Seminary or No Seminary??

Question to da’ fellas,

In your view is seminary necessary for pastoral vocational ministry, i.e. teaching elder.???

If so, why?? Biblical Basis??

If not, why not?? Alternatives??


5 responses to “Seminary or No Seminary??

  1. Go ask C.J. Mahaney.

    (He never went to seminary, or college!)

  2. Ok, we all know that none of us is foolish enough to call ‘seminary’ a necessity, as in a absolute requirement for effective pastoral ministry by God’s sovereign grace (notice the CJ ref.)…BUT, I would say, in light of God’s redemptive plan for leaders in his kingdom and ministers of the word and sacrament, both biblical (levities, disciples, paul, etc) and historical (sometimes out of whack), that formal theological training is VERY wise.

    Of course, as we all know, said training should not be a man in a bubble surrounded by brains on a stick, but should overflow from the work/calling/confirmation of the Local Church.

    There is no necessity, but there is the commandment to ‘love God with ALL our minds,’ which requires of us the undertaking of a life long process of study/growth and humility. Whether that puts a piece of paper on your wall is far from priority.

  3. Greg,

    Your usual genius is seen above. I agree. Not necessary in terms of qualifications, but why would not want to?

    It has been nothing but a blessing for me. But again, it think a lot of it has to do with being in the right place and having your gift affirmed by the local body as well…


  4. I agree with Schnee! the key is the local church. I know seminary has been very difficult for me, because I am trying to work and support a family while at the same time doing school. I realize the value and need for theological training, but I feel that the education is lacking in some ways, because I am not working in a church currently, and I have to work multiple jobs both full and part time to make it work for our family.

    The local church can and should provide care and oversight, but I think financial help and assistance is vital as well. It is a shame that most seminarians must leave their home church to venture off to seminary, and then have to nickel and dime it both in school and in the work force to make it work.

    I may just be speaking out of disillusionment, but I think there is a best situation for us to learn and be trained, and the local body should care for whole seminarians and their families.



  5. Funny you should ask…

    You know this is an issue that is driving me up the wall. In a sermon a couple of years ago I was addressing anti-intellectualism in the Church and the rejection of seminary education and asked the congregation… “would you want a brain surgeon who’s never been to medical school?” I still believe that–in general. The other extreme is when church chains (non-denom denoms) “ordain” men whose only qualifications are that they are gifted speakers and certain people like them. This is a recipe for disaster.

    Now for the apparent self-contradiction… I don’t think seminary is the only route (serious questions about it being the “best”) to a quality theological/pastoral education. It seems to me the church has followed the culture and put more stock in the degree than in the education. Also, I question whether the accreditation status of schools should still be the primary litmus test. (Yes, accreditation makes it far less likely that it is a diploma mill, but it doesn’t mean all non-accredited schools are).

    You and Zach both know I’m struggling with this issue. If it weren’t for this pesky (blessing) career and expensive (incredible blessing) family, I’d be immersed in a seminary program right now.

    Is a 45 year old supposed to use all his non-work and family time learning Greek paradigms (that he will forget anyway) at the cost of on-going ministry opportunities? Please pray for wisdom for me. I have an inquiry in to Whitefield about their ThD program in Reformed Theological Thought. I believe this may be the best course for me since I am already an independent study-a-holic and it is a research/dissertation program.

    It’s cool that you have a blog. Am I missing the obvious? How do you tell who the author of the original post is?

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