As the teacher spoke, I looked around the room at those in attendance. In this rectangular room were 47 persons, male and female. The subject was something of significance in church governance but had been given little attention in the text of Scripture. Do we look beyond the text to church history for the answer? The subject is one that has become important in a modern western cultural context and had been previously addressed in church history but is not clearly addressed when looking at Scripture alone because the subject was not as important in the biblical cultural context in which the New Testament writers wrote.
The subject of the class discussion is not the subject for which I am writing today. It is the significance of what I was seeing and hearing that is the subject. Not the theology that was being discussed, but the manner and persons whom discussed the theology. As I surveyed the room, I saw 47 persons, male and female. Of the 47, 5 had seminary graduate degrees, 4 male and 1 female, 1 of the males had a PhD but none of these were teaching the class. I saw in the man teaching, a firm grasp on how to do theology: text, history, truth and application. Not only did this man have a firm grasp on the method of theology, many others in the class did as well and I was amazed.
Why was I amazed? Because, this is not the norm in the majority world. In the majority world 75% of the worlds Christians reside outside of the United States in Latin America, Africa, the Middle east and Asia.In the majority world 85% of the pastors have no theological training at all, nor do they have access to theological books much less advanced seminary degrees and if they did a majority of them cannot read. In the United States of America there is one theologically trained person for every two hundred and thirty persons but in the majority world there is one theologically trained person for every four hundred and fifty thousand persons; a ratio of 1:230 vs 1:450,000, the disparity is mind boggling.
So, when I survey the classroom, I was amazed and thought to myself: “This is absurd, I live in the richest country in the world (and I was not thinking economically, it is rich in that aspect as well but I was thinking with regard to theological training and teachers) and this classroom has got to be one of the richest classrooms in the country. 20% of the persons in this classroom have advanced formal theological education and many who do not, are well read on the subject of Christian theology and doctrine.” There is a theological famine in the majority world and we are fat; therefore, let us go and feed the world.