Monday, 2 April 2012

"Songs in a Strange Land" by Dr. Bruce Corley

We asked Dr. Bruce Corley, president of B. H. Carroll Theological Institute, to share with us some of his insights about where theological education is headed. No one I know has had a greater impact on theological education in this region than Dr. Corley. Not only has been our teacher and mentor, he has been a pioneer in theological education.

Songs in a Strange Land: The Future of Theological Education
Dr. Bruce Corley
(Regional NABPR, March 10, 2012)

Psalm 137 (ESV)
1 By the waters of Babylon, there we sat down and wept, when we remembered Zion.
2 On the willows there we hung up our lyres.
3 For there our captors required of us songs, and our tormentors, mirth, saying, "Sing us one of the songs of Zion!"
4 How shall we sing the LORD's song in a foreign [alien or strange] land?

My question: Here we are—shall we sing?

Landscape View
In looking over the place where we find ourselves, two related stories caught my eye.

A Seminary Where a Bicentennial Looks Forward—Richard Higgins, NY Times, April
5, 2008
Newton, Mass. — At the Andover Newton Theological School here, banquets,
exhibitions and church services proclaim the bicentennial this year of the
school’s founding as the Andover Theological Seminary.

The Rev. Nick Carter, its president, celebrates the seminary’s history proudly, but he is more engaged by how the school will adapt to the deep ferment in American religion and survive until the 250th anniversary and beyond. Mr. Carter’s question is shared by scores of other smaller and midsize independent Protestant seminaries
that have seen their financial support from denominations wither, their costs
increase, and their assumptions about church life and the career of ministry
tested by growing fragmentation and change in the pews.

“The church is changing,” Mr. Carter said. “Our concepts of religious leadership, mission, denomination and the status of ministry are being redefined. Other than the
Gospel itself, most of the assumptions that our programs of study are based on
are being swept away.” Mr. Carter said he and other seminary presidents had
been discussing this challenge.

“The question we’re asking each other,” he said, “is, ‘What insights and skills are essential for the practice of transformative ministry in the 21st century, and how do we teach it?’ ”

Never far behind is the question of their survival as freestanding institutions.

The nation has 165 seminaries, but 39 percent of seminary students attend just 20 of them. The 20 large institutions, all but two evangelical Christian, raise substantial money, have big endowments or receive moderate to high denominational support — or do all three.

In addition, nonsectarian theological and divinity schools that exist within a university also tend to be in good shape. But a majority of Protestant seminaries are
smaller independents, and many, including Andover Newton, lack adequate
endowments. The mainline churches that parented the older seminaries have
sharply cut financial support.

A result, said Daniel O. Aleshire, executive director of the National Association of Theological Schools, is that around 30 seminaries are in financial stress. In the future, Mr. Aleshire said, “There may be just two kinds of seminaries, those with substantial endowments or effective annual giving and the nonexistent.”

While Andover Newton is not on the brink, Mr. Carter said, it and other seminaries needed to think about sharing costs and pooling resources. The Bangor Theological Seminary in Maine has begun to outsource information technology work here. (Corley italics)

“All of us,” Mr. Carter said, “have to find news ways to relate to and collaborate with each other as institutions or face the prospect that some will go out of business.”

Driven by economics and a desire for innovation, Andover Newton shares its campus with Hebrew College, a rabbinic school. The arrangement saves on fixed costs, Mr. Carter said, and the interfaith discussions it has created has attracted new types of students, grants and donations. Other seminaries are similarly combining resources, Mr. Aleshire said.

Mr. Carter’s question about the mission of theological education is sharpened here by the bicentennial. The nation’s first full-time graduate theological school, the Andover Theological Seminary was started by orthodox Calvinists who fled Harvard after it embraced Unitarianism. The school opened in 1808 at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass.

Until then, ministerial training had been undergraduate, capped by parlor study under a pastor. Andover started three years’ graduate study of four subjects under a residential faculty: the Bible, church history, doctrinal theology and the practical arts of ministry.

That model became the gold standard, although Andover Newton has long since changed it. Andover Seminary, a bastion of Christian evangelical and missionary zeal, moved here in 1931 to an early Baptist seminary campus, merging in 1965.

Today, Andover Newton maintains ties to the United Church of Christ and the American Baptist churches and has 380 students from 35 denominations. One-fourth are Unitarian Universalists.

Tuitions covers 40 percent of the $7 million annual budget.

The rest is from fund-raising, the endowment and other sources, with a trickle
coming from the denominations, Mr. Carter said.

“We can’t turn out pastors for a church that no longer exists,” said Mr. Carter, an American Baptist minister. “Pastors have to be grounded in their own faith yet also have the ‘border crossing’ skills to be leaders in today’s religious landscape. Our
survival depends on this more than anything.”

He pointed out that when new ministers took their pulpits, “perhaps half the people they see in the pews didn’t grow up in that faith tradition.”

Mr. Carter’s call to reinvent seminaries is hardly new.

Theological education is adapting to declining denominational loyalty, changing ministries and a greater diversity of students, monitors of the field say.

David Kelsey, a professor of theology at the Yale Divinity School, said, “I think Mr. Carter is right about the inadequacy of what seminarians learn to the real ground-level cultural, social, economic diversity, even pluralism of belief, in the congregations they serve.”

Mr. Carter said seminaries might learn from business, adding: “Too many of us have long lists of problems, then put our best resources to work solving them. But if we would apply those same resources to our assets, our strengths, we would become
stronger and in the long run be more able to solve our problems.”

Bangor Theological Seminary to change direction—February 10, 2012
( )

Bangor, ME– The Board of Trustees of Bangor Theological Seminary
unanimously voted to suspend the Masters of Divinity and Masters of Arts degree
programs at the end of the 2012-13 academic year in order to explore a range of
options for the seminary consistent with its historic mission of service to the
Church, according to an announcement from H. Lowell Brown, chair of the

“As stewards of the seminary, we have seen dramatic changes taking place in
theological education over the past decade. During that time, seminaries across
the country have experienced a steady decline in enrollment for masters of
divinity and masters of arts programs,” notes Brown. “Bangor Theological
Seminary has also experienced similar decline as church membership has fallen
and fewer people seek a seminary education for pastoral service. As a
consequence, after thoughtful and prayerful consideration over the past year,
our board concluded that the time has come to make significant changes in the
way the Seminary will fulfill its historic mission to serve the needs of the
Church, now and in the future.”

According to the Reverend Dr. Robert Grove-Markwood, seminary president,
the board chose to make the decision now in order to allow the students, the
faculty, and staff time to make plans consistent with their needs. The Academic
Dean, Dr. Steven Lewis, will work with students to explore options for
completing their studies.

