The Reasons Why I See No Need for Formal Minstry Education?!

Discussion in 'Baptist Colleges / Seminaries' started by Rhetorician, Jan 26, 2006.

  1. Rhetorician

    Rhetorician
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    Because formal education has been and is such a "hot botton" issue, it was suggested in another thread that this topic be posted.

    I do not mean this to be a polemic to argue the pros or cons. I would like to hear some "in house" discussion by those who are against BC or Seminary or other formal education discuss it amongst themselves; with very little comment by the other side, IF POSSIBLE?!

    Rather, I would like to frame it as an apologetic for the defense of the topic by those who see formal education, either Bible College or Seminary, as a bane to the ministry.

    Implicit in the thread is this fact: those who have formal education, will have to limit their responses by the very nature of the case.

    I will do my best "to hold my peace" and only observe.

    Please stick as much as possible to this OP and make your comments germane to the question. I confess, no one is more guilty of this that I am. But, please try.

    Many of us are waiting to see the responses.

    If the administrator needs to move this thread it will be understood.

    sdg!

    rd
     
  2. buckster75

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    Rhet
    Sticking to your guidelines I can not post:

    "I would like to hear some "in house" discussion by those who are against BC or Seminary or other formal education discuss it amongst themselves"

    I never said I was "against". Though a few kept reading that into what I was saying.(guess something that was taught to them)
     
  3. rlvaughn

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    Rhet, please clarify your "rules" before you start only observing.

    First, there might be some who have a formal education that came to a different conclusion about formal education after they received one. Do they meet the criteria you set?

    Second, if I were discussing the subject from a matter of apologizing (formal defense or justification) for what I believe, I would not write "Reasons Why I See No Need for Formal Minstry Education", but rather something like "Reasons Why I Believe in a Church-based Education." Does that stray too far from the original post?

    I'm not sure your rules are all that "workable". Thanks.
     
  4. Rhetorician

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    All should feel free to say what they think is appropriate to the discussion. I certainly do not want to limit the thread. What one person says, maybe your thoughts, could prompt much lively and insightful other thought.

    Please do not deprive us of your opinion!

    "Iron sharpeneth iron;" so saith the Scriptures!

    rd
     
  5. Rhetorician

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    rlvaughn,

    Consider your corrections to be included for one and all.

    I tip my hat to your observations and corrections.

    Thank you very much!

    rd
     
  6. Johnv

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    I concur with buckster, and perhaps I'm one of the minority that understands what buckster was saying. On the flip side, some have decided that I'm against anyone who doesn't have formal education. I am not. I think formal education is a very good thing, serving to assist, equip, and encourage a student to produce good fruit in his later ministry. But do I think it's mandatory? No. It's a "should", but not a "must" in my book.
     
  7. bapmom

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    I agree with buckster and Johnv as well. Perhaps there aren't really that many who are outright against education. Rather I see people are trying to get out of this mode of requiring any and all preachers to be educated to the "nth" degree before they will listen to what that preacher has to say.

    IMO, I see quite a few who place education almost on the same level as spirituality. If the preacher uses some bad grammar or is not as educated as they are, then they will not listen to that preacher....and they consider themselves as being quite spiritual because they have that attitude.
    Perhaps my perception is wrong? Or perhaps the attitude really is there and the person doesn't recognize it in themselves?

    Im not against education....but Im against this elitist viewpoint that says only certain forms of education are acceptable in order for a man to be able to glean wisdom from Scripture and impart it to other people.

    As an aside.....I still don't really get the difference between Bible college and seminary. Is seminary further education beyond Bible college?
     
  8. RayMarshall19

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    I concur with buckster, and perhaps I'm one of the minority that understands what buckster was saying. On the flip side, some have decided that I'm against anyone who doesn't have formal education. I am not. I think formal education is a very good thing, serving to assist, equip, and encourage a student to produce good fruit in his later ministry. But do I think it's mandatory? No. It's a "should", but not a "must" in my book. </font>[/QUOTE]I think Johnv makes a good point but I have some questions (for everybody, not just Johnv).

    On what do we base our decision as to what is a "must have" and what is a "should have" qualification for a pastor? And, are these qualifications universal or church-specific and why?
     
  9. Johnv

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    I think each church/denomination is and should be permitted to decide what qualifications they want for themselves. The necessary qualifications for a 20 person home church is going to be totally different than a 1200 member congregation. Likewise, a rural church may have different qualifications than an urban church. And so on, and so on.
     
