Scot McKnight started a great discussion on the role of the seminary in his post called “Seminary Re:mixed.”
One of the main questions is this: Should the seminary primarily train academically or should it train pastors?
The problem with the first option is that academic exercises and studies are not always beneficial to the individual believer or to the church. The problem with the second option is that pastors/elders cannot be trained outside of the church. Perhaps they can be given information, but information does not an elder make.
I think it is beneficial to learn Greek, Hebrew, New and Old Testament background, Church History, Theology (from different perspectives, etc. But, here’s the thing, ALL believers need to learn these things, not just pastors/elders.
I would love to see more seminaries adjust their missions to the education of the whole church, and not just the education of pastors/elders or missionaries.
Also, I would love to see more seminaries acknowledge that they cannot train pastors/elders. Pastors/elders are trained as they live in community with other believers, both those who are more mature than they are and those who are less mature. This takes time and experience, not reading and writing.