Governing for theologia : governance of Presbyterian ministry formation in the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand 1961-1997

Theology Religion Christianity Humanities Arts and Social Science (HASS) Presbyterian Church New Zealand

This study of the governance of theological education examines significant policy and management decisions within Presbyterian ministry training in New Zealand between 1961 and 1997 in the light of Edward Farley's integrated goal for theological education, theologia. Edward Farley's argument that theologia, integration of theology (scientia) and theology (habitus), was fragmented from the first use of modern research university education as professional education for ordained ministry in the 1880s, provides a theoretical framework for analysing the influence of governance on theologia, through its effect on institutional organisation, structure and curricula. International unease about theological education is reflected in New Zealand Presbyterian ministry formation, though little sustained critical analysis is yet published in New Zealand. The period under study begins in 1961 when the Special Committee on Theological Training called for a Chair in Pastoral Theology to 1997 when the Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand opened its Centre for Advanced Ministry Studies, later renamed the School of Ministry. Criteria signifying recovery and/or fragmentation of theologia drawn from Farley's arguments are searched for in the beginning of University theology at Berlin and the beginning of ministry formation in Dunedin, New Zealand. The intervening time till 1960 is similarly analysed. Governance decisions about Pastoral Theology in the first case study and governance decisions about University, church and theology in the second, are then assessed. Constant rearranging of pastoral theology programmes symptomises increasing fragmentation of theologia as does the creation of a Pastoral Chair. Pastoral theology is left with the integrative responsibility, rendering other disciplines more scientific as feared by some Theological Hall teachers. Outside the University from 1876-1946, New Zealand Presbyterian ministry formation was still influenced by University expectations from Scotland and Berlin. After 1946, teaching within the University of Otago Faculty of Theology, Presbyterian teachers enjoyed considerable opportunities for integrated teaching. Fragmentation of theologia was therefore delayed and to some extent retarded. Increased University influence from 1992 meant these opportunities were lost. Finally, around the 1996 withdrawal of direct University engagement with Presbyterian ministry formation, formational goals were set for the Church's new Centre of Advanced Ministry Studies. These aimed to integrate theology (scientia) and theology (habitus) retrospectively for ordinands after foundational theological education elsewhere. Earlier 1990s governance decisions affected achievement of these goals. This work argues that between 1961 and 1997 most governance decisions in New Zealand Presbyterian ministry formation exacerbated existing structural fragmentation of theologia. Differing arrangements to alleviate this were attempted, and integration of (scientia) and (habitus) occurred for some students and at different periods. Structurally, however, the University-approved four-fold programme continued, making pastoral theology's role remained ambiguous and theologia's fragmentation inevitable. While the New Zealand Presbyterian Church set its own ministry formation goals from 1961-1997, finance, prestige and educational philosophy prevented development of its own programme. Time and money were put into supporting University theology instead, and the University used to produce an educated ministry. It is now inevitable that the Church has to integrate theology (scientia) and theology (habitus) retrospectively for its students after theological education elsewhere.

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