Is seminary important?

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by FaithRemains, Jan 27, 2002.

  1. FaithRemains

    FaithRemains
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2001
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    I am wondering something.

    How important do you think it is for a pastor to have attended a seminary or have a degree? Why?

    [ January 27, 2002: Message edited by: Joshua2415 ]
     
  2. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Joshua2415:
    How important do you think it is for a pastor to have attended a seminary or have a degree?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Imperative.
     
  3. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,122
    Likes Received:
    20
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Joshua2415:
    How important do you think it is for a pastor to have attended a seminary or have a degree?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Neither are important to me. <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Why?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>1. The Bible sets the qualifications for pastors and seminary and a degree are not part of them.
    2. Such a standard would have excluded some of the great Baptist pastors of the past and still could exclude some today.
    Number one is the primary consideration for me and number two is just an example of what would happen with the standard.
     
  4. Brother Adam

    Brother Adam
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2001
    Messages:
    4,427
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe that if a person is being called to be a pastor- then it is very important that they have a seminary education. It's not an absolute necessicity, but it gives the person far better training and preparedness than a undergrad degree does. Of course experience does wonders too [​IMG]

    UNP
    Adam
     
  5. FaithRemains

    FaithRemains
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2001
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    rlvaughn-

    that is my feeling. When i surrendered to the ministry my pastor, who has taught in seminaries before, told me that 90% of what i'd learn in a seminary is worthless. People would rather have a pastor who new the Bible.
     
  6. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Joshua2415:
    When i surrendered to the ministry my pastor, who has taught in seminaries before, told me that 90% of what i'd learn in a seminary is worthless. People would rather have a pastor who new the Bible.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    It seems your Pastor had a very bad seminary education. Having a seminary degree and therefore being able to speak from experience, I can assure that none of it is worthless. In fact, having over 120 hours of seminary education, I cannot think of a single worthless class I had. My only regret is that there were some I couldn't take because of my schedule.

    People do want a pastor that knows the Bible and much of that knowledge comes a well-organized seminary education. With all due respect to rlvaughn, the standards are set in Scripture and one of them is a knowledge of the material and an ability to teach. Both are greatly enhanced in seminary. That is not to say that a man without a seminary education can't preach or minsiter, but the question is why would he? There is absolutely no reason that a man in the ministry should not have a good seminary education.

    I preached before I had a seminary degree and looking back, I am embarrassed at the total lack of preparation I had to do it on a regular basis. Of course, then I was pretty confident because I had no idea what was necessary. Now, I do not know how men without seminary training live from week to week.

    It is interesting to me that no one ever question whether or not a doctor of the body should go to school to learn about it. Yet we find people all the time questioning whether a doctor of the soul should go. Absolutely inconceivable to me.

    Remember, God never calls a man to preach that he doesn't call to prepare.

    [ January 27, 2002: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
     
  7. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,122
    Likes Received:
    20
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pastor Larry:
    ...With all due respect to rlvaughn, the standards are set in Scripture and one of them is a knowledge of the material and an ability to teach.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>I have no disagreement with you at all on that, Pastor Larry. But unless one can say that one MUST have a seminary education (or a degree) for one to have "a knowledge of the material and an ability to teach", we just can't get those requirements into what Paul said to Timothy and Titus. <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>It is interesting to me that no one ever questions whether or not a doctor of the body should go to school to learn about it. Yet we find people all the time questioning whether a doctor of the soul should go. Absolutely inconceivable to me.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>These two illustrations are dissimilar. The state (or government) sets the qualifications for a doctor of the body and the Bible sets the qualifications for a "doctor of the soul." When all the smoke and dust settles, and every good and bad argument has been made, the New Testament qualifications for a pastor still stand in I Timothy and Titus - attending a seminary and/or having a degree just aren't there.

    [ January 27, 2002: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  8. A.J.Armitage

    A.J.Armitage
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2002
    Messages:
    105
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'd say it's a big plus, but not totally necessary.
     
  9. FaithRemains

    FaithRemains
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2001
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    Pastor Larry- "It seems your Pastor had a very bad seminary education. Having a seminary degree and therefore being able to speak from experience, I can assure that none of it is worthless. In fact, having over 120 hours of seminary education, I cannot think of a single worthless class I had."

    Just to state some basic information, The pastor that i'm speaking of (Thomas Counts of First Missionary Baptist Church in Bend, Oregon) has not only taught in seminaries in the past, but was dean of a seminary (Northwest Baptist Institute) for a short time, and i believe he still has an open invitation to teach at a seminary (IBC). I believe his opinion to be very well informed.

    Seminary may have been good for you in your education, but can you say that it is the only way to be biblically educated?
     
  10. Brother Adam

    Brother Adam
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2001
    Messages:
    4,427
    Likes Received:
    0
    I'm guessing that you want to preach but don't want to go to seminary huh? I think you need to look at a bigger picture over the opinion of one minister before deciding 90% of what you learn in seminary is useless.

