The Unbiblical Seminary-Bible College System

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by Link, Jan 22, 2006.

  1. Link

    Link
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    Ray wrote,

    **Yes, you are correct in your mind. And then why don't you wear sandals like the apostles in the first century? Scripture never has told us what kind of atire to wear; maybe you should wear a rough cloth robe because that is in the Bible, **

    The New Testament does not give us a list of things we are supposed to wear. It does show us the type of men the apostles appointed and lists the qualifications for being a church overseer. We can see the method the apostles used to train other people, and emulate them. Paul told the Corinthians to follow him as he followed Christ. Paul wrote to follow the traditions that he had left. So why should we come up with unbiblical methods for training leaders, or even worse, _require_ that someone jump through unbiblical hoops to be a leader. What is even worse than that is allowing Biblically unqualified people to be overseers because they have a degree, and rejecting or ignoring the Biblically qualified because they did not follow the clergy career path.

    In the O.T. Scripture people who loved the Lord went to the school for the prophets. You will find this Scriptural with a little research.

    School for the prophets, Bible College and seminary seem very much in line with the way it should be.

    I have read this claim many times, but have never found any good scriptural evidence for it, even when I looked up the verses. Maybe there is something in the original Hebrew you can share with me. I can see that a company of prophets lived together in Elijah’s day. It can be inferred perhaps that some younger prophets, or perhaps even prophets in training served the older prophets. But I can’t find any evidence for a ‘school’ in the modern sense of the word.

    If Elijah and Elisha’s story are evidence that older prophets trained the younger ones, then notice it would be more like a father-and-son relationship between individuals and not an impersonal classroom set-up like we see in a university. In the Bible, we see that Jesus took His disciples with Him and taught them. They learned not only His doctrine, but His way of life. Paul did something similar with Timothy. He probably did something similar with the elders of the church in Ephesus, considering the amount of time he spent with them.

    This kind of training should take place, as we see in scripture:
    1. In the church community.
    2. On journeys as mature itinerant ministers take less mature helpers with them.

    This is Biblical ministry training. I am for education and not against it, and I believe that it is important for the church to have Greek and Hebrew scholars. However, I believe we should be teaching and training all the necessary knowledge to be a church elder in the church community. It is the responsibility of the church, the elders of the church, and itinerant ministers (apostles in some cases) to train up ministers under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The local church should not give up this responsibility and let seminaries take it over.

    Another concern I have after spending some time on Brother Thurman’s email list is that it seems a lot of seminaries only teach enough Greek and Hebrew to be dangerous. A lot of seminary graduates repeat Christian mythology about the Greek language that is not true. They have a naïve notion that they can extract doctrines based on Greek verb forms etc., when it is not the case. When I got a chance to meet Dr. Thurman in person after corresponding with him through years on the ‘net, he shared his concerns that many seminary graduates and even professors he had interacted with did not really know the language.

    I am no Greek or Hebrew scholar. I did study Linguistics and have studied about 8 languages or so. A lot of the doctrinal arguments I hear based on verb tenses, etc. seem extremely fishy to me. If I email Brother Thurman about these things, he can often show counter-examples to show that these doctrines are bogus.

    Seminary System Promotes Hiring Unqualified Men

    Let’s face it. The modern seminary system for appointing leaders does not line up with scripture. Nowadays, a lot of churches hire ‘youngers’ right out of Bible college or seminary for church leadership positions (sometimes lower level ones, but positions of leadership non-the-less.) The way to get into the job is to go to school. If you want to be an engineer, you borrow or dip into the family savings to go to college. When you graduate, you expect to make a certain salary to pay back your loans or recoup the family investment. You go to school, get the degree, and then you get the job. The seminary/Bible college system has done the same thing.

    Is that the way it was in the Bible? No. Did the apostles go to school to be apostles? No, they were discipled to be apostles. Paul was ‘discipled’ and taught in rabinnical training, and later the Lord spiritually discipled him.

    Did Paul open seminaries? Did he go to the churches he had planted in Asia Minor the second time and tell them, “I am going to send away to Jerusalem Bible college to ask them to send you a young man fresh out of the new Jerusalem seminary to come be your pastor.” No, such a man would not have met the qualifications. He would not have been an ‘elder’ for one thing, since he was so young, and he probably would not have demonstrated his fatherly abilities at that age.

    Look at the list of requirements in I Timothy 3 and Titus 1? How could someone meet up to those qualifications? Was it by going to a seminary? No, it wasn’t. He did have to know doctrine. He learned that by spending time with the apostles or others who had heard them, learning from them. He got that by reading the holy scriptures as well, and by being open to the Spirit. The other qualifications come over time from following God. An overseer learned to pastor the flock of God by first ruling his own house well. He did not learn it by going to 5 classes on pastoral ministry to fulfill his core curriculum.

