I am going to say this twice, once at the beginning and once at the end, because the nature of this question is begging to be misunderstood.
Here goes: The issues are not the value of academic study or the value of scholarship. The issue is final authority and, secondarily, the priesthood of all believers.
I have seen arguments trying to persuade Christians to join their camp because they have the big name scholars. What has been lost, IMO, is the argument to embrace a certain position/doctrine on the basis of clear Scriptural argument.
It is my observation that more Christians are following what their "Top Saint" is saying (St. Piper, St. Keller, St. Witherington, St. Grudem, etc.--thanks Tyler R for letting me steal your nomenclature!). This is in contrast to the Berean attitude, where the the issue is what the Bible says -- not simply accepting a premise because of the academic credentials of the one arguing from the Bible.
Of course this problem is nothing new -- if it exists, that is. We know that this is how the early church turned into Roman Catholicism -- trust the clergy to do the interpreting. These Christians embracing the attitude of "they know more than we do because they are the scholars, so let's trust their interpretations."
I may just be a grouch (well, maybe I shouldn't say "may"), but it seems to me like the original fundamental idea -- the Bible is our authority no matter what people with massive credentials say -- has been lost. The Neo-evangelical approach of accumulating leaders with amazing credentials to accommodate "dialog" seems to be the approach now embraced by fundamentalists and conservative evangelicals, too. We once valued Bible, now academic prestige seems to be the draw. A
Psalm 119:99 [ESV] exemplified the older approach: "I have more understanding than all my teachers, for your testimonies are my meditation."
A knowledge of Bible content trumped academia, if I might take a liberty to paraphrase, amplify, and apply.
At one time, the purpose of academic study in the realms of theology or related fields was to help us better understand the Bible, but the authority was in the Bible. And, at the end of the day, it didn't matter who said otherwise -- a clear passage was the Law, not footnoted treatises. The standard has seemed to morph into, "Who is the greatest scholar. What he says is right or most likely right." The issue once was, "What does the Bible teach?" Understood was the acceptance of the perspicuity of Scripture.
I think this has changed (and I do not agree with the change). Do you?
The issues are not the value of academic study or the value of scholarship. The issue is final authority and, secondarily, the priesthood of all believers.