What should theological education become?
Theological education has long been successful in the United States because of its ability to engage with contemporary cultural realities. Likewise, despite the existential threats facing it today, theological education can continue to thrive if it is reinvented to fit with the needs of current times.
Daniel Aleshire, the longtime executive director of the Association of Theological Schools, offers a brief account of how theological education has transformed in the past and how it might change going forward. He begins by reflecting on his own extensive experience with theological education and reviewing its history, dating back to colonial times. He then describes what he believes should become the next dominant model of the field--what he calls formational theological education--and explores educational practices that this model would require.
The future of theological education described here by Aleshire would make seminaries more than places of professional preparation and would instead foster the development of a "deep, abiding, resilient, generative identity as Christian human beings" within emerging Christian leaders. But it is a vision that, while not a linear continuation of the past, retains the essence of what theological education has always been about.