Mar 312015
 

online_learning-300x199One of the horses I have beat to death with vigor over the years has been the need for solid theological training for pastors and lay people alike.

While someone can glean the basic concepts of Christianity alone with their bible and the Holy Spirit, basic is about as far as that will take you.

Most folks cannot go to a Bible college or seminary, but that need not limit ones theological education.

There are excellent resources online that are not only comprehensive, but free of cost.

I’m going to note some that I have found very helpful.

Biblicaltraining.org

This really is a wonderful resource. It starts you at a beginning level of classes and moves you all the way through a biblical education to a trained pastoral level. I simply cannot recommend this site highly enough for those seeking a deeper and more well rounded, directed, Christian education.

RTS on iTunes

These are the same seminary classes taught on the various campuses of Reformed Theological Seminary. From systematic theology to biblical theology to church history, you can learn from someย of the most respected set of professors in the country.

Westminster Seminary

Again, on iTunes, full seminary classes on everything from church history to apologetics. The esteemed Carl Trueman teaches here.

Covenant Seminary

A broad range of seminary classes…the church history classes from Dr. David Calhoun are priceless.

Gordon-Conwell Seminary

A selection of foundational classes.

Third Millennium Ministries

The original intent of this site was to provide education for missionaries overseas who couldn’t attend Bible college or seminary. It has expanded and one could spend the next twenty years learning from some of the best biblical scholars on the planet, all free of charge. There are audio and video classes available as well as scholarly articles on a multitude of topics.

Any of these sites will move you to a greater understanding of God and His word…all that is required of you is a desire to learn and time.

 

  38 Responses to “Educate Thyself”

  1. i don’t know what would be involved in doing so, but wouldn’t it be nice if these links could be permanently posted on your website here? … makes me wish i was at the other end of my lifespan -again

  2. Em,

    Good idea.
    I will turn them into a permanent page and add as I go.

  3. I really appreciate the pastors and teachers who take the time to study and educate themselves so that when they do preach and teach, they can more richly pass on the truths of the Word of God.

    I also caught a portion of an Alister Begg sermon on the radio yesterday where he was speaking of the extra responsibility and onus that is on those who do teach. And the humility that is needed. And how we should want in a pastor not one who has an answer for everything and speaks as if they know it all, but rather one who studies hard and gives their best and yet admits that we only see through a glass darkly.

  4. Kevin H,

    For much of church history the lay people were highly theologically educated.

    That would be church history before the invention of the television.

    We have a huge problem with theological illiteracy today…after all my years of studying I’m barely more than that.

    I hope this provokes someone to turn off the tv one night a week…

  5. Michael,

    I agree that it would be beneficial that lay people be more theologically educated. I know I could benefit myself. At the same time, I think there is even more onus on those who choose to teach it, and I really do appreciate those teachers who do put in the hard work in studying and learning. (And of course as I mentioned, those who also approach it and parlay their teaching in a spirit of humility.)

  6. It is a self-educators world…

    Truly amazing

  7. BD, if the instruction is good, you might be amazed at how much we can learn… that said, an organized course of study leading to a degree is probably better…

  8. This is a multi-faceted topic: higher education and the Kingdom.
    It dances around fear in the church, imbalanced patriarchy, hierarchical abuses, an over-reaction to scientific discovery (as opposed to thoughtful response), the desire to control the masses for money, overprotecting our pet denominations and doctrines, shushing ( i LOATHE shushing) and many other topics I could go off on for hours. But I’m on a road trip and must digress. But I WILL say that getting an education , a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical Studies, saved my faith from the inevitable ash heap that my church system had left it in–and for that surprising fortification– the gift of an education–I am very grateful. AND, since graduation, I have also discovered that there are endless recourses online that will enable me to continue my studies well into forever ๐Ÿ˜‰ [and i suppose i must mention that I DO credit GOD for “keeping” my faith…not just school]]

  9. Ps40,

    I’m convinced that the best vaccine against spiritual abuse is biblical education.
    The most common tricks of the trade won’t fly with an educated laity.

  10. I couldn’t agree more. Once I was convinced that my questions did not scare God in the least–so many foundational truths became apparent.

  11. And those truths have lent me great comfort on my journey.

  12. and once you took a course on Old Testament you knew that “touch not God’s anointed” didn’t apply to abusive pastors today…

  13. Yes. And that funny last scene of Noah and the tent wasn’t just about covering the sin…or else…duh duh duuuuuuuuuu! Go figure? It was more to do with the history of Israel the nation and all. Not nearly as easy to um….”manipulate”–is that the right word?

  14. Ps40,

    Manipulate is the exact word.
    There are so many such examples where theology is used to create bondage, not freedom in Christ.
    Knowing the Word is a chain breaker…

  15. Theology, as I understand it, is faith in GOD seeking understanding, but too often becomes “my kind of faith seeking control”.
    So many applications–and you know them all.
    But I am still so shocked at the anti higher-education rhetoric that abounds in many evangelical landscapes. I think for many of the reasons I mentioned above.
    When I hear these conversations, I want to raise my hand in protest, “E’hem. I STRONGLY disagree!” But there aren’t enough skilled communicators to carry on that kind of discussion. By skilled, I mean, able to hear out the “others” points without shutting them down disrespectfully, using false logic, or just Bible versing a topic to death.
    Perhaps we need simply to learn how to communicate respectfully–without dishonoring an opposing view?
    That is one thing that academics do very well. Peer review stuff, kind and good spirited debates.

