What is seminary worth if I already have the Holy Spirit?
If Jesus can use illiterate fishermen to start His church, why do I need to go to seminary before starting ministry?
With so many digital and web-based theological resources, why go to seminary?
Maybe these are questions you’ve asked yourself recently. Sometimes this kind of opposition to seminary can seem like enough to dismiss a theological education. But I would argue that the questions “What is seminary, and why do I need it?” deserve a better answer than that. In the following sections, I will address three questions.
“What is seminary worth if I already have the Holy Spirit?”
I agree that the power and anointing of the Holy Spirit is a nonnegotiable for ministry. If fact, I would rather see a Spirit-filled person proclaim God’s word than a person with a seminary degree who is void of the Holy Spirit.
There is no doubt that God uses the total composition of a person’s life for ministry. Whatever past experiences and education you have become material that God can use in your life and ministry once you are redeemed. The seminary experience gives a person knowledge and skills that become tools in God’s hands.
“Why do I need to go to seminary if Jesus used illiterate fishermen?”
Yes, Jesus recruited illiterate fishermen to be his disciples. But they were not all illiterate and they were not all fishermen. That aside, the commitment to which Jesus called the twelve is expressed by Peter when he said, “Lord, we have left homes and families for you.” The twelve left everything and followed Jesus closely. Without a doubt, they had a more comprehensive seminary education than anyone else on earth.
When Jesus was done equipping the twelve, he filled them with the Holy Spirit before sending them to Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the uttermost parts of the earth. Seminary is similar: an intense time of equipping where one spends three years with Jesus. Then, the anointing of the Holy Spirit will provide the power for ministry.
“With so many digital and web-based theological resources, why go to seminary?”
There are many great resources today that were not available ten years ago. The problem is that there are almost too many. Anyone who can write a convincing blog can sound like an expert. Seminary training will not only show you how to access available resources, but also how to know if they are quality resources from credible sources. Additionally, our seminaries are incorporating digital and web-based content into the classroom so that students learn how to properly interact with these resources.
As a retired veteran, the military has taken me all around the world, and I have been a part of many churches. When a pastor has not been to seminary, their sermons often start to blend together. It is clear that the pastor’s theological well is only so deep, and running out of water is a constant threat. One notices that Sunday after Sunday, no matter the Scriptural starting point, the message always ends up at one of the pastors’ three or four favorite themes. The body of Christ needs solid food (Hebrews 5:14) and seminary training is one way for pastors to deepen their theological wells.
Another common theme among untrained pastors is shallow theology. People with little or no training tend to miss the point of the passages they preach. Instead, they focus on a keyword or a favorite theme while doing injustice to the depth of Scripture. If we truly believe that God communicates through the Scripture, we should pursue the training necessary to find the meaning God wants to communicate.
Seminary training is a time of equipping yourself, growing closer to Christ, and networking with like-minded men and women who are passionate about ministry. If you’re interested in seminary and want to discuss your options, reach out today!