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

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

  1. RayMarshall19

    RayMarshall19 New Member

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    Dear go2church:

    I think your statement above is wonderfully honest. Thank you for making it.
     
  2. UZThD

    UZThD New Member

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    ==

    not I! I do think it is possible for one to informally acquire learnings and skills equal to an MDiv, but IMO that is unlikely to happen. I think an experienced pastor might be able to mentor in praxis, but few likely could do well in teaching OT and NT language and literature or a share a very comprehensive Systematic Theology.

    I wonder if the debate over Seminary vs Church education is not affected by an underlying difference of opinion over what skills and knowledge are really suitable for pastoral education.

    Bill
     
  3. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp New Member

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    The man who sees no need for formal seminary education has no obligation to defend his position. Those who say that there is something wrong with a pastor who declines seminary education should be able to offer proof for their dogmatism. Thus far no proof has been forthcoming; we have only heard unfounded slanders against those who won't jump on the seminary bandwagon and ridiculous claims that quality learning is somehow bound up in the formal educational system.

    Though I am under no obligation to offer reasons why I see no need for formal seminary education, I will glady do so. The reason I see no need for formal seminary education is that the Holy Spirit, working through the Scriptures and the local church, is able to prepare any man God calls for the ministry.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  4. Johnv

    Johnv New Member

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    The Holy Spirit is not a Microsoft update. There's no magic Java applet that instantly downloads "everything you need to know to be a pastor".

    While I agree that formal education is not a fix-all, it is by no means a stumbling block to a person desiring the pastorate, nor can it be in any way a hinderance to one's calling to be a pastor.
     
  5. DHK

    DHK <b>Moderator</b>

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    I can agree in part with this.
    First it does have Biblical support.

    Acts 14:22-23 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

    Paul, in three missionary journeys, established approximately 100 different churches. In those churches he ordained or appointed pastors to carry on the work. These men had no formal education. No doubt most of them would have had a Jewish background, been familiar with the Old Testament, and have been called of God to do so. They would rely on the Holy Spirit to "guide them into all truth," as they had to do more so in the first century, than now, when the Word of God was not complete. Today we have the completed Word of God.

    In mission work in third world countries, our work is very similar to Paul's. We travel, evangelize with good results, baptize believers, establish those baptized believers into local churches, and before we leave appoint one to be the pastor. There is no place for him to have an education. He must, out of necessity, depend on the Holy Spirit and his own study of the Word of God, gain the necessary insight in order to guide his flock. This happens again and again in many countries all over the world.

    Perhaps in more educated sophisticated societies, people will be more demanding on their pastors to be more educated, and demand of them to be seminary educated. Education is a good thing. It is rare in a western nation for a pastor to be without a college education. But in third world nations it is rare for a pastor to have a seminary degree.
    DHK
     
  6. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Paul, since I looked up Spurgeon's statement in order to quote it correctly, I was spurred to comment on commenting and commentaries on my blog Seeking the Old Paths. It might interest you.

    Looking back over my post at the top of the page, feel a need to clarify this statement: "I oppose any church which WILL NOT ordain a seminary educated man." In that I mean the church not ordaining a seminary educated man because he is a seminary educated man. That is not a proper objection. There are some seminary educated men to whose ordination someone should object.

    While in the clarifying business, I agree with go2church about artificial standards from a denomination. But I did also mean a local church should not create artificial standards. A difference would be that the local church body is autonomous and can do so without outside interference -- even though they would be wrong if their standard in unscriptural.

    Out of all the things written, I am surprised no one challenged the statement about seminaries working themselves out of a job -- 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.

    Instead of furthering the clergy/laity divide, I would love to see seminaries challenge and raise the bar for all church members. If the churches are not really equipped to train their people, how about seminaries taking an interest in rectifying this situation? Perhaps administrators, faculty and staff could offer to receive smaller salaries, perhaps even go "bi-vocational" if necessary. Then lower the tuition and campaign among the churches to send more laypeople there. And if such a vision were successful, could we not begin to end the cycle of seminary education and begin giving and receiving a full Christian education in our churches?

    Is interpreting the Bible, ministering, teaching, etc. for preachers only? If we train our preachers to properly interpret their Bibles without training the laity to do so, have we not de facto created little popes to whom the people must go for proper interpretation of the Bible, etc.?
     
  7. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp New Member

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    "God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise."

    And I might add, in every generation and in every culture.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  8. Paul33

    Paul33 New Member

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    It is my understanding that the average incoming seminary student has a very poor grasp of the Bible, especially the OT. Biblical illiteracy seems to be the norm, not the exception.

    The Apostle Paul could ordain Jewish converts who were well-versed in the OT. Seminaries seem to be necessary because many of those called do not know even the basics.

    Instead of indicting the seminaries, the churches need to take a hard look at why the great commission is so poorly carried out. We are failing in our task of teaching converts everything that Jesus taught his disciples.

    One more thing, just as churches are autonomous and can set whatever requirements they desire for a pastor, so can denominations. If a denomination (fellowship of churches) desires to raise the bar to require an M.Div., so be it.
     
  9. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp New Member

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    This discussion seems to be very similar to discussions about the "pre-tribuation rapture" theory. The pre-tribbers assume that their theory is true, preach it to high heaven, and then when someone challenges it that start grasping for "proof" of it.

