Russell Moore has a really fine article in The Wall Street Journal. It’s about theological education, student debt, and the future of online education. He rightly argues that the whole enterprise needs to be more closely related to and accountable to churches. Here’s a snippet:
There will always be those who get a law degree or an M.B.A. (and the resulting debt) and then sense a call to ministry. The history of the church—see Augustine and John Calvin, not to mention the original 12 disciples of Jesus—is filled with “second-career” ministers. But the ideal pattern is for churches to seek to identify, early in life, those who are gifted and called to ministry; the churches should then be held accountable for guiding these potential ministers in seeking strategic, sound and affordable training. What if local congregations didn’t merely rely on the availability of seminary graduates who decided to embark on a theological education after college, but actively kept an eye out for the stirring of the religious calling in young people all the way back to vacation Bible school?
This approach would weed out those who simply want to “help people” or to deal with their personal demons—a common enough motivation for entering seminary. And such an approach would narrow the search’s scope to those genuinely equipped to preach, counsel and lead. It would also enable one generation of pastors to guide the next one not only through questions like “What’s the relationship of predestination to free will?” but also “Where should I go to school and how should I pay for it?”
Read the rest here.