Five-fold Ministry

Adapted from Ralph Mahoney, "The Five Leadership Gifts," The Shepherd's Staff (World MAP, 1993)

Ephesians 4:11,12

1. Apostles

a. Three Groups
(i) "Twelve apostles of the Lamb" (Matt.10:1-5; Rev.21:14) have a special relationship to the nation of Israel (Rev.21:12). In the age to come, they will sit on twelve thrones judging Israel (Matt.19:28)
(ii) "Ascension apostles" have a special relationship to the Gentile church. Those mentioned in the New Testament are Paul and Barnabas (Acts.14:14), Andronicus and Junia (Rom.16:7), James (Gal.1:19), Silas and Timothy (1Thess.1:1; 2:6) and others (1Cor.9:5; 2Cor.8:23)
(iii) "False apostles" are those who make boastful public claim to being apostles but are not (2Cor.11:13; Rev.2:2). A sign of a false apostle may be this boastful claim to being an apostle.

b. Signs of True Apostles
(i) Godly Character (2Cor.12:12)
(ii) Signs, Wonders, and Miracles (Acts 2:42; 4:30; 5:12; 14:3; Heb.2:2-4)
(iii) Preach the Gospel to those who had never heard the Gospel (Rom.15:20; 2Cor.10:16)
(iv) Willingness to Suffer (Acts 9:16; 1Tim.1:16; 2Cor.11:18-28)
The company of apostles (collectively) were responsible for the doctrine of the church (Acts 2:42; 15:1-35; 1Cor.14:37), correct practices in the church, the spiritual life and purity of the church. However, their teachings were subject to comparison with the Scripture and rejected if not scriptural (Acts 17:10,11).

2. Prophets
a. Work With Apostles (Luke 11:49; 1Cor.12:28; Eph.2:20; Rev.18:20)
b. Foretold Events and Warned of Danger (John 16:1; Acts 11:28; 21:10,11; 15:32)
c. Confirmed What God Had Spoken (1Thess.5:20; Acts 20:23; 21:4,11-14).
d. Their Words Should Be Examined (Deut.18:22; Jer.28:9; 1Cor.14:29; 1Thess.5:19-21; Deut.13:1-5)

3. Evangelists
These are individuals who are gifted in the preaching of the gospel and help others accept the Lord Jesus as Savior (Acts 8:5-13; 8:26-40; 21:8)

a. Signs of an Evangelist
(i) Travels to many places and preaches Christ (Acts 8:5)
(ii) Signs, wonders and miracles follow (Acts 8:6-13)
(iii) Holds city-wide meetings (Acts 8:5)
(iv) Does personal (one on one) evangelism (Acts 8:26-40)
(v) (Along with the other 4 leadership gifts) Equips believers for works of service (Eph.4:11,12)

4. Pastors
The word pastor is the same as shepherd. Pastors guard, guide, care for, discipline, pray for, love and minister to the local congregation of believers under their charge (Acts 20:28). They should meet the qualifications in 1Tim.3:1-13; Tit.1:5-9.

5. Teachers
Teachers are enabled by the Holy Spirit to help others understand God's Word and God's plan. The gift of teaching is often combined with the role of pastor or elder (1Tim.3:2; Tit.1:9).

1. The Five "G's"
(i) Apostles GUARD the church from false doctrine and practice.
(ii) Prophets GUIDE the church in evangelism and missionary outreach.
(iii) Evangelists GATHER in the unbelievers through preaching the Word with the accompaniment of healing, exorcism, and miracles.
(iv) Pastors GROW believers until they reach spiritual maturity.
(v) Teachers GROUND the believers on the solid rock, Christ Jesus.

2. Jesus, our Model
(i) Apostle (Heb.3:1)
(ii) Prophet (Luke 24:19; John 4:19; Acts 3:22-26)
(iii) Evangelist (Luke 4:18)
(iv) Pastor (John 10:2; Heb.13:20; 1Pet.5:4)
(v) Teacher (John 3:2)

3. Job Descriptions, Not Titles
Church leaders may be combinations of the above. Some are evangelist-pastors. Others are prophet-pastors. Still others may be pastor-teachers or apostle-pastors.

In the New Testament, these terms were not used as titles. They were used as job descriptions, to describe the function or gifts a man had.

Church leaders must avoid giving themselves titles of honor (Matt.23:8-12). Those called to church leadership are just servants of the Lord and of His flock (Rom.1:1; Tit.1:1).

