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Do We Still Need Seminaries?

Reports of declining seminaries raise many questions about the future of the church.

I graduated from seminary 12 years ago. At the time it seemed like seminary, or some kind of post-graduate theological education, was expected for those pursuing pastoral ministry. But after graduating and entering the "real (church) world," I discovered how few of my peers suffered through courses on Greek, Hebrew, systematic theology, hermeneutics, or ethics. This was especially true of pastors under 40. What I found instead were quite a few with undergraduate degrees in Bible or ministry, and a number with no formal training at all. Their informal theological reading or mentoring was their only preparation for leading a church apart from their success in the marketplace.

We all know how difficult it can be to carve out the time/funding for education once you are working and supporting a family. But what surprised me about many of these younger pastors was their complete lack of interest in seminary. "Why would I want to go to a cemetery?" one said to me. He was getting all of the ministry ...

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