One of the encouraging signs of our time is the healthy growth of evangelical seminaries, both in number of students and quality of preparation for ministry. The CHRISTIANITY TODAY-Gallup Poll revealed that clergy under 30 years of age are significantly more conservative in theology and personal ethics (though not in political and social views) than clergy aged 30 to 50, and somewhat more conservative than clergy over 50. The old adage again proves true: As goes the seminary today, so goes the church tomorrow. Churches with an eye to history will create and support the right kind of seminaries—those that prepare men and women for a ministry committed to Christ and to the authority of Scripture. Those that ignore their seminaries, either by failure to support them adequately or through indifference to the kind of preparation provided, must be prepared to suffer the consequences.
Some evangelicals keep on a short tether the doctrine of their schools for ministry. Others insist upon a high quality of academic and professional preparation. Here is a case in which it is important to do the one but not to leave the other undone: both are essential. Unless a seminary preserves its doctrinal integrity, it sows the seeds of destruction for the future of the church. But unless it also provides solid professional education of high quality, the church is cheated. In this issue Douglas Rumford spells out for us what churches have a right to demand of the products of their seminaries. Frank Gaebelein argues for the importance of the love for truth and the nourishment of the life of the mind—for every Christian and even more so for the Christian minister. John R. W. Stott warns in Cornerstone that the intellectual cannot be isolated from the whole person. Faith, spiritual life, and a deep sense of mission are all necessary. Finally, on the same theme, Carl F. H. Henry offers some fatherly advice to seminarians—and to the churches that support them.
To provide variety, Lauren King destroys our spiritual comfort by probing the nature of an antique virtue—personal holiness. John Stott cites in an article the importance of the Bible—even an inerrant Bible—for evangelism; and staff member Tom Minnery discusses homosexuality with some frank suggestions as to how the church can best address this problem.
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