Friday, March 17, 2006

Full Seminaries Empty Pulpits

I know this is somewhat beyond the scope of puritanism; however, I trust this is in the puritan spirit. The NY Times Online today has an interesting article entitled "Students Flock to Seminaries, but Fewer See Pulpit in Future." Neela Banerjee states, "Across the country, enrollment is up at Protestant seminaries, but a shrinking portion of the graduates will ascend the pulpit. These seminarians, particularly the young ones, are less interested in making a career of religion than in taking their religion into other careers."

Although the article focuses mostly on mainline seminaries, I suspect the same is true of evangelical and reformed seminaries. Obviously, not everyone who studies divinity/theology will go into the ministry. Let me be clear, this is a very good thing: the prospect of a growing body of theologically astute laity is encouraging. However, the level of biblical illiteracy seems to be increasing not decreasing in our culture and churches. As our puritan forebears frequently emphasized, "How are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!...Faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the word of Christ (Rom 10:14-15, 17)."

Folks, where have all the preachers gone? Thoughts?


Tolle, Blogge said...

And the correlate of this problem is that those who chose not to enter the ministry because of a loss of faith, disaffection with "instituional religion," or general lack of direction are the ones who all too often end up in academia, teaching religion in seminaries or universities.

John W. Tweeddale said...

That's why I am exceedingly grateful to God for the opportunity that I had to sit under the faculty at RTS Jackson. These men have a robust and unapologetic love for biblical truth wedded with an earnest passion for the upbuilding of the church and global extension of the gospel. They are first-class pastor-theologians. And I pray for more men like this. I am encouraged by the quality of faculty and students in seminaries in the USA like RTS, Covenant, Westminster, Southern, Cordon-Conwell, Trinity, etc, and in the UK in 'seminaries' like the Free Church College, Highland Theological College, Oak Hill College, London Theological Seminary, etc.

John W. Tweeddale said...

The good folks at the reformation21 blog have picked up this theme. Check it out.


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