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The Teaching of Church Law: An Ecumenical Exploration Worldwide

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 August 2013

Norman Doe*
Professor and Director of the Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff Law School


Religion law – the law of the state on religion – has been taught for generations in the law schools of continental Europe, though its introduction in those of the United Kingdom is relatively recent. By way of contrast, within the Anglican Communion there is very little teaching about Anglican canon law. The Church of England does not itself formally train clergy or legal officers in the canon and ecclesiastical laws that they administer. There is no requirement that these be studied for clerical formation in theological colleges or in continuing ministerial education. The same applies to Anglicanism globally – though there are some notable exceptions in a small number of provinces. This is in stark contrast to other ecclesiastical traditions: the Catholic, Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Reformed, Presbyterian, Baptist and United churches all provide training for ministry candidates in their own systems of church law, polity or order. However, no study to date has compared the approaches of these traditions to the teaching of church law today. This article seeks to stimulate an ecumenical debate as to the provision, purposes, practices and principles of the teaching of church law across the ecclesiastical traditions of global Christianity. It does so by presenting examples of courses offered (institutions, purposes, subjects, methods and levels), the educative role of church law itself, requirements under church law for church officers to study the subject, and parallels from the secular world in terms of debate in the academy and practice on the nature of legal education, particularly the role played in it by the Critical Legal Studies movement.1

Copyright © Ecclesiastical Law Society 2013 

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2 Ecclesiastical Law Society, Constitution (2012). The Ecclesiastical Law Association also plays an educational role for eg Diocesan Registrars, and the Ecclesiastical Judges Association for its membership.

3 Hill, C, Bursell, R and Masding, J (eds), An Ordered Church: a syllabus introducing the canon and ecclesiastical law of the Church of England, Ecclesiastical Law Society in Conjunction with the Ministry Division of the Archbishops' Council (1999)Google Scholar, Commendation by the Archbishops of Canterbury and York: ‘New Testament metaphors … speak unambiguously of a structured and ordered Church. Rules and laws are not extrinsic to the Church but are part of its inner organic life. Law and Gospel are not in opposition to each other’. An Ordered Church is ‘an experience-based course’, and its ‘case studies describe real day-to-day situations where ordinand and priest are faced with questions of law’ so they may know ‘where they stand in terms of professional relationships’.

4 Yates, L and Adam, W, Canon Law for the Newly Ordained: a brief guide and teaching aid (third edition, London, 2011)Google Scholar: Initial Ministerial Education (IME) 1–3 (for those entering ministry) and IME 4–7 (for those moving through ministry). At completion of IME candidates should demonstrate a ‘working understanding’ and ‘good practice’ as should those to be licensed and ‘having oversight and responsibility’. Part 1 covers purposes of Church law; Part 2 the basics on eg baptism, funerals, marriage, liturgy, faculty jurisdiction and terms of service; Part 3 has case studies and model answers, and further reading; the guide is distributed annually by the Ministry Division of the Archbishops' Council to those about to be ordained deacon.

5 Ibid, pp 9, 18. Society working parties have included one on ‘The future of education in ecclesiastical and canon law’ (which supported the introduction of the LLM in Canon Law at Cardiff Law School in 1991 – see n 8 below). The Society also has an education officer and education adviser and awards prizes for undergraduates on courses at British universities that have significant ecclesiastical law content.

6 Canons of the Church of England, Canon G 4: to qualify for appointment as provincial and diocesan registrars, candidates must be ‘learned in the ecclesiastical laws’, but no formal training is provided by the Church. No such requirement attaches to candidates for the office of diocesan chancellor: Canon G 2.

7 Parrott, Canon David has produced a book for clergy, Your Church and the Law (second edition, London, 2011)Google Scholar, based on his experience of teaching curates in the south-east of England.

8 The Cardiff LLM in Canon Law deals critically with the laws of the Church of England and other Churches in the global Anglican Communion, as well as comparative church law (and religion law in the UK and Europe).

