David Merrifield asked:
what agencies would respond postively to this question about biblical training for candidates?I am the director of global outreach Harvest Bible Chapel, Davenport, IA. We have a number of people considering vocational missions. Some have biblical training and some don't. We are looking at different ways for them to get good biblical training. Biblicaltraining.org now has a certificate program to get biblical instruction online. My question to you is if this training would meet your requirements for biblical education for your career missionary candidates. Could you look at the program and inform me if it would be acceptable. Thanks, David Merrifield, Director of Global Outreach Harvest Bible Chapel
Thank you, David, for your question.
I have reviewed the website of Biblicaltraining.org. From what I can tell, the courses are excellent, especially if the candidate studies the materials offered on mission. The professors are well known and highly regarded. I know many of them personally.
Undoubtedly the greatest advantage of Biblicaltraining is that the material is virtually given without cost, basically because there is no requirement of papers and exams, which would require feedback from the professors. I think that pedagogically much of the value of an educational program comes through the requirement of the student to respond and have his or her work evaluated.
Undoubtedly a local church, such as yours, could make use of either of the two levels that Biblicaltraining offers, but to make sure that the students are actually doing the reading and are interacting with the material, you would have to pay for instructors to assign papers, stimulate interchange among the students, and write and grade exams.
I cannot speak for other agencies, but speaking for the mission entity of which I was Interim President, I would wonder how much missionary candidates who had gone through this program would have learned. I would have preferred that they do serious study with on-line courses, say with Moody Bible Institute, or would have taken a normal Bible College or Seminary resident program. Resident programs usually require practical ministry assignments as well.
My tentative response is that of one whose academic experience has been both as a student and a professor of resident instruction. I have never taken an on-line course of any kind, and can’t speak with authority on this kind of education which is growing and offering many alternatives to potential students.