Why should theological study be a primary occupation for the Christian minister? (Webster, 2014)

In the gospel we find God’s loving instruction of guilty and sad creatures, whose treason against their creator is such that they have lost their way, and no longer know who or where they are or how to reach out to happiness. To these creatures – to us – the gospel holds out illumination and healing.

Ministry As More Than A Helping Profession [with Will Willimon]. (Hauerwas, 1989)

“Parish clergy and seminarians today seem content to have ministry numbered among the “helping professions. ” After all, most professing Christians, from the liberals to the fundamentalists, remain practical atheists. They think the church is sustained by the services it provides or the amount of fellowship and good feeling in the congregation. This form of sentimentality has become the most detrimental corruption of the church and the ministry”.

Theology as Knowledge (Hauerwas, 2006, symposium with others)

“We must bring to an end the disciplinary divisions that invite theologians to say, “I cannot comment on St. Paul’s understanding of the gospel because scripture is not my field.” Indeed the attempt to make theology “objective” through the transformation of theology into a historical discipline must be seen for what it is: a way to separate theology from its source, which is the praise of God. Of course, none of us are capable of knowing all we need to know to do the work of theology, but we must not forget that we know all we need to know to make the work of theology compelling: God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.”

New Theology and Religious Studies: Shaping, Teaching and Funding a Field (Ford)

There is an emergent paradigm in which theology, which seeks to answer questions of meaning, truth, goodness and beauty that
arise within and between specific religious traditions, is taught and researched in an interactive, collegial relationship with religious studies, which seeks to answer questions about specific religious traditions through a range of disciplines, but not normally with a view to producing constructive or normative religious positions. The institutional integration of the two has so far in the twenty-first century lacked clear articulation and advocacy. (A version of this paper was published as Chapter 8 in David F. Ford, The Future of Christian Theology, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford 2011).

Theological Education: Healing the Blind Beggar (Brueggemann, 1986)

Mark 10:46-52 records a standard healing miracle. There is a person in need who comes to Jesus. Jesus acts and the person is healed. We may be jaded enough not to believe in the story, or else so familiar with it that we don’t notice what is going on. It is, however, a story that has much to tell us about what it is that theological education should be helping the churches to do.