On Theological Seminaries and Ministerial Training

“Theological Seminaries, in attempting to qualify men to preach the gospel, virtually profess to hold at their disposal the gifts of the Holy Ghost, and to impart them to men for money. This is anti-scriptural, and consequently anti-christian; as it was fully demonstrated by the apostle Peter, in the case of one Simon – See Acts 8:20.”
(By Gilbert Beebe – Anti-Christian Institutions)

“Passing through a seminary and putting on the ministerial garb does not transform the unregenerate into regenerate men. When our Lord announced, “The truth shall make you free,” it was the religious leaders of the Jews who declared they were never in bondage; and when He affirmed, “Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do,” they replied, “Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?” (John 8).”
(A.W. Pink – The Doctrine of man’s Impotence)

“Why do we need such institutions when it is God by His Holy Spirit who calls a person to the work of the ministry and if the Holy Spirit should call a person to the work of the ministry He will equip him for that work. And we need not to confer with flesh and blood, with men and women and this is where so much of the error has come into the churches – especially in recent years because there are those in the seminaries that are not taught of God.”
(Michael Pickett – Preaching with Sincerity)

“And they come again to Jerusalem: and as he was walking in the temple, there come to him the chief priests, and the scribes, and the elders, And say unto him, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things”
(Mark 11:27-28)

“How history repeats itself! From what College have you graduated? and in which Seminary were you trained? are the modern form of this query.”
(A.W. Pink – Why Four Gospels?)

“Seminaries have no basis in the scriptures. They are very much a man-made tradition. They let men whom God has not sent into the ministry, and KEEP those men whom God truly does send out of the ears of the people in the established churches (by and large… although what is impossible with man is of course possible with God – He ensures that those who should hear will do).”

“The best place of training for the pastor is not a seminary but the school of adversity. Spiritual lessons can be learned only in the furnace of affliction.”
(A.W. Pink – Gleanings from Paul)

“If a man be sent of God to preach the gospel, he wants no ordination from man; and if God has not sent him into the vineyard, not all the ordination of man can make him a minister.”
(J.C. Philpot – The Administration of the Ordinances)

“To be a Minister of the gospel of Jesus Christ one MUST FOLLOW the guidelines and qualifications outlined in 1 Timothy 3:1-7. Those guidelines and requirements are from the mouth of the Lord and NOT BY MAN’S WILL. And this means that God’s Word condemns most so-called Pastors/Ministers in the pulpits today.”

“But where had Elijah learned this all-important lesson? Not in any seminary or bible-training college, for it there were such in that day they were like some in our own degenerate time — in the hands of the Lord’s enemies.”
(A.W. Pink – Life of Elijah)

“For who and what are our ministers, and how are they distinguished from their believing brethren? They are NOT educated at an Academy, and made into ministers there. They wear no distinctive dress, take no distinctive title, and assume no priestly position to separate or exalt them, as a peculiar and privileged caste, from above their fellow believers.”
(J.C. Philpot – The Administration of the Ordinances)

No school of theology, no seminary in this world can train a person in the faith of Christ. It doesn’t matter if a man spent 100 years in any school of theology, because it means nothing until Christ Jesus opens up their understanding to the truths of Holy Scriptures. Luke 24:45 properly states, “Then opened he (Christ Jesus) their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures.”

“Natural-made ministers, who have a gift in and by the stores of nature, as above, differ as much, and are quite as much of a different kind, from heaven-ordained, and grace-ordained, experimental, ransomed ministers, as heaven differs from hell.”
(John Kay – Gospel Standard – Ministerial Gift – 1836)

What theology school can give a person the Wisdom which comes from God and an understanding of the Word of God with a mouth to speak His truths with soundness and boldness in the eyes of the most fiercest enemies? Absolutely NONE!

