Seminary Faithfulness

 By Jonathan L. Master - Posted at First Things:

The last fifty years have been marked by institutional decline, both within the church and in society more broadly. Seminaries—designed to serve Christ’s church and to raise up ministers for her—have not been immune. Often, they have been among the most notorious examples of decline. The effects of this can be devastating, resulting in generations of ministers badly taught and poorly formed. The worst could be yet to come. One friend of mine recently remarked that, when it came to the changing moral norms being pushed by the LGBTQ+ lobby and its allies, he had no confidence in any seminary that had not already publicly declared itself and taken a side.

This might lead to a sense of despair about our seminaries. So many have fallen; can any be trusted? At the very least, it should lead to the question I am asked most frequently in my work: How can institutional faithfulness be maintained? How does a seminary avoid theological and moral decline?

There is no single answer to this question. The roots of decline are spiritual. The effects of human sin run deep within us. These are compounded by the pressure from the outside to conform or to at least remain silent as truth is assaulted. The enemies of Christ’s church can afford to play the long game and apply pressure from all directions with mutually contradicting arguments and stands. Sustained pressure is hard to resist, and in the service of survival, it is always easiest to rationalize silence and conformity, to drift, often in initially imperceptible ways.


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