Why you shouldn’t go to seminary

I am a full-time seminary student. And I have enjoyed my experience at Ashland Seminary. In fact God has used it to deepen my relationship with Him and my love and commitment to my faith community and the Church universal. I have met God in the pages of textbooks, in academic journal articles, in the struggle to learn the Hebrew language, in conversations with others on the journey, and in quiet moments of reflection as I wrestle with the inherent weight and responsibility and danger of knowledge.

Still I am not sold on all aspects of theological education. A friend of mine recently pointed me to a blog entry with the same title as this post. The author offers an honest critique of seminaries. I am linking the post here. Read the article then come back here to leave a comment.


5 thoughts on “Why you shouldn’t go to seminary

  1. Kyle says:

    I read the article and will probably go back and read some of the 44 comments left, hah, but i liked it. I don’t know if I can say i agree or disagree with everything he says, just because I know I’m not as knowledgeable as him and others on the subject. But I think he made some good points. And I do think I would be more likely to agree than disagree with him just because I feel universities are the same a lot of the time. I feel like that about my education at times…

  2. mark says:

    so in lieu of that blog post and their solutions to the shortcomings of seminary, i would like to propose that you begin guiding the staff (particularly me) in reading seminary level theology, as well as the discussions that greatly assist the learning process.

    p.s. you can add this to your list of job titles along with full time staffer, full time seminary student, full time husband and soon to be full time father. you teaching us theology is a nice thought though

  3. Jason says:

    Good stuff. I would love for this education to happen within our local church. Add it to your job description. Do we have a google doc for that?

  4. Emily says:

    Hey it’s Deuce :)

    I’m going to have to leave a very general and vague response with no examples because I don’t have time to procrastinate enough to be lengthy but:

    I disagreed with some of what he said, but I do strongly, strongly agree that there should be theological education readily available and taught in the Church. I think churches should be missional and theological educational places as well, much like what tried to be accomplished through the idea/purpose and reformations behind monasteries in the early Western church. This isn’t to say that seminaries or universities are unnecessary, but both sides (the church and educational institutions) need to both meet in the middle and help each other out, and really be there for each other. There’s too much separation, and too many misconceptions. The Gospel would be spread so much more effectively this way I believe for many different reasons. I also think false Gospels that are running around naked, specifically in the American church, would more readily be clothed and sent home to their parents if people were more informed. For instance, I think a lot of Christians today are subtle Marcionites and they’re oblivious to it.

    YET, I feel this is sadly way too idealistic and almost unrealistic due to many different factors.

  5. matthewjmcclure says:

    I am so encouraged by the discussion on this post. This is exactly what I hope for with this blog. Jason and Mark: nothing would bless my heart more than the privilege of teaching (and learning from) you. Emily: your post evidences your depth of reflection. I do agree that greater cooperation is necessary, as is a rediscovery of the Church as theological schoolhouse as much as mission outpost and worship facility. I fear we have settled for a small Gospel that does not call us into a life of perpetual transformation of the mind. And I fear we have unnecessarily dichotomized heart and mind in such a way that to engage the mind in the church is understood as an infringement upon the “heart” of the faith- the “more important” of the “two.” No matter the cause, you are right to say that the church needs to take seriously its calling to equip the saints (and not only in self-centered, spiritually self-indulgent “theology”).

    Thanks for all the comments. Keep them coming!

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