“Thus, for the modern university and seminary, the wisest are those who can think most abstractly. The more they reduce reality to ideas, the greater their learning and status, and the deadlier the consequences for the church and for society. The quest for an impersonal abstraction is a quest for nothingness, and those who seek it become themselves nothing, and an encumbrance on society.”
~R. J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology, p. 109.
Following is a few extracts from Gary North’s article, The Problem with Seminaries.
So, you want to become a minister. First, however, you need training. You think you should go to seminary. A word of warning: seminaries are staffed by people who learned to write term papers in their teens or early twenties, and who then decided to parlay that peculiar skill into lifetime employment. Seminaries are not staffed by successful ex-pastors; successful pastors remain in the ministry. Seminaries are staffed by baptized college professors who chose to specialize in a field so obscure that no college has a sufficient number of students to make hiring them come close to paying off.
A Makeshift Institution
The seminary was invented in the early eighteenth century by a small group of Presbyterians who correctly concluded that the colleges of America had gone sour theologically and could therefore no longer be entrusted with the task of training ministers. This tiny band of men created what became known as “the Log College,” later known as Princeton Theological Seminary. They began this project in 1811, just before the War of 1812.
Note the date: the corruption in the American Church had already set in by 1811. But then again, after the shedding of much Christian blood to secede from Great Britain, it was a bunch of Unitarians, Collectivists and Deist lawyers who created the secularistic Constitution via deceit. Christians pay for secularistic victories, on the battlefield and in the publicly funded classroom.
You will hear no complaints regarding this situation by Our Loving Masters.
The seminary was a makeshift addition to American higher education because the established colleges, one by one and without exception, by the nineteenth century were becoming humanistic, i.e., Unitarian. They went Greek, in other words. I don’t mean Greek letter fraternities and sororities, a later development; I mean they went Greek. They became consistent with their classical presuppositions. They abandoned trinitarian theology as an unnecessary hypothesis. Then, in the years after the Civil War, they went Darwinist. They abandoned even the Unitarian god.
Another problem of the seminary has been that it is regarded as a place only for previously certified scholars. Seminaries required young men to go through the gauntlet of college before enrolling. After all, one supposedly needs educated ministers, i.e., men trained and then officially certified by God’s enemies. The pastor of 1830 was supposed to be a liberally educated person, meaning a man skilled in Attic Greek, Latin, mathematics (especially geometry), and classical history, and then — and only then — an expert in systematic theology.
Why should any Christian waste his time, learning about some God-hating, State-adoring pagan philosophy?
Even here, the dominant theological framework was that of Protestant scholasticism: a system based on the six loci of seventeenth-century theology, the Protestant response to the Aristotelianism of the scholasticism of the Counter-Reformation. And so it is today: theology proper, anthropology, Christology, soteriology, ecclesiology, and eschatology. A lot of “ologies,” but not much on evangelism. Not much on ethics, either. And what ever happened to creationism, biblical chronology, the covenant, and creeds?
To make sure the seminary faculties had to suffer their fair share of gauntlet-running, they strongly advised prospective faculty members to attend German universities where the full-time God-haters, the “higher critics” of the Bible, were holding forth.
And then, one by one, the seminaries also went liberal. Surprise, surprise!
(Gasps of astonishment!)
The Humanists’ Target
The institutional strategy of Satan is always collectivist. He must imitate God, and God is omniscient. Satan is not. Thus, he needs information. He needs a chain of command, with his subordinates — not morally impeccable sources — supplying him with data. Also, he is not omnipotent, so he needs a top-down hierarchy through which he can issue commands.
The humanists in the U.S. spotted what was obvious by the eighteenth century: the key institution to capture was the college. This institution trained the nation’s professionals, especially ministers. Thus, they began a program of infiltration and subversion. The Unitarians captured Harvard in 1805. The rest of the colleges followed. Humanists could certify everyone else by making Harvard, Yale, and finally Princeton University (after Woodrow Wilson’s coup in 1902) the prestige universities, i.e., the certifying universities. They also imported the graduate school and the Ph.D degree from Prussia, which had been the German-speaking model for capturing the academic certification system. It was all a top-down operation. They screened all those who hoped to become certified and to certify, and they also persuaded all the professions that certification was mandatory.
Their operating model had always been the Roman Catholic church, the most successful bureaucracy in the history of the West. Later, their model became the Jesuit order.
The Jesuit order is dead — see the greatest fruit of their order, Pope Francs, as the definitive example — and the Catholic Church peaked about two centuries ago. Massive, crushing bureaucracies, as well as the churches grounded on this Satanic model, are on their way out.
This includes the mainstream Protestant denominations, by the way.
As well as the secularist welfare states. To their deep sorrow, they will never get to become a North Korean-style Total State: it’s simply too late for that.
God wins. Satan loses.
In time and on earth, as well as in eternity.
Ministry Through Ministering
“Then he arose, and went after Elijah, and ministered unto him.” Here is the mark of the minster: he ministers. He ministers initially to another minister. This is the diaconal model. He finds a representative of God who is busy ministering to God’s people, and he attaches himself to that representative. He becomes an apprentice.
The apprenticeship system is God’s model. This is why the modern world is so hostile to apprenticeship. The devil’s system is certification by committee, not the student’s imitation of individually skilled performance. His organizational system is top-down and as impersonal as possible; God’s is bottom-up and as personal as possible. Satan’s system is based on the assumption of cosmic impersonalism (especially after Darwinism); God’s is based on the assumption of cosmic personalism: the absolute sovereignty of a trinitarian personal God.
The economist and social philosopher F. A. Hayek has for over four decades argued that the knowledge imparted by the free market is vastly more accurate and comprehensive than knowledge imparted by a central planning committee. Hayek devoted his later career to opposing top-down bureaucracy as a method of organizing economic production. Hayek’s point is that real-world knowledge is more complex than anything that can be written down in a manual or tested at the end of the term.
You can test his thesis by writing down the steps you must go through to tie a shoelace. Then give your instructions to someone else. See how fast he can tie his shoelace by following your detailed instructions. To make things interesting, if you’re right-handed, describe the proper approach for someone who is left-handed.
If learning how to tie a shoelace requires apprenticeship, what about learning how to start and run a church?
What churches have done is preposterous. They have hired theologians to train future ministers. Theologians should train theologians; ministers should train ministers. This is so obvious that only a theologian could fail to grasp it.
The church in Jerusalem grew by 3,000 in one day (Acts 2:41). Where did their ministers attend seminary?
Five billion people need to hear the gospel and join God’s church today. Want to make sure that 99 percent of them go to hell in the next 70 years? Easy! Just require a three-year seminary degree for all pastors.
The seminary model should be dumped by the Christian church. And, as time goes forward, it will be dumped.
God demands it: therefore, it shall be done.