Let us follow the example of Peter, "even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you" (2Pet.3:15). he chose his words wisely when he referred to another leader as "brother Paul," not "Apostle Paul." Shouldn't we do the same?


Can We Pray the Lord's Prayer?

"In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as [it is] in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen." (Matt.6:9-13)

I've found the Lord's Prayer (so called not because He prayed it but because He taught it) to be the strongest and most readily answered words I could say in times of need. Of course, I agree with other teachers that it is a model ("after this manner") that we need to follow whenever we pray. But, I have no reason to agree when they ask us to cease repeating the very words that He taught us to pray - firstly, because the Lord never said "Don't repeat it as it is"; secondly, because there is no theological inconsistency in repeating the scriptural words; thirdly, because the words help us to focus exactly on how God intends us to pray to Him, and lastly, because I've found it that when I've said this prayer and meant it, God has never failed to answer; and He has answered with a strength and power that excels any human thought and imagination. Perhaps, we may only speak out the parts of the prayer that we need to say in a situation ("Forgive.. as I forgive..." or "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done...", or "Lead me not into temptation...", or "Deliver me from evil" as applied in personal prayer), without forgetting the complete whole that the words are set in; but, He surely answers. I must add here that the prayer is not a magical chant; God only answers prayers that come from a broken and contrite heart that prays sincerely with absolute surrender to God. I believe we should not fail to teach this to the disciples, because it teaches us not only the model but gives us the perfect words that the Lord Himself gave~



Then Peter said, Silver and gold have I none; but such as I have give I thee: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk. (Acts 3:6)

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. (1Cor.2:2)


1. Not to receive any fixed salary
2. Never to ask any human being for help
3. To take this command (Luke 12. 33) literally, ‘Sell that thou hast and give alms,’ and never to save up money, but to spend all God entrusted to him on God’s poor, on the work of His kingdom.
4. Also to take Rom. 13. 8, ‘Owe no man anything,’ literally, and never to buy on credit, or be in debt for anything, but to trust God to provide.


I, this day, consecrate my entire life to glorify my Heavenly Father by my obedience to the principles of Jesus Christ through the power of the Holy Spirit. All my effort from now on will be directed in an effort to demonstrate the righteousness of God in whatsoever I may be engaged.

Principle 1
All the things earthly that I possess shall not be considered my own, but belonging to my Heavenly Father, and shall be held in trust by me to be used and directed by the wisdom of the Spirit of God, as the law of love of men as Christ loved them may dictate.
If at any time God should raise up men wiser than myself, I will gladly commit all to their use and turn over all my possessions to them for distribution.
If at any time in my life I should be engaged in any earthly business and should employ men to aid me in conducting it, I shall reward them justly and equally, comparing their own energy expended with my own after adding a sufficient amount to my own to cover all risk that may be involved in the operation of my business.
I shall consider my employees my equals with rights to the blessings of nature and life equal to my own. I shall not strive to elevate myself to a position of comfort above the rest of my employees and shall direct all my efforts to bring all mankind to an equal plane, where all enjoy the comforts of life and fellowship together.

Principle 2
I shall not cease to cry to God and implore Him to deliver mankind from the effects of sin so long as sin lasts, but shall cooperate with God in the redemption of mankind.
I will have seasons of prayer and fasting in behalf of mankind, weeping and bewailing their lost condition and imploring God to grant them repentance unto life as the Spirit of God may lead me.

Principle 3
I shall live my life in meekness, never defending my own personal rights, but shall leave all judgment to God Who judges righteously and rewards according to their works.
I shall not render evil for evil or railing for railing, but shall bless all and do good to enemies in return for evil.
By God’s grace I shall keep all hardness and harshness out of my life and actions, but shall be gentle and unassuming, not professing above what God has imparted to me, nor lifting myself above my brethren.

Principle 4
I shall consider righteous acts as more necessary to life and happiness than food and drink, and not let myself be bribed or coerced into any unrighteous action for earthly consideration.

Principle 5
By God’s grace I will always be merciful, forgiving those who have transgressed against me and endeavoring to correct the ills of humanity instead of merely punishing them for their sins.

Principle 6
I shall not harbor any impure thoughts in my mind, but shall endeavor to make every act uplifting.
I shall regard my procreative organs sacred and holy and never use them for any purpose other than that which God created them for.
I shall regard the home as sacred and always guard my actions in the presence of the opposite sex, so as not to cause a man and his wife to break their vows to one another. I shall be chaste with the opposite sex who are married, considering them as sisters. I shall be careful not to cause them undue pain by playing on their affections.

