Are you in Seminary or thinking of going to Seminary?
When I began Seminary, I wrote a short post about what I wanted to be able to say when I came out. Then I put it aside and didn’t look at it again for three years.
When I wrote it, I was a pastor in a church in Montana. I loved the people, I loved the church, I loved the area, I loved what I was doing. Nevertheless, I felt God leading me to seminary. I was terrified to go, but I went anyway.
After I graduated, I pulled it out to see what it said. Here is what I wrote:
On Entering Seminary (What I want to say when I come out)
I am thankful for my seminary degree, but I am not glad I have it. It shows a compromise with worldly standards that are not necessarily God’s. It is what man wants of a pastor. God doesn’t really care. Letters and degrees and accolades mean nothing to Him. The Lord looks at the heart.
I will never put letters before or after my name, unless they are I.C. – in Christ. I will never stand upon the work I have done, but upon His work alone. I will never believe that I have earned my position of authority, or a certain level of respect because of the schooling I have received.
I was a pastor before I went in, and I am a pastor coming out. Any church I serve, fame I acquire, or recognition I receive is due to the grace of God upon me, and nothing else. I am worthy of nothing.
I will not become an academic. I will not talk about Greek and Hebrew unless it is absolutely necessary to explain the text. I will never say the words, “When I was in Seminary…” unless it is to humble myself.
The training I have received is but rubbish if it causes my heart to grow cold and my love for Jesus to wane.
Dear Lord Jesus, draw me ever closer to you. Let the education I have received not be a stumbling block to what You want for me.
I am making this public because I want to be held accountable to it. It really is amazing the work that God has done in my heart and mind while in seminary, not because of seminary, but in spite of seminary, and because of other things that have happened in my life while I have been here.
As I look over what I wrote before going to seminary, I am shocked at how God brought about exactly what I had written. I spent the time and money to go to Seminary, but when I came out, felt like it was all a waste. My degree meant nothing to me. I didn’t even attend the graduation ceremony.
I have often wondered why God brought me to seminary.
The truth I have learned is that seminary was simply a cover (an expensive one!) for something greater that He actually wanted to perform in my life.
God had truths to teach me, and things to show me about various idols in my life which I may never have seen had I stayed in Montana. I had to learn things and see things that I never would have learned or seen as a Pastor in Montana.
Seminary didn’t teach me these things, but I did learn them while I was in Seminary.
Have you gone to Seminary? What was your experience? What did you learn? Are you thinking of going to Seminary? If so, what do you hope to gain from it?