“Bangor Theological Seminary has a long history of adapting to changing
times,” notes Grove-Markwood. “Throughout its almost two hundred years of
service, the seminary has modified its programming while remaining faithful to
its mission of providing learned leadership for ministry in churches and in the
world. In the face of declining enrollment, the board concluded that our
endowment cannot sustain our present operational budget. It can, however,
support a new direction for the seminary, with God’s help. The board has chosen
to act decisively, while we have the resources to build a new future.”

“We are confident that the seminary will continue to play an important role
in the religious and spiritual life of the churches and the communities they
serve. We are excited about what we trust God is now calling us to do. We intend
to continue to prepare and support leaders for ministry in the Church and in the

The board is formulating plans to reconfigure the seminary consistent with
its historic mission of service to the Church. The group plans to announce the
new direction this spring.

“As we are poised to enter our third century of service, the needs of the
Church have changed,” adds Grove-Markwood. “Alternative paths to ordination have
emerged. Fewer individuals are pursuing full-time graduate theological education
for traditional pastoral ministry. Our board chose to be proactive in shaping
the future of the seminary based on the evolving needs of faith communities in
the twenty-first century, so that Bangor Theological Seminary may continue its
legacy of service for generations to come.”

Bangor Theological Seminary has served as a center of theological education
since 1814 and a source of preparation and support for church leaders,
particularly for the ministry of rural congregations in northern New England.

Is It Time to Write the Eulogy?
These two stories have been multiplied over the past decade in circles of theological education. One of the most engaging discussions is a year-long blog on “The Future of Seminary Education” (for the entire symposium see )

The lead article, “Is It Time to Write the Eulogy?: The Future of Seminary Education,” by Frederick Schmidt, Perkins School of Theology (March 21, 2011) painted a messy picture that drew a response from Barbara Wheeler (Schmidt is “Mr. Messy”), followed by an undaunted rejoinder from Schmidt. (See ; ; .) Here’s some of what he / she said:
Our seminaries are dying and the Master of Divinity degree has been discredited.
. . .church leaders once believed both were essential to effective ministry, but today they are considered one of several routes to ordination and an increasing number of church leaders are arguing that attending seminary may actually be detrimental to the process they once considered the gold standard.

A large number of the mainline seminaries are selling their buildings and property, cutting faculty, and eliminating degree programs. Those that are not, are competing for a shrinking pool of prospective students and rely on scholarships and lower academic standards to attract the students that they do have.

Now the trend is leadership and there can be little doubt that among the next generation of graduates will be the aspiring CEOs. There has never been any doubt that the church needs to be better led, but one has to wonder how much spiritual guidance there is to be had at the hands of clergy who think of themselves as ecclesiastical managers.

Seminary faculty often lack any real affinity for the church and, that too, has colored the kind of graduate that seminaries have produced. In part this state of affairs can be traced to the seminaries themselves, which hired faculty from a wide array of institutions, including many that were shaped not so much by theological categories as they were the assumptions of religious studies programs.

Faculty have also indulged their academic interests, creating both classes and curricula that correspond with their research issues and academic agenda but don't necessarily speak to the basic and perennial needs of the church's ordained ministry. The net result is a Master's degree that is often skewed to allow as many electives as possible and catalogues filled with boutique courses that have little application to pastoral ministry. . . and the elective could be as arcane as a class on "Bach and Romans."

In spite of the fact that there is room for so many extras, the degree itself is bloated and expensive.

Although Wheeler upheld most of Schmidt’s financial analysis she contested his other observations as limited and off target, not squaring with the facts. Faculties, she argued, are religiously observant, and the curricula have real affinity with preparation for church ministry.
Schmidt, however, appeals to a 2005 Auburn study that says otherwise: It is not surprising, then [to find in an earlier study that Auburn conducted in 2005], researchers found that theological faculty "values and outlook" were changing: They were "less likely" than doctoral students ten years before to "say that Christian traditions dominate their programs and their doctoral studies 'should help strengthen students' religious faith.'" They were "more likely . . . to place themselves in the broad field of 'religious studies' than in 'theological studies.'" And far fewer of them are ordained. He adds: “Anyone who has been in the academy for any time at all as either a student or a faculty member knows that classical disciplinary divisions and denominational labels are hardly indicators of what goes on in seminary classrooms.” Methinks that Schmidt has shined a light on a real messy scene.

Wheeler, however, rightly suggests that if the past is any guide, the impetus for constructive change is likely to come from several directions, among them the “market.” The employers of seminary graduates—congregations, denominations, and church agencies—can be a force for reform. Often they are galvanized by a major event in the religious or social context (a major scandal, a schism, a social change movement, a new wave of religious enthusiasm, or a religious depression) to press for leaders with more, better, or different training.

Shifting Terrain
May I suggest four sea changes in the market, terrain shifts in the landscape that have dramatic impact on theological education in Baptist circles.

Students—Where Did They Go? A ballpark estimate puts the loss of graduate student enrollment in Baptist seminaries at 50% over the past generation. The headcount enrollment in the six Southern Baptist seminaries has averaged about 8,000 in the past five years (I have not factored in the percentage of undergraduate enrollments). At its peak in 1987, SWBTS alone enrolled 5066 students with 3797 FTEs. This constituted 34.3% of the enrollment and 41.4% of the FTEs in all SBC seminaries. The 2010-11 ATS data reflects a trend that has been at work for some time. The total enrollment reported for the six SBC seminaries was 10,019.
In 2001 there were 11,427 Southern Baptist students in 101 ATS institutions. 4,984 of them (43.6%) were enrolled in MDiv degree programs; 1,774 of them (15.5%) were enrolled in ministerial non-MDiv degree programs; and 4,669 (40.8%) of them were enrolled in non-ministerial programs. Most of these students attended one of the six SBC seminaries or twelve other Baptist schools that emerged in the past fifteen years. The total enrollment in Southern Baptist theological institutions during 2001 was 11,994 students: 10,445 (87.1%) in the SBC seminaries, and 1,549 (12.9%) in the other Baptist schools.

The story is about the same in mainline Protestant, Evangelical, and Roman Catholic schools, the latter showing a precipitous drop in all its training programs from 37,000 in 1968 to 7,000 in 2011 (CARA Report).

Degrees—Who Does What? For most of the 20th century, ministers related to the Southern Baptist Convention received the majority of formal training from seminaries operated by the national convention. By virtue of an unwritten arrangement, state Baptist colleges and universities provided undergraduate training while the SBC seminaries focused on graduate level study. That situation has drastically changed. Since the 1995 report, the six convention seminaries have been joined by twelve other institutions which offer programs and grant Master of Divinity degrees. Moreover, the six seminaries have entered the market of undergraduate programs by offering BA degrees, and colleges have proliferated master’s degrees in ministry formation that substitute for MDivs.