Principle 7
I will always strive to be a peacemaker. First, by being peaceful myself and avoiding all unfruitful contentions, and treating all with justice and regarding their rights and their free agency, never trying to force any to my point of view.
If I should offend anyone knowingly, I shall immediately apologize.
I will not scatter evil reports about any person and so try to defame their character, or repeat things that I am not certain of being true.
I will strive to remove the curse of strife among brethren by acting as a peacemaker.

Principle 8
I shall not become discouraged when I am persecuted on account of the righteousness mentioned above nor murmur on account of any suffering I undergo, but shall gladly give my life rather than depart from this high standard of life, rejoicing because I know I have a great reward in Heaven.
I shall strive to make the above principles the ideals of all the world and give my life and energy to see mankind get the power from God to practice the same.


No Reserves, No Retreats, No Regrets


1. Do not join any organization—serve all equally.
2. Do not make your own plan. Let Me guide you and lead you every step of the way.
3. Do not make your needs known to any human being. Ask Me only and I shall provide for your needs.

To preach the Gospel where Christ is not named

"I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's foundation....But now no longer having a place in these parts...." (Rom 15:20,23)

Mission emphasis has seen focus shifts from geographical to people-group, and more recently to age group (4-14 Window). But, while we look at the other identifiers like people-group and age-group, we must not forget the full picture of the Great Commission to go into all the world (geographical) and preach the gospel to every creature (personal) and make disciples of every nation (ethno-anthropological). Some falsely interpret mission to be denominational church planting (they disregard the local churches in an area and make it a goal to plant their own denomination, in addition!). Some have the mission to start linguistic churches for their diasporic groups only (closed to others). But, just because all these paradigms "work" don't mean that they are right. There is a danger in over-emphasizing ethnos or age over a geographical territory. The New Testament never talks about a Hebrew Church or a Greek Church or a Latin Church in the same town or city (of course, it didn't even have an idea of a "Children's Church" and an "Adults' Church"); it would always only talk of a local church with reference to its geographical demarcations: e.g., the Church at Ephesus or the Church at Corinth. Well, historical developments have made things a bit complicated now. Yet, whatever our identifying qualifiers are, we must not forget the geo-emphasis of the Great Commission. Of course, there are needs related to reviving churches, instructing people in the gospel, and evangelizing the neighborhood. The five-fold ministry is given for the same. But, we must also not forget that while it seems that much geographical area has already been covered and there doesn't seem a place where one may say that the church is not there, there are still places where Christ is unknown yet.

We Played Games As Children

We played games as children
Enacting whole sets of scenes;
We played roles as children
In these little sets of scenes;
We played parents and children,
Teachers, toddlers, and teens;
We still play games, O children,
But games that live on dreams!
Share: the teaching uncorruptedness, gravity.... (Tit 2:7-8)

"... in the teaching uncorruptedness, gravity, incorruptibility, discourse sound, irreprehensible..." (Tit 2:7-8 YLT)

There are few rules of teaching:
(1) Don't air opinions; speak the truth alone
(2) Don't entertain with unedifying jokes; speak reverently out of passion for God
(3) Don't skip the important elements (redeem time properly); teach everything needed to protect the doctrine from corruption and make it stand out -- each munch is just a little munch, of course, but it must be wholesome
(4) Don't speak disconnectedly and illogically; speak clearly, cogently, and convincingly
(5) Don't use words, illustrations, or gestures that would violate the spirit of edifying speech; speak in a way that glorifies God


Wisdom is the ability to rightly use knowledge in order to solve problems, make the right choices, and take right decisions.

There are different kinds of wisdom, but not all are good:
1. Worldly Wisdom (foolish) - The wisdom that comes from the world (James 3:15; 1Cor.1:20)
2. Carnal Wisdom (sinful) - The wisdom of the flesh, its desires and passions (James 3:15; Rom.7:18,23)
3. Demonic Wisdom (wicked) - Ideas that come from the devil; demonic doctrines (James 3:15; 1Tim.4:1)
4. Divine Wisdom (good)- The wisdom that comes from God (James 3:16)

How to obtain Divine Wisdom
1. By practicing fear of the Lord (Prov.1:7)
2. By asking for wisdom in prayer (James 1:5)
3. By associating with wise children of God (Prov.13:20)
4. By studying and meditating upon God's Word (2Tim.3:15; Col.3:16)
5. Through the gift of the word of wisdom (1Cor.12:8)
6. By choosing to act wisely (Matt.10:16)
7. By obeying the word of God (Matt.7:24)


