Presenters: Dean Smith and Rob Fringer

Most denominational ministry training today is carried out in a higher education context. Such a context requires college leaders to adhere to a policy on academic freedom. Faculty and students must be able to enjoy the freedom to explore ideas even if those ideas do not align with a denomination’s confessional stance. While the idea of academic freedom is mostly encouraged in theological colleges, anecdotal evidence suggests that there can be points of tension where the desire to uphold academic freedom clashes with ecclesial expectations that candidates for ministry be strongly formed in a confessional ethos. In this paper, we suggest that confessional formation and training need not be at odds with a policy of academic freedom. Rather, this tension, if embraced, can provide a space for deeper formation and commitment to one’s denominational distinctives.

Image via Pixabay, CC0 Public Domain


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