Introduction: Theological education is of great value to the church and the advance of the Gospel in the world. But my conviction is that the Biblical mandate for theological and seminary education is best accomplished in the local church and under the care and discipline of faithful pastors involved in ministering the word of God. I therefore believe that most modern seminaries are entirely unnecessary and unprofitable for most men who are called by God to the ministry, as well as those who just want to get a Master of Arts level degree in Theology, Biblical Studies, or Ministry. It is a great evil and tragedy that Bible Colleges and Seminaries today are very costly, as they are highly over-rated now that the internet has opened up communication in such a marvelous way linking everyone in the world. Seminary education often requires a man to move from his own hometown and family, to quit his job, and to change his entire lifestyle, putting unnecessary stress upon his marriage and family. And the fact is, most Evangelical and Reformed Seminaries today (even the best of them) are subverted by political correctness, Neo-Orthodoxy, modern feminist ideology, and an academic style curriculum that is destructive to a godly Christian life of prayer and the study of Scripture. And what is worse, modern seminaries are entirely ungodly when they force men to go into debt to pay for theological education to prepare them for ministry. This is an evil disease on the church perpetuated by establishment denominations that promote themselves instead of the glory of Christ. This is tragically similar to the corruption within the political establishment of Washington DC, and are even in some instances an abomination to God. Reformed Seminaries should especially repent of this evil disease that has been taken over from the Enlightenment and modern secular forms of education.
The testimony of Scripture is clear evidence of the evil of modern seminary education. The schools of the prophets in the Old Testament were nothing like the debt accumulating secular institutions of modern seminaries. None of the Apostles of the Lord Jesus Christ had theological degrees that required such absurd bondage to Liberal accreditation requirements, secular academic standards, or financial debt. The apostle Paul who was trained in the rabbinic schools under the Jewish rabbi Gamaliel said that he “counted it all as rubbish that he may gain Christ.” Phil.3! This doesn’t mean that a disciplined program of study in Scripture, the Biblical languages, Theology, Apologetics, Church History, Pastoral Theology, and other important subjects related to Theology and the ministry is not important. IT IS! But I am confident that the apostle Paul did not require Timothy, Titus, Tychicus, Silas, or any other of his assistants or disciples to pay speaking fees to hear his preaching and teaching; or to go into debt to learn Scripture and sound doctrine in order to be called to the ministry and ordained by a presbytery. And neither did the Reformers promote such profane debt and ungodly secular academic standards as is promoted today. The church today and most Reformed denominations have apostatized from the truth when it comes to the training of ministers! Modern Seminary education is in many ways a sham! This is why most preaching today is weak, shallow, effeminate, and governed more by political correctness than the Scripture and sound doctrine. This is why pastors are largely silent when it comes to publicly rebuking the greatest institutional evil of the modern world – the demonic Democrat party and its policies of atheism. And the fact is, most seminaries today are governed by men who have departed from the ministry of the word for the sake of a more easy and leisurely life of study and academics to the neglect of the church. This sadly breeds a certain degree of laziness, religious hypocrisy, academic pride, a whole lot of profane fund-raising, and a type of academic theology that is divorced from a life of sacrifice, taking up the cross, worship, preaching, and ministry to common folk. The Apostles, the Early Church fathers, the Reformers, and most of the Puritans were preachers and ministers of the word involved every week with preaching, teaching, leading worship, and counseling folks in the church.
When I attended Westminster Seminary in CA in the early 1990’s while I greatly benefited from classes on Hebrew, Greek, and Apologetics (with John Frame), the rest of the classes were of little value or consequence to me. They were actually tedious and compromising. The classes were not designed to build students up in Scripture and sound doctrine, but to inform them of the latest theological fads or the professors own peculiar views. Many of the students who graduated were grossly ignorant of the basic contents of the Bible, Reformed Theology, and Church History. The professors didn’t assign in any of their classes Calvin, Turretin, the Reformed Confessions, or any of the Puritans. And sadly, I was counseling some of the professor’s and their families on some very serious matters of the Christian life while I was still in my early 20’s and just recently married. The best thing I learned from Seminary was that if I was to have a godly marriage and family and be faithful to Christ and His word in California, I would need to stay out of all modern Reformed denominations and the ungodly influence of the colleges and seminaries. This was not out of pride but out of love for Christ and my family. In Rev.3:19 Jesus says to the churches, “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent.” This is my concern for modern Reformed denominations and Seminaries.
Program: For this reason, I have developed an entirely Biblical and God-centered pattern and curriculum for Seminary students that is adaptable to a young man’s intellectual abilities, financial capabilities, home-church commitment, and family situation that would provide the highest level of College and Seminary level education from a Puritan and Reformed perspective. And this for the fraction of cost that a person would pay to go off to any established Evangelical or Reformed Seminary. And I am positive that by the time you have finished your studies, you will know the Bible, Church History, Systematic Theology, the Reformers and the Puritans, Reformed Apologetics, and all the tools necessary to live a godly Christian life, to build a godly Christian family, to be a faithful minister of the Gospel or Christian leader without any debt whatsoever. You may discern to some degree what the curriculum would be like by looking over all the sections of the website.
- Biblical Studies – 4 years of OT and NT Survey and Biblical Theology. You will read Scripture constantly and learn the contents and purpose of each and every book of the Bible, as well as the divine unity and structure of the Bible as never before. The foundation of all ministry and Christian leadership is the knowledge of Holy Scripture. I am presently in the process of putting together a comprehensive Survey of the OT and a Survey of the NT from a Puritan and Reformed perspective that will comprise over 3000 pages.
- Systematic Theology – 4 Years of Systematic Theology in 8 Semester Courses: 1. Prologomena (Scripture and Revelation). 2 The Doctrine of God. 3. The Doctrine of Man. 4. The Person and Work of Christ. 5. The Work of the Holy Spirit in Salvation. 6. The Christian Life. 7. The Church and the State (including Biblical Principles of Revival and Reformation). 8. Eschatology and the Second Coming of Christ. The texts that we use include Calvin’s Institutes, William Ames’ Marrow, Thomas Watson’s Body of Divinity; Francis Turretin’s Institutes; Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology; and Joel Beeke’s Reformed Systematic Theology. We also a great number of other theological works in each field of study along with a whole lot of Puritan books and sermons.
- Church History/World History – 4 years of a comprehensive study of world history, church history, historical theology, and Christian classics where you will read and familiarize yourself with the most important theological, devotional, and ministerial works in the history of the church. This will be from a Puritan and Reformed perspective though the reading will cover a wide variety of historical and source material.
- Apologetics – 4 years of a comprehensive look at the field of Apologetics and the Defense of the Faith including Apologetical method; the authority and sufficiency of Scripture; the vital role of preaching and teaching; the use of evidence, the Scriptural doctrine and proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ; the Lordship of Christ; the importance of history as evidence of the Gospel’s sanctifying influence on the world; and the use of the Reformed Confessions as the basis of a comprehensive Puritan and Reformed world and life view. My own views of Apologetics are fundamentally Presuppositionalist, but driven more by the Reformed Confessions and the faithful preaching of the Gospel than by philosophical arguments.
- Ministry – 4 years of electives designed for every individual’s personal calling and interest as either a pastor, a teacher, a missionary, a ruling elder, or just a godly Christian who wants to learn Scripture and sound doctrine in a comprehensive way without having to pay much for a College or Seminary level education.
The curriculum and schedule for this program are available upon request. You are free to inquire if you are interested in finding out how this could be possible.
Brett Woody, Pastor-Teacher