Friday, April 27, 2007
How NOT to Pick a Seminary
At Together for the Gospel, Mark Dever recently wrote a post entitled, "How to Pick a Seminary." Dever is a pastor/elder at Capitol Hill Baptist Church (Washington, D.C.) and has written extensively on the topic of church polity. He is also greatly involved in the IX Marks Ministry. Pastor Dever is more than qualified to write on the topic of "How to Pick a Seminary."
Each year hundreds of young, and not so young, men and women choose a seminary. Reasons for making this choice are critical. However, reasons for NOT picking a seminary are also important. You need to know both why you are attending one seminary, and why you are not attending all of the rest. Dever's article is kind of "the glass is half full" post, while mine is "the glass is half empty." The similarities in quality of article probably end about right there.
My qualifications for writing this article are as follows: I attended a seminary.
I realize that is not a lengthy list, and that may impact this article. Be that as it may, here is my attempt at "How NOT to Pick a Seminary."
How NOT to Pick a Seminary:
1) Automatically go where Grandpa and Daddy went. Be sure to ignore quality of education, and head straight to where the family has always attended. This will ensure an easy choice.
2) Apply only to seminaries within your denominational affiliation. This tactic will ensure that you are not exposed to any divergent beliefs. We would not want seminary to challenge you to know why you believe what you believe.
3) Location, location, location. When in doubt, go to the closest place. Why travel farther for excellence? Stewardship of gasoline money is a top priority.
4) Go where you KNOW you have a job waiting. Some things are too scary to trust God with. Make certain that you have a job waiting before you arrive on the scene.
5) Ignore your wife in the decision-making process. After all, you are the man (this one is obviously for the married men who are reading this) in charge. Who cares if she is the one who will be stuck in seminary housing more than you will? Go for what you need, and I'm sure everything will work out in the end.
6) Buildings and grounds are KEY! Make sure the seminary of your choice has a sweet chapel, a big computer lab, a nice gym, and lots of pretty flowers. You need this type of environment to assist you in your quest for personal holiness.
7) Find a president you like and go there. I realize that you will probably never take a class with him, and due to the business of his schedule, you may never get an opportunity to talk with him. Never mind that. You need to attend where the big name is. When you apply to work at a church, they will be impressed.
8) A flashy website = a top-notch education. Surf your way through 20 or so different seminary websites. Pick the top five based on picture quality, moving words, and interactive types of things. If a seminary is not in your top five, don't bother visiting.
9) Go where the women are. For you single guys out there, seminary is tough. There will probably be ten of you on campus for every one woman. Therefore, find out which seminary has the most equivalent ratio of women to men, and make a bolt for that place.
10) SPORTS. Even if a particular seminary lacks most everything else, this can make up for it. You need to be in a place where you can be comfortable. Ensure that the gym is modern, the pool is open late, and the sauna is nice and hot. Most important, and this is a must, find out if there is a seminary-sponsored NCAA basketball tournament pool you can get in on. If you win a big one, you may just pay for your books for the upcoming semester.
I'm not sure if I hit all of the important points. If you are reading this and can think of any other reasons, please let me know.