  16. Ps40,

    I’ll get in huge trouble for this…but part of the problem we have is that if someone were to take a year of courses from any of the places I cited above, they would have more theological training than a great many pastors.

    The pastors in these churches know this…and thus discourage there people from learning lest they be exposed and disarmed.

  17. You are spot on. An educated laity does not make for job security in most of these cases. There is a culture of control that seems so anti-christ in so many ways.
    OR…
    Some study in a very small slice of the pie kind of seminaries–meant to promote very time-stamped and specific doctrines–which by nature sets them “against” the universal church. Rather than studying church history as a whole, and coming to more ecumenical conclusions.
    Funny–I was always taught that ecumenical was “new age” and “evil”. Sad. Really sad. Because we can learn so much from the mysterious universal church through the ages.
    [two bad words in one post: mysterious AND ecumenical]
    I must be a heretic.

  18. “I must be a heretic.”

    I needed some company… ๐Ÿ™‚

  19. Here’s my schtick: If you cannot define the word heretic–as in its original usage–then you cannot call me one ๐Ÿ˜‰

  20. You can borrow that!

  21. I’m a blogger…people call me that who have to use spell check to do so. ๐Ÿ™‚

  22. Michael

    I think your list of beneficial resources and schools is a bit truncated and slightly biased in only one direction of learning.
    Perhaps you should expand your own horizons of biblical and theological learning before you condecend to others regarding what they don’t know about theology and the bible.
    Er on the side of humility and grace rather than hubris and bold proclamations about what you think acceptable materials for study.
    Just a thought and a caution from one who has been in the same position as you, but came to a different conclusion that none of us knows as we aught therefore we should grant others such paths as God would lead them in.
    -mike

  23. Mike,
    Maybe you should find another place to play the critic as I’m sick and tired of your attitude.
    If there were resources you wanted to add that would be one thing…but you have nothing to offer but your constant sniping.
    There is something spiritually and perhaps mentally wrong with someone who only participates somewhere to cause strife and throw stones.
    Move on.

  24. two cents worth… well, maybe less…

    there is no reason for Michael’s list to be unbiased, if intellectually honest… those teachers/courses he recommends will address other pertinent ‘theologies’

  25. Em,

    I’ve taken courses from all of these sites over the years and I have personal experience with them.
    I’ve taken a number from Regent College as well, but those are not free.
    If there are Wesleyan/Arminian schools that offer these kind of classes at this level, I’d be happy to note them.
    The reality is that Reformed schools have been at the forefront of online education…I was auditing classes at RTS in 1996 before iTunes was even invented.

  26. Let me commend you as well on recognizing that these schools will engage with different traditions in the course of instruction.

  27. Great list of free educational resources, Michael. Hopefully some people will take some time an use them.

  28. Listen here, Michael….

    I’ve cared about border and immigrant issues for quite sometime…

    So your encouragements, although painful at times, have been welcome.

    But never cared much for Reformed Theology….

    And now you’ve got me going back to RTS online, and it’s helping me.

    Thanks…..for now.

  29. Here are some gleanings:

    (From early church history)
    Christians became known as caregivers. Christians didn’t leave their babies, they would rescue others’ babies. Pagans used to mock and say that all the church was was poor and stupid people that were slaves and women.

    And Julian the Apostate said (in so many words, “I have to admit, the Christians not only take care of their poor but they take care of our poor too.”

    And all of a sudden history AGAIN (as happens often with me) brings about modern application and encouragement.

  30. JTK,

    Which class are you taking?
    Fortson?

  31. “Let me commend you as well on recognizing that these schools will engage with different traditions in the course of instruction.”

    They are all Reformed, it’s good if they make you aware of different beliefs (traditions according to MN) but they are all Reformed.

  32. That reminds me of Bowden talking about the border…”the only (bleeping) people doing a (bleeping) thing down there are the Christians”…

  33. JTK,

    Get Dr. Frank James history classes…he’s my very favorite history teacher and you really won’t know he’s Reformed.

  34. Now isn’t education about open discussion on differing views?

    The far right won’t allow it and the far left won’t allow it, maybe neither care about truth?

    Will this blog allow it?

  35. Yessir, Fortson.

    History of Christianity I

  36. Fortson is ok and they have pushed him to the fore because Dr. James left.

    James is the bomb…I just checked and they still have his courses up.

  37. Will do.

    Thanks.

    Although some nights I feel like I have to watch some gritty revenge western or some foul mouthed stand up comedian to get through the night after crazy days of ministry….

  38. Hey!

    Biblical Training dot org has incredible Church History classes……..I’ve learned a LOT from these lectures.

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