9 Ecclesiastical law appears in LLB law and religion modules at eg Bangor, Cardiff and Oxford Brookes.

10 Set up by the Primates, this working group has set common global standards in theological education but does not explicitly recommend the study of canon law, though ‘Anglican polity’ is suggested and key aspects of other subjects recommended for study have significant canonical aspects: see Doe, N, ‘Theological education in Anglicanism: global policy and its canonical dimensions’, in Doe, N (ed), The Formation and Ordination of Clergy in Anglican and Roman Catholic Canon Law, Acts of the 6th, 7th and 8th Colloquia of Anglican and Roman Catholic Canon Lawyers (Cardiff, 2009), p 91Google Scholar. The Anglican Consultative Council also commends for ‘study’ the Principles of Canon Law Common to the Churches of the Anglican Communion (London, 2008)Google Scholar: ACC-14, Resolution 14.20 (5 May 2009).

11 St Michael's Theological College, Llandaff, has a two-day course on canon law for ordinands (with material prepared by D Belcher, Canon Law for those in Public Ministry in the Church in Wales). At provincial level, continuing ministerial education in canon law is given by the Centre for Law and Religion, Cardiff Law School.

12 A two-hour course on the law of the Church of Ireland is given at the Church of Ireland Theological Institute, Dublin, by the Bishop of Cork, the Rt Revd Dr Paul Colton (a graduate of the Cardiff LLM in Canon Law).

13 Scottish Episcopal Church ordinands are introduced to its canons.

14 See W Adam, ‘The teaching of canon law in the Anglican Communion’, unpublished paper delivered at the 14th Colloquium of Anglican and Roman Catholic Canon Lawyers, Rome, 26–27 April 2013. For example, Yale Divinity School offers courses on parish administration and Anglican theology (both of which may include legal aspects); the General Theological Seminary has an optional course on ‘Polity and canon law of The Episcopal Church’.

15 Religion and Culture 658: Canon Law, taught by Professor Robert Prichard. The Seminary also runs the Journal of Episcopal Church Canon Law.

16 Students make a ten-minute oral presentation, prepare a one-page case analysis, and submit an eight-page written project. A key text for the course is White, E and Dykman, J, Annotated Constitution and Canons for the Government of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United States of America Otherwise Known as The Episcopal Church (second edition, Seabury NY, 1982Google Scholar; revised 1991 with supplement); the course also uses Doe, N, Canon Law in the Anglican Communion (Oxford, 1998)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

17 STH 650; the course is taught by Revd Dr Katherine Grieb (a graduate of the Cardiff LLM in Canon Law).

18 Recommended reading includes Doe, N, The Legal Framework of the Church of England (Oxford, 1996)CrossRefGoogle Scholar and the Lambeth Commission on Communion, The Windsor Report (London, 2004).

19 For the teaching of state law on religion in Europe, see del Valle, J González and Hollerbach, A (eds), The Teaching of Church–State Relations in European Universities (Leuven, 2005)Google Scholar.

20 See N Doe, Christian Law: contemporary principles (Cambridge, forthcoming 2013), ch 1.

21 Latin Code (CIC), Canons 12, 16, 29.

22 Rodopoulos, P, An Overview of Orthodox Canon Law (Rollinsford, NH, 2007)Google Scholar.

23 Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Charter (granted by the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople 2003); Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, Constitution (approved by Holy Synod in 1998); Russian Orthodox Church, Statute (adopted in 1988).

24 Romanian Orthodox Church, Statutes, Art 74: the ‘canonical statutes of a monastery’; Greek Orthodox Archdiocese of America, Charter, Art 22; regulations approved by the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Art 21(a): ‘canonical tradition’; Syrian Orthodox Church of Antioch, Constitution, Art 51: custom.

25 Orthodox Church in America, Guidelines for Clergy (Holy Synod, 1998); Ukrainian Orthodox Church in America, Joint Statement of Hierarchs, ‘Living the sacramental life of the Church: practical instructions for diocesan faithful’ (undated).

