This blog post is really unfinished, but I posting it as is. Maybe we can flesh it out later.
CERTAIN PRESUPPOSITIONS I HAVE
1. The Inspiration of Scripture - all scripture is given by God and is therefore the place we find our instructions.
2. The Great Commission of Matthew 28:18-20 is a command to be fulfilled by local assemblies of believers (i.e., local Baptist churches).
3. The local church is by definition and purpose a gathering of baptized saints committed to carrying out the work of Christ.
4. New Testament examples - consistent examples are authoritative.
SOME ASSUMPTIONS OF SEMINARY
1. That the churches are not fully equipped to train their ministers.
2. That an education based on secular patterns and learning styles is preferable to “being educated at church.”
3. That one having an accredited degree is more qualified to teach God’s people than one having only a spiritual gift.
4. Training for “the ministry” is of greater importance than training for “ministry”.
We should have at least a right to question a system that was non-existent in the apostolic age.
The same body that evangelizes and baptizes should also teach.
Religious education is by the church and for the church (Matt 28:18-20).
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).
Studying the scriptures exhibits nobility (Acts 17:11) and approves us unto God (II Tim. 2:15).
The church as God’s “seminary” recognizes the giftedness of the entire church body rather than somehow implying an exclusivity of the eldership.
The church as God’s “seminary” recognizes their authorization to teach by Christ and uses the body He authorized.
Are college professors or pastors best qualified to train pastors?
Pastoral ministry should not be equated as a profession as the legal or medical professions.
THINGS THAT NEED TO BE RETHOUGHT IN REGARD TO THE SEMINARY MODEL
1. What studies are really necessary for pastors?
2. Where does the example of plurality of elders fit?
3. Why must a religious education cost so much?
4. Should potential pastors been taken out of the life and concerns of their local church?
5. Why do we need the classroom setting? examinations? degrees?
If seminaries are sincere, 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 as a constant source for education and preachers.
In the local church, we never finish our education and never receive a degree.
In addition to theology, hermeneutics, in the church we learn necessary lessons of interdependence, inter-relatedness, self-denial, longsuffering, meekness, kindness, and love.
“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.