The Associated Baptist Press recently published an article called "Seminaries Adapt to Changing Religious Landscape." The meat of the article is an analysis of the current state of theological education by Daniel O. Aleshire, executive director of the Association of Theological Schools.
We've heard from Aleshire on this subject before and included an interview with him in the Autumn 2008 issue of In Trust. But the new article crisply summarizes Aleshire's metaphor of "multiple gold standards."
Aleshire argues that for the past century or more, there has been a single gold standard for theological education -- a three-year post-baccalaureate program emphasizing theology, Bible, and history, and including field education and other forms of "practical" ministry. (Education for Catholic priests has varied from this form, but only slightly.)
Aleshire suggests that more than a single gold standard is now needed -- particularly alternate forms of theological education for part-time clergy; on-the-job education for people who are already engaged in ministry, but without formal theological education; and education and training specifically for lay leaders, who are taking on increasing responsibility in many settings (most notably in megachurches and in Catholic parishes).
Read the entire Associated Baptist Press article here. And let us know your reactions in the comment section below.