Welcome from Christ College
I often hear of prospective theological students deciding between a course that is academic or training that is practical. That’s a false dichotomy. If we value being practical at the expense of being academic (or vice versa) we cheapen the whole endeavor. At Christ College we believe that good theological education is integrated, applied and focused.
It is not up to us to choose how God will reach his world with the Gospel: it will be through the ministry of the church. Our focus, therefore, is to train our students for leadership in God’s church that they might impact God’s world. Whether this is in a cross-cultural setting, a country town or an inner city church plant, the mission is the same. We recognise that our graduates may work in many different contexts, but the purpose remains the same – leadership in God’s church that they might impact God’s world.
We do not make a choice between academic study and practical training. Our courses are integrated and applied. We are committed to theological education that is biblically grounded, theologically robust, and rigorous in scholarship and research. So-called “practical” elements are addressed in more academic subjects and vice versa. For example, in order to preach better, we need to be able to wrestle with Scripture, with commentaries, with our methodology of interpreting Scripture, with an understanding of the subtleties of translation from the Hebrew or from the Greek, with the application of communication theory. It is possible to preach without all these skills, but improvement in preaching will come by an integration of these and other disciplines. Similarly good pastoral care is more than just a few “how to” tips. We need to understand grace in the context of sin. The well-trained pastoral worker can bring the Bible to bear on issues of marriage, divorce, bioethics, social justice, human sexuality, bereavement, and joy. Similarly leadership will be exercised not only in meetings, but in the pulpit, at the hospital bedside and in our own lifestyle.
At Christ College we will present you with a course that is not just a collection of subjects: it is an integrated whole that will train you to reach God’s world through God’s church. Jesus put it like this: “And you shall love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength” (Mark 12:30). We will train not only your mind at the exclusion of your soul and your strength. They are all important and one cannot be separated out. Christian ministry is holistic and training is integrated. I hope you will wrestle with what it means to love God through theological education at Christ College.
I look forward to discussing this with you more.
Ian Smith, Principal