Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Conspectus
Volume: CONSPECTUS 04:1 (Mar 2007)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Hardy SA 2006. Excellence in theological education: effective training for church leaders. Cape Town: Modern Printers (319 pages).

Drawing on his vast experience of working with theological colleges and seminaries, Steve Hardy has compiled a readable, practical manual that will be a valuable reference resource for theological institutions in Africa.

Hardy begins by defining “excellence” in theological education. He proceeds to discuss what excellence looks like in eleven areas: leadership, strategic planning, governance, administration, curriculum, teachers, facilities, libraries, fundraising, extending training and evaluation.

For institutions that do not already have a procedure, the chapter “excellence in strategic planning” explains a simple process for conducting a strategic planning session. The chapter on good governance offers helpful suggestions regarding the role of those who serve on the board of directors. Everyone who serves on the board should be deeply committed to the institution. Hardy's treatment of “administration”, “curriculum” and “teachers”, though basic, is down-to-earth and offers a useful yardstick for institutions to use for self-evaluation. In an age when African seminaries are crying out for locally written curricula, Hardy (2006:150) rightly cautions that “there is no perfect curriculum where ‘one size fits all.’ An excellent program equips specific students for ministry within a specific context.”

Given the weakness of fundraising initiatives in many of our seminaries, the chapter “excellence in fundraising” offers both encouragement and helpful tips, while cautioning institutions against being dependent on foreign funding. Since I work for a distance education seminary with a strong emphasis on harnessing technology to serve training, I was disappointment with the shallow treatment of distance and e-learning models of delivery.

In summary, Excellence in Theological Education readable and practical. For those starting a theological programme, it gives a well-rounded portrait of

what a quality programme should look like. For existing institutions, it can serve as yardstick for self-evaluation and a call to do the basics with excellence.

Kevin Gary Smith

Seccombe D 2002. The King of God’s kingdom: a solution to the problem of Jesus. Carlisle, CA: Paternoster Press (648 pages).

I realise that it is unusual to write a review five years after a work is published, but I only recently discovered this outstanding work on the life of Jesus Christ, which deserves...

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