Individuals considering obtaining a formal theological education should keep several points in mind as they search for a school.
First, determine why you want to study theology. Not all theological education will achieve the same goals. For example, do you want to enter ministry, the academy, or a deeper awareness of theological topics? The most difficult goal to achieve is becoming a professor. Dr. Roger Dalmann notes,quite correctly, that future scholars should choose schools with exceptional reputations. This doesn’t mean you can’t be a professor unless you go to Harvard, it just means that it is more difficult. Like professional sports, only a few scholars make a living in theological education.
Additionally, don’t assume that you need to attend a ministry school to be qualified for ministry. I contend that at the undergraduate level, obtaining a solid theological foundation coupled with practical experience is more beneficial than attending a ministry school. In graduate work, the decision is less clear as it depends on one’s goals.
Next, investigate schools that match your learning style. Some students need face-to-face interaction. If that is you be sure to avoid distance education schools. However, if you are disciplined and can be emotionally satisfied with e-mail, phone calls, and seminar classes, then a distance or open education can be a good option which also will save you money.
Finally, evaluate the faculty and talk to students, particularly graduates. Are the faculty publishing, keeping up with research or are they teaching the same old thing? Are the students successful? Do you respect their work? If so, then the school bears a closer look.
These are just a few tips to help you choose a good school. We hope you choose King’s Evangelical Divinity School. But choose us only if we fit your goals and needs. As always feel free to contact me if you have further questions.
Dr. Stephen M. Vantassel is tutor at King’s Evangelical Divinity School