Who Trains the Shepherds?

This is excellent: http://www.baylyblog.com/2010/10/the-academy-the-seminary-the-church-and-terminal-degrees.html#more

I especially appreciated this part:

The academy has taken over the Reformed church and needs to be pushed back to being a servant, rather than a master. And its service needs to be circumscribed to the end that, once its overreaching has been disciplined, it doesn’t have an easy time taking back lost ground.

The first necessary act of discipline is to reclaim for the church the training of shepherds. The academic model has utterly failed. It turns out men whose basic orientation is to avoid conflict. Not to be too hard on seminaries, though; this is only what academic institutions are ordered to produce. We shouldn’t be harsh on them for doing what they’re made to do.

The academy in its current manifestation is set up to manufacture men committed to being good disciples (of their profs) who will be hired by good colleges and universities…where, upon arrival, they won’t make asses of themselves in a way that reflects poorly on the school where they got the terminal degree. Similarly, seminaries are set up to manufacture men committed to being good disciples (of their profs) who will be hired by good churches where, upon arrival, they won’t make asses of themselves in a way that reflects poorly on the seminary where they got the M.Div. If seminaries turned out men like the Apostle Paul, how long would they stay in business?

So, the preparation and training of pastors must be reclaimed by the church where the men will learn their disciplines (which must be learned) in the context of the church and her community life and soul-care. There, elders and pastors will be their teachers and one of the first lessons will be having faith to engage in conflict–what Scripture calls “admonishment,” “rebuke,” and “silencing” evil men in the congregation’s midst who are disrupting entire families (emphases added).

I’m not sure if we should necessarily throw out the baby with the bathwater. As well, there may be other factors involved–if an educational institution is committed to a biblical militancy and consistent separatism from unbelief and compromise, that will greatly aid the future pastor. But history clearly demonstrates that that the esprit of militancy is usually first to go, followed by a dulling of separation in both personal and ecclesiastical aspects.

HT: Ryan Martin via Facebook

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Author: Dan Greenfield

I am an undeserving sinner saved by God's grace through Jesus Christ, a happy husband, proud father of 6 great kids, pastor of Orwell Bible Church, Executive Secretary of the American Council of Christian Churches, and member of the Ohio Bible Fellowship .

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