Facilities—Can They Be Maintained? The projected costs for deferred maintenance approaches 1/4th of the cost to build. Almost 20% of theological institutions are verging on bankruptcy. As Dan Aleshire has often repeated, “There may be just two kinds of seminaries, those with substantial endowments or effective annual giving and the nonexistent.”

Learning—How Do You Know? The journey to postmodernity has carried us through three macro-shifts of culture and learning.

(1) The memory world—Plato in Athens, elder at the gate, learning by
listening and repeating, engaging a mind by living speech, intelligence as
recall and integration, leaders=orators, mind is key, lectio is
Threat: exile of speaker (Socrates)
Motto: "Know thyself"

(2) The print world—Gutenberg in Germany, scholar in the library, learning
by reading and confessing, engaging a mind by the printed page, intelligence as
repository and school, leaders=writers, literacy is key, printing is
Threat: burning of book (The Name of the Rose)
Motto: "Read thy book"

(3) The online world—Bill Gates or Steve Jobs in Silicon Valley, player at
the screen, learning by training and practice, engaging a mind by electronic
image, intelligence as retrieval and virtual knowledge or transactive memory,
leaders=innovators, access is key, programming is
Threat: unplugged machine (2001 on the clock scare)
Motto: "Save thy file"

By its history, theological education jumps on
the very back end of the wagon: 40% of all graduate education in America is
blended learning.

Adaptation to Climate

The Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate produced excellent data and two good jokes: “How many Princeton professors does it take to change a light bulb?” “Change?” [incredulously]. F. M. Cornford, the Cambridge classicist, wrote a biting satire Microcosmographia Academica (1908) on the machinations of the faculty at turn-of-the-previous-century Cambridge to maintain status quo. A series of major reforms had been stifled when factions like the liberal conservatives and the conservative liberals combined to prevent any change at all, wielding such arguments as the unanswerable “It has never been tried” or (equally unanswerable) “It was tried in 1867.”

Velleity. [velleity > a will of diminished force that prompts no action. Emerging visions can die because people get overwhelmed by the demands of current reality and lose their focus on the vision—Peter Senge.] During the 1990s a chorus of voices from within and without theological institutions, accompanied by a litany of research studies and proposals, called for the essential reform of seminary education. These studies, sponsored by the Association of Theological Schools (reported in issues of Theological Education) and various advisory bodies such as Leadership Network (Standing on the Banks of Tomorrow, 1993), identified a series of needs not being addressed by seminaries and proposed changes to be implemented. These changes were foundational trends, touching personal, global, and systemic aspects of theological education.

Although this ‘look ahead’ agenda became the common property of seminary planning teams in the 1990s, relatively little actually has been implemented. In Southern Baptist circles initiatives for educational change were paralyzed by denominational strife and the retrenchment of governance for political reasons. Creative energy, team building, and collegial enterprise were exhausted among retained faculties who still understood such needs but were overwhelmed by a totally different set of issues. The will to transform, in effect, was defused by the need to survive.

The failure to carry out substantive change has beleaguered not only the convention seminaries but also the new schools because the traditional paradigm remains unaltered in both. On the one hand, older seminaries have protected, indeed reinvigorated the former scheme with new personnel, while emerging alternative schools have simply reconstructed the old on a smaller scale. No measure of resolution in the denominational controversy, however biblical or historic its contours, can bridge the gap between where the seminaries are and what their publics need. We have fallen far behind in the education business, and nothing less than the reinvention of the Baptist seminary will suffice, or I should say retrofitting theological education.

Hazard Mitigation. “Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there”—Will Rogers. Is there a viable future for theological education?
Yes, if one is able to identify and eliminate the hazards that put it at risk. Defined by FEMA as “many homes existing today were built when little was known about where and how often floods and other hazardous events would occur or how buildings should be protected. As a result, retrofitting has become a necessary and important tool in hazard mitigation. Hazard mitigation is sustained action tak­en to reduce or eliminate long-term risk to people and property from hazards such as floods, winds, earthquakes, and fires.”

These hazards are compounded along with other ingredients of three interrelated presuppositions embedded in the builder generation of theological teachers and their schools, perhaps smiled about in table talk but actually tacit convictions, resilient, inviolable, and not open to debate especially by anyone under 30.
1) No help needed, and I’ll not give any.
2) I love my books, so don’t try to take them.
3) It happens nowhere else but here.

Retrofitting What Is

Learning theory, delivery systems, centralized residence, and curriculum designs have not changed to meet the challenges of the 21st century. So what is one to do? Faculty and facility remain—they must be renewed. Key idea: ‘Retrofitting’. Definition of transitive verb, according to Merriam-Webster first used in 1953, about the time theological schools were reaching their stride: to adapt to a new purpose or need: modify .

The Carnegie Initiative on the Doctorate, a five-year study involving 84 universities in 6 research fields, sought to address the needs of 375,000 doctoral students in the states. Among many issues was attrition: “About half of today’s doctoral students are lost to attrition—and in some programs the numbers are higher yet. Those who persist often take a long time to finish and along the way find their passion for the field sadly diminished” (The Formation of Scholars, p. 2). The Carnegie study emphasizes three major themes: 1) scholarly integration, 2) intellectual community, and 3) stewardship.

Retrofitting theological education includes the following components:
Learning in a collaborative, integrated paradigm. Connected to ministry issues, adapted to multiple learning environments, developed in community.
Vocational need assessment. Design of degree programs in terms of outcomes for ministry. Accountability for the learning process and what is accomplished.
Synthesis of the learning experience. Overcoming the traditional barriers between ‘classical’ and ‘practical’ disciplines. Focus on spiritual formation.

Competency-based curriculum. Emphasis on problem-solving, case studies, group leadership, and mentored experience.

Globalization and mission. Cultural understanding, interface with the larger issues of society, and the vitality of witness in a pluralistic setting.

Lay theological education. Models of seminary education that link university career training, bivocationalism, and lay participation in the church’s ministry.

Digital resources and classroom management. The ‘hard copy’ industry will survive only in a nuture modality. Cyberspace is the vehicle of future—find yourself a cloud.

Let me spell out implications of this list for the mitigation of the hazards I listed above.