26 Evangelical Lutheran Church of Southern Africa Guidelines, 10.6: ‘church laws’; Lutheran Church in Great Britain, Constitution (2011) and Rules and Regulations (2011).

27 Lutheran Church of Australia, Constitution, Preamble, Arts II, IV, XI, XII.

28 Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Constitution, ch 5.01: church units ‘shall act in accordance with the Confession of Faith’; Lutheran Church of Australia, Bylaws, V.F.1: General Pastors' Conference ‘guidance’ on doctrine; North American Lutheran Church, Standards for Pastoral Ministry (2011).

29 Methodist Church in Great Britain, Constitutional Practice and Discipline, Deed of Union, 25(b): ‘Methodist law’; Methodist Church in Ireland, Constitution, s 6: ‘Manual of Laws’ and s 5: Conference ‘Rules and Regulations’; also Regulations, Discipline and Government, 10.06: ‘laws of the Church’.

30 United Methodist Church in Northern Europe and Eurasia, Book of Discipline, para 2546; Methodist Church of New Zealand, Laws and Regulations (2007), 2.1.2: ‘this Law Book’ and 8.1: ‘Code’; Methodist Church in Great Britain, Constitutional Practice and Discipline, Deed of Union, 19: Conference may ‘make, amend or revoke Standing Orders or other rules and regulations’ for its constitution and procedure.

31 Methodist Church in Ireland, Regulations, Discipline and Government, 1.03: ‘General rules of the Society of the People called Methodists’ (John Wesley, 1743); Manual of Laws, App I: ‘Twelve rules of a helper’.

32 Methodist Church of New Zealand, Laws and Regulations, 2.26.1: ‘laws and usages’; United Methodist Church – United States of America, Constitution, Div I, Art III, Div 2.3, Art I: Articles of Religion etc.

33 United Methodist Church in Northern Europe and Eurasia, Book of Discipline, paras 806 and 1107: the General Board of Discipleship ‘shall adhere to’ the ‘investment policies and guidelines’.

34 Weatherhead, J (ed), The Constitution and Laws of the Church of Scotland (Edinburgh, 1997), p 16Google Scholar; see also the Manual of Practice and Procedure in the United Free Church of Scotland (2011); The Code: The Book of the Constitution and Government of the Presbyterian Church in Ireland (2010); The Book of Church Order of the Reformed Church in America (2010); Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, Book of Order (2011).

35 Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Code, Constitution and Pt III.15: Trustees' Bylaws. For eg the Westminster Confession of Faith, see eg Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, Book of Order, 1.1(3)–(4); Reformed Church in America, Book of Church Order, preamble: the doctrinal standards include the Heidelberg Catechism 1608 and the Canons of the Synod of Dort 1619.

36 United Reformed Church, Model Constitution for Local Churches (2010); Presbyterian Church in America, Book of Church Order, III.58.8: custom on preparation for the Lord's Supper; Presbyterian Church of Wales, Employee Safety Handbook (undated).

37 United Church of Christ, Constitution, Art V.11: ‘the custom and usage of a Local Church’; also Bylaws.

38 United Church of Canada, Ethical Standards and Standards of Practice for Ministry Personnel (2008).

39 Jamaica Baptist Union, Constitution (1981); Baptist Union of Scotland, Constitution and Bylaws; National Baptist Convention, USA, Constitution (2002), Preamble: the Convention has ‘constitutions’ and ‘laws’.

40 Baptist Union of Southern Africa, Model Constitution for Local Churches, 4: Statement of Faith; Baptist Union of New Zealand, Ethical Principles and Guidelines for Pastors (2000, amended 2008).

41 Baptist Union of Great Britain, Model Trust for Churches 2003, 2.12 (Church Constitution); Riverside Baptist Church (Baltimore), Bylaws, and Constitution, Art IV, ‘Church Covenant’: members ‘most solemnly and joyfully enter into covenant with one another, as one body in Christ’.

