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What does theological training matter?... This question made me smile as I mused on how the prophets, patriarchs and apostles of old would have answered it: Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joshua, Gideon, King David, Elijah, Elisha, Jeremiah, John the Baptist, Matthew, Mark, Peter, James, John and the other disciples, not forgetting the Savior himself. How would they have answered the question: What does theological training matter? The words of the prophet Amos also came to mind: Amos 7:14...“Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdman, and a gatherer of sycomore fruit:” I am not impliedly decrying theological training: it is important, but not as much as some think. For the fact is, the Almighty raises up believers according to His own standards. Educational qualifications, wealth, fame, talent, social standing, outward appearance etc. are useful; but they are secondary in His sight. Qualities like faith, obedience, holiness, humility, honesty, absolute loyalty to one’s spouse, the ability to raise one’s family to fear God and keep His commandments etc.; these are the things the Most High values. “Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart.” Only on the Day of Judgment will it be known how truly educated, weighty and effective we have been. That is why I had to smile when I heard the question. The vanity of the question is only matched by the foolishness of my answer. As the wise man wrote: “Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher; all is vanity” (Ecclesiastes 1: 2). Or as the apostle Paul commented in 2 Corinthians 11:16-30 when rattling off a long list of impressive qualifications “... I speak as a fool.”

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Shepherd, coppersmith, maid, or whatever, all Jewish kids were raised under this command:

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These words ... shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children when you sit in your house and when you walk by the way and when youlie down and when you rise up. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand and they shall be frontals on your forehead. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates (Deuteronomy 6:6-9).

People were trained in theology from childhood. It did not mater what they might grow up to be. They were immersed day and night in the law of God.

I'd call that "theological training" by any standard.

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Wayfarer said:

What does theological training matter?...

I am not impliedly decrying theological training: it is important, but not as much as some think. For the fact is, the Almighty raises up believers according to His own standards.

In some churches today theology is thought to be purely academic. Who needs it? I’ve heard people say, “Don’t give me doctrine, just give me Jesus.” Well, apparently some people don’t realize what theology is. Good sound Biblical theology simply answers questions like, “What is God like? Are people basically good or bad? As Robin mentioned children in the days of the Bible were trained in the law of God. The law gives us not only a moral standard but tells us a lot about the character of God. Theology is the study of God and His relationship with His people.

The operating assumptions for doing Biblical theology are therefore that the main theological lines of Scripture's story are discernable, and that we are called by God to learn, teach, and apply them in our churches. These assumptions are so essential to the fabric of Christianity that, if we refuse to grant them, we call into question the functional validity of God's self-revelation, and we replace the authority of God's Word with our own finite and fallen reason.

When the Apostle Paul wrote to Timothy and Titus, he mentioned the importance of sound doctrine. By "sound," Paul simply means reliable, accurate, faithful. He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. (Titus 1:9)

Today we need sound doctrine more than ever since many churches today have moved away from it.


Wes


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
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There is a deep suspicion in the Christian community about theology, especially academic theology, and for good reason.

The church has experienced what one scholar called “the treason of the intellectual.” Much of the skepticism leveled against biblical Christianity has come from within the church.

It was the church's theologians who declared not to long ago, the death of God. It is the theological seminaries that attack the trustworthiness of Scripture, and so on...

There many who are motivated to study Christian theology out of a burning desire to disprove, neutralize, or change Christianity. Natural man has enough enmity toward God to make a lifelong crusade against Him. There is an enemy within the church!

All true religious knowledge is derived from Christ, and it is only those who submit to his teaching who are wise unto salvation.

And, as said before: Qualities like faith, obedience, holiness, humility, honesty, absolute loyalty to one’s spouse, the ability to raise one’s family to fear God and keep His commandments etc.; these are the things the Most High values.


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I am not impliedly decrying theological training: it is important, but not as much as some think. For the fact is, the Almighty raises up believers according to His own standards.




