Something Happens On The Way To The Pulpit

Bachelor of Divinity, by Walter D. Wagoner (Association Press, 1963, 159 pp., $3.50), is reviewed by Wick Broomall, minister, Westminster Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Georgia.

The purpose of this brief book is to set forth the problems, frustrations, and possibilities of present-day seminarians as they train for and enter the work of the gospel ministry. Wagoner describes the material gathered in his book as resulting from “administering for eight years three very significant fellowship programs of The Fund for Theological Education: The Rockefeller Brothers Theological Fellowship Program, The Rockefeller Doctoral Fellowships in Religion, The Protestant Fellowship Program” (p. 10). These programs, plus collateral activities, gave Wagoner “a staggering amount of empirical evidence concerning what is going on in theological education, the younger clergy, and the church” (p. 10).

That the picture here given of much of theological education is authentic can be doubted only by those who have no firsthand knowledge of what happens to the young man who leaves the cloistered shelter of his home and church for the three-year exposure to “history, myth, kerygma, demythologizing,” and to such men as “Barth, Bultmann, Bornkamm, and Buri” (p. 74).

In addition to the confusing and conflicting theories concerning the Bible and Christian truths, the seminary student of today faces a bewildering array of personal problems caused largely by early marriage, family responsibilities, and his divided loyalty between his duties in the classroom and his duties as supply pastor of some near or distant church.

In such a hurried and confused state of existence, torn relentlessly between domestic duties and theological ...

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