10 THINGS I LEARNED IN SEMINARY - #4-10: THE FINAL EDITION


[Don't worry- this is "The Final Edition" for this series only. Carlo will be posting new articles highlighting the "Culture" district of Victapolis soon, and Pat has some new content coming as well!]

Today I’m posting the remaining 7 of the “10 Things I Learned in Seminary” in one little article. Why, you may ask? Well, starting next week I’ll be engaged in English tutoring, TA responsibilities for a seminary class, and more research for my book project. Moreover, there are a few other opportunities on the horizon that I won’t mention just yet ;) That combined with the prospect of other Victapolis articles means you get the whole "10 Things" enchilada right here and now!

A little disclaimer: During my three years of seminary, I learned much more than can be shared in a single post. Consider these broad strokes just a sampling of the whole!

7 MORE THINGS I LEARNED IN SEMINARY:

4. Does theology matter? I'm convinced that it does more than ever before. But why? In short: Theology matters because theology affects our actions. I have heard it said that “We say what we know, but we do what we believe.” Do we want to act justly? Then we must study God’s word diligently.

5. Having said that, knowledge is no substitute for obedience. A lay believer who obeys God’s Word is better than a seminary graduate who goes his/her own way.

6. We were made for community. Big, big lesson here the past few years. I’ve seen how my faith has been enriched through community at seminary (Student Council, small groups, good friends, etc.), and I’ve seen how it has weakened through the lack thereof. The Bible says that “as iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.” When that happens continuously in our lives, there’s never a dull moment! (Come on, you like that iron pun.)

7. On a similar note: True success is measured not only by the rightness of our actions but also by the quality of our relationships. Most of all this means our relationship with God, but we can't forget our family and our friends. Know that this is something God is still teaching me today.

I'll miss sweet times of worship here at Asia Pacific Theological Seminary. Wait, what am I saying? I'm still here for another year ;)

8. Distractions are everywhere—even at seminary. Stay vigilant, friends. (Heb 12:1-2)

9. After studying the fascinating history of rhetoric during NT times (orators were rock stars in Jesus' day!), our Savior's ministry methods, and the sermons of the apostles, I will tell you plainly that the culmination of my studies at APTS was a 30+ page research paper on "A Biblical Theology and Personal Philosophy of Preaching." I will also tell you that what we preach (message) and why we preach (motivation) shouldn't be the only concerns for biblical preachers; how we preach (methodology) is of prime importance as well. Perhaps I'll share more of my findings at a later date. Suffice it to say for now that preachers today should study not just what the apostles proclaimed, but also how they proclaimed it. :)

10. Have I learned anything about the nature of God? Oh yes, this and more: God is patient. You see, friends, sometimes we count ourselves out far too quickly. We disqualify ourselves on account of our former sins, our lack of love, our niggling character defects and our most hated inconsistencies. We denigrate our personal faith and we downplay what God could possibly do through us. But the truth? 1) I am righteous before God not because of my good deeds, but because of his noble blood spilled at Calvary's cross. 2) God is not done with me yet. His blood has washed me totally clean, but His Spirit still trains me to stop diving into the mud. :)

      8 The LORD is compassionate and gracious, 
         slow to anger, abounding in love. 
      9 He will not always accuse, 
         nor will he harbor his anger forever; 
      10 he does not treat us as our sins deserve 
         or repay us according to our iniquities. 
      11 For as high as the heavens are above the earth, 
         so great is his love for those who fear him; 
      12 as far as the east is from the west, 
         so far has he removed our transgressions from us. 
         (Psalm 103:8-12, NIV)

A final word: Seminary may not be God's calling for you, and neither may our ministry paths be one and the same. But open your eyes and see; open His Word and listen. He has much he wants you to learn of Him today. :)  --C.

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