Meaning of Life

Meaning of Life
1. Doesn't consist in the Abundance of Wealth one has (Luke 12:15)
2. Doesn't consist in the Amount of Work one does (Eccl.2:4-6, 11; 4:8; Rev.2:2,4)
3. Doesn't consist in the Applause of the World one gets (John 5:44; Luke 16:15)

Meaning of Life Consists In
1. Knowing God in Obedient Faith (John 17:3; Ecc.12:1,13)
2. Doing Good in True Love (Isa.1:17; Mic.6:8; Luke 6:27; Gal.6:10; 1Cor.13:3; 2Thess.3:13; 1Tim.6:18; James 4:17)
3. Doing God's Will With Wisdom and Finishing His Work (John 4:34; 17:4; Rom.12:2-8; 2Tim.4:7)

Empty Desire, Encounter with Stranger, The Call of Drunkenness, and Pursuit of Wisdom (Poetic Excerpts from Stranger)

Read the novel at Google Books

(Caged within Lust's tormenting cell, the man pulls out the Scroll and reads...)

Vacuum, the barrenness of empty desire;
Insatiable craving, abysmal mire;
Deluded by Lust, the cunning liar;
The end of all ends, brimstone and fire…
Leave the dark dungeon behind;
Leap into the Light;
Break through the hideous blind:
Flee! Stand not to fight!


(Stranger comes to the man's assistance. The man asks Stranger who he is and what he does and gets this reply)

“Ask the ground beneath your feet what it does,
Ask the firmament above your head what it does,
Ask the daystar that fills the world with energy what it does,
(Now hidden from your view; yet, not annulled)
Ask the heart that beats within your breast what it does,
Ask the cold rain pouring from the fiery sky what it does;
Who has appointed it? What office does it hold?
Is it paid from the treasures of Hamartia?
Or does Sarx marshal it like he does the forces of wild Desire?
Then you shall know that my office is not from below;
Neither am I esteemed by this estranged world of woes.
Sin finds nothing in me, nothing worthwhile but profuse enmity!
Do not ask any further; for this is not the time to ask and answer;
Run! Run away from here! Stop not to look back,
Turn neither to the left nor to the right! Just run, run away from here!”

(As they keep fleeing, a drunken man calls out to them with this song)

“Why do you run beating dust in the air?
Why do you hurry as if the world needs your care?
Hey, the world’s on its own, buddy;
You ain’t gonna make it any inch better!
Come, enjoy some rum, be a good bum;
Let’s gulp some spirit and get into the gutter!”


“Seek Wisdom like one searches for hidden treasure;
And till you find her, allow no game and no pleasure.
Seek her in the squares; seek her in the thoroughfares,
Seek her everywhere, but keep away from barren leisure.”

Keeping the Gospel Free (A Preacher with a Price Tag is Anathema)

"What is my reward then? That when I preach the gospel, I may present the gospel of Christ without charge, that I may not abuse my authority in the gospel." (1Cor.9:18)

I heard of a recent conversation between two pastors that went something like this:

Pastor A: Do you think we can get AA to come and preach in our church?
Pastor B: Well, he's too big; your church can't afford him.

I was at another place and a pastor began expressing grave disappointment about a preacher/artist whom his friend had invited to come and preach in his television channel. The preacher placed the following demands: To and fro Flight tickets (or reimbursement), 5 Star Hotel room, and 100,000 rupees. The friend chose not to invite him. But, another acquaintance invited the same preacher/artist, and after some negotiation, he accepted to "perform" Gospel songs at their wedding anniversary for (if I'm right, something like) 50,000 rupees.

Now imagine David placing a price on his playing a worship song or Paul quoting a price for sharing Biblical truths at the church in Rome or even Peter refusing an invitation to come and preach at Cornelius' house unless he was willing to pay him a certain amount of money, provide a 5 Star accommodation, and give him a to and fro express ticket.

Now, interestingly, the modern culture has so outgrown the biblical times that people don't find any problem with entertaining and having such entertaining preachers. It's not just about accumulating preachers who can tickle itching ears (2Tim.4:3); but, it's also about people putting up with it if one brings them into bondage, if one devours them, if one takes from them, if one exalts himself, if one strikes them on the face (2Cor.11:20). Salary negotiations in ministry are an accepted norm today. Hirelings get bought into hiring organizations very well.