    UNP
    Adam
     
  11. FaithRemains

    FaithRemains
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2001
    Messages:
    55
    Likes Received:
    0
    flyfree

    I have been a preacher for over two years and have never formally been to seminary. I am in no way opposed to going, if the Lord lead me there. I only asked the question to get other opinions.
     
  12. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Joshua2415:
    Just to state some basic information, The pastor that i'm speaking of (Thomas Counts of First Missionary Baptist Church in Bend, Oregon) has not only taught in seminaries in the past, but was dean of a seminary (Northwest Baptist Institute) for a short time, and i believe he still has an open invitation to teach at a seminary (IBC). I believe his opinion to be very well informed.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    Now I am shocked even more. Why was he teaching in a seminary was 90% of it was wasted? And a dean?? If he was a dean, why didn't he do something to change it??

    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Seminary may have been good for you in your education, but can you say that it is the only way to be biblically educated?<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    No, I didn't say that it was the only. To be honest, in my somewhat studied opinion having been in the ministry on both sides of the fence, it is the best way. the other way is to expose yourself to a wide variety of stuff that has been written in 2000 years of church history with no guidance as to what is good and what is bad. The good thing about seminary education is that you get to draw on the 'weeding out' of 2000 years of theologians so that you do not have to read it all.

    My point is, why woulnd't you? If you want to preach, then I think you should prepare for it. I would be interested if anyone else here who has a seminary education shares your pastor's view on this. As for me, I cannot imagine hiring someone for my staff who did not have a seminary education, or who was not pursuing one.

    To Rlvaughn's point about dissimilarity, you are right in one regard. However, the point stands that why are expectations so different? Does it not say a lot about our value system when those who take care of the body that is perishing are asked for so much when those who take care of the soul which is eternal are asked for so little. As for the requirements of Scripture, I think you are arguing from silence. To say the qualification is not there is obvious. There were no seminaries. However, men in the NT spent time in concentrated study under the apostles, even as the apostles did under Christ. Since we don't have Christ to sit under, we better sit under something else.

    Understand, I am offering my opinion, having been on both sides of the seminary fence. But you can take this and do what you will with it. You don't have to answer to me [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  13. Brother Adam

    Brother Adam
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Jul 31, 2001
    Messages:
    4,427
    Likes Received:
    0
    I believe an education can never be wasted unless if you choose to waste it. It really does lie though with the Lord's will in your life if your are to go to seminary though. [​IMG]

    UNP
    Adam
     
  14. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,122
    Likes Received:
    20
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Pastor Larry:
    ...To Rlvaughn's point about dissimilarity, you are right in one regard. However, the point stands that why are expectations so different? Does it not say a lot about our value system when those who take care of the body that is perishing are asked for so much when those who take care of the soul which is eternal are asked for so little.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>The expectations are so different with me because I accept the qualifications the state requires for M.D.'s and I accept the qualifications that God requires for elders (bishops, pastors). I do not think that requiring pastors to meet Biblical standards is asking "for so little." It seems that today a lot of people think it is "too much" to ask them to meet the requirements of I Tim. 3:1-7 and Titus 1:5-9. In fact, and I don't mean you Pastor Larry, several people on this board that require that a pastor have a seminary education do not require the qualifications from Paul. <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>As for the requirements of Scripture, I think you are arguing from silence. To say the qualification is not there is obvious. There were no seminaries. However, men in the NT spent time in concentrated study under the apostles, even as the apostles did under Christ. Since we don't have Christ to sit under, we better sit under something else.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>Respectfully, Brother, I think it is you who are arguing from silence. I am simply saying require what the Bible requires - no more, no less. You seem to be adding an importance not only that a pastor have "knowledge of the material and the ability to teach", but also importance as to HOW they acquire it. That there were no seminaries and these men were taught in the churches is in itself telling. In fact, that Jesus organized a church and sent them forth to "teach all things whatsoever I have commanded you" indicates that He designated where scriptural, spiritual instruction is to be found. The usual reply is that teaching in the local church is in some way deficient or perhaps not enough for prepare a man to pastor. If so, the deficiency is in the local church and not in the idea. Each local Baptist church ought to be a "seminary". We modern Baptists have consistently sold the church short and substituted parachurch organizations to do the work He charged us to do (missions, instruction, benevolence, etc.). And not only is the future pastor getting the "short end of the stick" because of this - so are the deacons and lay members. Here is a quote from an old discussion called Should Our Pastors Train in Bible College (it compared Bible College vs. Seminary), in which I stated: <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>When this discussion came up on the "old" Baptist Board, I got into several lengthy discussions concerning colleges and seminaries. I shall try to be brief here, and emphasize just a little different angle. The experiences, good and bad, of people in relation to bible colleges, seminaries, and universities all make quite interesting reading. But we should ever keep in mind that there is no Bible standard of where you get your education (other than the local church which Jesus ordained), or on how much education you should/must have. Each individual case must be judged as an individual case. If we do this, we cannot say that a bible college is better than a university is better than a seminary is better than a trade school is better than...ad nauseum. Was it better that Peter be taught by the Lord during His earthly ministry or that Paul be taught by the Lord in the desert (after receiving a Jewish education) or that Timothy be taught by his mother, grandmother, and the apostle Paul? All circumstances were ordered and ordained of God and each was able to fulfill his calling with the "education" that he had.<HR></BLOCKQUOTE>

    [ January 27, 2002: Message edited by: rlvaughn ]
     
  15. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    May 4, 2001
    Messages:
    21,763
    Likes Received:
    0
    RL,

    I do agree with you about 1 Tim and Titus being absolute.