42 Doe, Christian Law, ch 1.

43 Coriden, J, An Introduction to Canon Law (London, 1991), p 6Google Scholar; see also Beal, P, Coriden, J and Green, T, New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law (Mahwah, NJ, 2000), p 1Google Scholar.

44 Sacrae Disciplinae Leges (1983), the Apostolic Constitution by which the Code was promulgated.

45 CIC, Canon 1752.

46 Patsavos, L, ‘The canonical tradition of the Orthodox Church’, in Litsas, F (ed), A Companion to the Greek Orthodox Church (New York, 1984), p 141Google Scholar.

47 Romanian Orthodox Church, Statutes, Art 201: the Statutes ‘establish the ways in which [the] Patriarchy regulates, leads and manages its religious, pastoral-missionary, cultural-educational, social-philanthropic, foundational and patrimonial activity’.

48 Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada, Constitution, Introduction and Preamble.

49 Free Methodist Church of North America, Book of Discipline, Constitution, Preamble, para 1: the constitution is designed to ‘preserve and pass on to posterity the heritage of doctrine and principles of Christian living’, ‘ensure church order by sound principles and ecclesiastical polity’ and ‘prepare the way for evangelization [and] cooperation with other branches of the church of Christ’.

50 United Methodist Church in Northern Europe and Eurasia, Book of Discipline, para 7.

51 Weatherhead, Constitution and Laws of the Church of Scotland, p 1.

52 Presbyterian Church in America, Book of Church Order, I.10–11.

53 United Church of Canada, Manual, Introduction.

54 Baptist Union of Great Britain, Model Trusts for Churches 2003, Schedule 4.1–4.6.

55 Riverside Baptist Church (Baltimore), Constitution, Preamble.

56 Doe, Christian Law, ch 6.

57 Ibid, ch 3.

58 CIC, Canon 252, §2: ‘Lectures are also to be given in … canon law … and other auxiliary and special disciplines, in accordance with the programme for priestly formation’; see also Canon 247 (students are to be given all the requisite knowledge concerning the duties proper to the sacred ministers) and Canon 253 (concerning the appointment of professors for the provision of canon law teaching). See generally Cole, A, ‘Universal norms on priestly formation in the Latin Church’, in Doe, N (ed), The Formation and Ordination of Clergy in Anglican and Roman Catholic Canon Law (Cardiff, 2009), pp 125139Google Scholar.

59 CIC, Canon 1420: judicial vicar; Canon 1421: judges; Canon 1435: defenders of the bond and promoters of justice; Canon 1483: advocates.

60 CIC, Canon 378, §1.

61 Romanian Orthodox Church, Statutes, Arts 52, 115–121.

62 Lutheran Church in Australia, Constitution, Art V.1. See also Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Constitution, ch 7.23: education.

63 Lutheran Church in Australia, Bylaws, V; North American Lutheran Church, Standards for Pastoral Ministry, 1: ‘educational qualifications’.

64 Methodist Church of Southern Africa, Laws and Discipline, 4.115.

65 Church of the Nazarene, Manual, 428.1 and 426.3. See also Free Methodist Church of North America, Book of Discipline, para 5430: an elder must be trained in ‘Church Administration/Team Building’.

66 United Methodist Church in Northern Europe and Eurasia, Book of Discipline, para 266.

67 United Reformed Church, Manual, A and K, and Schedule B and C.

68 Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Code, paras 177–182: the Presbytery examines the candidate as to ‘his acquaintance with divine truth, his personal faith, and his sense of the responsibilities and duties of the office’; Presbyterian Church of Aotearoa New Zealand, Book of Order, 9.5–9.10: General Assembly determines the policies, procedures and training standards.

69 Presbyterian Church in America, Book of Church Order, 18–21; training also includes study of experiential religion, Greek and Hebrew, the Bible and theology.

