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Discussion in 'Forum for Polls' started by FriendofSpurgeon, Feb 2, 2006.
What educational background should a pastor have?
Warning - there has been a LOT of rancor on this subject in the college/seminary forum. That will not be tolerated.
I know that I could never sit under a pastor who did not know/understand God's Word at a very personal and deep way. Known some who had a great walk with God but were not able to expound the Word because of lack of education; known some who had tons of education and their lack of reality in a walk with God was evident.
It takes a balance.
BTW, instead of PASTOR, insert "Medical Help" in the equation and see if your answers are the same!! You wanna go to a "doctor" who doesn't even have a BA? Or one that Only has a BA??
Wow.. someone actually said the preferred level of education should be none? I mean, I understand saying there is no required level, but saying you would prefer that they not even study seems... well, I can't think of a nice diplomatic word. Dumb.
I'm certainly not anti-education by any means. It is very useful. Having said that though the apostles generally were not educated men.
If you find a pastor that sat under Jesus' personal teaching for three years, I'd let him slide But since they don't exist, they should probably spend at least 3 or 4 years (if not many more) studying His Word, wouldn't you think?
jw, part of the problem is the way the poll is set up. One cannot vote that there is no required level. You have to either vote none or admit that that bible college or seminary is preferred. None of the choices on question 2 accurately reflect what I believe.
BTW, even selecting "none" on question 2 does not mean the voter means they should "not even study".
By Bible College do you mean a two or three year Bible Institute? To me graduating from a College means you a BA/BS.
If you find a pastor that sat under Jesus' personal teaching for three years, I'd let him slide But since they don't exist, they should probably spend at least 3 or 4 years (if not many more) studying His Word, wouldn't you think? </font>[/QUOTE]Some of the greatest preachers who ever lived had no Bible college. John Bunyun comes to mind. If God truly calls a man he will equip him. If he has opportunity for formal training that's good. But if not, being filled with the Spirit of God will get him through.
Point of clarification, what I meant was a Bible College/Institute, not a full four year "real" degree. That is why separated #2 and #3.
Personally, I agree with you. Gradutating from college/university means a "real" degree, but I know that there are true differences between #2 and #3. And some will think that #2 is all that is required or preferred.
Another point of clarification ...
You can vote that there is no minimally required level of education. That is question #1.
Question #2 deals with the "preferred" educational level.
Hope this helps.
Nevertheless, that does not reflect what I believe, so it is hard to vote correctly. I believe there is NO "preferred" level of education, that God and the Bible requires that a man be "apt/able to teach", and that each case must be determined individually as to whether that person fits the requirements and is "properly educated". There is no "one-size fits all".
I echo Dr Bob. If a pastor cant rightly divide the word of truth and cannot understand even the basics of Hebrew and Greek, than I am not interested in learning from him.
TaterTot, perhaps it would be better to say "I am not interested in having such a pastor" than "I am not interested in learning from him", and I assume that is what you meant. I would say if a man can't rightly divide the word of truth, he obviously is not qualified to be a pastor.
But we should be interested in learning for anyone, anywhere, at any time -- and no one should be excluded. I have learned things from lost folks, even quite wicked ones. But I wouldn't want them as pastors either!
Even the seat belt commercials tell us, "You can learn a lot from a dummy!"
I'm astounded to see that some would agree to a pastor having less education than a public school kindergarten teacher.
I agree with Dr. Bob. I'm sure you wouldn't want a lawyer or a doctor with minimal education. Then why would you accept less from your pastor?
I truly believe that if God truly calls someone TO ministry, then God will help prepare the person FOR ministry.
No, I would not want to sit under a pastor with less training in Biblical areas than I have. Thats not meant to sound haughty, as I truly am not that way, but I believe a pastor needs to understand the issues surrounding the texts he is preaching. I guess that did sound as if i couldnt learn anything from him, and I am sure I could still learn. I have plenty to learn. But I think most people, especially those who have already had seminary or other biblical training would be already turned off before he started teaching.