    So with the pro-seminary advocates. They loudly assert the need of it, but when someone challenges their assertions they start grasping for "proofs" which really have no substance - they are just contrived justifications for the preconceived dogma.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  10. UZThD

    UZThD New Member

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    If the Holy Spirit without teachers will teach Timothy well enough, then why does Paul require Timothy to follow the teaching of Paul, and to see to it that all prospective elders know well Paul's didache?? I do not see in the NT that the Spirit teaches normative doctrine apart from the apostolic tradition. If I'm wrong, I'll be corrected, but it seems to me that men and women who know well the fixed Paradosis are required to teach.

    As we are now distanced from the apostolivc age by social and linguistic changes, IMO it is more difficult now to grasp the tradition than it was under apostolic tutoring. Perhaps this is one reason why IMO a seminary education is profitable instead of supposing that the Spirit will teach us all apart from trained teacher.

    EG:


    Once Dr. Radmacher(MA BJU, ThD DTS) who was President of Western Seminary for 25 years, explained to his SS class how he had worked so hard to exegete a passage: lexical work, syntactical work , and grammatical work. To his surprise after the class a woman came to him in tears.

    Earl asked her, "Why are you crying?"

    The dear woman replied, "I cry for you!! You work so very hard to know the meaning of Scripture, but I just rest in God. The Holy Spirit is my Teacher!!"

    So, Earl brought out his Greek Testament, and showing her a text said, "Well, if the Holy Spirit is your Teacher, then what does He tell that this text means?"

    "Oh, she said, that is not fair because I do not know Greek."

    Dr. Radmacher replied, "It is fair because the One whom you say teaches you does know Greek!"

    IMO our Paraclete requires of us that we learn to use as well as we can the procedures and tools for interpreting Scripture.

    But I am not saying that it is not possible for one without formal traing to learn this. Possible but not likely.

    [ January 31, 2006, 10:46 PM: Message edited by: UZThD ]
     
  11. rlvaughn

    rlvaughn Well-Known Member
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    Paul, there are denominations whose polity is such that they can set requirements for pastors. Since Baptist churches are autonomous, I don't see how the "Baptist denomination" could set any requirement. There are a few Baptists, including some Free Will Baptists, that have a connectional type setup. But these are a vast minority among the totality of Baptists.

    Paul, I definitely agree with this. When young men are entering seminary with the type of Biblical illiteracy you mention, it is time for churches to re-evaluate what they are doing (or not doing). When, for example, folks don't even comprehend that Abraham lived before Moses, I surely wonder what kind of teaching has been going on. Of course, some individuals need to share in the blame themselves for not taking opportunities they have been given. And some of this probably goes back to a problem of unregenerate church membership.

    But to suggest that "Seminaries seem to be necessary because many of those called do not know even the basics" seems to me to just further play into the problem -- especially if there is no intent to fix the problem. It's kind of like colleges having to teach remedial English and remedial math. I agree with you that there is a problem in the churches, and I further believe that the seminary system can serve to exacerbate the problem, whether deliberately or so I cannot tell. But it is in this -- the preachers are professionals. Let them go to seminary and learn how to interpret the Bible and come back and tell us what it means.
     
  12. DHK

    DHK <b>Moderator</b>

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    Perhaps. But do the foolish remain foolish?
     
  13. TomVols

    TomVols New Member

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    We're going in circles. I'm issuing the 24 hour notice. Let's wrap it up.
     
  14. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp New Member

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    By the way, what possible reason could you have to speak of "Paul' didache" rather than "Paul's teaching"? Is this the way you speak to your congregation?

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  15. Phillip

    Phillip <b>Moderator</b>

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    Don't I recall Paul spending some time "learning" before he took his missionary trips?
     
  16. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp New Member

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    No one has objected to learning. The objection is to the absurdity that quality learning cannot be had except in a seminary or college.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  17. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member
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    No one has objected to learning. The objection is to the absurdity that quality learning cannot be had except in a seminary or college.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Now to the practical: name a few who have done that.

    I've been down that road and could not find one pastor to help me learn Greek well enough and not one to help me learn Hebrew.
     
  18. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp New Member

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    Here is the attitude to which I object. go2church is, perhaps, more explicit in his stating of it, but it has been inherent in the pro-seminary/pro-college side of this discussion.

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  19. Kiffen

    Kiffen Member

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    I think, Dr. Mohler at Southern Seminary has said that if Churches were doing their job in education, there would be no need for Seminaries.

    I have heard many sermons given by fellas with M.Div, Th.d, that were so shallow and poorly presented that I believe a 16 year old in High School Speech class could have done better. I have also heard sermons by preachers who may have had only a High School education preach in great detail expositorily and feed you with the Word. Matter of fact, I know a Pastor with only a High School diploma who has without a doubt the most impressive Theological libray and Bible Software that I have ever seen.

    Let me state however, that if I had a 19-20 something year old answer the call to preach, I would strongly encourage him to go to seminary. I don't think any young person should say since Spurgeon or Carey, Gill didn't go to seminary I don't need it either.

    I think there is a balance. For too many years some Baptists attacked formal education and now it seems many Baptists want to professionalize the ministry and make it a requirement. Both sides represent extreme positions.
     
  20. gb93433

    gb93433 Active Member
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    I would recomemnd that a person get involved with the Navigators for about five years and make a few disciples first and then go to seminary.
     
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