When Charles Finney was encouraged to attend Princeton Seminary to get a deeper theological training (he was a laywer before his conversion), he declined. When someone offered to pay his way he declined again, explaining, “I plainly told them that I would not put myself under such influence as they had been under. I was confident that they had been wrongly educated and were not ministers that met my ideal of what a minister of Christ should be.” (47)
Later, discussing the criticisms that many of his fellow Presbyterian ministers leveled at his ministry and preaching style, he says that he remained unconvinced of their criticisms given the fruit he saw from their ministries compared with his own. “I am still solemnly impressed with the conviction that the schools are to a great extent spoiling the ministers.” (72)
He goes on: “Ministers in these days have great facilities for obtaining information on all theological questions, and are vastly more learned, so far as theological, historical, and Bible learning is concerned, than they perhaps have ever been in any age of the world. Yet with all their learning they do not know how to use it. They are, after all, to a great extent like David in Saul’s armor.” (73)
This last point is clearly even more true today than in his day. Given the wealth, the vast resources of the American Church, the relatively high level of education, etc., the state of our nation does not reveal a great benefit for all that.