This is not to mean that preachers should not be given money. But, money doesn't answer all things when it comes to gospel work - unless, of course, one is having a festival more and spiritual work less (Ecc.10:19; Acts 3:6). One way that God has prescribed for His work to be supported is by giving to Him; and one gives to the Lord by giving to those who are fully engaged in the work of the Lord (1Tim.5:17-18; Phil.4:18). But, some may say, "Well, God will provide for His servants if they walk by faith; He fed Elijah by the ravens." That is true. God can. But, the case of Elijah was an exception. The ravens were chosen because the whole kingdom had turned away from God. So, if one thinks that one is an Ahab or a Jezebel, then certainly God doesn't expect them to feed His prophet (3John 1:7).

But, the Gospel is free of charge. One has no authority to charge what one has received freely (Matt.10:8; 1Cor.4:7).

The success of a preacher is not measured by the money he is paid for his preaching. The success is measured by his faithfulness to what God has entrusted to him.

The value of a preacher is not monetarily determined; his value is determined by the blood that Christ shed for him. But does he value that blood above all things or use it to to rope in money?

Can we say along with Paul: "For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for necessity is laid upon me; yes, woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!" (1Cor.9:16)


Fear can either be positive or negative, healthy or unhealthy, helpful or hindering.

Fear is positive when one fears what one is meant to fear.
Fear is negative when one fears what one is not meant to fear.
Fear is healthy when fear keeps our body, soul, and spirit sound.
Fear is unhealthy when it hurts our physical, mental, and spiritual health.
Fear is helpful when it helps us to move forward.
Fear is hindering when it stops us from growing and moving forward.

Examples of Positive Fear
Fear and reverence of the Lord (Departing from evil, Job 28:8; Prov.16:6)
Fearing foreseen danger (Hiding from evil, Prov.22:3)
Fear of authorities in the sense of proper honor and respect is positive and expected (Rom.13:7)

For example, if I hear the horn of a car behind me, I jump off; this protects me from an accident.

Examples of Negative Fear
Fear of the non-existent enemy (Prov.22:13; 26:13)
Fear of false danger (Matt 10:28; Luke 12:5)

For example, if someone fears that he may get cancer just because he saw someone got cancer; that is a negative form of fear, even if it seems that he is able to see some evidence.

Someone has defined negative FEAR as

Spirit of Fear
The Bible tells us that God has not given us the spirit of fear (2Tim.1:7). There is a spirit of fear that rules those who live under the control of the devil (Heb.2:15), who follow his rebellious spirit. But, those who are in Christ are not ruled by such a spirit (Rom.8:15). The fear of man brings a snare (Prov.29:25), but those who trust in the Lord and live in His presence can boldly say "The LORD is my helper; I will not fear. What can man do to me?" (Heb.13:6)

Deliverance from False Fear
1. By Knowledge of Truth (John 8:32)
2. Through the Presence of the Spirit of God, the Helper (2Tim.1:7; 1John 4:4; Psalm 23:4)
3. Through Godly fear (Heb.5:7)
4. By Courageous Faith (Rev.2:10)
5. Through Love (1John 4:18)

Blessings of Fearing the Lord
1. Cleanses us from sin (2Cor.7:1)
2. Keeps us from moral evil (Prov.8:13; 16:6)
3. Protects us from physical evil (Prov.19:23)
4. Helps us to work out our salvation (Phil.2:12)
5. Enables us to rightly serve the Lord (Psa.2:11)
6. God's secret are revealed to those who fear the Lord (Prov.25:14)
7. God's eye is upon those who fear the Lord (Psa.33:18)
8. Gives wisdom (Prov.1:7; 9:10)
9. The fear of the Lord is a fountain of life (Prov.14:27;19:23)
10. Keeps us from pride (Rom.11:20)


Patience is forbearance, i.e. the moral capacity to endure and forbear delay or imperfection. Other words that explain its meaning are longanimity, fortitude, endurance, tolerance, and longsuffering. Patience is, thus, a word related to time. It is the measure of our durability in faith.

1. Patience is giving allowance to more time (Neh.9:30; Matt.18:26,29). Allowing more time is a process of suffering (loss, pain); therefore, patience is also longsuffering.
2. Patience is the ability to hold on, i.e. to possess one's self, to endure, to allow things to grow (Luke 21:19; 8:15)
3. Patience is connected with a future hope. Unless one has hope, one cannot allow patience (Rom.15:4; 1Thess.1:3)
4. Patience is the fruit of the Spirit (Gal.5:22). Only the Spirit who sees everything from the beginning to the end and stands above time can guide our hearts into all patience.

