Theological Theology: A Working Reflection On Theological Studies In The University And Seminary Contexts -- By: Charles J. Rennie
Journal: Journal of the Institute of Reformed Baptist Studies
Volume: JIRBS 04:0 (NA 2017)
Article: Theological Theology: A Working Reflection On Theological Studies In The University And Seminary Contexts
Author: Charles J. Rennie
JIRBS 4 (2017) p. 43
A Working Reflection On Theological Studies
In The University And Seminary Contexts
* Charles J Rennie (MDiv, Westminster Seminary California, MLitt, University of St Andrews) is pastor of Sycamore Reformed Baptist Church in East Moline, IL.
This article offers a justification for the inclusion of theological studies among the other disciplines within the secular university and the implications that this may have for identifying the nature and ends of a confessional theological seminary. In the first place, then, the argument presented here does not assume that the university is the only possible or necessary place for theological study. The argument, however, does assume that theology may pursue the accomplishment of at least some of its ends within the university setting, and that, more importantly, the nature and ends of the university to some extent depend upon it doing so. Furthermore, this essay is not concerned with the relationship of the study of science, philosophy, or other humanities, to the study of theology, except insofar as it is relevant to the relationship of theology to the university. The church has a long history of appreciation for other intellectual disciplines as theological propaedeutics. The study of theology presupposes, or is benefited by, a critical and advanced knowledge of languages, philosophy, history, and so forth, as its own linguistic, intellectual, and social background.1 The value of theological propaedeutics is assumed, but the argument put forward in this essay concerns a more substantial relationship. Theological propaedeutics does not necessarily entail a material relationship between the university and the study of theology, much less a relationship that is integral to the nature of the university itself. The relation of theology and university is a complex matter, but what follows is an attempt to give a fundamental, if simplified, account of
JIRBS 4 (2017) p. 44
the basis upon which theology might not only be possible within but necessary for the accomplishment of the university’s own ends.
Therefore, the concern of this article is to argue that the study of theology, insofar as it is thoroughly theological, is an integral part of a university qua university and, by implication, is that which makes a theological seminary theological. The argument will begin by establishing the state of the question as we have inherited it. To do this, we must begin in nineteenth century Germany and the establishment of the University of Berlin. The second section will proceed with a discussion of the nature and ends of the ideal university. Tracing the concept back to ...
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