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According to Miroslav Volf and Matthew Croasmun there is a crisis in theology (broadly considered through its location in academic institutions in North America) and they speak to this crisis in For the Life of the World.
Remember this from our last post about this new, important book:
Purpose - Theology - Visions - Life - Light
We believe the purpose of theology is to discern, articulate, and commend visions of flourishing life in light of God’s self-revelation in Jesus Christ. The flourishing of human beings and all God’s creatures in the presence of God is God’s foremost concern for creation and should therefore be the central purpose of theology.
What then is the crisis? It is both external and internal.
External - Job - Market - Audience - Reputation
The External: shrinking job market, shrinking audience, and shrinking reputation.
The job market for academic theologians is closely related to the job market for academically trained ministers. Most mainline denominations still require academic training of their ordinands. But such denominations are a dwindling category with declining congregations, and they are bereft of financial means to actually hire seminary-trained ministers. Many vibrant and growing churches, on the other hand, don’t see themselves as needing academically trained ministers.
Reasons - Demand - Churches - Clergy - Seminaries
For all three reasons mentioned—diminishing demand of churches for academically trained clergy, closing down of seminaries or their transformation into online educational institutions, and loss of interest in theology in universities and colleges—the job market for PhDs in various theological disciplines is shrinking.
Over the centuries, however, one small segment of communities of faith—the clergy—used to read the work of academic theologians, both the more technical work and its popular versions. They no longer do, considering it largely irrelevant for their profession.
Ministers - Folks - Theology - Ministers - Folks
Ministers and lay folks no longer read theology; theologians no longer write for ministers or lay folks. “here is no gain in communicating eloquently and accessibly what has already been deemed arcane and vacuous.”
The general sense is that...
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