What Some are Calling a “Seminary Bubble”

One of the articles featured today at The Aquila Report linked-through to an OP/ED piece by Jerry Bowyer on what some are calling the problem of the “Seminary Bubble” — an article which originally ran at Forbes. Notwithstanding some oversimplifications, the article does provide insight to a contemporary issue within the American Church, that ministerial training has become a very, very expensive undertaking. And, I believe, it is still a mounting issue, at that.

Mr. Bowyer’s follow-up to the original article was titled “Bursting the Seminary Bubble, Part II“, wherein he highlights by contrasting that it was none other than Christ who chose the “Hebrew rabbinical method of teaching: apprenticeship.” Throughout his article he provides reasons which he finds to be persuasive for urging the American Church to work her way back to the apprenticeship model. Penultimate to his conclusion he says,

Some critics seemed to be under the impression that I thought that theology is not important. Nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, I think theology is so important that I’d like to see it taught efficiently, at low cost, to far larger numbers of people. There’s nothing particularly theological about a load of debt which is excessive relative to income prospects. I’m a supply-sider, who believes that a better system of theological instruction will produce more, not fewer theologians.

No mincing of words, that. He cogently expresses his dissatisfaction with and disapproval of the Mainline model for Seminarian Training. Again, notwithstanding some oversimplifications, this was a good follow-up article, particularly because in his conclusion he provided a myriad of links to different web-based resources for theology, bible study, aids for learning the original Biblical languages, etc. The resources to which he links enforce his conclusion in his first article, “That technology is the pin that is beginning to burst the seminary bubble.”

Also, Dr. Ken Schenck, the Dean of Wesley Seminary at Indiana Wesleyan University, recently provided some thoughts on how technology is shaking things up for the traditional-Seminarian programs. However, from a different point of view.