Immanuel Kant is credited with the phrase that “the end of education is to develop in every individual, all the perfection of which he is capable”. It should be said that by perfection one means the development of all human faculties in a harmonious way.
In general, churches today are more formalized institutions than living communities, whose guiding preoccupation ends either being mere preparation for the afterlife or deep immersion in “this life” issues, usually directed toward constant comfort and well-being in the name of a supposed prosperity assured to those who truly believe in the truth. The result is people engaged in a transformation reduced to religious settings, but not effectively clear and established in life in general.
It is well known that a minority of church members is seeking formal learning in the theological field. Because of this, the most important thing is not what Theology means to her students, but to people in general.
The Theological Study is not appealing to many because it focuses on mere seizure of information and transmission of extremely complex content, but theology is to be “every effort of Christians to think their belief about what God does in history and how it affects their lives! “Perhaps life is, in this case, more object of study than God!
My intention is to provoke a perception of the need to create relationships between THEOLOGY, EDUCATION and the LIFE OF PEOPLE. I believe in the role of Theology as a EDUCATOR FOR LIFE and not merely as a religious tool to “indoctrinate” a people without effective contributions to society as a whole.
I understand that Theology educates and affects people’s lives. All major doctrines have their practical dimension exactly as all practical matters have their doctrinal aspect. That is why the great challenge is to bridge the gap between THEOLOGY and DAILY LIFE, so that both meet and embrace each other by clarifying the real meaning of “living for God.”
The big question is: how can theology effectively educate people to the point of interfering with their way of life and raising their lives to satisfactory levels of well-being and relationship with the Creator?
The Apostle Paul in 2 Timothy 3:16, 17 stated that “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be perfect and perfectly equipped for every good work. ” Paul’s view of the “usefulness” of the Holy Scriptures goes far beyond what we are using today.
Jesus showed a deep interest in people and how their beliefs affected their lives. In Matthew 23
He criticized scribes and Pharisees for making life difficult for people. We need to escape both the Greek tendency that Paul rebuked (1Co 1.22) and the Pharisaic casuism that Jesus reproved so clearly (Mt 23).
However, it must be recognized that, as Júlio Zabatiero stated, “education is a complex, demanding and long-lasting activity”. Therefore, in the context of Theological Education, it is also necessary to instigate graduates to think about how learning can affect their lives and those to whom they will minister. Because of this, any educational practices are incomplete and subject to renewal and change in virtue of the inherent uniqueness of each person.
ANTONIO LAZARINI NETO
– General Director of the Baptist Theological Faculty of Campinas (SP);
– Bachelor of Theology and Master of Science of Religion; – Pastor, teacher and writer.