Reformed Quarterly Volume 9, Issue 3
Serious problems plague the educational world at all levels, problems that will not be solved by more dollars or heated rhetoric. One thing is certain – disenchantment is spreading as the situation worsens. Dr. Ron Nash deals forthrightly with the problem in this issue as well as in his recent book, The Closing of the American Heart.
Killing the Spirit Higher Education in America by Page Smith is creating waves in the academic world similar to those of Allen Bloom’s Closing of the American Mind. A highly respected author and educator, Smith warns that the failure to give priority to classroom instruction and to help students form a philosophy of life is killing the spirit of education. He says that tenured professors often concentrate on research and shuffle teaching off to assistants and graduate students. Also, the prevalent emphasis on specialization and scientific methodology often spawn curriculum fragmentation and irrelevant, insignificant research or publications.
By contrast, RTS has always placed the highest priority on classroom instruction and the preparation of students for actual ministry. Several years ago, we revised our curriculum for pastoral training to be sure that spiritual development and ministry skills would not be neglected. Retaining the great strengths of the classical curriculum – biblical studies, history, and theology – we also adopted a more effective method of teaching Hebrew and Greek. We want our students to develop a philosophy of ministry and be ready to use it upon graduation. We are committed to developing an example in the total RTS community that our alumni will want to imitate in their ministries.
Education and life, education and ministry are connected. This is why, without diminishing our commitment to academic excellence, we prefer faculty with lots of ministry experience. We cultivate a close relationship with the church and are sensitive to developments in it so that our institution will reflect them as they relate to God’s eternal truth. That way there can be a genuine partnership between church and seminary, enabling us to rejoice together in God’s blessings on His people through those set apart and trained for ministry.
RTS was founded to provide the best theological education possible, based squarely on God’s inerrant Word. Now, 25 years later, as a strong, mature institution, that commitment is undiminished.