Multilevel Collaboration. A major foundation executive on the main criterion for investment in a school: “We want to make our own assessment of the spirit, vision, and effectiveness of the schools—their leaders, their programs, and their outcomes. We have settled on certain key indicators we look for when we do these campus visits. And, while we have developed a number of conclusions that now guide our investment policy, I have to say that, above all else, we have concluded that the future belongs to those Christian schools that have a vision for and really practice collaboration throughout what they do [emphasis added]. Those schools typically have a clear vision of who they are. They know their strengths—what they can and cannot do well; their sense of identity is strong; they have an outward vision rather than inward; their leadership is focused on the future rather than on the past; they are open to change, not threatened by it; they are marked by a spirit of optimism; their programs are well integrated, with a clear focus built around their vision, purpose, and identity; and their programs are perceived as relevant by faculty, students, their communities, and their financial supporters.”

Teachers, departments, faculties, and schools tend to become silos. Collaboration should happen at several levels: student to student, teacher to student, teacher to colleague(s), department to departments within and across schools, the school with other schools, and the institution with the community. Shared resources is a prime example. Books have always attracted proprietary interests, whether author’s copyright, personal ownership, or buildings to hold them and librarians to guard them. We are in a new day: an orphaned books bill waits action in the Congress, the tech giants are busy digitizing the world’s largest collections, and university consortiums are planning a world digital library of one million volumes.
An October 2010 survey did research on higher education collaboration in cooperation with the Overseas Council International. We interviewed the presidents and deans of 129 institutions in 6 regions of the world working in 11 languages. Respondents had this to say about the state of collaboration at their institution.

1/3—29.3% were satisfied or only somewhat satisfied with collaboration on their campus.

1/2—53% indicated that collaboration between their school and others occurred infrequently or never, and 58.2% of those expressed dissatisfaction at the level and quality of inter-institutional collaboration.

2/3—47.5% indicated that collaboration with those in the community occurred infrequently or never, and 67.5% of those expressed dissatisfaction with their institution regarding community collaboration. (Phil Butler, “Effective Collaboration”)
Community Formation. The monastic model assumes that theological education happens in a place where professors are gathered and books are housed—namely, a main campus. A seminary without walls— this is where Baptist training of preachers began—aspiring young ministers taken in hand by an experienced mentor and teacher, as Spurgeon, Broadus, and Carroll did with their students. Denton Lotz, formerly BWA General Secretary, wrote in his open letter to Baptists worldwide new challenges for this new century; the third was “theological education for the masses” (1/1/06):

“We need a new type of theological education for pastors that enables them to be
teachers and coaches for the churches, not administrators, or dictators!
We need a new generation of pastors who are passionate about making Jesus Christ
known and instructing our people in discipleship! Perhaps church-based
theological education will bring academia and the people together. The
heart and the mind belong together.”

It is now happening across this country and around the world. The question is whether seminaries will find a way to return to church as the place of ministry formation. If we do not sing the songs of Zion is this strange land, someone else will.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Love's Knowledge

DBC: During our last meeting in Dallas, Jeph Holloway offered a beautiful meditation on 1 Corinthians entitled "Love's Knowledge." He graciously has allowed us to reproduce the text of his talk here.

Love’s Knowledge
1 Cor. 13:8-13

by Jeph Holloway, ETBU

I don’t know when it first began to dawn on me that 1 Corinthians 13 is about epistemology. We are so accustomed to its use in nuptial settings that the hard edge of Paul’s argument against Corinthian pretensions is often obscured. I am all for 1 Corinthians 13 being read at wedding ceremonies; of course, I think it even better to read it about three or four weeks into the marriage and at regular intervals thereafter. But what about at an academic meeting of this sort?

We are in many ways in the knowledge industry, an enterprise which Paul informs us is destined for some degree of failure and concerning which our every effort at present is at best an approximation. For those of us who love the letters of Paul and who seek greater understanding of their meaning, we encounter this odd feature: that the more we know of what Paul has to say, the more we sense the only qualified importance of such knowledge. On more than a few occasions, Paul relativizes human intellectual attainments concerning divine matters: “Who has known the mind of God?” he asks, quoting Isaiah (Rom. 11:34; Isa. 40:13). He catches himself as he comes close to affirming the Galatians’ knowledge of God, but insists, rather, that what counts is that God knows them (Gal. 4:9). Almost mocking the Corinthians, he insists that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise (1 Cor. 1:27). And, in anticipation of the concerns of 1 Corinthians 13, in 8:1-2 Paul contends that “knowledge makes arrogant, but love edifies.” Challenging their posturing, Paul announces, “If anyone supposes that he knows anything, he has not yet known as he ought to know.”

Not for a moment do I think Paul would dismiss as inherently snobbish the effort to gain greater knowledge of Scripture, or of science, the arts, or literature, for that matter. But Dale Martin speaks of “Paul epistemological reservation—the constraints of knowledge that come with our present, natural existence” [“Teleology, Epistemology, and Universal Vision in Paul,” 96]. Of course it is, as Martin notes, Paul’s eschatological reservation that restricts our knowledge claims concerning God. We enjoy now only partial knowledge. Whether that knowledge comes via Spirit-endowed prophets or other forms of pneumatic speech, the time will come when the character of such knowledge will be revealed for what it is—sufficient for the day, but dim in the light of eternity.

This dimension of Paul’s epistemological reservation has been largely ignored, Martin says, in current dialogue between Paul and continental philosophy. Paul’s apocalyptic frame of reference does not function well within attempts by avowed atheists to find in Paul a partner for contemporary political philosophy. That frame of reference, however, should have an important place in any understanding of what role knowledge has in our profession, particularly if we consider our tasks in light of what Paul says about knowledge here in 1 Corinthians 13.
Whatever brand of knowledge we think Paul has in his sights, he clearly wants to downplay its significance; specifically, he relativizes knowledge. We might take this in two associated ways. First, he relativizes knowledge by stressing its partial or incomplete status. Second, he relativizes knowledge by relating knowledge to other commitments, so that knowledge can only be properly pursued or valued in relation to other, more fundamental, goods.

I have to admit that both prospects I find annoying. It is not his insistence that our knowledge on any matter, divine or otherwise, is partial and incomplete that particularly troubles me. It is why Paul says this that bothers me. Paul’s reference to the speech, thoughts, and reasoning of the child is often taken simply as an illustration of the incomplete character of our knowledge. Martin Luther stresses this dimension of epistemological reserve when he insists we know as much about the age to come as the unborn child knows about life beyond the mother’s womb. I think, though, there is an additional point to the comparison. It is not simply that the child’s knowledge is incomplete; it is that the child confuses his or her partial perspective with the whole. The five month old knows only that he is hungry, not that his needs infringe upon someone else’s good night’s sleep. We know how difficult it is for the five year old to see things from any other perspective than her own. We are aggravated when the tendency still finds display in the fifteen year old, but remain hopeful that the frontal lobe will kick in some day.

It is this tendency Paul has to challenge among the Corinthians as they have, for whatever reasons, divided themselves into rival camps. Their claiming absolute status on the basis of the relative merits of attachment to this or that servant of the gospel, whom they perceived as purveyors of wisdom, sufficiently proves to Paul that they are acting like children (1 Cor. 3:1).

