In this podcast episode, Cole and Terry discuss Christian education. Here are a few of the highlights:
Any advice for college and seminary students?
If you can go to seminary, do it. But never do seminary by itself.
Education is not simply about facts. It’s what you are learning combined with real-life ministry that shapes you as a person. As you do seminary, work at or volunteer in a church. Be doing ministry – do not simply learn about it in an academic setting.
A lot of people who go to seminary reorient or abandon their evangelical beliefs. Some do this because of disillusionment, which is common in seminary. As you go through seminary, remember to give yourself grace because you will be broken down in the first couple of years. Paradigm shifts happen when you are overloaded with information you cannot fit together. The end goal of seminary is to give you a much more solid sense of what you believe and why. Sometimes it takes a while to get there.
Focus on primary sources, not secondary. Primary sources include scripture, certain theologians or projects, church fathers, etc. Secondary sources include people talking or discussing the primary sources. Focus first on primary material, then move on to secondary sources.
What about people who are not going to seminary?
If you are a teacher in your church, consider taking one higher-education Bible and theology class per year. This is a great way to benefit from seminary education without going to seminary.
The difficulty with this approach is that you have to choose your own resources and books to read rather than being led by a professor. Consider finding a mentor or someone who can guide you and recommend faithful biblical resources. If you want to grow in your knowledge, choose resources that have stood the test of time.
Listening to sermons and podcasts is key. This lets you listen to multiple people instead of just focusing on a single teacher.
“For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge” (2 Peter 1:5).
Brittany Proffitt lives in Dallas, TX, holds a BA in Religion, and is a student at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. She is passionate about Scripture and how God’s Word impacts individuals’ hearts and lives.