The Academy and the Church
Below is an excerpt from a paper by my older brother Gerald. After the excerpt is a link to the rest of the paper (a .pdf file). I find my brother a great dialogue partner in most of my theological and ecclesiological thoughts. Right now he is working on a masters from TEDS after being in the ministry for a few years…if you have a passion for theology that works for the church i think you will find it a good 11 page read.
I was having lunch with an associate pastor of a large metropolitan church when he leaned in a bit and lowered his voice, as though passing along some inside information, ?The fact of the matter is, they?re not real big on the seminary around here. You can sometimes get the impression they?d almost rather hire guys from out of the market place. We?ve just seen too many of these young guys coming out of the seminary, able to parse Greek verbs and discuss higher criticism, but having no real idea what the Church is about.? As one of these ?young guys? finishing up graduate school at a prominent (and expensive) seminary, this was not good news. But his comments, though unsettling, did not come as a shock. There seems to be a growing dissatisfaction among significant portions of local church leadership with the evangelical academy?s inability to produce competent ministers for pastoral ministry.
I believe our seminaries are staffed by godly men and women who are sincerely striving to serve the kingdom of Christ, so why this growing disconnect between the academy and the local church? Perhaps it would seem that increasingly, the best of evangelical theology is being done without sufficient attention to ecclesiological concerns. In other words, the theology being done in the academy is being done primarily for the academy.