Saturday, June 27, 2009

More Pastors Need PhDs

In light of my last post on how a certain uneducated pastor butchers the Bible every time he goes to preach, Brian's post today about the need for more people with PhDs in biblical studies or theology to serve churches instead of staying in academia seems all the more relevant. It makes sense that any religious community will be better served by well-educated leaders whether priests, pastors, or rabbis.


  1. thanks for the link Doug - I hadn't even seen your post when I put mine up - what a silly man that Anderson is.

  2. Doug, I believe our churches just need competent preachers, whether they're PhD holders or not.

    I'm not opposed to PhDers, but I think unformed folks continue to make the mistake that if a PhD says a thing it must be right.

    A PhD is no guarantee of exegetical accuracy, but it does help to have a PhD.

  3. TC,

    You're right. The PhD is no guarantee of exegetical accuracy. The main point is that some kind of education in Bible and theology is very important. Education should make you a more careful interpreter so you don't say crazy things like Anderson.

    I'm surprised at how many churches are served by pastors who didn't even go to seminary. The Bible warns that those who teach will be held accountable for teaching what was proper. Not something I would enter into lightly (or poorly equipped).

    So, I agree. Having competent preachers, whatever degree they've earned, is most important.

  4. A PhD does not necessary solve the problem with a incompetent pastor. I understand your argument that good education is important, but academia itself is no guarantee against competence.

    Best wishes from Knut in Norway.

    Thanks for an excellent blog.

  5. Knut, the point again is the importance of education. The general idea is that the more education, the better the chances of being competent. Brian's post was quoting a NT seminary professor and musing on the fact that most people who get PhDs in biblical studies aren't intending to serve churches. His point was maybe more should be.

    Also, the example that I was referring to above is of the most extreme variety. No theological education beyond memorizing a whole lot of the KJV. And I doubt he even has any education beyond high school.

  6. I think PhDs would help pastors overall. The concentrated, critical work the degree requires might help pastors (and the rest of us) understand the depth and breadth of what's out there. The PhD doesn't guarantee correctness, but makes ignorance pretty difficult.