Saturday, June 28, 2008

Carson on the Relationship between Seminary and the Church

Adrian Warnock did an interview with Don Carson a little while back. Here are some of Carson's remarks about the relationship between the seminary and the church. I found them a convicting reminder to think and live for the well-being of Christ's body.

But I would say that the front line is the local church. And there is a sense in which seminary is a back-up slot. The front line is the local church, and the first impetus towards ministry and towards stamping people for what ministry ought to be should be within in the context of the local church. And then a good seminary, a good theological college, helps to provide the kind of training and further exposure to more technical knowledge, a grasp of the languages, and this sort of thing. Virtually no local church can provide that, and yet it’s really important for those who teach in such places, nevertheless, to be pastors first, because if they think of themselves of teachers and scholars first, then they tend to produce teachers and scholars. So there’s a stamping, not simply from the course material, but from your own values, what you dream about, what you think about. So, at our seminary, we always want to hire a certain percentage of faculty who wish they were in the pastoral ministry, or else quite frankly, we don’t want them. Now, they have to be academically competent and all the rest, but we don’t want people who just want to be in a seminary. We want people who in many ways would prefer to be in the local church. So, that’s as close as I can come to explaining where I’m at.

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