Proposal for a New Seminary
In the early days of American Protestantism, the training of ministerial candidates was carried on by pastors of churches. A young man feeling a call of God to the ministry would associate himself with a church pastor, receive training from him, participate in the work of the parish, perhaps even live in the pastor’s home. I’m not sure why, but eventually this system was felt to be inadequate. Perhaps there developed a shortage of ministers able and willing to take in theological students; perhaps as the literacy rate increased congregations demanded clergy with more formal education–a “learned ministry,” as they used to say. At any rate, for some reason or other, theological training was institutionalized, and at the same time academicized. The use of the academic model was almost inevitable. In Germany, theological education was carried on through the universities, and in fact the university-approach was the only generally recognized model available for institutionalized training in any field.