"Commitment to training for Great Commission vocations does not deny that some Bible college graduates may serve God as lay person. The issue is not so much from whom Bible college graduates receive their paychecks as it is from whom they receive their orders and around which biblical mandate ('Creation' or 'Great Commission') they orient their lives. If Bible colleges survive, but fail to enroll, equip, and invigorate a new generation of men and women with a Great Commission calling, urgency, and orientation, then we will have failed miserably."I really detest the lingo "lay person," but I understand that it's not going away. I also understand that people really want to have a way to identify people who are not pastors or paid Church staff employees. I get it. Still, I shiver when I read it. With that said, I really appreciate the last sentence. We have to make the Great Commission the most important thing when it comes to Christian education. It's a calling everyone in Christ receives. We should all see the urgency in training the nations, near and abroad; after all, people do go to hell if we don't share the gospel . . . Fact. And we ought to view every single one of our classes as Great Commission classes. Our content, disposition, and outcomes should all reflect how our class furthers and deepens our work in the Great Commission.
I found a paragraph or two that I "hear" but I'm just not "feeling," if that makes any sense. Should Bible colleges be geared to only "vocational Christian service?" The authors say expanding the reach of Bible colleges, beyond that of vocational service, is bad
"if such curricular diffusion is grounded upon a definition of ministry which includes every honest human vocation. If we fail to distinguish between callings which support directly the Great Commission mandate ('go and make disciples . . .') and those which serve the creation mandate ('exercise dominion over . . .'), we fail to distinguish ourselves from Christian liberal arts colleges."So, it's got me thinking. What distinguishes a Bible college from a Christian liberal arts college? I think the answer really flows from (1) what students want from each and (2) where a school is on its historical timeline. First, if students just want the Bible and the school can keep itself sustainable based on the level of student interest (which turns into enrollment), then Bible, Bible, Bible, all day long. Now that doesn't mean the focus has to be on just preparing those who will be serving "full-time" in local churches in the future. I think of Word of Life as one example. A lot of students who go there do end up serving on staffs at local churches. But a lot of them go there (or are sent there) because they need a solid foundation on the Word of God. They then go on to earn degrees at universities and colleges in areas Ferris and Enlow would categorize as "creation" jobs. (Just typing that makes the hair on my arm stand up.) Second, if a school wants to extend the impact it can have on the world with the gospel, I think it will probably consider offering additional programs. It'll transform in healthy ways over time. It'll grow over time. Over time, my guess is, lots of Bible colleges have grown beyond (not out of) just being a Bible school because of the Great Commission.
I don't find it helpful to think about work/ministry using the dichotomy "creation mandate" and "Great-Commission mandate." I think everything you do, if you are a Christian, is supposed to be Great-Commission work. Whatever the job, whatever the field, whatever the industry, whatever the geographical location, whatever the role, whatever the status, whatever it is, that is where we live for the Great Commission.