Sources of Patience
1. God (Rom.15:5; 2Thess.3:5)
2. Scriptures (Rom. 15:4)
3. Being strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power (Col.1:11)
4. Pursuit of patience (1Tim.6:11)
5. Testing of faith (James 1:5)
6. The Spirit (Patience is the fruit of the Spirit) (Gal.5:22)
7. Inspiration from the lives of the prophets (James 5:10)

Rewards of Patience
1. Salvation (Matt.10:22; 24:13; Mark 13:13)
2. Inheriting God's promises (Heb.6:12)
3. Perfection (James 1:4)


Four Pillars of Learning and Theological Education

Workshop Talk Delivered at NATA-AGM, March 2014

In its Report to UNESCO in the document Learning: The Treasure Within (1996)[1]also referred to as the Delors Report, the International Commission on Education for the 21st Century, proposed the following four pillars of education as listed below:
  • Learning to know
  • Learning to do
  • Learning to live together
  • Learning to be
Learning to know involves “combining a sufficiently broad general education with the possibility of in-depth work on a selected number of subjects.”[2] The goal is “to provide the cognitive tools required to better comprehend the world and its complexities, and to provide an appropriate and adequate foundation for future learning.”[3] The scheme is first to provide general education as an introductory foundation for special education later on.

Learning to do involves “the acquisition of the practical skills needed in the workplace along with the ability to contribute as part of a team and to demonstrate initiative.”[4]

Learning to live together is re``garded as the main pillar of education of which the other are only supportive.[5] Brunton’sarticulation of this pillar is clear and concise:

… Learning to Live Together refers to developing an understanding of others through dialogue which leads to empathy, respect and appreciation. It requires that we understand ourselves and how we can use our strengths in concert with the strengths of others to achieve common goals. Students should be encouraged to engage in cooperative activities beyond the school that address social and community concerns.[6]

Learning to be was the dominant theme of the Edgar Faure report Learning to Be: The World of Education Today and Tomorrow, published by UNESCO in 1972,[7] the recommendations wherein were considered still very relevant. The pillar stresses the importance of the freedom to each individual to exercise greater independence and judgment combined with a stronger sense of personal responsibility for the attainment of common goals coupled with the necessity to value and promote the self-actualization of the individual’s potentiality so that “none of the talents which are hidden like buried treasure in every person must be left untapped” – that, by the way, explains the title of the document Treasure Within. Some of the treasures hidden within each of individual may be named as: “memory, reasoning power, imagination, physical ability, aesthetic sense, the aptitude to communicate with others and the natural charisma of the group leader, which again goes to prove the need for greater self-knowledge.”[8] Each individual has a unique endowment that is distinctive from anyone else and education must play an important role in tapping one’s individual worth and role in history. In Brunton’s words, learning to be

is the conviction that education should contribute to every person’s complete development - mind and body, intelligence, sensitivity, aesthetic appreciation and spirituality. All people should receive in their childhood and youth an education that equips them to develop their own independent, critical way of thinking and judgment so that they can make up their own minds on the best courses of action in the different circumstances in their lives. Education should enable people to live fulfilling lives.[9]

Can the UNESCO recommendations be applied to theological education? I submit that in some way or the other we are already attempting to do that. The UNESCO recommendations only highlight the importance of them so that we don’t falter with regard to one or more of the pillars and thus become off balanced. But, the challenge to theological education is to blend together the relation between the secular and the theological with the intent that our content will be in touch with ourselves (to be), with others (to live together), with our mission in the world (to do) in accordance to sound doctrine (to know). Certainly, this is not to ignore the three pillars for curriculum development embraced by the Senate of Serampore, viz, contextual education, interdisciplinary approach, and social relevance.[10] Relevance to context, current data, and humanity is the concern of those three pillars; which aren’t contradicted by but highly enhanced by the UNESCO recommendations.

Fig. 1.
 Four Pillars of Education[11]

Prevalent Models of Theological Education (Edgar)
The four typologies of theological education, diagrammatized by Brian Edgar,[12] with their inter-blending forms, might provide an insight into present models of theological education. The four typologies are considered to be
(i) Athens (Kelsey: 1993), the classical school relates to the context of the academy and focuses on individual transformation through gaining the wisdom of God (theologia). It involved study of scriptures.
(ii) Berlin (Kelsey: 1993), the vocational school relates to the context of the university and focuses on strengthening the church through training its leaders in knowledge skills (scientia). In this approach, theology is stripped of its spiritually transforming role and given an academic definition; its goal is now to train ministers and leaders to provide professional leadership to the church.
(iii) Jerusalem (Banks: 1999), the missional school relates to the context of the community and focuses on converting the world through emphasis on missiology. Theological education is seen as a dimension of mission and missiology is considered as the mother of theology.
(iv) Geneva (Edgar: 2005), the confessional school relates to the context of the seminary and focuses on knowing God through the study of creeds and the confessions, the means of grace and the general traditions that are utilized by a particular faith community (doxology).