    Professional Ministry

    Was the first century elder a professional minister? Did he earn his living from the Gospel? Probably not, at least not before he was appointed, that is. He had experience ruling his house well, so obviously he had figured out a way to supply for and feed his family.

    Nowadays, schools churn out people with no marketable job skills to be career preachers. They start off, generally, unBiblically qualified to be overseers in the church due to their lack of life experience leading a house and raising a family. Some Bible college graduates have no experience holding down a full-time job. I know there are many, many exceptions to this, and there are qualified men who go back to seminary before going into ministry.

    I read an article by a theology professor who worked as a missionary. He says in spite of scripture and what research on church multiplication indicates, many church leaders on missionary fields send young people who look like they have a lot of potential to Bible college to be leaders. What he has found is that church growth is better when you take regular godly men in the congregation, teach them to teach their own families well, and churches multiply more rapidly this way. This should not be surprising since it sure sounds a lot like what Paul was doing. Why should we deviate from the scriptural pattern on this issue?

    I am not against the young ministering. I am for it. I believe we should all use our gifts. God could even make a young man an apostle, who ends up appointing elders. But the word ‘elder’ implies that the elder is older. The apostles appointed elders in churches, not youngers. I Timothy 5 and I Peter 5 both imply that elders are older. Peter addressed the elders of the church, and then said likewise ye younger submit yourselves unto the elder, implying that elders were older, if the word ‘presbuteros’ does not convince you by its literal, inherent meaning.

    The modern pastor simply does not show up in scripture. In the Bible, we see the apostles appointing elders, a plurality of them, appointed as overseers in every church. In many modern churches, we see the one-man pastorate or a senior pastor heading up other hired ministers. The modern pastor is a hired religious professional. The overseers the apostles appointed where appointed FROM WITHIN their own local churches. They grew up into their role in the local church. The modern pastor is, typically, a hired professional brought in from outside the community where he is to pastor. It is just a completely different system altogether.

    Just think, if we had all of our posters in pulpits preaching and teaching different kinds of error.***
    Some of our posters went to seminary. If you think seminary prevents error, I think you are naïve. If you think about it, you will probably agree that Bible college and seminary can perpetuate and institutionalize error. Also, it can be a seedbed for new error. How many liberal pastors who do not believe the Bible did NOT go to seminary. Didn’t they learn their error in seminary?

    ***serious minded pastors take time to learn the language. That is why Protestantism has a lot of preachers who just got saved and are out preaching the Gospel in store front churches. I am sure they do some good but Bible scholars they are not. That is why the epistles say, in affect 'lay your hands suddenly on no man.' A period of study should be required in all denominations.

    The epistle says to lay hands on no man suddenly. The man must live up to the Biblical qualifications, not the extra-Biblical ones. We need to be training and teaching leaders—in our churches!

    I think the problem with this phenomon is the strange idea that being a preacher is the same thing as being an overseer in a church. Many churches have this idea that if someone is ‘called to preach’ he should be a pastor, and all other ministry besides pastor is not all that important. So someone who is gifted to teach or evangelize, even while spiritually young, or who just loves God, is pushed into the preacher role.

    One of the main reasons for this is because of a bad paradigm. In the Bible, church ministry was to be shared among the various members of the body of Christ. In fact, in church meetings, we don’t read about one ‘pastor’ preaching a sermon. Rather, we read instructions on how the members of the body of Christ are to take turns speaking to edify the body in an orderly manner. Paul was pleased with the idea of ‘all’ prophesying in a church meeting, if it were done properly. This is very different from many modern churches where if one wants to use a speaking gift in the big church meeting, he almost has to be behind the pulpit. Non pulpit spoken ministry in the meetings is restricted to testimonies in some churches that still have this. In some churches that allow the gifts to function more, it is restricted to testimonies, tongues, interpretations, and prophesying.

    This whole clergy system mess is tied up with the idea that only the church leader can give a long discourse on Sunday, and the rest of the body is supposed to sit there as spectators. Spectator church is not what I see in I Corinthians 14. People who grow up with spectator church, who think that only the preacher can talk, if they have a speaking gift, may feel compelled to become ‘preachers.’ So they become clergymen even if they are not qualified or gifted to be overseers.

    The modern Bible college and seminary system, the way it is often implemented, often gives us leaders who are not really Biblically qualified as overseers. Because we have this class of religious professionals in leadership, many churches do not think to expect brethren from within their own number to mature to the role of overseer. Why should pastors expect this? They got in their role through getting a degree, so why should they be looking to train up men according to the Biblical pattern? Unless they have a paradigm shift, they expect new leaders to come from among those who followed the clergy career track and got a degree. Church ‘elder’ has been redefined to be a church board member who does not pastor. In many cases, those who are spiritually qualified for the role are overlooked because they have not been labeled as clergymen.

