Original Research

Transforming theological education is not the accumulation of knowledge, but the development of consciousness

Johannes J. Knoetze
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 41, No 1 | a2075 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v41i1.2075 | © 2020 Johannes J. Knoetze | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 December 2019 | Published: 15 July 2020

About the author(s)

Johannes J. Knoetze, Department of Missiology, Faculty of Theology, North-West University, Mafikeng, South Africa


A missional diaconal ecclesiology as well as teaching and learning excellence necessitated transforming theological education towards consciousness in an age of uncertainty. The article attends to the discourse of transforming theological education, defining the concept transforming, and asks the question of transforming towards what. In the discussion on transforming theological education, we need to be conscious of the different stakeholders, for instance the higher education institution, the church, the socio-economic context of the student, the ‘calling’ of the student and the Trinitarian God. In this instance, we also need to be conscious of the factors that influence different and new understandings of theological education like decolonisation, globalisation, and diversity in culture, religion, worldviews, theology and even Christianity. Within the South African context, it is true that the four remaining theological faculties have in the past been and still are in partnership with the mainline Reformed (Afrikaans-speaking) churches. Currently there is a new realisation that these faculties need to accommodate Independent and Pentecostal churches if the church wants to further influence South African society and the faculties want to continue as faculties of theology (and religion). Conscious of our calling, it is realised faculties are servants in the kingdom of God and therefore they will have to attend to accessibility, decolonisation of our curriculum and globalisation to address the needs of the previously disadvantaged churches. It is along these lines that the article argues that transforming theological education is not the accumulation of knowledge, but the development of consciousness.

Intradisciplinary and/or interdisciplinary implications: The article challenges the theological education and curriculum in different ways. Intradisciplinary – the principles cover all six theological disciplines. Interdisciplinary – focus on education and social sciences.


South Africa; Faculty of Theology; transforming theological education; worldview; contextual consciousness


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Crossref Citations

1. Theological Education in and for Black and Brown Communities
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doi: 10.1080/15363759.2022.2029623