70 United Congregational Church of Southern Africa, Constitution, Procedures,

71 See eg Nigerian Baptist Convention, Policies and Practices, Ordination, 1–2.

72 I am very grateful to all those who responded by email to my requests for information; the date of the email correspondence is indicated below in the relevant footnotes.

73 The juridical texts of churches do, however, deal with theological colleges: see eg Uniting Church in Australia, Regulations, 2.2.23; Presbyterian Church in Ireland, Code, 217.

74 J Conn, ‘The teaching of canon law in the (Roman) Catholic Church’, unpublished paper delivered at the 14th Colloquium of Anglican and Roman Catholic Canon Lawyers, Rome, 26–27 April 2013: graduate level programmes exist at eg the pontifical Gregorian, Angelicum and Lateran universities in Rome and the Catholic University of America (Washington), St Paul University (Ottawa) and Catholic University (Leuven).

75 Ibid. Conn cites the Circular Letter 2 April 1975, ‘On the teaching of canon law to those preparing to be priests’, and other key instruments on the teaching of canon law such as Sapientia Christiana 29 April 1979, Art 75 of which states: ‘A Faculty of Canon Law, whether Latin or oriental, has the aim of cultivating and promoting the juridical disciplines in the light of the law of the Gospel and of deeply instructing the students in these, so as to form researchers, teachers, and others who will be trained to hold special ecclesiastical posts’.

76 ‘On the teaching of canon law to those preparing to be priests’, II.

77 Ratio fundamentalis institutionis sacerdotalis (Congregation for Catholic Education, 1970), 174: see Conn, ‘Teaching of canon law’.

78 For instance, for courses in Orthodox canon law at the theological faculties of the Universities of Athens and Thessaloniki, see González del Valle and Hollerbach, Teaching of Church–State Relations, p 183.

79 St Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary (Crestwood, NY), Course CL 203, details available at <>, accessed 13 June 2013.

80 Email from Deacon Andrei Psarev, Instructor of Canon Law, 17 April 2013.

81 Key texts include Cummings, D (ed), The Rudder (Pedalion) of the Orthodox Christians or All the Sacred and Divine Canons (Chicago, IL, 1957)Google Scholar; Patsavos, L, Manual for the Course in Orthodox Canon Law (Brookline, MA, 2006)Google Scholar; Patsavos, L, Spiritual Dimensions of the Holy Canons (Brookline, MA, 2003)Google Scholar; L'Huillier, P, The Church of the Ancient Councils: the disciplinary work of the first four ecumenical councils (Crestwood, NY, 2000)Google Scholar; Gallagher, C, Church Law and Church Order in Rome and Byzantium (Aldershot, 2002)Google Scholar; Hartmann, W and Pennington, E (eds), History of Byzantine and Eastern Canon Law to 1500 (Washington, DC, 2012)CrossRefGoogle Scholar.

82 Handouts are included in a reader provided by the instructor and are to be read prior to the class for which they are assigned. Students must bring to class eg The Rudder (see n 81 above) and the Compendium of Regulations, Statutes and Laws of the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (New York, 2006)Google Scholar.

83 Texts studied include Bogolepov, A, The Canon Law of the Time of the Ecumenical Councils (Crestwood, NY)Google Scholar; Erickson, J, The Challenge of Our Past (New York, 1991)Google Scholar; Viscuso, P, Orthodox Canon Law: a casebook for study (Berkeley, CA, 2006)Google Scholar.

84 Email from the Revd Helen Cameron, Oversight Tutor and Co-Director of the Centre for Ministerial Formation, The Queen's Foundation, Birmingham, 15 April 2013.

85 The principal document is the Conference Statement Called to Love and Praise (1999).

86 Email from the Revd Helen Cameron, 16 April 2013: ‘I can confirm that we teach Methodist law and polity in various places throughout the course [as] compulsory sessions for Methodist pre-ordination students in their third year’.

