponsored by the American Academy of Religion (new name of the National Association of Biblical Instructors), supervised by an outstanding board of college and seminary educators, extensively supported by the AATS, and generously financed by the Lilly Endowment, Inc. Keith R. Bridston and Dwight W. Culver directed the study, which is presented in the book Pre-Seminary Education (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1965). As a preliminary background the same men edited a volume of essays entitled The Making of Ministers (Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1964). The goal of the study and of this discussion, probably supplemented by a series of meetings, is a revision of the preseminary study statement of the AATS first set forth in 1936.
The lead article by Liston Pope of Yale University Divinity School is a direct evaluation of the study itself. Pope says, “I do not regard this report as very satisfactory” (p. 139). He continues: “Most disappointingly of all, the report is extremely weak in its general conclusions and recommendations for the future. There is a brief chapter (7 pages), making certain recommendations, but in general they add up only to proposals for further research and consultation. They contribute very little to actual redefinition or evaluation of preseminary education “ (p. 142).
Pope is not the only highly critical analyst. Thomas C. Campbell, for example, views the report’s data from a sociologist’s view and concludes that the report “provides little more than certain ‘interesting facts,’ but…almost no basis for making judgments about the implications of the data for the future ministry or the planning of theological education” (p. 176).
An interesting observation was made by John M. Vayhinger, who evaluated the report from the psychologist’s point of view. He opined that “probably no other profession trains students from so wide and varied a background as does the ministry” (p. 182). This
BSac 122:488 (Oct 65) p. 360
is true not only of family, culture, economics, and other factors of background but also of preseminary education, which creates the basic confusion of this report and a basic dilemma of theological education.
“Diagogue With Protestants Today,” Stephan Virgulin, Unitas, Summer, 1965, pp. 107-12.
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