J.P. Moreland rightly asks, Why is it that if you want to be a chemist or teach literature you have to have training, but if you want to be a minister all you need is to feel a call on your life? Where is the need for knowledge?
Think about it this way. Would you seek the services of a physician who only had a master’s degree in medicine? Would you allow a physician who had no training at all in medicine, but merely felt the “call” to be a doctor, to operate on you? No, because your health is too important to entrust to someone who lacks the knowledge necessary to fix your body. Why then, do we think it is acceptable for ministers of the gospel to “operate” on people’s eternal souls—which is much more important than operating on temporal bodies—with just a call to ministry? Jesus’ disciples sat at His feet for 3+ years before they entered into full-time ministry. Theological education (whether formal or not) should be viewed as a precondition for ministry. Too much is at stake for anything less. Attempting spiritual surgery without sufficient knowledge can lead to others’ spiritual death rather than life. Let’s get educated!