That’s what I don’t like—the pointed reminder, not just that my knowledge is partial, but that I am all too eager to confuse my partial grasp for the whole. This tendency still goes far in explaining a fractured Christianity. And it is what we try to resist in our efforts at a scholarship that necessarily dialogues with competing voices, appropriates alternative methodologies, is open to correction, and recognizes that we must be at work on at least two of the three tasks of the scribe—rendering judgments and raising up disciples who might do us one better on behalf of the next generation of ministerial students.

It is the Corinthians’ tendency to confuse partial knowledge with the whole that I believe Paul challenges in 1 Corinthians 13 and why he relates knowledge to other commitments, insisting that knowledge is only properly pursued or valued in relation to other, more fundamental, goods. What goods? The goods of Christian fellowship and worship in the body of Christ, united in the practice of God’s love. We might see a link between the childish supposition held among certain members of the Corinthian congregation that their knowledge of divine things suffered no eschatological constraints and the notion of some that they really could do without other members of the body of Christ—the eye, as it were, not needing the hand (1 Cor. 12:21). Paul checks such attitudes in 1 Corinthians 13 where, along with his insistence on the imperfect character of our knowledge, he asserts the necessity and supremacy of love.

That’s another thing I don’t like. I am enough of a child of modernity that I believe, not only in my own objectivity, but in the virtue of curiosity, the pursuit of knowledge as a stand-alone good. Interestingly, both Augustine and Aquinas condemn curiosity as a vice. Augustine distinguishes the studious from the curious by noting the presence or absence of love for the other. The studious is prompted by a love for that which is already known, seeking greater intimacy, while the curious is driven only by a love of knowing what is already possessed and under control. What the curious does not know is hated until it too becomes known as a possessed object under dominion (de Trinitas, 10.1.3). Aquinas follows Augustine and contrasts a curiosity we must not gratify with an intellectual appetite that serves as a “ladder to ascend to immortal and everlasting goods” (Summa Theologica, II.2.167).

I was troubled when I first read of Aquinas’ refusal to finish his massive Summa. When pressed to complete the work, he insisted all he had written was as straw. How could the master synthesizer of philosophy, Scripture, and Church tradition dismiss his own work in such fashion? While participating in the Eucharist, just months before he died, he was overwhelmed by the presence of God in worship so that he saw all his previous efforts in the divine science in a new light—of value only in relation to immortal and everlasting goods. Both Augustine and Aquinas offer reinforcement of Paul’s epistemological concerns in 1 Corinthians 13—that knowledge, even of divine matters, is only properly valued from within the context of other commitments—here commitments within the worshiping community to the practice of the love of God.

To my mind, current waves in epistemological thinking in some ways echo this Pauline pattern. Neuroscience highlights bottoms-up thinking where behavior influences the formation of neural pathways in the brain and thus structure patterns of thinking. Berger and Luckmann insist that our models for interpreting the world derive from our participation in particular social settings. Postmodernism’s incredulity to meta-narratives celebrates our embeddedness in the particularities of time, place, economics, and gender. Wittgenstein’s account of language games suggests they obtain meaning within a set of shared practices. All these voices and more resonate with Paul’s account of knowledge in 1 Corinthians 13 as properly valued only when it’s limits are admitted and it’s pursuit ultimately placed within a concern for the community created by the gospel and sustained in a worship made possible by the Holy Spirit.

It is an interesting question as to whether current sensitivities have led us all-too-conveniently to discover an emphasis in Paul on the situatedness of knowledge, or whether Paul himself is properly being read beyond the blinkers of modernity. The question itself already tilts towards an approach to knowledge that fits uncomfortably with what I believe are the concerns of this passage—that our pursuit of and claims to knowledge only find their proper place as the expression of gifts guided by a love of God concerned to build up the body of Christ. That seems to me unassailable. Whether I am wrong on this, or right, it is not the most important thing.

There could be no better way for me to conclude this reflection than with a prayer from Aquinas himself:

Ineffable Creator, You who are the true source of life and wisdom and the
Principle on which everything depends, be so kind as to infuse in my obscure
intelligence a ray of your splendor that may take away the darkness of sin and
ignorance. Grant me keenness of understanding, ability to remember, measure and
easiness of learning, discernment of what I read, rich grace with words. Grant
me strength to begin well my studies; guide me along the path of my efforts;
give them a happy ending. You who are true God and true Man, Jesus my Savior,
who lives and reigns forever. Amen

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

What Is Ahead in Theological Education?!

DBC: I have posted Dennis Tucker's remarks on the future of theological education. I'm having a hard time making his tables work in this format. Come back later for that. We'd love for this to be a forum for conversation about these topics. See the comment feature below. These are not typical blog posts (that is, less than 600 words); these are thoughtful ways to collaborate. Dr. Corley indicated--and I'm sure he is correct--that collaboration is the future. Let's get used to it. Thanks, Dennis, for your thoughtful presentation.

The Future of Theological Education: A View from One School
W. Dennis Tucker, Jr.
George W. Truett Theological Seminary
Baylor University

In J.D. Salinger’s, The Catcher in the Rye, Houlden Caulfield laments at one point, “Certain things, they should stay the way they are. You ought to be able to stick them in one of those big glass cases and just leave them alone. I know that's impossible, but it's too bad anyway."[1] For those of us in this room, Houlden Caulfield’s lament might echo sentiments we have expressed about theological education. “Certain things they should stay the way they are…I know it’s impossible, but it’s too bad anyway.” We may prefer that things stay the way they have been in theological education, but the impetus to change, or at least to consider possible changes, drives us to ask questions about the future of theological education. I will say from the outset: I do now know the future of theological education. So rather than operating from the assumption that I do, I would rather talk about issues and questions that seem relevant to how our institution attempts to provide theological education. I would not presume to have answers to any of these, but only to confess that these are the issues with which we wrestle in our own institution.

Demographic Shifts in Population
The first change underway, perhaps to no one’s surprise, involves demographic shifts in population at the national level. These demographic shifts in the United States have not gone without notice. In this election year, in particular, pundits and scholars alike have rehearsed the statistical shifts as blue states turn red and red states turn blue, due in large part to the prevailing population changes. Beyond their implications for the Electoral College, however, such shifts have significant implications for theological education now and in the days ahead.

