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By Eron Henry

The Baptist World Alliance held its seventh Baptist
International Conference on Theological Education
(BICTE) in Prague in the Czech Republic in July. Papers
were presented covering various subjects, including the
environment, and at-risk women and children. Among the
highlights of the meeting was the discussion on the state of
theological education.
The gathering in the Czech Republic was a representative
sample of mainly theological educators, but also authors,
pastors, and denominational leaders. A number of the
conferees wore two or more hats – some serving as pastors
and seminary teachers, or as pastors and denominational
leaders, some being all three and more.
It is clear that theological education is experiencing
severe stress. In the United States, theological schools are
closing, downsizing, or merging. The sheer cost of running
a theological school and dwindling enrollments in some
schools and programs are leading to retrenchment. Yet, in
other parts of the world – in South, Southeast and East Asia
for instance – there is a lack of opportunity for training, and
where there is opportunity, there is shortage of space.
Geoff Pound tells of the hunger of Christians in China to
do theological work, attend theological school, and engage in
ministerial training, and the creative approaches employed to
ensure that students in this country get the training for which
they yearn. One Latin American theologian reported that the
lack of formal ministerial training is so grave that 12,000
churches are without a formally trained pastor. Seventy fi ve
percent of pastors in the region are not trained, and only
1,000 or so pastors graduate from theological schools each

(Photos: Kedoungulo Mero, India; Michael Taylor and Stephen Jennings,
both of Jamaica, share a moment together; Theologians Martin Sutherland, New Zealand & Richard Kidd, UK. BICTE

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