This short reflection comes after I read about an abusive husband who was theologically trained and a pastor.
I am a graduate of both Dallas Theological Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Both were formative in my spiritual development.
One concern for me is how easy it is to be accepted as a student at all evangelical seminaries. Being “called” is almost always an individual affair. That is, one describes to the prospective seminary their fitness to minister based solely on one’s own assessment. Disastrous stuff. Seminaries must do much better here.
Some dear friends were made in seminary, both in Dallas and at Trinity. However, I met my fair share of folks at both places who raised serious concerns about their fitness for ministry.
At Dallas Theological Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School I sat through many classes where we sought to “understand the Bible.” For all their worth, there was one huge assumption which was consistently made: our own walks with God made no real difference in how well we understood Scripture. All that was needed to understand Scripture were the tools like observing the text carefully.
In Christopher Hall’s wonderful book, Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers, it is clear that the earliest Christian interpreters of Scripture believed one’s walk with God directly influenced how well they understood God’ Word.
Currently, I am leading a few reading groups of friends through some of the great works of Christianity. We are now reading Imitation of Christ by Kempis. Kempis said, “In silence and peace a devout soul makes progress and learns the secrets of the scriptures.”
Eugene Peterson writes, “The most important question we ask of the this text is not, ‘What does this mean?’ but ‘What can I obey?’ A simple act of obedience will open up our lives to this text far more quickly than any number of Bible studies and dictionaries and concordances.”
(I am grateful to www.bensonian.org for bringing my attention to this last quote by Eugene Peterson in Eat This Book, p. 71)
ABOUT FIFTEEN YEARS AGO, I INTERVIEWED AL MOHLER VIA RADIO. AT THE RIPE AGE OF 33 HE ASSUMED LEADERSHIP AT THE FLAGSHIP SOUTHERN BAPTIST SEMINARY. WHAT HAPPENED WAS TRULY HISTORIC. THANKS TO JUSTIN TAYLOR FOR LINK: