The seminary’s express purpose is to educate those who will direct the affairs of church institutions, especially local churches. They tend in consequence to neglect the first function of a theological school—the exercise of the intellectual love of God and neighbor. To this imbalance we shall need to address ourselves in other connections. The definition of the minister in the modern community is faced as well as the authority of the minister and his director.
Jesus Christ means many things: the historical Jesus, the person of Jesus, the Jesus of faith, the living presence of Jesus. The author attempts to explain what the historical Jesus of Nazareth was like.
The author discusses numerous ways Christian see Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God and how the early followers and the early church developed the concepts of Jesus’ Divinity.?
The focus on ministry as spiritual direction requires the pastor to become the servant of all, the person who enables the ministry of every other member of the congregation. To accomplish this objective would require a redistribution of work in most congregations. In that process, both pastor and congregation will find that their understanding of the nature and mission of the church is changing.
Very much as local pluralistic churches and harried ministers, seminaries also have an uncertainty of purpose. The first, superficial impression is not erased by more thorough acquaintance with theological schools; many instances of self-satisfied provincialism, inert traditionalism and specious modernization tend to confirm it. But more intimate acquaintance also brings into view a second, very different aspect of the scene. Alongside conventionality, which is sometimes downright antiquarian, one encounters vitality, freshness, eagerness and devotedness among these teachers and students.
The habit of associating biblical concepts like the Providence of God and the election of Israel with a nation and Protestant Christianity has greatly influenced the way American Protestants regard the nations of the world, the church, their families, and themselves.
For many Christians it is an experience of Jesus Christ that makes belief in God real. The author looks at the numerous concepts of the meaning of "God" in history.
The belief in the past was that there was only one truth, but today there is a bewildering variety, yet a continuity. In this chapter Marcus Braybrooke looks at the multitudes of ways that religion is defined and practiced.
Where the longing for God is satisfied, human sexuality is enriched because spiritual discipline gives form and direction to desire. The mystery of sexual union is heightened for partners who love each other in Christ.” Conversely, exaggerated or compulsive love of any kind is a sign of alienation from God, of a lack of spiritual direction.
The author looks at the multitude of reformers especially in the sixteenth century and continuing to the present, and how the church has been scattered through these influences.