    I know there are exceptions. Historically ‘revivalist’ type churches, like Baptists and Pentecostals tend to be some of the most likely to have grass roots leaders going into leadership. And in some churches, those who have proved themselves in local church ministry over the years end up going to seminary and becoming leaders. There are exceptions to my broad generalizations.
     
  2. Jim1999

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    I have an old Chev truck in the front garden. It takes me somewhere and brings me back. The above post takes me nowhere and leaves me there. May God have mercy on his congregation.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  3. Link

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    The point is not to come back to where you came from. The somewhere to go is a return to Biblical eldership.
     
  4. pinoybaptist

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    You have started a very interesting topic, Link. Keep it up.
    Also, and I don't know if this was discussed in your post, I haven't had time to read it completely, just skimmed it for now, (preparing to go to church), Bible seminaries and colleges church out colleges that parrot their particular kind of doctrine, their particular kind of confusion, and their particular kind of hatred (labeled doctrinal disagreement).
    The president of the Bible College I graduated from in the Philippines hated Election, Calvin, and John Mc'Arthur (not necessarily in that order)so much he would literally turn beet red when talking about the evils of election.
    My class, not too many at the time, graduated with that kind of animosity towards those who hold to the doctrine of Election - until I heard Mc'Arthur preach on it, and then Dr. James Montgomery Boice !
     
  5. pinoybaptist

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    [​IMG]
     
  6. D28guy

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    Link,

    Who says a Bible College isnt part of "the church community"?

    Personally, if I were to ever decide to go that route, I would avoid seminaries like the plague and find a bible college or something of that sort.

    But I sort of agree with the point you are making. I have seem many times churchs where their are many "regular folk" in a fellowship...just born again people living in the goodness of Gods fullness...who seem to be much more qualified to be the Pastor of that fellowship then the one serving in that role.

    I have a friend who "graduated" from seminary. (might be better to say he "survived" seminary) He told told me that in many classes he remembered the nonsense he was forced to learn just long enough to pass the class...then he discarded it all forever.

    Grace and peace,

    Mike
     
  7. tamborine lady

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    God bless you Link! I am in agreement with you. Most peole when they do go to seminary are taught a particular brand of relighion. Yet there are times when a layman can out preach them any day, because the Layman was taught by the Holy Ghost and not by man.

    glory,

    Tam
     
  8. Helen

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    I think it should be mentioned that Paul, first of all, was a Pharisee, which means he was HIGHLY educated in the Scriptures (as well as other matters). Luke was a physician. That requires a lot of education. The disciples were all Jews and thus they had been through their bar mitzvah's, which means they had been educated in their Scriptures...

    And these people already KNEW the language of the Scriptures!

    A little education for us is not such a bad thing...especially when we are so far removed from both the language and culture of the time.
     
  9. tamborine lady

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    [​IMG]

    Galations 1-15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace,
    16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
    17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.
    18 Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.


    You will notice that Paul was schooled in the Jewish religion, but when Jesus called He(Jesus) taught him through the Holy ghost everything he needed to know!

    Then, he went to see Peter.

    Selah,

    Tam
     
  10. Chemnitz

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    Sounds like somebody who doesn't know what they are talking about or didn't have a good experience.
    I cannot speak for other schools but my sem. included the pastoral letters in determining acceptance and graduation.
    The professors at my seminary did know Greek and Hebrew and the ones for whom it is not a strong suit relied on the knowledge of those who were strong in their knowledge. Several of my profs no longer used english translations, their skills in language are so strong.
    But I have noticed a strong anti-intellectualism current in American Evangelical and Charismatic Churches, so I can't say this thread surprises me.
     
  11. JamesBell

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    Well, the Bible doesn't tell me that I need to brush my teeth, so I better stop doing it.

    The Bible never even comes close to telling me to change the oil in my car, so it must be wrong to do it.

    The Bible never says we should use hymnals in church, so we better stop.

    The Bible doesn't say we can use the internet to discuss Biblical issues, so we better shut down this forum!

    Or, maybe we can all understand that things are different now than they were then. God never changes, but people do. Thus, it takes a broad understanding or people, now and in Biblical times, to even come close to being able to call yourself a qualified pastor. And, I know of no better way than to go to a Bible college or Seminary to learn these things. We need to know the languages that the Bible was written in before we can ever hope to escape the bias of man, and these schools give people that ability. We need to ensure our pastors have a solid foundation of Biblical knowledge, not the skewed information that many men have, and Bible colleges can help in that area. Is there a bias taught in Bible colleges? Of course there is. Of course, there is a bias when I read the Bible. Funny, I can read a passage and a Catholic can read it, and we will see it in two different lights. So, we seek out schools that have come to the same conclusion as we have on the big issues, and remember that the Bible is the final authority on all issues. Once we have that understanding, school can only help make us the person God wants us to be.

