Seminary degrees and the call of God

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by JonC δοῦλος, Sep 3, 2013.

  1. JonC

    JonC
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    This came up (in my warped mind anyway) due to another thread. But I have noticed that those who have earned a doctorate are not normally “called” to pastor smaller churches or be bi-vocational pastors. Those who have no degrees are often called to pastor smaller churches, but seldom large or “mega” churches. Several months ago I noticed an advertisement for a pastor in KY. The salary was 100K. The minimum requirement was a MDiv.

    How much, do you believe, does the degree earned influence God’s “calling” or a church’s reception of God’s “call”? Are doctors of divinity never “called” to serve as bi-vocational pastors (or is this the last resort for those holding such degrees)? Do churches overemphasize seminary degrees?
     
  2. JonC

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    Or….is this the elephant in the room no one talks about (at least to the congregation) when seeking a new pastor.
     
  3. Yeshua1

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    our senior pastor has 2 earned PHD degrees, one in Church management, other in NT studies, and yet he has always stayed with His local church. starte dout as a split church, as the larger church agreed to have him split off, and the church went from around 20 to about 250 at present time...

    My observation is that degrees are highly valued in say reformed/baptist churches, not so much in charasmatic/pentacostal ones!
     
  4. JonC

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    I do think that seminary is an important part of preparing for the ministry. At the same time, I realize that many churches who admire or utilize the writings of people like Tozer would never actually consider him a qualified to pastor their church due to a lack of education. In many ways it seems that we have “over-professionalized” the ministry.
     
  5. Yeshua1

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    NO amount of training or education can make up for a lack of being called by God to do that task, nor lack of being given a Shephard heart from God!
     
  6. JonC

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    I absolutely agree.
     
  7. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    Why do suppose that is?

    I find it ironic that there are only a few Pentecostal denominations that even have seminaries. One is the Assembly of God, and while I'm sure there might be a few others, I can't think of which bodies those might be right now. I find it disturbing that there are those groups who believe there is no need for a seminary education in order to preach or lead a church. It isn't biblical.

    The apostles spent three years under Jesus' guidance and tutelage, and Paul spent three years studying with them, not to mention his long-term education in the ancient Scriptures under several Hebrew rabbis, the last of which was Gamaliel. Such education is absolutely necessary for one to be able to accurately divide God's word.
     
  8. Revmitchell

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    There is no biblical mandate for any formal education.
     
  9. Yeshua1

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    The Assemblies of God would be about the ONLY Charasmatic/pentscostal group that places emphasis on pastoral training and education, a friend of mine is a AoG pastor, and he was schooled at their Seminary, and is quite 'baptist" in his sermons and messages!

    Think main reason why they shy from education is they fel that most important thingis ole 'Holy Ghost" annoiting to be a pastor!
     
  10. Earth Wind and Fire

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    Or Old School Churches:thumbsup: BTW ....Who has more EDU do you think Stevie Owen or Guy F?
     
  11. thisnumbersdisconnected

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    No mandate, but there certainly are heavy-duty examples in the apostles and in Paul.
     
  12. Revmitchell

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    The early church also sold all that they had and held everything in common.
     
  13. JonC

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    It is important - but there are also men who, void of a seminary education, taught sound doctrine (e.g., the Tozer example). We are also not talking about a three year education (I'd imagine most MDiv's are about 8 yrs including undergraduate - add to that for a DMin or PhD). But you are right about the importance of education. The disciples had Jesus Christ, we have the Holy Spirit – we are not left alone. (And the role of the apostle didn't exactly equate to the role of the pastor - I don't know the education NT "pastors" received, it seems like much came from the apostles).

    Seminaries and other educational programs have also stepped up to fill the void left by the local church. Many churches “outsource” their teaching. Many members seek alternate means of learning to fill the void in some churches. Much of what is taught in seminary can and should be taught to the church.

    My concern isn't seminaries, but the professionalization of the ministry. I could see this (in extreme cases) resulting in para-church “churches” where the professional’s run the show and the members are little more than consumers or patients getting a spiritual “tune up.”
     
  14. Yeshua1

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    Danger is that one can become extermely bright and sharp in knowledge of the faith, know all doctrines, recite historical facts, parse the greek, read the hebrew, know famous theologians etc...

    yet without Love for their flock, and a heart for ministry, and be willing to "be one of the gang", what good is such formal education?
     
  15. Revmitchell

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    Then they think that visiting and caring for the flock personally is "chasing" them.
     
  16. A Penny Saved

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    My church is Baptist and Charismatic. Our pastor calls seminary "cemetary" and well, pokes alot of fun at seminary training. So I can vouch for the statement above that seminary training is not highly regarded in Charismatic churches. I'm only 13 years old and my parents are unbelievers, and I think I'm going to be in trouble at my church because I can't go along with alot of what I see, and what happens at church doesn't look like what happens in the bible. Like unbelievers interpreting tongues (bible) vs other believers tearfully wailing some generic one-size-fits-all "prophecy" (our church).

    The youth minister even scolded me for being "too concerned about doctrine." He says "just let go and love the Lord." Except I don't know what that even means.

    I bet it wouldn't be this way if they had gone to seminary instead of relying completely on "the anointing" to know what to do!

    Perplexed Penny
     
  17. JonC

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    We are commanded to study, to search. While we are led by the Holy Spirit, we also (IMHO) are responsible for searching out God’s truths. While seminary is great for this, each believer can also study without the structure of seminary. BB has helped me research topics – often a brother presents a view that I disagree with, but I grow as I examine his belief and reexamine my own.

    One can’t be “too concerned about doctrine,” but proper doctrine without love is worthless.
     
  18. JonC

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    Without love for their flock and a heart for ministry the pastor is in a dangerous position regardless of educational qualifications.
     
  19. Zenas

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    The call comes first. After that a pastor should equip himself as well as he possibly can and that necessarily includes a seminary education. Our church is presently looking for a pastor and the minimum requirement is a MDiv from a regionally accredited seminary. There are other requirements of experience (and Calvinists need not apply).

    So why do PhD's never get the call to a bi-vocational ministry? I'm sure some do but sadly the call goes unanswered more often than not. I expect that is because the call to these men more often comes from churches who can pay six figure salaries. Once you settle into a six figure lifestyle, it is very hard to get out of it. You would have to pull your kids out of private schools, let your high life insurance premiums lapse, move to a smaller house that won't hold all your furniture. All these things are doable, but not easily. None of these sacrifices have to be made if you are already living a modest lifestyle.
     
  20. JohnnyReb

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    I know several people who have college degrees who don't have the sense God gave a goose.

    Give me a Pastor who knows the word. The Bible is his education
     

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