Given the contemporary variety of traditions and models in operation, the writer, Prof. Turaki, stressed the need for international co-operation in theological education. He argued that each approach is time-bound and therefore subject to becoming outmoded, archaic and irrelevant. It is a truism, according to him, that in seeking co-operation, it is therefore not enough for us to address the differing models and approaches for theological education but also the underlying principles, assumptions and biases. This clarion call for co-operation is clearly echoed in his following statement: “instead of competing or claiming superiority for various approaches, we need to exchange views and share experiences, we need to understand one another and learn from each other” (Turaki 1991).
Turaki identifies several tasks as the challenges of co-operation are faced in theological education. These include: addressing the proliferation of theological traditions, models, approaches and philosophies in theological education, defining our common task and purpose amidst the multiplicity of models and approaches and developing an adequate theological basis for inter-continental co-operation in theological education.
Theological renewal and relevance have increasingly become normative goals in theological education today, whether among the older traditions or among the newer ones. For the newer traditions, contextualization becomes the focus of attention as a means of achieving relevance, an issue contested by the older traditions.
Three tasks are identified to face the quest for theological renewal and relevance. These include: reassessing the theological traditions, methods, models and philosophies in the light of modern challenges, adjusting various traditions to adequately address the needs of both church and society and evaluating the differences and relevance of the given traditions and methods in theological education with each given context.
The writer assessed the acrimony between church and theological school and observed that “the position between the two has almost become that of the church versus the theological school” (Turaki 1991, 31). Several tasks are identified as a panacea for the dichotomy between the church and theological school: examining the historical development of theological education (especially the differentiation of roles and the dichotomy between the church and the theological school), evaluating areas of strength and weakness in the assumed roles for each, and the theological implications of the dichotomy, together with the resulting competition, isolationism and assertions of autonomy to doing theology and working to integrate the roles of the church and the theological school in the field of theological education.
The writer observed that contemporary theological education is regional in outlook and stressed the need to examine the implications of these patterns. He assessed three regions, the Third World Region (mainly represented by Africa, Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean), North America-British Region (represented by English-speaking North America, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand) and the Continental European Region (represented by continental Europe and to some extent the Afrikaaner society of South Africa). The overriding factor in doing theology in the first region is identified as theological contextualization. The art of making theology relevant requires training in theological skills and development of theological resources. In the second region, the writer observed that there has been an increasing emphasis on renewal of the older theological traditions and institutions. The third region”s major contributions are in its search for new theological identify, status and freedom, and the reinterpretations of classical theological traditions.
There is an erroneous saying that Germany created theology, Britain corrupted theology, America corrupted theology and Africa copied theology. The writer”s statement on the need for international co-operation underscores the fact that Africa does not merely copy but also has something to offer. He was correct to categorically state that “we need one another” (Turaki 1991, 28). It is a sad realization that instead of being complimentary and supportive of each other, the church and the theological institutions are becoming belligerents.
A critical analysis of the article and the contemporary situation reveals that the use of different methods and approaches in theological education is necessarily not the cause for lack of co-operation but rather the biases, assumptions and claims of superiority. The writer identified several practical approaches in forging co-operation. He stressed co-operative research on the whole question of resources and how they may be effectively acquired, developed and utilized in theological education. He commended the great strides made in curriculum development in Africa in particular where the emphasis is upon self-effort and contextualization. If one does not have a universal principle permitting the judging of regional and traditional theologies, it is likely that theology will be doomed to relativism, traditionalism and contextualism, and our theologies become only parochial expressions. All Christians who desire co-operation, renewal and relevance in theological education must read this article.