Veteran seminary president David Allan Hubbard talks about the brave new world of theological education.

Seminary education is not what it used to be. Nor should it be, says veteran seminary president David Allan Hubbard. Because we live in an era of rapid change, he believes, ministry preparation must find new forms.

Hubbard speaks from experience: this year he celebrates his thirtieth and final year as president of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. Hubbard has also provided significant leadership as president of the Association of Theological Schools, the national accrediting organization for seminary education.

Here George Brushaber, CT senior editor and president of Bethel Theological Seminary, queries Hubbard for insights on where seminaries have been and where they are headed.

How has theological education and preparation for ministry changed over the last 30 years?

The changes have been sweeping.

The first, and perhaps most significant, change concerns training programs designed for laypeople. There was a time when seminaries saw theological education as focused almost entirely on professional ministry. Many students now want to enrich themselves with a seminary education but not necessarily aim for ordained or professional ministry. In most seminaries, this group represents 25–30 percent of students.

We now have more older, second-career students. They come after having become established in a profession. Many have experiences beyond any we’ve had as faculty members.

The number of women students has risen dramatically. I would suppose that most evangelical seminaries have at least 25 to 30 percent women in their student bodies. Some mainline denominational seminaries have more. This has meant more women ...

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