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Calvin on Education Through the Church

This is from his Institutes…

…all those who spurn the spiritual food, divinely extended to them through the hand of the church, deserve to perish in famine and hunger.

[God] provides for our weakness in that he prefers to address us in human fashion through interpreters in order to draw us to himself, rather than to thunder at us and drive us away.

…although God’s power is not bound to outward means, he has nonetheless bound us to this ordinary manner of teaching.

Is the church God’s appointed means of educating the saints? And if so, what place does that put seminaries in? Should there be a direct connection between seminaries and churches?


About theologian

I'm a child of the King, my Father who is in Heaven, by the precious blood of His eternal Son, Jesus Christ. I am married with children and currently reside in Pennsylvania. I am a Pastor with the Association of Charismatic Reformed Churches (ACRC) working as an Urban Missionary in Chester, PA. Throughout my time in ministry God has also blessed me with opportunities for formal education by which I earned my terminal degree (Doctor of Theology) from New Geneva Theological Seminary in 2013.


7 thoughts on “Calvin on Education Through the Church

  1. The church is God’s ordained means by which the saints are to be edified. I stand in a short line of Reformed folks who question the overall usefulness of modern seminary training. It seems rather detatched from the local church. Many men beleive themselves to be qualified for the ministry based on their seminary training alone. Yet, I fear hundreds, if not thousands of them fail to meet the biblical requirements for biblical eldership.

    I believe some form of mentoring/disciplinship training where young men called to the ministry are helped by the local congregation and equipped to serve locally is the best fits the biblical model for raising up godly men to lead. But at the least there should be a very close connection between any seminary training and the church.

    Posted by David McCrory | February 1, 2007, 4:41 pm
  2. David

    Didn’t Gary North say something similar in Theonomy: An Informed Response? Maybe he just does not like Westminster and such places? I have not thought about the issue enough to say that I agree or disagree.

    Posted by Daniel Ritchie | February 1, 2007, 10:50 pm
  3. Yes, North has addressed this similarily, as has M.L. Jones. It is from Jones that I most agree.

    Posted by David McCrory | February 1, 2007, 10:58 pm
  4. I have to say that I definitely sympathize with David here. I don’t think that it is impossible for a no-denominational seminary to be church-minded. But a seminary that even hints at being above the church is in deep trouble. WTS is in such a position, although there are good men fighting for the church. I agree that any seminary ought to be closely connected to the local church in mentoring and leadership (read biblical principles here, not some mumbo-jumbo modern hype about what the world thinks is leadership). People in training for church positions need to be mentored by a local TE and RE’s.

    Posted by greenbaggins | February 2, 2007, 7:03 pm
  5. David…very well said…it is sometimes hard to swallow when you find yourself next to a new seminary grad that feels that, “I have my degree, now where is my ministry!” and says it with arrogance.

    I have heard of one such that went to a local church after seminary and was asked to run the children’s program, and he said, “I have a seminary degree, I believe I should be used elsewhere instead of with children.”


    Posted by Seth McBee | February 6, 2007, 3:42 pm
  6. Thanks for the updated link Larry. Hope things are well with you.

    Posted by David McCrory | February 7, 2007, 4:14 pm
  7. No problem David.
    Everything is good…just busy.

    Posted by theologian | February 7, 2007, 5:32 pm

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