What are good reasons to go to seminary?

Discussion in 'Seminaries, Colleges & Education' started by Joseph Knowles, Mar 15, 2019.

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  1. Joseph Knowles

    Joseph Knowles Puritan Board Freshman

    For starters, I'm not presently in a position to actually go to seminary due to family and work obligations. I might be able to do it in the future, thus this thread. I'm not really asking about the financial aspect at this point. My first obligation will always be to provide for my wife and children.

    Now then . . .

    It seems to me that, although it is not a requirement, those called to preach should at least consider attending seminary. So I think the vast majority of people would probably say that those who want to preach and want to do it well have a good reason to seek seminary training. I don't consider that I've been called to preach.

    I do, however, enjoy teaching and I have regular opportunities to do so at my church (presently SBC), mostly in our adult Bible study (a.k.a, Sunday School) classes. I also just really enjoy learning, and over the past several years have done considerably more Bible reading and reading of theological books than before. I realize that most seminaries offer degrees for those who are not pursuing pastoral ministry, but for some reason I feel hesitant about my own desire for learning being a "good enough" reason to pursue formal seminary education.

    Can anyone offer any advice to help me think through this?
  2. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    In the late '60s/early '70s it was a good way to dodge the draft. Which helps explain the current state of the mainline churches.

    But I don't think that is what you are asking.
  3. Johnathan Lee Allen

    Johnathan Lee Allen Puritan Board Freshman

    I think every person should be educated to some degree. Even a basic overview coming by way of a certificate. I’d recommend checking out seminaries that offer shorter degrees or certifications. I think Mid-America Reformed, Puritan Reformed, and Greenville Presbyterian all offer things for what you’re looking for.
  4. John Yap

    John Yap Puritan Board Freshman

    I concur with taking some online courses at say PRTS to try it out. Talk to your elders as well.
  5. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritan Board Doctor

    Unless you are planning to go into pastoral ministry, doing a seminary course is probably not a good use of money. You may, as indicated, be able to do online courses at a variety of bricks-and-mortar or online seminaries.
  6. Joseph Knowles

    Joseph Knowles Puritan Board Freshman

    What prodded me to think in this direction was a friend who mentioned The North American Reformed Seminary and my later finding Puritan Reformed Biblical Seminary (where a friend of a friend is one of the faculty mentors). Both are free, online options and since I don't see myself applying for any ministry jobs where the accreditation of a degree might be a problem, that's not an issue for me. I saw a few threads that mentioned those programs, but I wonder whether anyone has any more recent thoughts or experiences with them.
  7. Johnathan Lee Allen

    Johnathan Lee Allen Puritan Board Freshman

    Talk with that friend’s friend about it. I think this would be a perfectly reasonable option for someone not seeking vocational ministry. Any steps towards deepening your knowledge of the Scripture is positive.
  8. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    I'm a Bible student with my own curriculum, and thinking about the question, brings me to my experience before, and after, the M'Cheyne 1 year Bible reading plan. Before M'Cheyne I read the Bible cafeteria style. Favorite passages, wherever I felt like perusing. Five years ago, having read the Bible for decades, I read it cover to cover for the first time.

    What the M'Cheyne plan did was give me structure. I have no experience with online Seminary courses, but I think following through with one of them will do the same, give your studying structure, without which progress would probably be hit and miss.
  9. Johnathan Lee Allen

    Johnathan Lee Allen Puritan Board Freshman

    I felt the same way until did a 90 day Bible reading plan. It wasn’t for deep study but to see overall structure. I saw Scripture really “unlock” when I was using the Professor Horner reading plan.


    Not to high jack the thread! :)
  10. Joseph Knowles

    Joseph Knowles Puritan Board Freshman

    I completed the M'Cheyne plan last year and benefited from it tremendously. I think you make a good point about giving structure to our studies. It's not that one can't gain something from a scattershot approach, but something more focused and intentional will almost always yield longer-lasting and deeper results. So I can definitely see how that would apply to seminary as well.
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