Seminary is great.
A number of Taylor University students (where I taught from 2005-2007) asked me about seminary. I think seminary is a wonderful thing. It is a chance to read great books and devote time to the intellectual side of faith. Meanwhile, if you are intentional, you can work on spiritual formation with a group of friends. You can also get involved in a local church and get ministry experience. There is no replacement for seminary if you are going to work with adults.
Start on it early if you want to.
Another thing I always tell students is that they can start right away from wherever they are. For example, I took Church History 1 and 2 from Gordon Conwell through their extension program. They sent you a bunch of tapes or CD’s and you have to listen to them. Then you have to have someone unrelated to you proctor your exam. Then you have to send in your paper. It is great!
How to pick a seminary:
1. When you are nearby traveling for other reasons, check out the seminary, visit a chapel, talk to an admissions person, meet with a prof, and see what you think of it.
2. Pay attention to the books you like (and don’t like). Where did the authors go to school? Where do they teach?
3. You will likely have some interests. Are you looking for apologetics? Are you looking for mentoring? Are you looking for innovative church ministry? Do you want a seminary that hates the megachurch or loves it? Do you want a seminary that likes the emerging church conversation or hates it? Do you want a seminary with a wider statement of faith or a narrower one? Many schools have some kind of specialty.
4. Check out the websites.
5. Realize that where you go to seminary will often influence where you end up living. You will tend to settle down nearby.
6. A seminary will certainly form you so this is a big decision.
7. Go to Regent College’s summer school. They have awesome 1-2 week classes in May, June and July with professors from many seminaries.
8. Seminaries accept most everyone. I'm not saying not to take the admissions process seriously. Write good essays, turn in your recommendations, send your transcripts, follow the directions, etc. But, it bothers me when people say, "I got in so that must be the right place!" Hmm . . . no. Most everyone with a college degree and a C average without a criminal record gets accepted at most every seminary. Hmm . . . again, you should check on whether this is true. Princeton and Duke are definitely more picky. All I am saying is that getting in is not necessarily God saying "Go here." Talk to your friends and family, visit, read, etc.
My List of Seminaries
Below I have listed a number of seminaries where Taylor University grads have attended. I have tried to list them from most liberal to most conservative. There are some schools that I don’t exactly know where they lie so I have guessed.
Certainly there are many, many more seminaries. There are many more that are smaller and more denominationally oriented. There are many that are more liberal. There are bible colleges. There are many in other countries!
After naming the seminary and providing the link, I have listed some of the more famous faculty members. Now, this “fame” is just my opinion and is most often determined by authors I have happened to have read. I just thought it would get you started on your search. I have also listed some friends of mine and where they went to school. If you email me, I can probably give you their contact info.
Princeton Theological Seminary - Princeton, NJ. Darrell Guder, Ellen Charry, Kenda Creasy Dean, Bruce McCormack, Daniel Migliore, George Hunsinger. Friend: Brendon Benz – fellow 1998 Taylor grad.
Duke Divinity School - Durham, NC. Ellen Davis, Stanley Hauerwas, Richard Hays, Richard Lischer. Friend: Ryan Moore – 1999 Wheaton grad. 2011 update: Me (Th.D. work) and many friends now that I have been here 5 years.
Pittsburgh Theological Seminary - Pittsburgh, PA. Craig Barnes, Edith Humphrey.
The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology - Seattle, WA. Dan Allender. Friends: Jon Stanley, Atta Dawahare, Ken Peer, Jason Jost, Jon DenHartong, Chris Keller – all Taylor grads.
North Park Theological Seminary - Chicago, IL
George Fox Evangelical Seminary - Portland, OR.
Fuller Theological Seminary - Pasadena, CA. Colin Brown, Eddie Gibbs, Archibald Hart, Don Hagner, Richard Mouw, Joel Green. Friend: Jacob Gaines – 1998 Taylor grad.
Truett Theological Seminary - Baylor University, Waco, TX. David Garland, Roger Olsen.
Palmer Theological Seminary - Wynnewood, PA. Ron Sider.
Asbury Theological Seminary – Wilmore, KY. Ben Witherington III, Craig Keener. Friend: Sally Evans – 1997 Taylor grad.
Regent College – Vancouver, BC, Canada. J.I. Packer, Gordon Fee, Bruce Waltke, James Houston, and John Stackhouse. Friends: A million because I went there. Amy Rowell, Matt Ghormley, Ben Suriano, Cynthia Bennett, Jon Yeager, Brad Brummeler – all Taylor grads.
Calvin Theological Seminary – Grand Rapids, MI. Cornelius Plantinga, John Witvliet. Friend: Mark Dykstra – 1998 Taylor grad.
Bethel Seminary – St. Paul, MN. Associated with the Baptist General Conference. [Update: August 2013. This is where I am a professor now.]
Denver Seminary – Littleton, CO. Craig Blomberg, Douglas R. Groothuis. Friends: Brooks Penner – 1999 Taylor grad.
Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary – Hamilton, MA Robert Coleman, Scott Gibson, Walter Kaiser, Haddon Robinson, David Wells. And Charlotte, NC. Friends: Brad Bitner and John Noble 1998 Taylor grads. Eric Kniffin – 1998 Wheaton grad.
Beeson Divinity School -- Birmingham, AL.
Wheaton College Graduate School – Wheaton, IL. Kevin Vanhoozer, Doug Moo, John Walton.
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School – Deerfield, IL. D.A. Carson, Grant Osborne. Friends: JR Kerr and Jim Matter – 1998 Taylor grads.
Multnomah Biblical Seminary - Portland, OR. (I don't know much about where to place this school).
Talbot School of Theology – La Mirada, CA. William Lane Craig, J.P. Moreland, Michael Wilkins, Norman Wright. Friends: Hank Voss – 1998 Taylor grad and Brent Croxton – 1998 Wengatz hall director.
Reformed Theological Seminary – Jackson, MS. Orlando, FL. Charlotte, NC. Atlanta, GA. Washington, DC. Boca Raton, FL.
Covenant Theological Seminary – St. Louis, MO. PCA seminary. Bryan Chapell.
Westminster Seminary California - Escondido, CA. Michael Horton.
Westminster Theological Seminary – Glenside, PA. Presbyterian and Reformed.
Dallas Theological Seminary – Dallas, TX. Darrell Bock, Howard Hendricks. Friend: Jon Easterhaus – 1998 Taylor grad.
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary – Louisville, KY. Thomas R. Schreiner, Albert Mohler. Friend: Joseph Bonura - 1999 Taylor grad.
Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary – Fort Worth, TX. Paige Patterson, Craig Blaising.
The Master's Seminary – Sun Valley, CA. John MacArthur.
Update March 8, 2007:
See the post by John Stackhouse (a professor at Regent College): Seminary: Who Needs It? from March 8, 2007.
Update July 31, 2010:
Embarrassed by some of my previous ordering, I have revised the order a bit.
Update September 21, 2011:
I have again fixed some of the egregious goofs and changes. Feel free to comment with changes I should make.
See also my other posts under the category Seminaries including some where I look at the data for the biggest seminaries in the United States and Canada.