Friday, January 20, 2012

Seminary Doesn't Need to Kill Your Faith

The other day I saw a blog post from Carl Trueman lamenting the fact that seminaries don’t really do a good job of teaching students to preach.  And then I saw over at the Desiring God blog, that they just started a new series entitled How to Stay Christian in Seminary, focusing on the fact that in the midst of theological study, seminarians often see their faith lose much of its vitality, becoming almost purely academic in nature.

It seems that our seminaries are failing to do the very things they are supposed to focus on. I have heard stories about this from other pastors. The old joke is that there’s a reason “seminary” and “cemetery” sound so much alike. But I am thankful to be able to tell you that my experience at Covenant Theological Seminary couldn’t have been more different.

I say this not as a matter of pride. I am fully confident that I had very little (if anything) to do with it. Rather, it was primarily due to the grace of God, and in large part a result of the seminary I attended. I have not been a student at any other seminaries, but from the stories I’ve heard, I am left to assume that Covenant is exceptional.

I studied the language of Hebrew from a professor who made the classes seem devotional in nature. I was blessed to take a number of classes from (and do an independent study with) a man who I am quite certain is the most Christ-like individual I’ve ever known. I learned about preaching under the man who literally wrote the book on Christ-Centered Preaching. I could go on an on.

Grace is not just something that is taught academically at Covenant, it is the water in which you swim as a student there. And being constantly surrounded by others who were longing to grow and learn and serve God with their lives was an absolute joy. My only regret was that I didn’t get to spend more time there.

I’m sure there are people who struggle to see their faith grow while at seminary. Some of them may even be at Covenant. But if, on the other hand, their time at seminary is anything like mine was, they will look back on their experience 5-10 years later thanking God for the seeds he sewed in their heart during this period, for the influences there that helped shape the rest of their life, and for the sweet foretaste of heaven that they were blessed to receive.

1 comment:

G_Baughman said...

I've been at Covenant for one semester and a Jan term, and you are absolutely right. It has been an amazing experience so far. How they give you the academics in a pastoral and grace centered way is unique (at least from what I've heard from people at other seminaries). Glad that your experience here was so good, and I look forward to treasuring the remainder of my time at Covenant.