    As for each local church being a seminary, the reality that I, as the pastor of a small church, do not have time to teach systematic theology, Greek, Hebrew, English Bible, Exegetical courses, Church history, and Homiletics. It is simply unrealistic. I do not believe however that a seminary should be outside the church necessarily, simply that it should be supported by a church that has the resources.

    I do think however that there are some principles involves in a Christian liberal arts in order to make one well rounded and dedicated seminary training in order to teach someone to think theologically. The reality is that churches do not do this for prospective pastors because of the practical constraints of ministry.
     
  16. Rev. Joshua

    Rev. Joshua
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/cjv.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2001
    Messages:
    2,859
    Likes Received:
    0
    A clergyperson is someone who is invested with the history of the Church. They are someone expected to be able to counsel and guide people in all aspects of their life. A clergyperson is also trained in the importance of language, the power of the spoken word, and the sacredness of the homily. They are expected to be able to read the Christian and Jewish scriptures in Greek and Hebrew. They are expected to be able to interpret those scriptures in their historical, cultural, and literary context. Clergy also need to be able to read, understand, and apply contemporary theological scholarship.

    I have never seen a local church that was able to provide this level of training. This is particularly true in areas of church history and worship, where I believe lowered expectations for the training of clergy have fostered ignorance and intolerance, particularly toward other Christian groups.

    Just because baptists can ordain anyone whom they want does not mean they should. I would not be a member of a church that ordains someone without a seminary education except for in incredibly rare circumstances. This is particularly true since I think the ignorance and incompetence of many of my colleagues has made it harder for me and others to have professional credibility outside baptist churches when people ask us our denomination.

    Joshua

    [ January 27, 2002: Message edited by: Rev. Joshua Villines ]
     
  17. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,122
    Likes Received:
    20
    Let me first say, lest any misunderstand, when I say that the church should be the "seminary", I mean it should be an institute of higher learning for God's people and an institute of training for the ministry - but I don't necessarily mean they should adopt the secular methodology of doing it (the whole college setting and the granting of degrees, etc.).

    Second, I don't think it is as impractical as it might seem at first glance, except the impracticality of totally rethinking the way we do things. One is rethinking pastoral duties. Many churches have a pastor doing everything except what he should be doing - teaching. Another is rethinking the single pastor idea and replacing it with plurality of elders. Another is rethinking why Systematic Theology, Greek, Hebrew, English Bible, Exegetical courses, Church History, etc. is reserved for preacher students only. Why aren't these being taught to ALL church members? Another is rethinking that all this must be accomplished in four years. Another is to return to more of the mentoring concept (young NT preachers learned hands-on, such as Timothy with Paul).

    There is so much difference in my thinking from both the standard education crowd on the one side and the anti-education crowd on the other, that it would take pages and pages to explain the concept and philosophy that I have. Suffice it to say, that would lead us miles away from Joshua's original question. Plus, Pastor Larry, I doubt we are that far apart on our desired outcomes, just in disagreement on how it should be achieved. To bring this back around to the topic, brother, I answered Joshua in the way I did because I am adamant that churches not add to nor take away from the qualifications established by Paul under inspiration of the Holy Spirit and penned in his writings to Timothy and Titus. That is where I stand, for I can do no other.
     
  18. TomVols

    TomVols
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2000
    Messages:
    11,170
    Likes Received:
    0
    Educational and spiritual preparation received at Bible College and seminary is critical and of the utmost importance. Get it at all costs.
     
  19. Rev. Joshua

    Rev. Joshua
    Expand Collapse
    <img src=/cjv.jpg>

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2001
    Messages:
    2,859
    Likes Received:
    0
    Tom, I left off the spiritual formation aspect. Thanks for mentioning it. It is crucial and one of the most important things I experienced in seminary.

    Joshua
     
  20. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2001
    Messages:
    5,122
    Likes Received:
    20
    <BLOCKQUOTE>quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Rev. Joshua Villines:
    ...the history of the Church...counsel and guide people in all aspects of their life...language, the power of the spoken word, and the sacredness of the homily...Greek and Hebrew...interpret those scriptures in their historical, cultural, and literary context...read, understand, and apply contemporary theological scholarship.

    I have never seen a local church that was able to provide this level of training.
    <HR></BLOCKQUOTE>But could we? Don't we have too small a vision of what the church is and could be? Many churches provide all types of recreational, vacational, and placational (that mollify ;) ) ministries to their membership, and yet are not providing training beyond the elementary level (to any of their members, not just clergypersons). Many such churches have events scheduled at their facilities every day, but very few are educational. I say we have not even tried to see if we are able to provide this level of training. I say we shouldn't say we can't just because we haven't!
     

Share This Page

Loading...