By now, we are familiar with numbers tracking the significant shifts in the Hispanic community. In 1990, the Hispanic population numbered 22.4 million. By 2000, the same population group had grown to 35.1 million, and in the most recent census (2010), the number had risen to 50.5 million, more than doubling in the last twenty years. Further, the overall trend towards a “minority majority” population is statistically evident in the latest projections by the Census Bureau. Assuming their models of projection are valid, there will be 132.8 million Hispanics by 2050, representing 30% of the total population, 65.7 million African Americans, representing 15% of the population, and 40.6 million Asian, representing 9.2%. Taken together these percentages suggest that minorities will comprise nearly 55% of the population, a national minority majority, by the year 2050.[2] At present, only four states (California, Hawaii, New Mexico, and Texas) along with the District of Columbia are minority majority. And perhaps most striking, and certainly closer to hand is the projection that by 2023 (in just over a decade) more than half of all children in the United States will come from minority families, a statistic well worth considering by theological educators and congregations alike.

The rapid demographic change has significant implications for theological education writ large and more specifically, for theological education carried out among Baptists in Texas and the surrounding states.

In 2011, nearly 5,500 churches comprised the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Among the 5,500 churches, over 1,100 are listed as Hispanic congregations. In addition to partnering with the Baptist General of Texas, these congregations constitute the Hispanic Baptist Convention of Texas. The Convencion is the largest Hispanic Baptist Convention in the United States and the third largest in the world, behind that of Mexico and Brazil. Granted, most of the churches in the Convencion are small and likely incapable of supporting one full-time pastor, let alone a full staff (at least at present), but their growing presence and influence should not go unnoticed. In what ways are we as theological educators preparing the next generation of ministers to serve in and partner with the churches that flourish largely within a Hispanic context? [3] Further, should our academic programs reflect such diversity and if so, in what ways?[4]

Trends in Enrollment and Degree Programs
Enrollment by both age and degree continues to shift in theological education. Table 1 tracks enrollment by age. As the chart indicates, students who are 20-29 represent the largest age group enrolled in theological education. As Table 1 indicates, the numbers for the 2007-2008 academic year represent the beginning of a slow decline for enrollment at ATS institutions, due in large part to the economic downturn. In the enrollment numbers from 2010-2011, the percentage of students ages 20-29 has returned to pre-recession numbers.[5] In my own institution, the percentage of students in this age bracket is significant. The average age of our entering class is 23 years old and the percentage of students in the 20-29 age range is 79%. Students come to us sensing a call, but many arrive with little sense of direction. The research related to emerging adults confirms that this sense of uncertainty and even indecisiveness is consistent with this age group.[6] Rather than talking about seminary as a place where one comes for preparation for a particular ministry, we have started talking about seminary as a place for discernment as one prepares for ministry. If the largest age group in theological education is characterized by uncertainty and indecisiveness, then how should a theological institution respond? What is not in the curriculum or in the extra-curricular activities that could aid in this discernment process?

The Proliferation of Theological Education in the Baptist Tradition

Baptist theological education has experienced considerable expansion. Since 1983, 17 new Baptist divinity schools, seminaries, and Baptist houses have been launched.[7] In addition, a number of Baptist schools have launched Master of Arts programs. The proliferation of programs and institutions on the whole has made theological education accessible for hundreds who otherwise would not have been able to attend. In addition, many schools have given voice to theological perspectives that appeared to have been jettisoned amid the Baptist controversy at the end of the twentieth century. In short, the expansion has proven important both pragmatically and theologically.

In other mainline traditions, however, theological education is not experiencing expansion but in fact, severe contraction. Of the 11 Episcopal Seminaries in the United States, one recently announced it would end its main residential program, another is shutting down one of its campuses, and a third is selling a good portion of its campus.[8] The future of Baptist programs initiated in the last three decades remains somewhat uncertain and demands cautious optimism as these institutions wrestle with issues related to finances, potential students, constituency, and stakeholders.

In some mainline traditions, such as the Presbyterians, theological education is a precursor to ordination and even ministry placement. A Presbyterian church should be able to anticipate the theology, skill set, and abilities of a seminary graduate. And in some ways, the seminary system developed by Southern Baptists in a previous generation functioned similarly; those schools served as a “clearing house” of sorts for ministers seeking to serve Baptist congregations. And finally, what happened at those schools ultimately influenced the direction of the convention.
As Baptist education proliferates and diversifies, which I think is very Baptistic, there are questions that will emerge, and in fact, are already being articulated. In our plurality, what are the commonalities that allow us all to serve the Baptist tradition? What should a Baptist church be able to expect from a Master’s level graduate from one of our schools? I am not suggesting that we all consent to a particular way of doing theological education, but instead, I am asking whether we need more intentional conversation about how we will participate in and shape Baptist life together in the days ahead? Is it enough simply to be a school with a strong Baptist heritage that offers theological education, or should the churches expect something more from us individually and collectively?

Theological Education in a Post-Institutional, Post-Christian Context
The last issue concerns the place of theological education in a post-institutional, post-Christian context. Although the anti-institutional sentiment in our culture is nothing new, more recent events offer considerable evidence to support the unbridled suspicion of institutions by the larger populace. The financial scandals that precipitated the most recent economic down turn left individuals even further jaded, and the repeated cases of clergy sexual abuse, coupled with recent instances of similar abuse in educational institutions, have only reinforced the anti-institutional sentiment that has emerged in our post-modern context.

Repeatedly I have heard religious pundits claim that we are in a post-denominational, post-institutional context. Typically this claim is followed by the assertion that most students entering seminary have no desire to serve in a congregational setting. In some sense, I find myself wondering if the assessment of culture generally, and religious culture in particular, by scholars preempts the question of vocational choice by students. If social scientists and religious scholars declare that institutions are dead, then is it any wonder that students are reticent at best to give their lives in service to the church? After hearing the pronouncement of scholars, students might throw up their hands and say, “Who wants to serve the dead?”

In response to the shift towards anti-institutional thinking, theological educators must do more than simply join the chorus of those declaring the end of institutions, but instead, they must reframe the conversation for the 21st century as it pertains to the life of the church and its place within the Kingdom of God. The way forward for such a conversation, arguably, may be found in Hugo Heclo’s short volume entitled, On Thinking Institutionally. Heclo, a former Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institute and Professor of Government at Harvard University, has carefully nuanced the subtleties between thinking about institutions and thinking institutionally.[9] Heclo explains that

Institutional thinking has to do with living committed to the ends for which
organization occurs rather than to the organization as such. . .The organization
has a surplus of meaning insofar as it is seen to serve a valued cause in
some important way.[10]

Further, Heclo explains that thinking institutionally “means being mindful in certain ways, exercising a particular form of attentiveness to meaning in the world.”[11] And individuals and communities can exercise such attentiveness because of what Heclo terms “faithful reception”—of “thoughtfully taking delivery of and using what has been handed down.”[12] In helping others think institutionally, we must ask what it is exactly that we are “handing down.” But even more, we must ask how we are enabling students to thoughtfully take delivery of it and use it. Consequently, we need to ask how theological education can provide the fertile soil and ample resources for a reimagining of institutional identity in a Post-Christian world; how can such resources be used to enable them to think institutionally.[13] Such a difficult task, however, requires the capacity to imagine anew both the work and role of the church in the world.