“What dry, miserable nurses are the college-clad, academy-made, sons of nature, who, not sent of Christ, preach him, but how? As Cain, with the fruits of the earth, which are cursed, the stores of nature, their own bread (Isaiah 4:1), natural intellect, judgment, and understanding, all fallen, the endowments of the first man (I Corinthians 15:45), of the earth, earthly, having nothing whatsoever to do with the second Man, the glorious Lord from heaven, the Lord Jesus Christ.”
(John Kay – Gospel Standard – Ministerial Gift – 1836)

“This was one of the trials which this writer encountered over thirty years ago, when his pastor and Christian friends urged him to enter a theological seminary, though they knew that deadly error was taught there. It was not easy to take his stand against them, but he is deeply thankful he did so.”
(A.W. Pink – Gleanings from Elisha)

“1 Timothy 3 gives ALL the qualifications and requirements for the leadership in the New Testament body of believers to be followed and maintained and you will NOT FIND one verse stating that they have to be trained in some theological seminary. That’s truthfully man’s ideology, NOT GOD’S. The Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, and Lawyers who murdered Christ all went to these “prestigious” universities and had all these degrees and look how much those universities taught them about the Holy Scriptures IN THE SPIRITUAL REALM. Well, the same thing is happening in our day within many denominations – being in exact parallel with Christ’s time on earth. And indeed, now you have the New Testament Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, and Lawyers as professing ministers of Christ who are in actuality against God’s pure Word – debating away the truths of God’s Word with man’s traditions and doctrines of men confined within whichever confession that their denomination holds dear in the pulpits and in audiences worldwide and wheresoever they are given a voice to speak, destroying souls and poisoning the minds of unlearned men while wresting the Scriptures to their own destruction.”

“How knoweth this man letters, having never learned?” (John 7:15). How like the spirit which is abroad today! How many there are in the educational and religious world who suppose it is impossible for man to expound the Scriptures gracefully and to the edification of his hearers unless, forsooth, he has first been trained in some college or seminary! Education is an altar which is now thronged by a multitude of idolatrous worshippers. That, no doubt, is one reason why God’s curse has fallen on almost all our seats of learning.
(A.W. Pink – Exposition of John)

“If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself” (John 7:17). How this word rebuked, again, these worldly-minded Jews; and how it reverses the judgment of many of our moderns! One does not have to enter a seminary or a Bible Institute and take a course in Christian Apologetics in order to obtain assurance that the Bible is inspired, or in order to learn how to interpret it. Spiritual intelligence comes not through the intellect, but via the heart: it is acquired not by force of reasoning, but by the exercise of faith.
(A.W. Pink – Exposition of John)

“An experiential acquaintance with Christ is the one thing needful. A heart knowledge of God’s truth is the vital thing, and it is that which no schooling or seminary training can confer.”
(A.W. Pink – Exposition of John)

Commenting on John 9:34…

“Alas, how tragically does history repeat itself. These men were too arrogant to receive anything from this poor beggar. They were graduates from honored seats of learning, therefore was it far too much beneath their dignity to be instructed by this unsophisticated disciple of Christ. And how many a preacher there is today, who in his fancied superiority, scorns the help which ofttimes a member of his congregation could give him. Glorying in their seminary education, they cannot allow that an ignorant layman has light on the Scriptures which they do not possess. Let a Spirit-taught layman seek to show the average preacher “the way of the Lord more perfectly,” and he must not be surprised if his pastor says — if not in so many words, plainly by his bearing and actions — “dost thou teach us?” How marvellously pertinent is this two-thousand-year-old Book to our own times! “And they cast him out” (John 9:34).”
(A.W. Pink – Exposition of John)

To “open” the Scriptures helpfully to the saints requires something more than a few months’ training in a Bible institute, or a year or two in a seminary. None but those who have been personally taught of God in the hard school of experience are qualified so to “open” the Word that Divine light is cast upon the spiritual problems of the believer, for while Scripture interprets experience, experience is often the best interpreter of Scripture (Acts 17:2-3).
(A.W. Pink – Exposition of John)

“When Christianity became corrupted, nominal conversions took the place of regeneration and the kingdom of the clergy began to rise. The nations professing Christianity had no love for the truth, and as for the Spirit they knew him not. The simple gospel was exchanged for a scholastic theology founded on the philosophy of this world and the wisdom of Aristotle. Then were universities instituted, that by them men might he fitted for the Christian ministry. These have been the nurseries of the clergy in all ages, vomiting forth their antichristian divinity like the smoke of the bottomless pit, out of which a carnal priesthood, like locusts, have proceeded and overspread the earth.”
(William Rushton)

“Now when it comes to the gospel, there is a beauty, there is a glory which is only known by those that have been born again of the Spirit of God. Ah, we have many, even in our day philosophers, students of religion, doctors of divinity, call them what you like and there are some men who are highly educated, well versed in the scriptures of truth and yet, their eyes are blind. They know about these things but they don’t know them for themselves. How sad it is.”
(Michael Pickett – Revealed Unto Babes)

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