The Best Seminary

by on December 10, 2007

A good number of people end up at by searching some derivative of “best” and “seminary.” So, I figured I should take a moment and address the topic.

Actually, the real motivation for this post was a thread I read on a forum today that started something like this:

“What is the best seminary? Money isn’t a factor.”

That was it… nothing else… Just tell me which one is best.

Two days later 40 people had posted their 2 cents about this seminary and that seminary and why everyone else was wrong. It was really strange to read the responses. I tried to set up an account so that I could give some advice to the young man, but for some reason the forum didn’t like my post and it was rejected twice… so I gave up.

What I wanted to say to the young man and to all who query “best seminary” is that there isn’t a single “best” seminary. The reality is that the right seminary for me might not be the right one for you. That is why I go to great lengths at to not reveal what seminary I am attending. I think that each of you need to do the hard work of asking yourself what it is that you are wanting to get out of your seminary experience and then find the seminary that best meets that need.

For example, if you really want to study and learn about urban church planting… then you probably don’t want to attend a seminary that is out in the woods somewhere and has no classes on church planting. Make sense?

To find “the best seminary” takes time, energy, and effort. It requires you to examine your own heart. It requires prayer. It requires getting council. It requires talking with professors and visiting campuses. It takes work…

So, what is the best seminary? You tell me…


The author of this post is noted above. and were created by Ryan Burns. He is currently on staff at Redemption Hill Church in Richmond, VA, and recently launched a site to help people find Seminary Scholarships and anther site to help people find Church Jobs. He also writes about his experiences doing GORUCK events on his hobby blog.


Yikes! Making a comment about what one thinks is the “Best” seminary is like painting a target on your chest with a flashing neon sign saying, “Shoot here!”

Still, there are about ten seminaries (depending on how you count) within a two-hour travelling radius from where I live. I decided on Western Seminary in Portland, Oregon for several reasons: seeing the kind of graduates they prepare, their general reputation, their broad-yet-conservative posture, and reputation of their faculty (lecturers rather than publishers).

I’m completing my last full-time semester in my degree program and have no regrets over my choice of this school.

Sounds like Portland has two good ones. Hey Eric, I’m over here at Multnomah. Okay, not literally there right this moment…

Anyways, I’ve heard good things about Western (the two institutions were exploring a formal partnership or “consolidation” as it has been termed, until recently), and Western has tended to have all the books I’ve needed via inter-library loan.

I agree with all the points Eric made above, and apply them here our experience to Multnomah Biblical Seminary. My wife and I (she’s a student too and in fact will graduate long before me) fell in love with the faculty and the emphases here right from the start.

We’ve especially been influenced with how seminary should serve the local church and I know I love Christ’s Bride a lot more than I did when we first started our classes.

I appreciate your thoughts Ryan. No seminary is perfect for everyone. I agree with your point that the best way to determine where to attend seminary is to first figure out what you desire to get out of seminary and what direction you are going in the future. In my desire to do pastoral ministry and possibly church planting, out of a number of seminaries I looked at, I decided to go to the seminary that would seem to best prepare me for that end goal. Now I will soon be heading into a 1 year internship for my last year of my MDiv and I look forward to seeing how the Lord will use me. It has been exciting to come all the way from Seattle to the northeast part of the country and see how God has worked in my time at Baptist Bible Seminary. (