The Outreach Of Theological Education -- By: Gilbert H. Johnson

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 03:1 (Winter 1960)
Article: The Outreach Of Theological Education
Author: Gilbert H. Johnson


The Outreach Of Theological Education

Gilbert H. Johnson

In a day which emphasizes cooperation, anything for the sake of peace, a spirit of togetherness, it becomes necessary for those in the field of theological education to check their bearings and make sure that complacency has not taken the place of “contending for the faith.” Under much pressure it is easily possible to lose a sharp sensitivity to our loftiest obligations in training men and women for Christian service. With the resurgence of religion everywhere, many think that Christianity as it is popularly presented is accomplishing its task. In one sense, it is a source of encouragement to know that over 100,000,000 Americans have identified themselves with organized religion of one kind or another; and that there is an ever growing interest in religious literature; and that schools are expanding and multiplying. But are these indicative of a changed life, of higher moral standards, of deeper spiritual convictions? Have these produced a conscious awareness of the presence and power of a personal God dominating and controlling the individual life? Is God exalted as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in all His holiness, justice, omniscience and love? Is the concept of God based upon His own revelation as it is recorded in His inerrant Word, the Bible? Or is it not a fact that to the many God is little more than the product of human thinking, a figment of the imagination?

Stephen F. Bayne, Jr. in his book “The Optional God” comments:

“Dilute a Lincoln with four generations of religious neutrality; smother the fires of his spirit with ninety years of fat living; plaster his roughness over with partisan idolatry; stamp out the texture and individuality of the frontier man; and what is left is the fragmentary unbeliever whose ‘Christianity’ is little more than polite conformity.”1

It is by imperceptible steps that men move from a deep realization of God and a sense of complete dependence upon Him into a state where God becomes “optional.” The name “Christian” is prominent and popular, but the God of the Christian as set forth in the Bible has largely been relegated to the bleachers. This is our great loss. Men are bowing to lesser gods that satisfy a self-centered experience when they ought to exalt the one transcendent God, in whose image we have been made.

Thus it is the loss of spiritual power and fervency that endangers the testimony of the church, and that calls into question the veracity of the Scriptures. Dr. Mavis in his book “Beyond Conformity,” writes:

“The loss of spiritual dynamic places the basic theological truths in jeopardy. This is inevitably the case, because...

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