Private Study

There have been many modals and ways of training and educating students for the ministry, for missions, and Christian work. In both England and early American and Canadian colonial life there were many who were trained as private students in private academies/ dissenting academies, or houses of a clergyman where the cleric served as a tutor guiding a student or students through their studies. 

Such was also the case for many early mission training houses with a single tutor as well. Sometimes some of these academies or houses were styled by the term hall, the nomenclature varied yet it was an alternative often to the faculties of theology of the universities. Even the iconic Log “college” (though technically only lasting 15 years and really a one room cabin near a cleric’s house) was really this apprentice-type cleric/tutor house modal. Countless students studied privately in these “schools of the prophets”. It did not mean all did, some did attend European and Scottish Universities and in America Harvard and Yale and latterly other new types of institutions would come into existence to become known as “seminaries”. The modals varied and each has its own strengths and weaknesses pedagogically and otherwise.

Haddington House has adapted this modal of the private academy and helped take private students incrementally through three incremental distinct phases of study. By using blended modes of distance, partner, tutorial, and classes, which allows for an ethos which is least costly financially to the student, yet rigorous, and inclusive of curricular needs being met for ministerial, mission, and Christian work, it has attempted by God’s grace to serve as a school of the prophets as others did before it. 

Through three phases of study, which each can readily be adapted for the traditional route of those with their first degree, or, for those without such a first degree, the first phase of the certificate, can then be added with a second phase of the diploma level, and then finally a third phase can be added at the licentiate level, ordinary or honours.

Select Bibliography

Mark Burden, A Biographical Dictionary of Tutors at the Dissenters’ Private Academies, 1660–1729 (Queen Mary University of London: Dr Williams’s Centre for Dissenting Studies, 2013).

David Calhoun, Princeton Seminary Faith & Learning 1812-1868, Volume One. (Banner of Truth, 1994), 3-5.

Dissenting Academies Online: Database and Encyclopedia 1660-1860

Matthew Ebenezer Discusses An Apprenticeship Approach in Training Candidates for the Ministry

Irene Parker, Dissenting Academies in England: Their Rise and Progress and their Place among the Educational Systems of the Country. (Cambridge, 1914). 

John Seccombe, “An Ordination Sermon: John 21:15-16 with edited preface,” Haddington House Journal, vols. 21-22 (2019-2020), 63-75.

Jack Whytock, “Schools of the Prophets”. (Various).

Jack Whytock, “An Educated Clergy”. (Paternoster, 2007).