Fig 2. The Typology in Diagrammatic Form (Edgar: 2005)

Of course, the typology is neither final nor free of criticism and Edgar agrees that it may not fully apply to non-western contexts (Obviously, the university model for ministerial training doesn’t apply very much in India – theology is not a university discipline at all here, though the tension to obtain for theology a scientific status is felt, especially where seminaries seek for university acknowledgement). With regard to the Indian context, an empirical study of curricula and objectives will be necessary before any classification can be decided upon. But, a cursory glance at the diagram above should not fail to suggest that theological education needs an interblending of all the models presented above. Theological education should aim the transformation of the individual, understanding of doctrine in light of history, context, and dogma; it should also not fail to provide ministerial training with development of theoretical and practical ministry skills and to enhance an understanding of Christian mission in the world.

Learning to Know

While there are a number of programs now offered in seminaries that do not pre-require a ministry-oriented degree like BTh or BD/MDiv for admission into (e.g. some MA programs), a general foundational introduction to Christianity is a general rule, though the general ecclesiastical efficiency of these degrees is questionable. For instance, degrees like MA in Church History and MA in Christian Counseling are specializations and may not have the breadth of ministry-oriented courses among the foundationals offered in the programs; these may generally fall under the Berlin model, with university like focus on the academic aspect of the discipline; though, deprived of the general ministerial intent. But, this doesn’t mean that they don’t cater to the need of the church. In fact, they could cater well as supportive equipping models for church and para-church ministries. However, a proper theological education is indisputably one that involves “combining a sufficiently broad general education with the possibility of in-depth work on a selected number of subjects.” The significance, therefore, of the BTh or BD/MDiv cannot be undermined as the main vein of theological education. In fact, they are the first professional degrees; while the rest are usually academic only. Whether, this broad general education should give more importance to the historical context of India than to the West is a contextual issue. The goal is to provide cognitive tools essential for comprehending the complexities of the immediate context without their being inefficient for comprehending the realities of other contexts; which implies that addressing breadth of knowledge in general education is vital. Consequently, topics such as scripture, general church history, general introduction to theology, general introduction to hermeneutics, ecclesiology, and comparative religions become vital.

With this regard, in India, the BD/MDiv degrees are not more specializations in their fullest sense. The rationale for a BD/MDiv is a matter of entry point, so that graduates can apply to them directly without the need to go through a BTh. However, the non-theological graduates are still required to do extra courses in a way that integrates BTh+BD/MDiv. At both Oxford University and Cambridge University, BD was a post-graduate higher degree; at Cambridge is considered a degree “so senior that it outranks aDoctor of Philosophy”.[13] Oxford discontinued offering BD since 2005.[14] At Oxford, a graduate in theology can directly apply for MTh.

But, in India, an MDiv is the first a professional degree (with regard to entry point for non-theological graduates); the specialized MTh that it leads to is an academic one. One issue to tackle is the level of redundancy that can be avoided in offering the MDiv program to a BTh holder and the form of equivalence that can be maintained in offering MDiv to non-theological graduates.

While mastery of learning tools such as numeracy, literacy, and life skills are presumed to precede entry to theological education (which in itself is a specialized discipline, in a way), the theological curricula must not fail to incorporate involvement of the major components of learning to learn such as concentration, memory skill, and critical thinking, which includes practical problem-solving and abstract thought.

Learning to Do

Some of the skills that theological education attempts to develop are research skills, public speaking, writing, witnessing, team work, problem solving, team leadership, and other practical ministry skills. The goal is to encourage the student to learn to analyze concepts, think through solutions for problems, articulate narratives and rhetoric of biblical wisdom, do research, and to move from concrete to abstract and back from abstract to concrete in order to translate general ideas into specific blueprints for practical and relevant action. Care must be given to emphasis not so much on certified skills as on personal competence in which inborn talents are enhanced through development of associate skills. Use of multiple intelligence and learning styles through participation in creative and innovative activities are keys to discovery and enhancement of personal competence that prepares the learner for the future to tackle issues that are yet unforeseen .

