Serious academic theology has a rightful place in the church. Make no mistake about this fact. Ministers need to be trained to be good students of the Word and of theology. This is mandated by a number of statements we find in the Pastoral Epistles. But this biblical requirement has been met, or supposedly met, by a form of training that has become deeply flawed in many ways.
I am not advocating that we destroy our seminaries. Nor am I advocating that we oppose them or close them. Many have an excellent and well-deserved respect. What I am advocating is a serious renewal in the way we equip ministers and how ministers then serve the church.
Systematic theology has become an end in itself for too many schools and ministers. Because Christians believe God is the ultimate author of the Scripture, which is of course true, they then deduce that humans can build a systematic theological framework that is a reflection of God's mind, i.e., God's truth. It is this that I believe cannot be done. There is no perfect system of theology and never will be. But evangelicals, and Calvinists in particular, have often thought that they could at least come very close. Consider this statement from one of the twentieth century's truly great evangelical minds:
The ideal procedure