I think a few things are missing from this conversation:
1. Does a Seminary or Bible College education insure that a pastor is equiped to preach the word and pastor the flock? Not necessarily.
2. Does a lack of Seminary or Bible College education mean that a pastor is not equiped to preach the word and pastor the flock? Not necessarily.
3. The seminary educated person was educated about the issues surrounding the text from their seminary prof's POV. That does not necessarily mean they are correct.
4. There certainly are examples of great preachers and pastors who have been used by God who had no formal training. This does not, however, mean they have not studied to show themselves approved, a workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. It simply means that they have not been to seminary or Bible College. Perhaps their studies have been at the feet of Jesus, through the very Word of God. Perhaps they are more well read than the average seminary student. I don't think we should be too dogmatic about a degree translating into being equiped. If God calls someone to do his work, he is certainly capable of equiping that person to every good work whether it be through a formal education or through just studying the Word of God.
5. I am not against formal education. But, I don't think we should elevate it to the level that we say that it is the only way a person could be equiped to do the ministry of God.
6. On the other hand, if a person is avoiding a formal education because of an arrogant heart that says they know it all already and don't need anyone to teach them anything, then I would not want that person as a pastor. Interestingly enough, I have encountered this attitude from pastors in my life who have had nothing but a GED to those with Phd's. It turns out, in my experience, that it is not the level of education that really matters, but what is in that person's heart.
7. I don't think a person must know Greek and Hebrew to be equiped for ministry. I think it could help, but I would not hold that as a pre-requisite. I think the only pre-requisites I would hold for a pastor are those which are set forth by the Bible; and nowhere in the Bible do I find Bible College or seminary as a scriptural mandate.
8. Finally, to state that one would not sit under the leadership of one who did not have the paperwork I do is a bit wrong in my view. I think you are really limiting how God can use that person to be a blessing to you.
you are right, Joseph. Thanks for pointing those things out. That was a great post.
I didnt mean its more impoirtant to have the paper work. I just want my teacher to know his subject. I want my doctor to know his subject. I know of few people who are as knowledgeable about the Bible as those who have been formally trained. Actually, I know one, and I do enjoy his teaching/preaching. DH has him do pulpit supply when he has to be away, and he is a very learned man. I respect him very much and have learned from him. Never been to seminary. So its not that I think one needs the paperwork at all. Just the knowledge, and in my experience, that usually (but not always) goes together.
Sorry Joseph, but I strongly disagree. (We may have to agree to disagree on this one.)
Yes, seminary does indeed equip someone to preach the Scripture. If we expect our kindergarten teachers to have an education degree at a minimum, how much more should we expect of our pastors?
And if not seminary, what means shall be used to learn - to rightly divide the word of truth? While reading and studying on one's own is to be expected, most good seminaries are rigorous and require focused study.
Of course, each seminary presents the Scripture from a certain point of view. I wouldn't expect a Baptist seminary to teach Methodist doctrine. However, solid seminaries normally teach various views, even when they "hold" to a different doctrine. I have friends that even went so far to attend "different" seminaries simply in order to gain that "different" viewpoint.
I do agree that seminary does not necessary equip someone to pastor. That is much more mentoring rather than teaching, and why I strongly believe that most young pastors should spend some time as an assistant under a wiser, older, more experienced pastor.
Also, I agree that there have been (and are) some exceptions. But I think we would all agree that these are (by far) the exceptions, not the rule.
[OK, so I can at least agree on two points.]
Seminary doesn't insure that they will be good preachers anymore than having a Music Education degree will insure that one is a good band director. It also doesn't insure that one will have correct doctrine or a good understanding of the Bible. One need go no further than John Shelby Spong to figure this out, and a whole multitude of liberal theologians who went to Seminary. I have known many folks who have gone to seminary who are horrible preachers with horrible doctrines and arrogant hearts. To me, it is not about what is in the head as much as what is in the person's heart and about who has called the person and equiped them for ministry. If God calls, God will equip. Different people will be equiped in different ways. Some through seminary, some through their own personal study.