Well said!! People have been destroyed for the lack of knowledge (as per Hosea 4:6).Yet academia is not the condition upon which the walk of faith in Christ Jesus is predicated. It is predicated on John 6:44


Submitted in the name of Him which hath redeemed the elect, Eric Wells,Protestant Laird of Glencairn
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Sorry for jumping in here late . . . <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/sorry.gif" alt="" />

I've always been intrigued by these type of discussions for no other reason, although there are several, than to see how much post-modernism has influenced the Church. IF you had in mind "formal" theological training in regard to the average Christian, then I would agree that it isn't necessary since every believer grows in the knowledge of God via the preaching/teaching ministry of Christ's Church through its office-bearers. (cf. Eph 4:11-13) However, IF you also are including those men who are called to the Gospel Ministry; Elders and Deacons, then a good formal education would be most desirable if available. Of course, "good" is the optimum word.

The Old Testament prophets functioned in a totally different manner than do New Testament "prophets", i.e., those who labor in the Word, aka: Pastor-teachers. The former received their message(s) directly from God while the latter extract their message(s) from the study of the already inspired written Word of God, i.e., that which the former prophets were directed to write down for our benefit. We must not discount the fact that these OT prophets were also most likely very knowledgeable of the Scriptures which existed during their day. Thus it is most necessary that a man called to serve in the Church be educated theologically, whether formally or informally. (2Tim 2:15) Even those not called to serve as officers within the Church are enjoined to increase in the knowledge of God. (Col 1:9-10) Needless to say, the Scriptures are replete with passages which counsel, enjoin, admonish and even command ALL believers to know the Word of God which is the power of God unto salvation AND the means by which they are to grow in grace.

I would commend to you this article: Theology for Everyman, by the late Dr. John Gerstner. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/BigThumbUp.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,


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Pilgrim,

This is in agreement with your post.

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Thus it is most necessary that a man called to serve in the Church be educated theologically, whether formally or informally.

The fact is, however, that many formally trained theological students and Pastors will affirm these words but not truly believe them. Deep down they still believe themselves "better" due to their formal training.

The sad thing about this is that they will NOT consider or listen to those "unenlightened" who might truly offer Scriptural evidence to the possible error of their own proposed "Theological Magisterium".

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I was no prophet,
Nor was I a son of a prophet,
But I was a sheepbreeder
And a tender of sycamore fruit.[Amos 7:14]

Denny

Romans 3:22-24

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Too bad this is not the norm of most in post modernity.This is an issue that strikes very close to home with me;as schism in my denomination (Presbyterian USA) appears all but inevitable.I've concluded it wouldn't be a bad thing,either.In my idealism, I supposed that the fellowship of believers as a whole would rail against the godless machinations of power-religionism...I erred in my assumption.
The ultra-leftists are too gifted in harnessing the sentiments of those who fall left-of center in the quinquarticular controversy! Our spiritual health-not to mention our sanity-is to valuable to risk jeopardizing with the entertainment of this misnomer. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/Banghead.gif" alt="" />


Submitted in the name of Him which hath redeemed the elect, Eric Wells,Protestant Laird of Glencairn
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I agree that Theological education is not necessary in many cases. However it is clear that to lead a congregation Paul makes it clear that it is necessary to "study to show yourself approved". Many years ago one could do that with a pastor in the same way as people studying to be lawyers could study with a lawyer rather than go to law school. You are 100% correct that it does not take a theological education to be an effective witness for the Lord, but even the person w/o the education is required by scripture to submit themselves to the teaching of a pastor or teaching elder so as to experience the rightly divided, as opposed to "wrongly divided", word of God. What chaps me, as it obviously does you, and rightly so, are the people who have an academic background holding themselves out as being more spiritual or of more worth within the church. I believe in Gods calling. If God has called someone to be the church janitor it is just as important within the body of Christ that he fulfill that roll faithfully as it is for the person that God has called to be the pastor of that same church. They should both be equally appreciated for their service to the Lord


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