A former professor of mine is piecing together a book concerning the necessity of seminaries for the well-being of the local church. I emailed him a brief reply (tried to keep it at 400 words) which I have provided a link to below. What do you think?
3 Replies to “Are Seminaries Necessary for the Well-Being of the Church?”
Using the example of your two children was very effective I think. However, I would point out that many of the great pastors of our time including even the disciples of Jesus were not trained men and women. I do find myself in agreement with you though.
Thanks for reading and responding. Would you really say that “many” of the great pastors were not trained and educated in religious studies? That, I believe, would be a strong word to use.
Interestingly, your comment about the disciples was also brought up on Dr. Michael Haykin’s website (the professor who is writing the book). He responded by reminding us that Paul, the author of Hebrews, and Luke were all well educated men. Granted, your point is a good one – I am not suggesting an exclusive method to a fruitful pastorate via a seminary education. I am suggesting that it is the best option and important for churches.
Again, thanks for reading and blessings to you!
Philip, I like your response and agree wholeheartedly. Are seminaries, as they exist today, absolutely necessary? No. Are they still a really good idea and valuable to the health and advancement of the Kingdom of God? Yes.
The Holy Scriptures, inspired and inerrant, are intrinsically clear. However, our minds are not. When I am baffled or confused by reading a passage, it is not because the Scripture is poorly written or badly conceived. It is because of some lack or misconception of my own.
I always think it is interesting how many times St. Paul talks about the problems of false teachers and flawed doctrine in the churches, especially in Galatians and the Pastoral Epistles. None of us are so pure of heart that we cannot twist God’s Word, wrench it from context, or misapply it.
Seminary training does not eliminate the problems of heresy in the Church. Sadly, a case could be made that, in many instances, seminaries are the chief sources of heretical teaching and practice.
Nevertheless, there is something very powerful about having a faculty of devout and holy teachers, pastors themselves for the most part, with wide-ranging ministry experiences assembled in one time and place for the purpose of instructing future ambassadors of Christ.
Seminary training today is imperfect and probably could use a good deal more scrutiny than it gets. It could also use to undergo reforms here and there in terms of how education is delivered. Various models should continually be explored. But in many cases, we can still say that our seminaries are valuable resources for fulfilling God’s mission to save the world.
My two shekels.