  10. sovgrace79

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    I agree. One reason why I'm pursuing my master's degree is because in this area of the country (between Boston and NYC), most of the people I work with have either a professional degree, or graduate degrees in their field.

    However, if I was in rural Maine where my grandmother lives, it may not be as much of an issue.

    I think experience factors in as well. I have a Bachelor's in Biblical Studies. When my parent's church was looking for a pastor, one of the criteria was someone who was experience and pastored before. I wonder how many churches are willing to take on someone with education, but without the experience? I haven't been looking for a pastorate seriously, but the churches I've heard about require someone with experience.

    So while I'm glad I have my formal education, it is only one component of what a church will look at.
     
  11. Broadus

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    For any who care to read how American Baptists during the 19th century viewed the minister's call, preparation, and responsibilities, you may find this article helpful.

    Bill
     
  12. Rhetorician

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    Everyone should go and read Broadus' posted article above.

    I found it especially interesting what James P. Boyce declared in the article:

    "'Those who did not have the ability to obtain a classical education should nevertheless have the opportunity to obtain a theological education.

    Boyce proposed:

    Let such a change be made in the theological department as shall provide an English course of study for those who have only been able to attain a plain English education. Let that course comprise the evidences of Christianity, systematic and polemic theology, the rules of interpretation applied to the English version; some knowledge of the principles of rhetoric, extensive practice in the development from texts of subjects and skeletons of sermons, whatever amount of composition may be expedient, and full instruction in the nature of pastoral duties--let the studies of this course be so pursued as to train the mind to habits of reflection and analysis, to awaken it to conceptions of the truths of Scripture, to fill it with arguments from the Word of God in support of its doctrines, and to give it facility in constructing and presenting such arguments--and the work will be accomplished.'

    Boyce's proposal would come to fruition with the opening of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Greenville, South Carolina, in the fall of 1859. While theological education of the highest caliber would be provided to those who had acquired a pre-seminary course of study, a challenging education suitable for those who had been unable to receive that course of study would also be provided."

    I must put in a paid politcal announcement here (HA!): Notice that Boyce thought that the basic education for the preacher include rhetoric. [​IMG]

    rd
     
  13. buckster75

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    To answer Ray's question:

    One of the must haves are the Biblical qualifications. Do we need others?
     
  14. RayMarshall19

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    I'm curious about what you said. What relevance does the secular education of the population have to your needing a master's degree in religion?
     
  15. sovgrace79

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    I just see it as being helpful to have an equivalent level of education compared to others in the area.

    I don't "need" the degree, and I'm mostly doing it for personal enrichment. It is not going to put me in a better position to obtain a pastorate among our fellowship of churches, and there is not much chance of it causing my income to increase.

    I feel I need more training before going into ministry.
     
  16. gb93433

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    If the pastor is the chief teacher should he not also be the best equipped to teach?

    Seminary helped to improve my grammar and writing abilities. It also helped me to organize a sermon better. During the time I had in classes helped me to better care for people as well.

    Seminary is a graduate school. Bible college is an undergraduate school. Seminary is typically more demanding than Bible college.

    While I was in seminary, there was a student who sat next to me and worked for IBM and was attending seminary because he wanted to be a better Sunday School teacher. Imagine the attitude of a person like that compared to a pastor who thinks education is unimportant.
     
  17. Mark Osgatharp

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    Rhet,

    Actually, that's not what that Scripture says. The Proverb to which you refer actually says:

    "Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend."

    A man's "countenance" is his facial expression. It is talking about a man's countenance being brightened by the presence of a friend.

    Just thought I'd clear that up for you. ;0)

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  18. RayMarshall19

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    If the pastor is the chief teacher should he not also be the best equipped to teach?

    Seminary helped to improve my grammar and writing abilities. It also helped me to organize a sermon better. During the time I had in classes helped me to better care for people as well.

    While I was in seminary, there was a student who sat next to me and worked for IBM and was attending seminary because he wanted to be a better Sunday School teacher. Imagine the attitude of a person like that compared to a pastor who thinks education is unimportant. [/QB][/QUOTE]

    I'm not good at manipulating these quotes so I will address your points in order:

    1) No. The pastor does not need to be the "best equipped to teach". It's not a competition, its a team. I think it is a very good thing to have men in a congregation who are more knowlegeable in some areas and/or better teachers than the pastor. Perhaps there are some pastors who need the degree to feel adequate. I think that's a shame. A formal ministry education will never guarantee they are the "best equipped to teach".

