If Medical Schools Were Theological Schools

In the 1960’s, medical schools came to an interesting realization about their lecture-based approach to medicine.  They decided to embrace problem-based learning, by simply giving the students problems presented by patients’ cases.  They then pushed students to collaborative study in determining a person’s diagnosis and treatment (versus just telling them).  Now we find this approach within law schools, and in certain pockets of academia.

If this approach found its way within the church, what would it look like?


~ by Dave Smith on November 21, 2008.

4 Responses to “If Medical Schools Were Theological Schools”

  1. Interesting paradigm shift. I like it. We just spent 3 weeks going through the traditional “hot topics” (the 4th is this week). Maybe everyone has heard it all before, but everyone already seemed to know the “right” answers. No controversy…no disagreement…deflating. Kinda like the movie “Mona Lisa Smile” (I know, I know, a chick movie…but I’ve only seen parts of it), where all the students know how to identify the art work on a slide show, but have never seen the real thing.

    This kind of goes back to my earlier statement…pastors, professors, and theologians bemoan the lack of interest in theology from the commonfolk – but maybe the problem isn’t with the student, it’s with the teacher? Maybe there’s a more practical reason why no one thinks theology is practical, and maybe that reason is that these same teachers have have grown stale and effecitve in their teaching? Maybe it times to rethink the format we use to communicate biblical truth (lecture vs. group problem solving).

    Since I’m guilty myself, I’m going to try give this a try.

  2. Great comments Anthony. Agreed that it is definitely a both/and when it comes to issue of thinking theologically in regards to the teacher and pastor.

    What is the hot topic for this Sunday?


  3. Death penalty…we had a celebrity guest teacher come in.

  4. It would be interesting to collaborate and come up with a database of real life problems / scenarios that provide a platform.

    It would be interesting to have a brainstorming session where the whole point is just to ask these real life questions tied to theological truths…the only rule – no answers allowed.

    Just thinking…but how do we address these issues?

    – How do we require the audience to do their own research then they are generally not familiar bible study tools and methods?

    – How do we handle a situation where the group drawing bad/wrong conclusions based on bad logic or incomplete information?

    – How does one prevent theological truth from becoming completely utilitarian – i.e. how do I solve MY problem?

    – How do we communicate the whole counsel of God when the problems I tend to be most concerned and intersted with are immediate and temporary?

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