There are many sincere believers, and sound teachers who work in these institutions. There are many earnest young Christians, men and women, desirous of serving the Lord, who attend them, and have gone on to serve Him faithfully. But is there any scriptural basis for them?
I have looked at a few websites recently and there are some noble statements. The Dallas Theological Seminary, for example, is very much influenced by the ministry of John Nelson Darby, and has produced some worthy alumni, such as my friend Paul Wilkinson. It states, ‘The mission of Dallas Theological Seminary is to glorify God by equipping godly servant-leaders for the proclamation of His Word and the building up of the body of Christ worldwide.’ Nobody could criticise that – in fact the church needs more and more workmen. But what do many desire? A Doctor of Ministry degree? A wonderful graduation ceremony in robes? And how much does it cost? not that a degree should be without cost, of course. Timothy was told ‘for those who shall have ministered well obtain for themselves a good degree, and much boldness in faith which [is] in Christ Jesus.’ (I Tim 3:13 JND). They get their degree by ministering; they do not get their degree in order to minister.
Furthermore, like any college, it is a social institution with sports, clubs etc., and you only need to look at Facebook to see that. Nothing wrong, of course, with sport and social activities, but are they part of the church?
There was the School of Tyrannus in Corinth. It was a place to read and discuss the word, and for interested persons to come to the Lord. If it was a formal school, I don’t think it was more than a place of convenience for Paul. Then there was the home of Aquila and Priscilla. I don’t think either had a doctorate, but they were able to take Apollos (who maybe had one) expound unto him the way of God more perfectly (Acts 18:26).
So, maybe the best place to learn is in the assembly. We are to learn in the school of God. There is a good book by James Butler Stoney (1814-1897) – Discipline in the School of God. Maybe this is a good place to start. Though we had best start on our knees first.