Friday, October 10, 2008

Issues Facing Theological Educators Around the World

Eron Henry’s article on the Baptist International Conference on Theological Education (BICTE) is one of the many articles in the new digital magazine of the Baptist World Alliance. It puts into focus some of the common and particular issues that theological educators are facing around the world today.

In this article entitled,
BICTE: A HIGHLIGHTING OF CHALLENGES, Eron Henry writes:

The Baptist World Alliance held its seventh Baptist International Conference on Theological Education (BICTE) in Prague in the Czech Republic in July 2008.

Papers were presented covering various subjects, including the environment, and at-risk women and children.

Among the highlights of the meeting was the discussion on the state of theological education.

The gathering in the Czech Republic was a representative sample of mainly theological educators, but also authors, pastors, and denominational leaders. A number of the conferees wore two or more hats – some serving as pastors and seminary teachers, or as pastors and denominational leaders, some being all three and more.

It is clear that theological education is experiencing severe stress. In the United States, theological schools are closing, downsizing, or merging. The sheer cost of running a theological school and dwindling enrolments in some schools and programs are leading to retrenchment.

Yet, in other parts of the world – in South, Southeast and East Asia for instance – there is a lack of opportunity for training, and where there is opportunity, there is shortage of space.

Geoff Pound tells of the hunger of Christians in China to do theological work, attend theological school, and engage in ministerial training, and the creative approaches employed to ensure that students in this country get the training for which they yearn.

One Latin American theologian reported that the lack of formal ministerial training is so grave that 12,000 churches are without a formally trained pastor. Seventy-five percent of pastors in the region are not trained, and only 1,000 or so pastors graduate from theological schools each year.

Click here to read the ezine, 32 pages of news and information about the Baptist family around the world.

Please note that you will need Adobe Flash Player to view the ezine. The player can be downloaded for free here.

Dr Geoff Pound

Image: One of the conference photos against one of the stately buildings of IBTS. CLICK TO ENLARGE.