Theological Education within a Secular Canada: Some Adaptive Challenges

By Marguerite Van Die.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Much more pervasively than its neighbour to the south, Canada has undergone a dramatic process of secularization since the 1960s. The ensuing marginalization of the mainline churches within society has, however, had only a limited influence in reshaping theological education. The paper offers a brief historical survey and analysis of theological education in a major Protestant denomination, and examines the extent to which the past continues to influence the present. It presents several case studies of contemporary theological education within different contexts. Drawing extensively on recent North American literature on church growth and renewal, it assesses the strengths and weaknesses of these programmes in meeting the adaptive challenges of a new pluralist, post-Christian culture. In conclusion, a number of insights derived from the historical study of religion and society are put forward to enable theological education to address more intentionally and effectively the changed cultural context.

Keywords: Theological Education, Secular Canada, Case Studies

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 11, pp.1-12. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 543.436KB).

Dr. Marguerite Van Die

Professor of History, Department of History, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada

Marguerite Van Die holds a joint appointment in history and theology at Queen’s University. She has published extensively in nineteenth-century religion and society in North America, including An Evangelical Mind: Nathanael Burwash and the Methodist Tradition in Canada (Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press 1989), (editor) Religion and Public Life in Canada (Toronto: University of Toronto Press 2001), and Religion, Family and Community in Victorian Canada (Montreal/Kingston: McGill-Queen’s University Press 2005). As a theological educator and a historian she has a special interest in analyzing the impact of cultural change in Canada on the church and on the professional training of its leaders.

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