The Development Of Old Testament Work In Theological Seminaries -- By: Owen H. Gates

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 050:197 (Oct 1893)
Article: The Development Of Old Testament Work In Theological Seminaries
Author: Owen H. Gates

The Development Of Old Testament Work In Theological Seminaries

Prof. Owen H. Gates

It is not needful to pause to prove the necessity that is upon the seminaries, of developing courses in the Old Testament department; that must be evident to all. It is also-unnecessary to say and prove that the seminaries are actually feeling the importance of such development, and are providing for it. There is activity in the department in most of the seminaries, and others wait only for more adequate equipment before inaugurating new courses. There is doubtless no room for differences of opinion as to the importance €>f additional opportunities for research in connection with the Old Testament. There is however room for question as to the line in which advance should be made; and the best way to secure the adoption of proper methods is to exchange views, or at least gain definiteness of thought by formulation and expression.

The function of the theological seminary as at present constituted in this country, is to fit men for the ministry. This purpose must be the test by which to judge of the claims of every applicant for admission into the seminary curriculum; from this aim we must start out as we try to devise means to render our seminaries more efficient. Whatever might be the value of a school of theological science that should have no immediate duty to the churches, that should investigate sacred truth for its own sake, for the love of the truth, and with the purpose of diffusing knowledge of the

Bible and biblical topics simply because they are worthy of study, and not in order to induce men to repent and be saved, and to “grow in grace and the knowledge of the truth,” the seminary is not such a school. It is not a faculty in a university, its professors appointed by royal decree, or by any power at variance with the churches. It is an institution .of the church,—one channel through which the benevolence of the church accomplishes its great work. It may fairly be regarded as one of the charitable institutions of the church, owing its existence and maintenance to it, and morally responsible to it for results. Our seminaries are founded by the liberality of supporters of the churches, who hope to serve them in this way. Tuition is, and can be remitted, because professorships are endowed by Christian men. Through the various boards of the churches, financial aid is given needy students to relieve them of concern about money matters. From a mere financial point of view, then, which is confessedly a low one, but nevertheless one which cannot be ignored and ought not to be, the seminaries are bound to seek the welfare of the churches first and foremost; always supposing that the church is God’s chosen means for s...

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