87 Email from the Revd Dr Richard Clutterbuck, Principal, 16 April 2013.

88 Email from Dr Detlev L. Tönsing, Deputy Principal and Lecturer, Systematic and Lutheran Theology, 18 April 2013.

89 Email from Phyllis Anderson, President, 18 April 2013: ‘We do not have faculty … specifically trained in polity’.

90 Email from Clay Schmit, Provost, 17 April 2013.

91 The members of its Governing Body are Professor Dr Detlev Belling (Potsdam) and Professor Dr Gerhard Robbers (Trier). The Institute is managed by Dr Joachim Gaertner, church official (retired) and former deputy head of the Berlin liaison office of the Evangelical Church in Germany, and Dr Martin Richter, church official of the Consistory of the Evangelical Church in Berlin-Brandenburg and Silesian Upper Lusatia.

92 Protestant Institute for Church Law, Articles of Association, Art II. In 2002 the Catholic Institute for Church Law was launched at Postdam University Law Faculty, with the Protestant Institute in 2003, on the basis of agreements with the University.

93 See the website of the Institute, available at <>, accessed 13 June 2013.

94 Email from Dr C (Leon) van den Broeke, Assistant Professor Religion, Law and Society/Church Polity, Chair, Centre for Religion and Law, VU University, Amsterdam (and Pastor, Protestant Church St Pancras), 15 April 2013; the Protestant Theology Faculty at VU University and the theology faculties in Kampen and Apeldoorn ‘all run courses in Reformed Church polity’.

95 Emails from Professor Pieter Coertzen (retired) and Dr Mary-Anne Plaatjies Van Huffel, Senior Lecturer, Ecclesiology (Church Polity), Faculty of Theology, University of Stellenbosch, 18 and 19 April 2013. Canon law is taught by an Anglican priest.

96 The Canadian Reformed Theological Seminary runs two ‘Church polity’ courses on the Master of Divinity, with 2 hours per week for 12 weeks (by lecture and seminar) on ‘Church order’, eg Offices, Assemblies, Discipline, Marriages, Funerals (email from Dr Gerhard H. Visscher, Principal and Academic Dean, 17 April 2013).

97 Whitefield Theological Seminary, Florida, has ‘modules in Reformed Church law and polity (eg on the Book of Church Order)’; it is compulsory for ministry and taught at ‘seminary level’ in the ‘third year of the MDiv. It is a 3 credit one-hour course’ covering ‘confessional doctrine, marriage, property, church–state relations, [and] ecumenism’ (email from Dr Kenneth Talbot, 16 April 2013). See also email from David M Mellott, Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of the Seminary, Associate Professor of Practical Theology, Lancaster Theological Seminary, Lancaster, PA, 16 April 3013: polity issues are discussed on the theology courses.

98 Email from Dr Guy Prentiss Waters, Professor of New Testament, 17 April 2013.

99 Email from Henk DeWaard, Registrar, 17 April 2013: ‘The reason perhaps not too much emphasis is given to Church law and polity is the fact that we are not a denominational college. We give the basic principles but denominations will have to supplement if they see fit.’

100 Lead instructors the Revd K Ray Hill, the Revd Carol Barriger; it is delivered both online and at Long Beach, using General Synod (summer 2013) as ‘a laboratory for learning about UCC’.

101 The Pacific School of Religion is a fully accredited institution and the course carries three credits.

102 Hoffmann, Eg J, Covenant: a study for the United Church of Christ (Cleveland, OH, 2008)Google Scholar.

103 The Acts of General Assembly, available at <>, accessed 6 June 2013.

104 Email from the Revd John P Chalmers, Principal Clerk, Church of Scotland, 16 April 2013.

105 CM.301: email from Paul K Hooker, Director of Ministerial Formation and Advanced Studies, 16 April 2013.

106 The Book of Church Order contains the polity of the former Presbyterian Church in the United States, part of the merger in 1983 that created the current Presbyterian Church (USA).

