What’s Wrong With Seminary?

Allen Michael Rea | Pastor
Dunn Memorial Baptist Church, Baxley, GA

People are never without their opinions, especially when it comes to the way churches should function. Opinions without biblical support are nothing more than selfish desires. I find this true in the realm of preparation for pastors. It has been my experience that many pastors without seminary training see no need for training, and some even see those with training as sub-spiritual. On the opposite side, those who have been blessed to receive the training see it as indispensable. Do seminaries “ruin” potential pastors? I have witnessed a few pastors that seminary could have protected from ruin. The error comes in the arena of pride, which often coincides with laziness. Are some pastors too prideful to admit they need preparation or just to lazy to do it? Or both? [Note: I am NOT suggesting that failure to graduate from seminary disqualifies one from ministry.]

Pastors are a strange lot. (It is perfectly acceptable for me to critique them since I am one.) Church members are not without their strange ways. Many churches, and consequently church members, do not even know what to look for when it is time to seek out a pastor. Churches seem to be careless when it comes to the realm of biblical preparation. Churches do not feel the need to hold pastors accountable, because they are afraid that the pastor many actually hold them accountable. We are ALL under the authority of the Word of God. We are ALL commanded to study it (2 Timothy 2:15). The Judgment Seat of Christ will hold ALL pastors accountable for what they have said behind the Sacred Desk, the pulpit. Do not sit there and listen to unbiblical filth. If you tolerate such error, you are no better than the one preaching it. Pastors have a high calling. A high calling demands strict and disciplined preparation.

What’s wrong with seminary? Nothing, so long as it upholds the Word of God as infallible, inerrant, and sufficient. A correct view of the Word of God will keep one from all error. All seminaries are not good, and not all seminary graduates will make biblical pastors. Nevertheless, odds are if a man cannot tolerate preparation, then he is not willing to do the weekly work of “rightly dividing the Word of Truth.”

What about you? Have you been to “seminary”? Do you rise early and stay up late with the Bible open? Can you recognize error when you hear it? The Bible is a two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). It cuts to kill and heal. Perhaps we should stop questioning seminaries and start questioning the calibre of men that are in the pulpits. It is highly unlikely that an unprepared man can prepare his sheep.