This is a tough one. These days it’s thought to be a pretty funny rip in a sermon to make fun of Seminary by accidentally calling it, “Cemetery.”
Ah, Ha, Ha, Ha Ha!
Wheeew. Get it?
Man that was funny. Or, maybe not. I’ve used this joke a time of two. Because I’m kinda double-minded about it myself.
On the one hand, the teaching and the skills and wisdom, training and application you receive at a good seminary are priceless.
On the other hand, why do thousands upon thousands of seminary graduates all over the world, leave after several years with absolutely no passion for ministry? What happened to them in there? Do we need to send a spiritual swat team and have them extracted before it’s too late? What’s going on? What kind of spiritual monster sucks the heart out of a person yet leaves the brain fully intact?
Then again, we can’t forget real life testimonies like that of the apostle Paul who (although being a “Pharisees of Pharisees”) studied and trained for years ‘after’ his Damascus road experience. And I’m not just talking about opening the Torah for quiet time. I’m talking about a (dare I say it?) a seminary type experience.
Most scholars agree that the time Paul spent in Arabia immediately after his conversion was a time for intellectual and theological readjustment—to reflect, retrain and relearn (correctly) what he thought he’d known inside and out (the Torah). Re. W. Briggs -The University of Chicago press-
The apostle Paul?!
Why on earth would he need that?
Because he took this charge seriously! He knew he had a lot of knowledge as a top religious leader and teacher, even so, he missed the truth that was right in front of him. He therefore took study and training very seriously from an entirely new perspective. He could have met every argument to his qualifications with a simple response something like this;
Hey, have YOU ever had a bright light nearly blind you while a thunderous voice from heaven knocked you to your knees, followed by God almighty telling you what to do in an audible voice?! Huh?! Have you?! Have you had a Damascus road experience?! I don’t see that on your resume, pal. So zip it!
Instead, Paul combined study and godly training with the experience of a heavenly call.
I don’t see this combination a lot today.
Pastors either hail seminary as a must for everyone or brush it off as a waste of time for most.
Tomorrow I’ll share my thoughts on it.