Mosaic Press, 2012
Reviewed by Marian Zaunbrecher.
As a result of radical innovation at one of our theological colleges, Ministerial Education Commission meetings over the past few years have seen heated discussions as to what constitutes "formation".
This book is not only a valuable addition to this debate but a resource for those concerned with theological education.
Transforming Theology aims to give a comprehensive qualitative approach to evaluating the claims of various wings of theological education, and to improving the value of educational delivery.
Altogether over 50 teaching campuses participated, incorporating past and current students, church leaders, focus groups and other employers of graduates.
Traditionally all theological education aims to give a systematic acquisition of the traditional theological studies, with an emphasis on academic skills.
Curriculum is determined by the ordination requirements of the church's tradition, intersecting with the pragmatically necessary aspect of consortial cooperation; both of which are inhibitors of local innovation.
There is widespread agreement amongst those interviewed that the experience of theological education needs to be transformative in nature.
The issue is how this happens.
The book highlights the dilemma of theological education providers in discerning the point at which the students draws on their experiences and the teacher becomes a facilitator, rather than a lecturer.
In transformational learning it is the student who is seen to be central, not the institution.
The aim is integrated and learning theologians who can make and facilitate a learning church.
This book is a must-read for all theological educators (and does this not include all in leadership in our church?), having implications for the future of the learning of our churches.
It is not easy to read, few research papers are, but it may help to facilitate productive change and transformed leaders.