“Should I go to seminary?”
Many Christians feel a calling into vocational ministry or faithful scholarship. Part of their discerning process is determining whether or not to attend seminary.
While not all pastors and ministers attend seminary, the majority do. In fact, upwards of 71% of senior pastors have either a master’s degree, seminary degree, or doctorate degree.
15 Well-Known Preachers Who Attended Seminary
Many people who feel called to vocational ministry believe seminary is the best place to prepare them for their calling. Here are 20 faithful, impactful preachers who attended seminary.
- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – Morehouse College, Crozer Theological Seminary, and Boston University School of Theology
- Billy Graham – Wheaton College and Princeton Theological Seminary
- Rick Warren – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Fuller Theological Seminary
- Charles Stanley – Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and Luther Rice Seminary
- John Piper – Fuller Theological Seminary and University of Munich
- Tim Keller – Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Westminster Theological Seminary
- Andy Stanley – Dallas Theological Seminary and Luther Rice Seminary
- Tony Evans – Dallas Theological Seminary
- R.C. Sproul – Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary, and the Free University of Amsterdam
- Alistair Begg – London School of Theology and Westminster Theological Seminary
- John MacArthur – Talbot School of Theology
- Francis Chan – Master’s Seminary
- Matt Chandler – Hardin-Simmons University and Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
- David Platt – New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary and Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
- Eugene Peterson – New York Theological Seminary and Johns Hopkins University
These are just a few examples of well-known preachers who have attended seminary. Many other influential pastors, theologians, and church leaders have also pursued theological education in seminary.
25 Well-Known Preachers Who Did Not Attend Seminary
Of course, while seminary may be a prerequisite to qualify for some positions, it is not a prerequisite to impact the Kingdom of God. Here are 15 influential Christians and ministers who did not attend seminary.
- Billy Sunday – Evangelist and former professional baseball player
- C.S. Lewis – Author and Christian apologist
- Smith Wigglesworth – Pentecostal evangelist and faith healer
- Corrie ten Boom – Christian author and Holocaust survivor
- Charles H. Spurgeon – Baptist preacher and author
- D.L. Moody – Evangelist and founder of Moody Bible Institute
- A.W. Tozer – Christian author and pastor
- John Bunyan – Author of “The Pilgrim’s Progress” and Baptist preacher
- Watchman Nee – Chinese Christian author and church leader
- John Wesley – Founder of the Methodist movement
- George Whitefield – Anglican preacher and evangelist
- Jonathan Edwards – Theologian and preacher in the Great Awakening
- Hudson Taylor – Missionary to China and founder of China Inland Mission
- William Carey – Missionary to India and founder of the Baptist Missionary Society
- Charles Finney – Evangelist and leader in the Second Great Awakening
These are just a few examples of well-known preachers who did not attend seminary.
Should You Go To Seminary?
You may have noticed that many of the well known preachers from the list who did not attend seminary lived in a previous era and have passed on decades, or even centuries ago. One reason is because seminary today is far more accessible than it was then.
Another important thing to note is that all of the ministers who did not attend seminary had an extremely robust understanding of Scripture, and studied with the tenacity that very few have.
While formal seminary is not required for everyone called to ministry, it provides a solid foundation to build upon.
Want to learn more about seminary? Check out our Ultimate Guide To Seminary.