In this modern era, many think about whether theological education is still valuable in the 21st century. Some proportion of the population criticizes that the seminario is not a training leader for the current needs of the local congregation. However, the entire church system- families, pastors, mentors, congregations, and seminars—is necessary for preparing rising pastors and everyone who strives to minister in a radically different era of Christianity. Knowledge not only comes from the lectern of the classrooms, but also the online seminaries, and the local Bible study. This article discusses the major reasons why online theological education is still valuable today.
Seminaries prepare pastors for an ecumenical and diverse church
Online seminario is the place where Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Lutherans, and Pentecostals- by students from different parts of the world and of different races and ethnicity. No single racial-ethnic group holds the majority in most seminaries where they study and worship together. This is the future of society, and it is considered the ideal way to train the future leaders of the church. This culturally and theologically diverse environment in the seminaries requires students to learn from differences.
Theological education can be a context for experimentation
In this time when the church and society are witnessing significant changes, innovation is emerging as the buzzword. However, innovative leadership requires time and space away from familiar surroundings to imagine the unfamiliar. Online seminaries offer that “time away” and training to the students so that they can think critically and creatively and connect history and theological traditions in innovative and significant ways, sometimes even in ways that disrupt the status quo.
Online theological education leads to the emerging leadership of those on the margins
While oppression and unequal representation can still be witnessed in a seminario, it is also a place where women, LGBT persons, and people of racial-ethnic communities find their voice. Every year many seminaries are reported to graduate students who are the first individual to get a graduate degree. Some of these students are the first Asian American to lead a ministry or the first woman ordained in their congregation.
Theological education produces religiously mature and tolerant Christian leaders
In this modern age where fundamentalism threatens to discredit the significance or role of religion in society, educated Christian leaders can be a source of enlightenment for today’s religiously fraught world. Most of the seminary-trained leaders hold the promise of bringing sanity to a society where many have discredited the religion. Students exposed to the depths of Christian traditions and applying themselves to the rigorous study of theological disciplines turn out to be religiously mature and tolerant leaders.
The future of Christianity and society as a whole, indeed of religion, depends on well-formed, mature, intelligent, creative, and theologically trained leaders. Only these leaders can bear witness to the wisdom of God- the wisdom that produces fruits of justice, thoughtful engagement, peace, and presence in the world. Online seminaries are known to provide high-quality theological education to all students, regardless of their race or country of origin, resulting in more religiously tolerant church leaders.