Seminaries' true curriculum...

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Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made horns of iron for himself and said, “Thus says the LORD, ‘With these you will gore the Arameans until they are consumed.’” All the prophets were prophesying thus, saying, “Go up to Ramoth-gilead and prosper, for the LORD will give it into the hand of the king.”

Then the messenger who went to summon Micaiah spoke to him saying, “Behold now, the words of the prophets are uniformly favorable to the king. Please let your word be like the word of one of them, and speak favorably.”

But Micaiah said, “As the LORD lives, what the LORD says to me, that I shall speak.” (1 Kings 22:11-14)

(Tim) The purpose of seminaries today is to place their students in good jobs as pastors of good churches. But we live in an evil day when search committees want to hire men who will make a good show of honoring God and His Word while bending the Word at those places where the church's leaders are hard-hearted.

Say, for instance, the church has lots of women who have left submission to their husbands and service to their homes and children for submission to their bosses and service to their businesses and customers. Such a church will seek to hire a pastor who knows better than to preach on the Holy Spirit's sex-specific commands of Titus 2:3-5, that the older women are to teach the younger women to "workers at home" who are "subject to their own husbands." No one on the Search Committee will actually say it, of course--it's too important to be said.

So, search committee's doing what search committee's do, the secretary contacts Harvard Divinity School and asks for resumes. And when, depending on the church's building and location and terms of call offered, ten or two-hundred and fifty resumes arrive, the process of evaluating how precisely this or that man will posture himself between faithfulness to God and sensitivity to his congregation's hard hearts begins...

Now let's say this particular divinity school or seminary only turns out men who fear God and honor His Word. Maybe every last resume the church receives is the work of a man sincerely committed to guard, rather than milk and butcher, his flock. The Search Committee doesn't know any better and hires one of those men recommended by their local seminary, and what happens?

All holiness and zeal and preaching and teaching and house-to-house, day and night with tears, breaks loose. The members of the Search Committee have their work cut out for them.

It takes a couple years to do it gracefully, but in the end, suitable remuneration is sufficient to get that man out of their pulpit and on his way to a "better fit."

Then, the work of the Search Committee starts all over again.

But this time? This time, will that Search Committee ask Harvard Divinity School for resumes? Will they want one of Harvard's graduates? Will they take another chance on an institution that doesn't know enough to sand off the rough edges off their students' godliness and zeal and holiness before sending them out?

Seminaries awarding the union card (what my Dad called the M.Div.) will not be able to place their men unless those men have been taught how to nuance the Word of God where congregations become hard-hearted. No search committee wants a prophet. Or, maybe better to say, every search committee is looking for a pastor who will walk carefully through their minefields of ungodliness, knowing how to avoid explosions.

The real curriculum of seminaries today is avoiding conflict in the particular socio-economic group the seminary's M.Div.s service--that particular seminary's demographic.

Seminaries' real curriculum today is the endless repetition of one simple message: If you ever have conflict in your church, you've failed.

The best seminaries are those with the best placement stats at the best churches, and the way to get those stats and churches is turning out men perfectly nuanced in their sleight of voice so almost no one ever has to realize they've chosen Zedekiah rather than Micaiah.

Gracious, graceful men who preach grace gracefully.