In a recent convocation address for California’s Gateway Seminary, President Jeff Iorg discussed “The Unintended Consequences of a Seminary Education,” using 1 Timothy 6:3-10 as the basis of his message. A September 6 Baptist Press article reports:
He told the students he hopes they will find their classes challenging in preparing for a life of ministry — but not be impacted by unintended consequences of seminary training. “One unintended consequence of your seminary education is when your theological depth exceeds your character development,” Iorg said.
Iorg recounted a deacon in a local church calling to ask for advice about a brewing conflict between the pastor and his congregation. The deacon explained that the pastor had developed some positions controversial for many in the church. The bigger problem, however, was when the deacons tried to discuss it with him the pastor blew up in anger, marginalized his opposition, and questioned their theological understanding.
“The pastor did not suffer from a lack of theological depth,” Iorg said, “but a lack of character development. When one exceeds the other, chaos usually results.”
A seminary education also could be detrimental to the extent a graduate would rather debate doctrine with peers than share the truth with everyday people, Iorg said
“There are more students enrolled in the Southern Baptist Convention’s six seminaries than at any other time in history,” he said, “but there has never been a time when our churches are less effective in evangelism. We are better at arguing theology with our peers than explaining the Gospel to everyday people.
“It’s vital you master the depths and intricacies of the Gospel,” he said, “but you are not fully prepared until you can explain the Gospel to everyday people.”