Why does formal training for gospel ministry matter? Samuel Miller answers.

Samuel Miller, the Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Church Government at Princeton Theological Seminary in the first half of the 19th century, gave six answers to this question in his book, The Importance of a Thorough and Adequate Course of Preparatory Study for the Holy Ministry (1832):

1. The great importance of careful and mature preparatory study in candidates for the Ministry, appears from the nature and importance of that public service which the sacred office demands. 

2. A further and very important argument in favour of mature preparatory study is, that very few who do not lay a good foundation in the beginning, ever supply the deficiency afterwards.

3. The great importance of regular and mature training for the holy Ministry is manifest from the peculiar state and wants of our country.

4. The great importance of mature study, and thorough training for the holy Ministry, is manifest from the predominant influence which, the Press exerts, and seems destined in a still higher degree, to exert, in every part of our country.

5. Ample and mature preparatory study is of exceeding great importance to a candidate for the holy ministry, as a substitute for that experience which cannot be possessed in the outset of an ecclesiastical course; and for the general formation of the character.

6. The importance of mature study and thorough training for the sacred office, is powerfully and uniformly attested by the history of the Church.