Keys to the CTE


Even though I haven’t posted for a while, I’ve been thinking a lot about Comprehensive Theological Education. In particular, I’ve been trying to identify the key “success factors” necessary to improve upon traditional methods. Here’s my current list. Any thing you’d like to add, Gentle Reader?

[Updated March 9th to use “over”, based on Andrew’s comments on Pressing In]

Holistic vs. over Academic
Thoroughgoing personal and societal transformation, not the accumulation of knowledge
Devotional vs. over Intellectual
Creating true worshippers, not intellectual savants
Mentoring vs. over Teaching
Professors must be “disciplers” rather than merely “lecturers”
Missional vs. over Historical
Focused on achieving God’s purpose in the future, not (merely) ensuring continuity with the past
Immersive vs. over Extractive
Learning in the context of a missional/relational community, rather than isolated into an academic environment
Need-based vs. over Content-based
Though it is a huge mental shift, CTE should ideally be “demand-driven“, where we are feeding students theological solutions to problems they are currently encountering in their ministry and personal lives, rather than stockpiling answers to hypothetical questions.
Iterative Improvement vs. over Static Syllabi
Programs must continually be refined in response to measures of the long-term effectiveness of the graduates (which is easier if the graduates come from and remain in the same community where the training takes place)

[Added March 8th]

Spirit vs. over Soul
Most theological training focuses on aspects of the soul: Mind (Western) vs. over Will (Eastern) vs. over Emotions (Southern). But all these still lead to self-centered religion; what we need instead is to be led by the [Holy] Spirit!
Kingdom vs. over Church
As Bob Mumford says, we need to shift our focus away from perpetuating our own particular “church” tradition towards promoting God’s Kingdom — even at the expense of our own!

2 thoughts on “Keys to the CTE

  1. As Andrew pointed out over on Pressing In, this post is framed as overly “black vs. white.” Ideally, the “B” column should be subordinate to “A”, rather than rejected. But I can’t think of a concise way to phrase that…

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