Learning to Live Together

This is a win/win approach of theological education. The goal is not only to promote attitudes and skills to live together with other Christians (denominations, churches) but also to live together with people of other faiths. The challenge of pluralism is, thus both internal and external. The objective is harmony but not at the expense of conviction. The means is not compromise, but collaboration, so that we have attitudinal maturity and practical wisdom to discover common grounds of collaboration for peaceful co-existence.

Learning to Be

Education should contribute to the holistic development of the person: of both mental and emotional intelligence, of sensitivity, aesthetic appreciation, and spirituality. Education should, in this sense, aim at the complete personality development of the person. The goal of theological education is not just to grant a degree at the end; the goal is to transform, to equip, and to unleash. The aim is not just to create a gospel worker but to help one discover the talents and gifts that the individual has and to help find ways in which those talents can be enhanced and expressed for the good of humanity in ministry and conduct. The goal of study is certainly that the servant of God will be able to present himself or herself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth (2Tim.2:15).

Affiliation with the Four Pillars of Faith

If the goal is the contention for faith, to build up in faith, then it’s also important to understand that faith is not a roof hanging upon nothing. The Bible relates faith with at least four pillars: Truth (the cognitive pillar), Love (the relational pillar), Patience (the consistent pillar), and Works (the active pillar).



(1Tim.2:7; Jn.8:32)

Learning to Know



Learning to Live Together


(Heb.6:12; James 1:4)

Learning to Be


(James 2:17)

Learning to Do

Concluding Remarks

In a time when distance education and online courses are becoming the growing trends, it is more important to pay attention to ways in which curriculum can be designed to promote Christian education as learning to know, to do, to live together, and to be. Sadly, much of so called “education” is not education at all. There is a spate of commercializing instances. The loss is irreconcilable when the goal is no longer learning, but only degree holding. Seminaries and colleges must pay special attention to providing tools for intellectual, spiritual, social, and missional formation of the individual. The 4 Pillar Model provides a relevant understanding that can be utilized for the future of theological education in India towards this end.


Banks, Robert. Reenvisioning Theological Education, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999.
Edgar, Brian. “The Theology of Theological Education”, Evangelical Review of Theology (2005) Vol 29 No. 3, 208-217.
Kelsey H., David. Between Athens and Berlin: the Theological Debate, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993.
International Commission on Education for the 21st Century, Learning: The Treasure Within, UNESCO Publishing, 1996

[1] International Commission on Education for the 21st Century, Learning: The Treasure Within (UNESCO PUBLISHING, 1996).
[2] Learning: The Treasure Within, p.23
[3] “The Four Pillars of Learning”, Accessed on March 3, 2014.
[4] Ron Brunton, "The Four Pillars of Education", The Teacher, May 2012, Volume 50 Number 7, page 14, NSTU 2012
[5] Learning: The Treasure Within, pp.22,23
[6] Ron Brunton, “The Four Pillars of Education”.
[7] Learning: The Treasure Within, p.23
[8] Learning: The Treasure Within, p.23
[9] Brunton, “The Four Pillars of Education”.
[10] “Indian Theological Colleges Look Forward With New Curriculum,” Press Centre, World Council of Churches, 24 February 2009, Accessed on March 3, 2014
[11] From Dr. Didacus Jules, “Rethinking Education in the Caribbean” Accessed on March 5, 2014
[12] Brian Edgar, “The Theology of Theological Education”, Evangelical Review of Theology (2005) Vol
[13] “Glossary of Cambridge Jargon”, Accessed on March 3, 2014
[14] Accessed on March 3, 2014

Adam, the Last

This is the title used for Jesus in 1Cor.15:45-47. As the Last Adam, Jesus is contrasted with the

First Adam. A few contrasts are as follows:
1. The First Adam was not born of any sexual union; the Last Adam was not born of any sexual union.
2. The First Adam is called son of God (Luke 3:38); the Last Adam is the Son of God.
3. The First Adam brought sin into the world; the Last Adam put an end to sin.
4. The First Adam was made a living soul; the Last Adam was a life-giving Spirit.
5. The First Adam was the head of the sinful race; the Last Adam was the one in whom sin came to an end.

The related title of Jesus is Second Man. As the Last Adam, He is the end of the old sinful race; as the Second Man, He is the head of the new holy race, the Church of the Firstborn.

Feasts of Israel: Three Functions

1. Commemorative . Helps to remember an event.
2. Instructive. Helps to instruct this and the next generation.
3. Celebrative. Is a celebration of God’s goodness.

Exodus 12
1. It is Personal – “to me” (Ex.12:8)
2. It is Social


Latest posts

Popular Posts

Blog Archive