It is not possible to prescribe one pattern as normative for all pre-seminary education. Widely varying emphases and settings of ministry encourage a variety of patterns. Nonetheless, it is possible and desirable to identify categories of learning which typically are foundational for graduate theological education.
- Communication skills essential for interpreting and communicating the faith of the church. The ability to read, write, and speak standard written English is vital. Students are encouraged to have a reading knowledge of at least one language other than English. It is highly desirable that a reading knowledge of Greek and Hebrew be developed as a basic tool for meaningful graduate theological education. Additional language skills might be essential, depending on vocational intent and the setting of potential ministry.
- General understandings of human selfhood and existence, modern social institutions and problems, culture and religion, science and technology, and the modes of understanding. A considerable degree of competence should be developed in one or more of these categories of learning. Such competence often is represented by a major in a field such as philosophy, sociology, psychology, or history of civilization. Students are expected to have had some academic experience in the fields of philosophy, sociology, psychology, and history.
- Theological understandings of major religious traditions and the contemporary questions of value and faith in the context of the above general understandings and communication skills. Of particular significance, as a foundation for graduate training for Christian ministry, is a knowledge of the nature and content of the biblical materials.