    2) It's good you benefitted in these ways. I hope you realize not everyone would have benefitted likewise.

    3) I never knew a pastor who thought education was unimportant. And neither do I. FORMAL MINISTRY EDUCATION is another matter altogether.
     
  19. rlvaughn

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    Rhet, I've been thinking of this as a possible blog subject, but your thread prompted me to go ahead and see about getting a few random thoughts together.

    My position is that the local assembly of gathered believers is the primary and best educational institution for BELIEVERS in spiritual and religious matters. I also want to note I believe the home is a primary educational institution. But it differs in not being solely for believers, but for all persons. I have certain presuppositions that I don't intend to go into in detail. But they do undergrid what I am about to write. Most will probably agree with most of them, though not all. They are: (1). The Inspiration of Scripture -- all scripture is given by God and is therefore the place we find our instructions for education. (2). The Great Commission -- the Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 is a command to be fulfilled by local assemblies of believers. (3). The local church is by nature and purpose a gathering of baptized saints committed to carrying out the work of Christ. (4). Consistent New Testament practices are authoritative. Jesus commanded the apostles to teach all things He had commanded them, and they taught the disciples in the churches to follow commands and traditions they handed down. (5). The churches should be served by a plurality of elders.

    Studying the scriptures exhibits nobility (Acts 17:11) and approves us unto God (II Tim. 2:15). The purpose of religious education is maturation of the saints that they might engage in ministry, be built up as a body with the goal of unity of the faith and knowledge of Christ (Eph. 4:7-16).

    I believe in "church-based" education because it utilizes the institution Jesus built and follows the example of the apostles. In New Testament times, elders received training in and by the local church, the apostles came to the local church, or they traveled with the apostles and assisted them (Acts 11:22-26; 13:1ff.; 14:21-23; 18:2,5,18; 19:8-10; II Tim 4:20; Heb. 6:1,2). All of these examples relate more to mentoring, apprenticeship, or on-the-job training models.

    I believe in "church-based" education because it best recognizes the giftedness of ALL the body. Some models of education are designed with preachers (that is, ministers as professionals) in mind. Yet the New Testament teaches that all of the body should be trained and equipped for the ministry, and that all the body has gifts for ministry. Training for the ministry is not of greater importance than training for "ministry". A sincere effort to equip all the body begins and ends on the local church level.

    I believe in "church-based" education because it offers the best system of "integrated" education with the Lord's basic institution –- the home. In the church, discipleship, ministry experience, and scholarship are integrated -- not only with one another, but with marriage, home life, child rearing, teaching the children, and in a body that is vitally consumed (or at least should be) with the "whole man" minister.

    I believe in "church-based" education because it does not remove the gift of the "preacher-in-training" from benefitting his church, and it does not remove the church from blessing the "preacher-in-training". The young elder/novice remains involved with the congregation and families where God has placed him. Further, with plural elders he is not thrown into pastoring alone without the skills to do so, and he is not expected to be THE ONE MAN who knows all and does all.

    I believe in "church-based" education because the New Testament indicates the churches are equipped to train their ministers. If churches are not fully equipped to train their ministers, and if seminaries are sincere in their desire to best promote the work of God, let them work themselves out of a job by equipping churches to become able to educate their own people, rather than keeping churches dependent upon them.

    In the local church, we never finish our education and never receive a degree. In addition to theology and hermeneutics, we learn necessary lessons of interdependence, inter-relatedness, self-denial, longsuffering, meekness, kindness, and love. Instead of pre-designed degrees from which to choose, each "course" can be specially adapted with the particular individual student in mind.

    "Every church was then a seminary, in which provision and preparation was made, not only for the continuation of Gospel preaching, but for the calling and gathering, and teaching of our churches." John Owen, Commentary on Hebrews, Vol. 3, p. 568.

    According to R. Paul Stevens (I don't know who he is, I just like what he says), "The best structure for equipping every Christian is already in place. It predates the seminary and the weekend seminar and will outlast both. In the New Testament no other nurturing and equipping is offered than the local church. In the New Testament church, as in the ministry of Jesus, people learned in the furnace of life, in a relational, living, working and ministering context."
     
  20. Mark Osgatharp

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    Amen, Brother Vaughn. The church is, according to Paul, "the fulness of him that filleth all in all." Here is a excerpt from an article about the church I wrote for THE PILLAR magazine several years ago:

    Mark Osgatharp
     

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