    I guess I just see it differently. I would personally love to see EVERY Christian attain a graduate level degree in theology. I can only dream of the changes we would see in the way Christians would be able to present the arguments for our faith.
     
  12. Jim1999

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    Some people use their lack of learning to target those who dare to get all the education possible to better advance the cause of Christ.

    There are, however, enough helps available to-day that one does not have to be proficient in either Greek or Hebrew, and many a man has served well as pastor with a Bible College education.

    All I am saying is don't knock all education in the service of the Lord.

    Cheers,

    Jim
     
  13. billwald

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    I was a "good" Baptist until I went to Bible college. Every problem looks like a nail when all you have is a hammer.
     
  14. gb93433

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    Some people are willing to get all the training and education they can in an effort to serve God the best way they know how. They take their passion seriously before God. They take preparation seriously rather than making people their experiment. They learn all they can first.

    Perhaps some secular societies take temporal things more seriously than Christians do with eternal things. What God proclaims is of eterenal value? So let's get it right and not mislead people down a wrong road.

    The world requires a certain amount of training to help people be proficient. Yet so many Chrisitans expect so little of themselves. Some are willing to listen to ignorance from the pulpit and yet would not even think of going to a doctor who has had no training. Doesn't that seem to express what so many Christians think of the importance of the eternal and temporal.

    There have been a few times when people have tried to build a home and then call me once they get in over their head. When I gave them the price which was more than if they had not done anything they wonder why. It is harder to patch some else's work than it is to start freah and do it right the first time.

    Some practice old saying, "It's amazing how we never have time to do it right the first time but we always got time to do it over again."

    Some Christians are like concrete--all mixed up and permanently set.

    Over the years I have seen people who have been taught ignorance and it is hard to undo. At first they may not trust you and question what is right. When they begin to trust you they throw away the past which may have parts that are good. If they were taught right the first time there would be none of that.
     
  15. gb93433

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    It is true everywhere in general. Parents do not require their kids to work and earn money. They give them a car and many other things except one thing--responsibility.
     
  16. Link

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    Just to clarify for those who apparently only read the subject line.

    I am IN FAVOR OF education. I believe the churches should be doing a lot more of that, including teaching Greek and Hebrew.

    Someone made the point that they considered seminaries to be a part of the church community. But what about the actual churches themselves? Why aren't the leaders churches that depend on seminaries training up new leaders? Why do they need a seminary? If the early churches could operate by existing leaders training future leader, why can't the churches operate that way?

    And if churches do operate that way, other churches bound by the traditional concept that leaders much go to seminary sometimes do not completely acknowledge the man who was educated and trained within his own church.

    And what about ethical considerations. If the seminary is a part of the church community, can you imagine a church that charged to train up new leaders? Could you imagine if Paul said to Timothy, "I will train you to be a church leader, but you have to pay me 50 dinarii every year?" Seminaries charge tuition. How is that a biblical wa to train up leaders?
     
  17. Ray Berrian

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    My two grandfathers I doubt graduated from high school and yet each had a trade, as they used to say, plus they were among two of the most godly men I have ever met. Both knew their Bible very well. On my fathers side--he was a very nervous person but you could ask him a question about God's Word and he could explain the meaning. Why? Because he depended on the Holy Spirit. He was a member of the Church of the Nazarene.

    As to my mother's father--he was a Class leader in the Free Methodist Church and taught S.S. He was very patient and I never heard a swear word come out of his mouth. Both men loved Jesus and had daily devotions in their homes.

    As a side bar, when he led a Class meeting they would start in the front of the church and ask each person to give their testimony as to what the Lord meant to them or how He helped them through the past week. If a person had unconfessed sin, he or she would tap the person next to them and would not give their spiritual progress report. He asked each person to give their testimony. I used to sit in the back of the church and though I was saved at eleven years old, I had to plan my testimony to be heard by all. Talk about being nervous!! Then after this Class meeting, he taught S.S. and after that was Divine worship when the pastor preached his weekly sermon. That's they way it used to be in the old days. As you can see I have been very blessed.

    Other great men of God I met were in Bible College and in three different seminaries. They too were lead of the Spirit and taught me a lot of wonderful Christian theology and explained passages from the Bible that were difficult to understand.

    In all cases, each man gave me something that made me a better man--and a better man of God.

    I have learned things from my godly heritage and from the disciplined men who earned their Th.D. degrees. They too were men who were and remain--lead and taught of the Holy Spirit of God.
     

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