Perhaps one of the key difficulties evangelicals have faced in the Episcopal Church has been ensuring quality theological education for both lay people and those discerning a call to ordained ministry.  I am blessed to have gone to a seminary that neglected neither exposure to the breadth of theological learning nor a commitment to biblical truth.  Nevertheless, Episcopal seminaries have earned a reputation for being either neglectful or hostile to traditional expressions of Anglican faith, while most evangelical seminaries have earned a reputation in the Episcopal world for being somehow inadequate to the task of training good Episcopal clergy.

One way to turn this tide is to raise the bar of Christian formation and education of adults in our congregations.  Many seminaries now have free online programs that can be accessed and utilized on an individual and congregational level.  Two such programs are Dimensions of Faith offered by Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and the Worldwide Classroom offered by Covenant Theological Seminary.  Many in our pews see this kind of learning as either superfluous or inaccessible.  Programs like these help break down the false idea that such learning is for “experts” only, or that it has little to do with our day-to-day practical life.  We are to love God with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength–so encouraging–at minimum–the lay leadership in our parishes to engage in such opportunities will go a long way to deepen their faith and give them a discerning eye to guard themselves against the errors our churches have been succumbing to over the past decades.

By taking advantage of these wonderful opportunities, more lay people will be able to say, “I have stored up your word in heart that I might not sin against you” (Psalm 119:11) and become adept at reading, marking, learning, and inwardly digesting God’s Word.  And as more and more lay persons participate, I suspect we’ll see the seeds of renewal begin to take root and flourish even among the current decaying form of Episcopalianism, like wildflowers among the ruins of an ancient temple whose glory has long since faded.

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