More than half of my life has been occupied with reading books.  Education is about reading, comprehension, and application of the acquired knowledge.  I'd like to share a little information about the need for theological education in the contemporary church.  I'll use the concepts used during the Puritan era in America so you will see the difference in the process used by the modern seminaries.

The English Reformation during the 17th century was a struggle for ecclesiastical uniformity.  The national church set standards for worship, discipline, and ordination.  The church historian, Kenneth Scott Latourette, rightly explained how the Act of Uniformity (1662) caused the removal of non-episcopally ordained clergy from their beneficies.  Many of the dissenters were called Puritans because they attempted to maintain biblical integrity for worship and practice.  Some of the Puritans were Presbyterians.  They believed worship should be relatively simple and elders rather than Episcopal bishops should govern the church.  The ejected Puritans also faced the problem of education for their offspring.  Dr. R. C. Reed concluded, “one of the severest blows struck at the Presbyterians was closing the universities against all nonconformists.

The Puritans responded by starting academies to educate men for secular and sacred ministries.  The academies played an important part in the Reformation tradition for over 100 years.  One such academy was the Manchester Academy formed in 1786 by the English Presbyterians.   It was one of the last of a long line of dissenting academies.  By the turn of the 19th century, students returned to the universities for higher education.  The academies faded away or either became colleges and universities.

The great awakening of the 18th century in America was instrumental in the founding of theological academies, which significantly contributed to Presbyterian theological education in this country. The famous Log College founded by William Tennent trained two or three ministers a year between 1735 and 1742. Tennent's Log College was used by the Lord to encourage others to establish academies to train ministers. One historian has traced the founding of "65 Presbyterian academies" from the time of Tennent's Log College to the end of the 18th century.

For those of you who see the church from the pulpit I hope you will ponder this question: Who will replace your pastor in the next generation? For those of you who see the church from the pew I hope you will ponder this question: Who will preach, teach, and pastor my children and grandchildren?