I was just encouraged by someone I respect very much to clarify what I am talking about in reference to my last post. It may appear to some that I am saying, “Away with the seminary!” I have heard people say this because of their desire to bring education back into the local church. But such a statement is hogwash. To denigrate the seminary for the sake of church-based education is to pit two necessary entities that God uses to build the Church.
As most of you already know, I am working on a PhD in Systematic Theology. It would be ridiculous for me to say the seminary is unnecessary. Unfortunately some have used such rhetoric in an effort to win applause – and not appear as competitors with the local church.
The seminary is an institution meant to serve the Church. When the seminary is used as a replacement for training that needs to take place in the church, it should be corrected. Too many of the students at seminary are disconnected from the local church. As a result, these folk become myopic in their vision of what ministry is. They substitute right parsing for right loving. Even those that are members of local churches are not pursuing opportunities to serve others in the church. In a sense they are biding their time until they are ready. When is that? The witness of the NT seems to be that those who are “ready” are those who have already been exercising gifts of ministry, not because they got a passing grade in syntax and grammar.
What I am arguing for is a tighter wedding between the seminary and the church. There need to be ways for the seminary to hold accountable those who are not members of local churches, and those who are not ministering in the local church.
What is more, many of the “classes” that are taken in seminary need to be re-located under the roof of the local church.