In their article, “Finding a New Way: A Call to Reconceptualize Theological Education,” Jeffrey Jones and Robert Pazmiño suggests that perhaps more so now than ever, “theological schools are called to attend more directly to the spiritual and faith formation of students in nurturing their pastoral identity and imagination.”[14] I am particularly interested in the notion of pastoral imagination. Craig Dykstra, senior vice president at the Lilly Endowment, allegedly coined the term in an effort to describe the particular intelligence that ministry both requires and cultivates in those who practice it. Dykstra explains,

It is a beautiful thing to see a good pastor at work. Somehow pastors who really
get what the Christian ministry is all about and who do it well are able to
enter many diverse situations, whether joyous or full of misery and conflict,
and see what is going on through the eyes of faith. This way of seeing and
interpreting shapes what the pastor thinks and does and how he or she responds
to people in gestures, words and action. It functions as a kind of
internal gyroscope guiding pastors in and through every crevice of pastoral life
and work.[15]

At Truett, I teach Old Testament courses and when I can take off my administrative hat, I teach Hebrew. And I would like to believe that it is the Old Testament courses and the Hebrew language that makes the pastor. And I am sure my colleagues in New Testament, Theology, and even Practical Theology would like to think that as well. Yet, I think we know that what we teach is indeed important, but in the end, we know there is something even more. At a more fundamental level, it is the capacity of our program to generate a pastoral identity, a pastoral imagination, in our students that aids the minister in becoming all that God intends.

In the spring of 2011 we invited a group of 5 students to join 5 pastors and 2 professors in a peer-learning group. The pastors and professors walked with the 5 students as they spent their last semester in seminary and as they transitioned into their first full-time ministry position. As part of the final project, we ask each student, now alumnus, to write out a “future story”—a statement about where they hoped to be in 5 to 10 years. One alumnus who now pastor in San Antonio wrote the following:

In a way, this new position of Pastor stops me in my tracks, for at a very young
age, I have preached, my most prized goal, and the quickness of it has startled
me into a good long pause. For the first time, I am not waiting to graduate,
striving to complete a semester, dreaming of a future career, or hoping to
become an adult. I have arrived at something that does not have built-in
milestones to conquer, and my conquering spirit is thus quieted.

I recently read an article about a very successful lawyer, and at the conclusion
of the story, the lawyer said, “I refuse to let my work define me.” Here is a
person who has accomplished much vocationally, but it is not the vocation, or
the success, that makes her who she is.

Pastor seems so intrinsically tied to my spirituality that is difficult to conceive of a
spiritual identity apart from that title. But I must do it.

I must find that part of myself, that core, that center that is more than Pastor, other
than Pastor, deeper than Pastor, more sustainable than Pastor, and I must
envision my future as a more wholly developed representation of that core
(Pastor aside), or I fear I will become a Pastor (in function) only (human
being, image of God aside).

Five or ten years from now I want to be more of myself, as God intended, and less of anything else, and I think that would look something like this:

I hope to have unleashed new creativity.

I hope to be a person of prayer, to have settled into a rhythm that aids my consciousness in doing all work with God and to God.

I hope to have a deeper appreciation for art, music, beauty, nature, and language.

I hope to have loved at least one person or family who is markedly different from me to such extent that the repercussions
on my way of life are irrevocable.

I hope to have eaten lots of fruits and vegetables, and to have grown some of them myself.

I hope to have read a lot of books—mostly novels, but some poetry, theology,
philosophy, with other genres and topics mixed in.

I hope to have become a writer—published or not—to have plenty more works than a pile of sermon manuscripts.

I hope to have been a loving and faithful wife who
has supported my husband in finding his best self and forgiven him when he’s
been at his worst.

I hope to have and to keep a handful of serious friends.

I hope to have found subtle and small ways to live counter to the culture of scurry, the culture of wealth, the culture of arrogance, and the culture of individualism.

I hope that if there was one thing those I have ministered to could say about me, it would that I listened to them, and if there was one thing my church could say about me, it would that I relentlessly guarded the value of each person, and if there were two things they could say about my preaching, it would be that I helped bring Scripture to life in their imaginations and bring God to focus in their line of vision, and if there was one thing they could say about our church, it would be that it helps
them hold tight to hope, and if there was one thing they could say about our
worship, they would say that it occasions subtle collisions with the divine.

I would hope that my character might match that of my church, which tries to be slow, gentle, thoughtful, peaceful, and attentive to children.

In five or ten years, I would hope that my roots would have begun to sink down deep, and that I would know this one place and its people, that I would still be content with modest ambitions yet wildly willing for God-sized adventures.

Ultimately, that is the future of theological education—to create a place that not only inspires and informs, but a place that shapes and nurtures a pastoral imagination.

Figure 1

Student Demographics:
Headcount Enrollment by

20-29 30-39 40-49 50-64 65 & Over No Report Total Enrollment 20-29 as a % of total

2003. 13,012 8,607. 6,848. 4,038. 181. 602. 33,287 39%
2007. 14,129. 7,911. 5,805. 4,464. 254. 1,438. 34,001. 41%
2010. 13,351. 8,064. 5,413. 4,513. 267. 473. 32,829. 41%
Age and Degree

Master of Divinity Enrollment by Age

Enrollment for Master of Divinity vs. Non-Master of Divinity Degrees

1999 2003 2006 2010
MDiv. 29,842 33,287 34,935 32,780
MA. 8,361 10,343 11,030 11,225
MTS. 7,862 8,708 9,842 9,264

Non-Mdiv as a % of Mdiv

1999 2003 2006 2010

54% 57% 60% 62%

Figure 2
Diversification of Theological Education in the Baptist Tradition
Baptist Related Master of Divinity Programs Since 1988

Year Institution
1988 Beeson Divinity, Samford University
1988 Duke Divinity School Baptist House, Duke University
1989 Baptist Theological Seminary, Richmond
1991 Candler School of Theology Baptist Studies Program, Emory University
1992 M. Christopher White School of Divinity, Gardner-Webb University
1994 George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University
1995 Brite Divinity School Baptist Studies Program, Texas Christian University
1995 Logsdon Seminary, Hardin Simmons University
1996 James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology, Mercer University
1996 Campbell University Divinity School
1997 The John Leland Center for Theological Studies
1999 Wake Forest University Divinity School
2002 Baptist Seminary of Kentucky
2003 B.H. Carroll Institute
2004 Chapman Seminary, Oakland City University (General Baptist)
2004 Baptist Studies Program at Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary
2005 Central Baptist Theological Seminary (date of reorganization and
formal association with CBF and ABC)

