Should local churches support and equip young men in their congregation who feel called to ministry, or should they be sent to seminary?
It's a rare church that would be able to provide all the training that, I think, a pastor needs in our day, alone in their church without the help of a seminary.
So, yeah, I really believe in seminaries. I believe in what seminaries offer. I believe in systematic theology, I believe in church history, I believe in Greek and Hebrew, I believe in preaching, and other kinds of courses: apologetics, philosophy of religion, etc. I think these things are good and important.
How much of that a church can offer depends on the church. I love the idea of church-based, theological, ministerial education. We just started Bethlehem College and Seminary for that very reason. But it wasn't in reaction to seminaries. We are one! So I want to benefit tremendously from what they have to offer.
One last thing, maybe, is that today the possibilities of combining seminary training and church are almost endless. There's so much online stuff.
David here is working on his MDiv at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, but he never lives there. So he'll go down there 2 or 3 times a year for a blitz course, and then he has done online stuff and courses at Bethlehem. So when it's all said and done, I guess he'll get his degree from Orlando. But he's done a lot here.
So you probably don't have to leave your church or leave home in order to get a good theological education. You just need to be creative and flexible, and get all the input that you need.