Written by Dr. Sam Logan
Wednesday, 14 December 2011 00:00
Yesterday, I wrote about Biblical’s new statement on “Men and Women in Theological Education” and about the relationship between that statement and a very similar statement from “The Cape Town Commitment “ produced by the Lausanne Movement.
Today, I want to write briefly about the very next section of “The Cape Town Commitment,” entitled “Theological Education and Mission.”
Here is the way in which that next section begins:
The New Testament shows the close partnership between the work of evangelism and church planting (eg the Apostle Paul) and the work of nurturing churches (eg Timothy and Apollos). Both tasks are integrated in the Great Commission, where Jesus describes disciple-making in terms of evangelism (before “baptizing them”) and “teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.” Theological Education is part of mission beyond evangelism.
This makes clear the importance of theological education to the mission of the church.
But not just ANY theological education.
Here is the very next statement from “The Cape Town Commitment”:
The mission of the church on earth is to serve the mission of God, and the mission of theological education is to strengthen and accompany the mission of the Church. Theological education serves first to train those who lead the Church as pastor-teachers, equipping them to teach the truth of God’s word with faithfulness, relevance, and clarity; and second, to equip all God’s people for the missional task of understanding and relevantly communicating God’s truth in every cultural context. Theological education engages in spiritual warfare, as “we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”
And one final comment from “The Cape Town Commitment”:
Those of us who lead churches and mission agencies need to acknowledge that theological education is intrinsically missional. Those of us who provide theological education need to ensure that it is intentionally missional, since its place within the academy is not an end in itself, but to serve the mission of the church in the world.
I was not working at Biblical when the decision was made in 2005 that Biblical would become a missional seminary. But this decision surely seems to me to have been extraordinarily wise (and possibly even "prophetic").
Sam Logan is Special Counsel to the President and Professor of Church History at Biblical. He is an ordained minister of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. He is married to Susan and they have two sons and two grandsons. See also http://www.biblical.edu/index.php/samuel-logan