Universities are needed for integrating nation-building skills, character, knowledge, and truth. Augustine felt that “the disciplined, well-ordered mind is better equipped to grasp the truth” (Holmes 2001, 30). Roland Allen continued that line of thinking when he talked about the preparation of men’s minds, through Roman and Greek civilizations, to receive St. Paul’s teaching of the Kingdom of Christ (Allen 1912). In our missionary strategy today, might we need to plant universities to empower leaders within a society to work toward nation building through education, building toward security of travel and strong laws in order to prepare a place for the Kingdom of God to flourish and spread? The good news is that the Body of Christ contains people with the gifts to “do” or “make” shalom in many different areas: justice, peace-keeping, skill-building for economic independence, health, fighting and eradicating disease, etc. All of these peace-making and nation-building activities can potentially demonstrate the character of God and the values of the Kingdom and bring shalom into the lives of troubled people and societies.
The development of a society, including reduction of poverty, violence, and disease, requires both leaders and followers who value discipline, order, and the pursuit of truth. These are results of higher education. In this sense, the Christian university is an important artifact of Western missionary culture.
2. From Asia: Education for Economic Transformation
Economic transformation is perhaps the most important aspect of societal transformation, given the fact that the market dominates the agenda of our globalized world today. This was popularized by Francis Fukuyama’s book The End of History and the Last Man (1992) that built on his essay “The End of History?” (1989), which asserted that capitalism in liberal democracies is the “ultimate” global ideal henceforth. Yet poverty has persisted if not increased, and the gap between the rich and the poor regionally and globally has continued to widen. What is the biblical vision and mission for the economic order in local communities, in national plans and among nations?
As those involved in Christian higher education, we are called to equip leaders who can lead the church in fulfilling the “cultural mandate” of missio dei, based on our biblical theology and Christian worldview. This paper seeks to describe the framework and curriculum by which Christian higher education institutions can best equip our students to bring about “economic transformation”.Full Text html
3. From India: The Integrated Learning Experience
Our modern education systems are mostly based in fragmented and disintegrated learning models. We study science, then history, move into philosophy and all these are in their compartments with little or no connection. In recent years, the relevance of these educational systems has come into question. What is education? Why are we doing what we are doing? What kinds of products are we delivering? What effect are our educational packages having on students within their own local contexts? And for biblical and theological institutions we ask - Are we really preparing men and women for effective ministry within their contexts?...
It seems that within our global context, the problem does not lay so much with the content of our educational models, but more with placing this content into an appropriate setting for real learning. Such a setting must be rooted in reality.Full Text html
4. From Africa: The Unique Role of Theological Education by Extension in Equipping Churches
[Editor’s note: This is an excerpt from “Theological Education by Extension in Zambia” by Kangwa Mabuluki in Diversified Theological Extension: Equipping All God’s People edited by Ross Kinsler. We’ve written about theological education several times in the Journal, and this excerpt provides an interesting insight into how it looks in the country of Zambia.]Full Text html