A useful reference

Dear sir/madam,

Thank you for inviting me to provide a reference for this candidate for a lecturing post in your seminary.  To my mind, there are six fundamental requirements of such a person, which are the very things we hope and pray for in our students;

  1. Competent academics. Excellent in one subject and with a broad knowledge of the whole field of bible and theology.
  2. Real spirituality, committed, in a lively relationship with God leading to a solid moral, loving life.
  3. Ministerial skills. In the case of a theological educator this means good enthusiastic teaching ability.
  4. Integration of life. Their spirituality and academics inform each other, their ministry is shaped by both and, in turn shapes them.
  5. Conviction of call. To prepare men and women for a life of loving and serving God and others.
  6. Relational, community emphasis. People skills, ability to work in a team with a joint sense of calling.

This man certainly has the first five and probably, now with more experience, the sixth also.

You should also know that he possesses excellent biblical language skills. He has plenty of missionary experience and was a pastor for a short while. He writes well, deeply but with practical intent although occasionally it is hard to make out exactly what he is saying and I am not alone in this. Character wise, he is an un-usual mixture of extreme humility and strong assertion of what he thinks is right.

But here is the problem; he is not at all the usual sort of person we employ in theological education today. You ought to know that he is very passionate, over the top at times. He is often in controversy and his language is pretty strong. He did have a disagreement with a fellow worker which split the team a while back, and all signs are it was his fault (which he later realised). He is also a charismatic, and I know that your seminary does not have this as an emphasis. He speaks in tongues, encourages prophesy, practices divine healing and sees visions. A while back, he refused to cut his hair for a while, and then formally cut it – for a religious reason, he said. I was not on his team at the time but it would have been interesting to be led by a long-haired charismatic if only for a few weeks! One other thing, he is not a well man. I will leave him to tell you more about that but it has bothered him greatly in the past.

All this means that if you appoint him you will be taking a real risk. He is very special and any seminary or college which employs him would be greatly blessed but its principal would have a real roller-coaster ride! It’s up to you but personally, I would go for him.

Don’t you think theological education is increasingly bland these days?

Best wishes, Luke

(PS I was his doctor for many years)

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4 Comments on “A useful reference”

  1. Liam Hanna Says:

    Really loved this one, Graham.

    If truth be told, I eagerly look forward to most of these blogs from you – many of which are so memorable. I loved your one on the midwife and I regularly employ your ‘prayer before lecturing’!

    Thank you!

    Kind Regards,

    Liam

    Liam Hanna

    Director of Academic Development

    Regents Theological College

    Regents Theological College, West Malvern Road, West Malvern, Worcs. WR14 4AY
    Tel: 0345 302 6758 | Fax: 0345 302 6759 | http://www.regents-tc.ac.uk

  2. Scott Cunningham Says:

    Nice, Graham! Took me until “He is often in controversy and his language is pretty strong” to actually recognize what you were doing!

    Scott

    From: Teaching Theology
    Reply-To: Teaching Theology
    Date: Tuesday, October 1, 2019 at 3:37 AM
    To: Scott Cunningham
    Subject: [New post] A useful reference

    Graham Cheesman posted: ” Dear sir/madam, Thank you for inviting me to provide a reference for this candidate for a lecturing post in your seminary. To my mind, there are six fundamental requirements of such a person, which are the very things we hope and pray for in our s”

  3. Paul Sanders Says:

    Thank you, Graham !

    It occurs to me that the six points mentioned below are very appropriate for part 3 of our little exercise together …

    Envoyé de mon iPad

    Paul SANDERS 4 allée de l’Aire 44240 La Chapelle sur Erdre FRANCE

    >


  4. Brilliant!

    Sent from my iPhone

    >


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