|Re: Theo-education (pub. Sept. 15, 2008)|
|Written by D.C. Bartges|
|Friday, 26 September 2008 16:27|
I have a very simple question. Why would a candidate for the ministry who wants to serve as a pastor in the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) not attend one of our own denominational seminaries? It only seems reasonable to me that if one goes to a nondenominational seminary he/she must want to serve in a nondenominational church. I think we absorb the spirit of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) by receiving our theological education in our own seminaries. Otherwise, why should we have these seminaries?
I remember years ago in a Florida presbytery meeting a young man coming before us seeking ordination in our denomination. He was a graduate of a nondenominational seminary. Many ministers questioned his commitment to our denomination. He firmly declared that he would be loyal. We ordained him and gave him the responsibility of serving a new church. The venture was highly successful. However, in a few years he resigned from our denomination and took the church out with him. So much for loyalty. He went on to be an effective minister but not a Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) minister.
There are other stories similar to this, which I believe has led to the growth of other Presbyterian denominations. Would it have been different had those ministers been graduates of our own seminaries? Of course we will never know. But what we do know is that the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A>) has excellent seminaries. I hope our church sessions will encourage those Christians who feel called to the ministry to receive their education in one of them.