I don’t know what the future holds for many seminaries and Bible colleges. Some will loose their accreditation because they will not support the wider secular position on homosexuality. Others will be have to inflate prices to keeping brick and mortar campus up and running. Even the best schools can wear down students rather than build them up. (See John Frame’s article Proposal For a New Seminary.)
My vision for Distance Bible Institute is that it be built from the ground up to have the best of all possible worlds:
- Built around the needs of students.
- Avoid taking students away from the local church.
- A tiny price tag. Free for those with no money.
- To encourage students to acquire vital job skills in the secular marketplace while still getting access to good Biblical training as they go along. (i.e. avoids students graduating with $25,000 in student loans for seminary and no real world job skills). This allows local church ministry to be sought by people who really want to do it rather than by those who need a job to pay off student loans.
- To allow for the creation of courses that go deeper, or tarry longer on topics than a traditional semester schedule allows for.
- Students can move through training on their own time schedule. You can’t put spiritual development on a schedule.
- Sweet-spot balance between Biblical richness and advanced information.
- Allow students to individually tailor learning for their own needs and maturity.
- Provide sound Biblical education to English speakers in developing countries.
- Offer a teaching platform for teachers with great experience but not terminal degrees.
- Create learning that encourages coordination with local church leaders rather than isolation from them.
- Provide a platform for many of the teachers who do have credentials, but were not hired at schools to use their skills
It is time to break systematic Bible training out of the structures created for the secular university. The advent of the internet has allowed for some amazing changes in commerce (Amazon/ebay), education (Khan Academy), encyclopedias (Wikipedia), and even want ads (craigslist). How might a fresh approach to Biblical training, help us to carry out 2 Timothy 2:2 in the digital age in which we find ourselves?
…and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men[a] who will be able to teach others also. 2 Timothy 2:2 (ESV)