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.