107 Presbyterian students are also required to take and pass an ordination examination in Worship.

108 Another Master of Divinity course is ‘Supervised practice of ministry’, in which students are exposed to ministry in congregational or institutional settings and required to reflect theologically on that ministry.

109 There is an alternative course in the United Methodist Book of Discipline, taught by an adjunct professor.

110 Email from P Hooker, 16 April 2013: ‘Some presbyteries (the district-level church council that oversees the ministerial preparation process) require students under their care to have a course in Presbyterian polity, and many also require students who are seeking to transfer ordination into the PC(USA) from some other tradition to take the course. Thus we do, occasionally, have auditors or special students in the class who are not seminarians.’

111 Presbyterian Polity, CM 217-2; reading includes the Book of Order 2011–2013, The Constitution of the Presbyterian Church USA, Part II, and Gray, J and Tucker, J, Presbyterian Polity for Church Leaders (fourth edition, Louisville, KY, 2012)Google Scholar. The seminary also runs a course entitled ‘Leaders in a connectional Church: congregations and the General Assembly’ (email from Steve Cook, Registrar, 23 April 2013).

112 Email from the Revd Anthony Clarke, Tutor in Pastoral Studies and Community Learning, Regent's Park College, Oxford, 18 April 2013. See also Bristol Baptist College, Baptist History and Principles: ‘The unit is mandatory for most ministerial students’; also email from Stephen Finamore, Principal, 16 April 2013: the Prepare for Service programme is designed ‘for those engaged in different forms of lay ministry or regionally recognized ministry’. In the South Wales Baptist College, Cardiff, ‘all candidates for ordained Baptist ministry are required to complete modules on Baptist history and Baptist principles (email from the Revd Dr P Stevenson, Principal, 16 April 2013). For the Northern Baptist Learning Community, Manchester, courses on eg ‘governance’ are compulsory at Level 5 (email from the Revd Dr Ann Phillips, Co-Principal, 16 April 2013). Compare the Irish Baptist College: Baptist Ecclesiology (which covers ‘polity’) is not compulsory for training for ministry and is open to non-Baptist students (email from David Luke, 16 April 2013). At the International Baptist Theological Seminary (USA), the module ‘Baptist history and identity’ is compulsory (email from the Revd Dr Keith Jones, Rector, 29 April 2013).

113 Email from Stephen Finamore, 16 April 2013. At the South Wales Baptist College, ‘Baptist principles’ are taught in part on the basis that at ordination the candidate within the Baptist Union of Great Britain is asked if they fully support its Declaration of Principle: ‘as each church has liberty to interpret the laws of Christ, there is a degree of diversity in the way in which Baptist principles are interpreted’.

114 Email from the Revd A Clarke, 18 April 2013. At Bristol Baptist College, ‘Baptist history and principles’ is a unit carrying 20 credits at Levels 2 and 3; at the Irish Baptist College, ‘Baptist ecclesiology’ is a degree module; at the South Wales Baptist College, ‘Baptist history’ and ‘Baptist principles’ are not part of a degree programme.

115 Email from the Revd A Clarke, 18 April 2013. See also Northern Baptist Learning Community: the Level 5 course on governance etc involves 15 hours' contact and independent study time; Irish Baptist College: ‘Baptist ecclesiology’ consists of 12 lectures over a term; South Wales Baptist College: ‘Baptist principles’, 10 hours of lectures; International Baptist Theological Seminary (USA): ‘Baptist history and identity’ is taught over one year (email from K Jones, 29 April 2013).

116 Email from the Revd A Clarke, 18 April 2013. Bristol Baptist College: ‘Teaching methods vary from unit to unit and between accredited and non-accredited programmes … a combination of prescribed reading, classroom presentation, classroom discussion and seminars. The non-accredited learning takes place primarily through guided theological reflection’ (email from S Finamore, 16 April 2013); Irish Baptist College: ‘Baptist ecclesiology’ is ‘lecture based’ but ‘class discussion is encouraged’ and the course is ‘examined by way of an assignment on some aspect of Baptist polity’; International Baptist Theological Seminary (USA): ‘Baptist history and identity’ is virtual, with a two-hour seminar each week with reading and research activities (email from K Jones, 29 April 2013).

