The following article, which appeared last January in Theology Today, is reprinted here with permission. We also asked two pastors and two seminary presidents to respond to its ideas.
To speak of the relationship of the "seminary" to the "church" is to reveal a conceptual canker on the church today. For the seminary is as much the church as the local congregation. As near to the church as smoke to flame, to position the "seminary" against the "church" is to position the seminary against itself. The academy and the chapel are part of the same whole-the body of Christ. They need each other, for the church is incomplete when either is missing.
The most prominent feature of theological education today is the rediscovery of the congregation. For the past forty years, and indeed ever since seminaries breathed the air of biblical criticism, the body of Christ has not been fully united. Various organs of that body, the mind (theological seminaries) and the heart (koinonia congregations), have each ...1