Baptist Related Institutions Offering a Masters Degree
Other than the Master of Divinity
Regional List

Dallas Baptist University
East Texas Baptist University
Howard Payne University
Houston Baptist University
Missouri Baptist College
Wayland Baptist University

[1] J. D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye (USA: Little, Brown and Company, 1951), 122.
[2] Projections suggest that the United States population will actually become “minority majority” by 2042.
[3] Another implication of the changing demographics concerns the students involved in theological education. Last year the Association of Theological Schools reported that 75,898 students were enrolled in member schools. Of that number, only 3,506 were Hispanic. Other than Native Americans, Hispanics had the smallest enrollment of any minority despite the fact that Hispanics enjoyed the fastest population growth of any group. In the coming days, theological institutions will have to give greater attention to recruiting, retaining, and graduating Hispanic students who can assume leadership in a variety of ministerial settings.
The changing demographics also concern faculty diversity. The 2010-2011 Annual Data Tables released by the Association of Theological Schools indicate there are 3,296 individuals serving as faculty members at the nearly 260 schools that comprise the association.[3] Of the nearly 3,300 faculty members, only 120 are Hispanic, a figure that represents less than 4% of all faculty involved in theological education. Among African-American faculty, the figures are not much better. The number rises to 258, representing less than 8% of all instructional faculty. In the last decade, the percentages of faculty members that are Hispanic and African American have increased but only minimally (1% and 3% increase respectively). At institutions like Truett, which require candidates to have a particular denominational affiliation, the challenge to recruit and hire minority faculty members remains an acute problem. The desire to hire minority faculty, however, is not born out of a need to be politically correct, as it is to create a faculty that represents the diversity of the constituency that we serve. In considering the future of theological education, institutions would do well to decide that certain things should not stay the way they are.
[4] One example of such a curricular change is seen at the Seminary of the Southwest in Austin, TX where they have developed Master of Divinity with Hispanic Church Studies Concentration. According to the website:
The Hispanic Church Studies concentration is a curricular specialization offered by Southwest to prepare and equip students for ministry in Hispanic communities. It also helps students integrate ministry among Hispanics within their general parish ministry. Students complete the concentration by taking four three-credit hour electives offered through the concentration. Students in the concentration will gain cultural competency while acquiring skills and sensibilities for the practice of ministry in Hispanic communities. The seminary's offerings in Spanish language acquisition will assist students who desire to minister in Spanish-speaking settings but are not yet proficient in the language. Students in the concentration take all their required courses with their M.Div. and MAR peers while using a minimum of four elective courses for the concentration. Courses are taught by the faculty of Southwest. The courses in the concentration are also available as electives for all students. Students who complete the concentration graduate with a transcript that indicates completion of the Hispanic Church Studies concentration.
[5] Beyond the 20-29 age bracket, the enrollment in the age groups 30-39 and 40-49 have dropped off significantly, with growth among those over 50.
[6] See for example, Christian Smith, Souls in Transition: The Religious and Spiritual Lives of Emerging Adults (New York: Oxford University, 2009).
[7] Ryan Clark, “Twilight Breaking: The State of Baptist Theological Education in a Global Christian Era and Implications for the Future” Baptist History and Heritage 2009: 59. These figures refer primarily to programs started in response to the conflict in the Southern Baptist Convention over the last 3 decades.
[8] The three seminaries involved are Episcopal Divinity School, Bexley Hall Seminary, and Seabury-Western Theological Seminary.
[9] Hugh Heclo, On Thinking Institutionally (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2008), 83.
[10] Heclo, On Thinking Institutionally, 90.
[11] Heclo, On Thinking Institutionally, 97.
[12] Heclo, On Thinking Institutionally, 98.
[13] Heclo explains that what is needed is “to stretch the time horizon backward and forward so that the shadows from both past and future lengthen into the present” (On Thinking Institutionally, 109).
[14] Jeffrey Jones and Robert Pazmiño, “Finding a New Way: A Call to Reconceptualize Theological Education” Congregations (2008): 16-21.
[15] Craig Dykstra, “Pastoral and Ecclesial Imagination,” in For Life Abundant: Practical Theology, Theological Education, and Christian Ministry (eds. D. C. Bass and C. Dykstra; Grand Rapids: Eermans, 2008), 41.

NABPR-SW, Dallas 2012

National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion
Southwest Region, Annual Meeting
March 9-10, 2012
Irving, Texas

Friday, March 9

6:45 pm Registration

7:00 pm Welcome and Introductions
7:05 pm The Contributions of A. J. Conyers

Randy Hatchett, Houston Baptist University
“A. J. Conyers: A Christian Reader of Scripture”

8:00 pm Break
8:15 pm Presidential Address:
Dennis Horton, Associate Director and J. David Slover
Professor of Ministry Guidance, Baylor University
“Undergraduate Research and Scholarly Achievement: a Case Study”

9:00 pm Fellowship

Saturday, March 10

8:30 am Devotion
Jeph Holloway, East Texas Baptist University

8:45 am What’s ahead in theological education (?)
Bruce Corley, B. H. Carroll Theological Institute
Dennis Tucker, George W. Truett Theological Seminary

9:45 am Business Meeting

10:10 am Adjourn

The NABPR-SW met in Grapevine TX in conjunction with the Southwest Commission on Religious Studies in March 2012. On Friday night (March 9) Dr. Randy Hatchett (HBU) offered a tribute to and reflections on the work of our late colleague, A. J. (Chip) Conyers. Afterward our president, Dr. Dennis Horton (BU), advocated for undergraduate research as a way to connect with and deepen the intellectual lives of our students, colleges and universities. The next morning (March 10) Dr. Jeph Holloway (ETBU) gave a devotional on the provisional nature of our discipline, that is, the pursuit of knowledge, in relation to the Christian ideal of love. Drs. Bruce Corley (BHCTI, president) and Dennis Tucker (GWTTS) shared some of their insights on the topic: "What Is Ahead inTheological Education?". Our secretary, Larry McGraw (LST), helped to facilitate the business meeting. The members elected the following slate of officers for 2012-2013: President, Dr. David B. Capes (HBU); Vice-President, Dr. Dan Stiver (LST); and Secretary, Dr. Larry McGraw (LST). Dr. Horton asked that a e be formed to consider how the society might make appropriate uses of its financial resources. The program this year was planned by Dr. David B. Capes (HBU).

This blog contains abstracts of the papers presented at NABPR-SW 2012.