The End(s) of Theological Education: Reframing the Mission of Theological Schools

Michael Jinkins describes how theological education has been engaged in a self-critical conversation about its proper ends and appropriate means since at least the middle of the last century. The “new shift in the fundamental orientation of theological education” has been towards “a process of formation and education oriented toward the practicing of the Christian life, ecclesially and communally.” Put another way, the ends of theological education are “to cultivate among persons certain habits, virtues, attitudes and perspectives as much as they provide persons with particular knowledge and skill sets.” So the question now for theological education becomes: “What happens to theological education if one believes that the ultimate telos of church, of the ministry of faith communities and of theological education is the living of a particular kind of life in response to the gift and call of God?”