Academics and ministry

Academics and ministry. How closely wed should these two things be?

I learned today that there is a growing trend in Christian education. Those who wish to teach in a bible college setting need a Ph.D. A Ph.D. to teach bible school students? Almost every teacher I’ve had only had an M.A. and they were very effective teachers. I’ve seen people with doctorates that were far less effective.

How is it that the Christian church has gone from “You are our letter, written in our hearts, known and read by all men;” to B.A. M.Div Ph.D. Education has been a good thing in my life but its only one piece of the puzzle. The heart of what I’ve learned comes from personal study, revelation by the Spirit, discipleship in community, and life experience. Class room instruction is valuable in it’s place. Why does the church place so much emphasis on it? Just because you can complete assignments, write tests, and listen to someone lecture doesn’t mean you are an effective minister of the gospel. Have we bought in to the world’s system of education blindly? The nature of the Holy Spirit and the gospel cannot not be stuffed in to an academic grid.

I’m a little frustrated. I’m trying to discern what is the best place for me. What kind of role am I to play in the church? I am growing more and more convinced that God is going to bring me to a seminary. It won’t be this year, but maybe next. I’m not sure if I can ever be totally at peace with academics as the primary vehicle for discipleship.

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