117 Email from the Revd A Clarke, 18 April 2013. For teaching on the Union, associations and congregations, see also Northern Baptist Learning Community, Manchester: compulsory courses cover ‘history, governance, ministry, Baptist Declaration of Principle, theology and practice of baptism and communion’ and ‘non-accredited formational learning at all levels including CME on worship, rites of passage, property’ (eg ‘Managing Trusteeships, Trusts Deeds etc’) (email from Revd Dr A Phillips, 16 April 2013); Irish Baptist College: ‘Baptist ecclesiology’ deals with history and ‘what is distinctive in Baptist polity’, the church, baptism, Lord's Supper, membership, church offices and ‘church and state’; South Wales Baptist College: ‘Baptist principles’ covers governance, as does the pastoral programme spread over three years; International Baptist Theological Seminary (USA): the module on ‘Baptist history and identity’ covers ‘denominational history, polity, ecclesiology, practice of ministry’ and rites, ecumenism and property (email from K Jones, 29 April 2013).

118 Bristol Baptist College: ‘Free church worship’ is a 10-credit unit at Level 1 and mandatory for ministerial students; it is supplemented by a unit of homiletics. ‘Issues of worship are also addressed in the unaccredited programme and in the 20 credit unit taken by all our ministerial students called Portfolio of Baptist Ministerial Practice’ including ‘rites for weddings and funerals, infant presentations, baptism etc, and requires theological reflection on practice’. ‘Ecumenism is taught within the non-accredited programme’ and ‘is practised through our partnership with Trinity College, Bristol’. Doctrine is covered in accredited units on systematic theology.

119 Email from the Revd Peter Stevenson, Principal, 16 April 2013.

120 Ibid. Reading material includes eg Wright, N, Free Church, Free State: the positive Baptist vision (London, 2005)Google Scholar; Holmes, S, Baptist Theology: doing theology (London, 2012)Google Scholar.

121 In turn, the purposes of a law school, typically, are: to discover and transmit knowledge of the law to achieve distributive justice for all; to train students for the practice of law, instilling in them the ethical responsibilities of the legal profession and the social responsibility to work for the attainment of a just and humane society; to contribute to the improvement of the legal system and the quality and administration of justice in society for the full protection of human rights; to train lawyers for leadership that is innovative and responsive to the needs and aspirations of the people; and to develop a new level of legal education to enhance knowledge of the law among citizens (University of the Philippines, College of Law).

122 Stuckey, R et al. , Best Practices for Legal Education: a vision and a road map (US Clinical Legal Education Association, 2007)Google Scholar: the ‘principles’ include the view that learning outcomes should be formulated in collaboration with the bench, bar, students, the practising profession and clients; ‘Competence builds on a foundation of basic professional skills, legal knowledge, and moral development. It includes a cognitive function: acquiring and using knowledge to solve real life problems; an integrative function – using legal and factual data in legal reasoning; a relational function – communicating effectively with clients, colleagues, and others; and an affective/moral function – the willingness, patience, and emotional awareness to use these skills judiciously and humanely. Competence depends on habits of mind, including attentiveness, critical curiosity, self-awareness, and presence. Professional competence is developmental, impermanent, and context-dependent.’

123 See eg Twining, W, Blackstone's Tower: the English law school (London, 1994)Google Scholar.

124 See eg Galligan, D, Law in Modern Society (Oxford, 2010)Google Scholar.

125 N Doe, Christian Law, ch 10.

126 See eg Unger, R, The Critical Legal Studies Movement (Cambridge, MA, 1996)Google Scholar and What Should Legal Analysis Become? (New York, 1996)Google Scholar.

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The Teaching of Church Law: An Ecumenical Exploration Worldwide
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