Why I’m Attending Southern Seminary
Last Sunday I was accepted into the School of Theology at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, KY. I visited the school last week and, after spending time in thought and prayer, I’ve decided to pursue my MDiv (Master of Divinity) degree at Southern. I’ve been deliberating between Southern and The Master’s Seminary for much of the last year, and while it wasn’t an easy decision, it was one marked by a clear sense of direction from the Lord.
I confess it is rather scary to leave the familiar environment of the Master’s community. Much of who I am in the Lord has been forged in the classroom and offices and dorm rooms of TMC. I will greatly miss the Master’s community. The Lord has blessed me far beyond what I ever could have hoped for in quantity and quality of friendships through my time at college. It is hard to leave what God has used to shape me into His image. I’ll also miss being able to visit my Cornerstone Community Church family. It’s a lot further of a drive from Louisville than Santa Clarita. In a very short time I’ve come to love you all very much. It has been a joy to serve the youth and I’m looking forward to the last couple of months of disc golf, Gleanings, and study of Philippians.
So why am I going to Southern?
1) I will get to study under an incredible group of professors. The faculty at Southern pretty much comprises a “Who’s Who” list of conservative scholarship. Russell Moore, Timothy Paul Jones, Bruce Ware, Tom Schriener, Stuart Scott, and the list goes on and on. Other seminaries use the books written by these men as textbooks for their classes. At Southern I will be able to study under the men who wrote the textbooks.
2) The leadership and professors love the local church. The classes I was able to sit in on were not set in ivory-tower academia, but rather the mud and mire of the realities of church ministry. Theological instruction for the sake of theological instruction will not help me better serve the bride of Christ.
3) I’m coming to realize the importance of being taught from a variety of perspectives. Not a variety of doctrinal perspectives, but rather a variety of emphases within those commonly held doctrines. To have undergraduate and graduate degrees from the same institution is not the end of the world, but it would leave me unbalanced in areas. The greatest strength of TMS is how it prepares men to preach the Word. That is my greatest strength in ministry as well. I want to go to a school that will challenge me in my weaknesses so that I will grow in my ability to minister before the Lord.
4) Southern has a culture of grace and appreciation towards men of different doctrinal perspectives who have accomplished great things for the Kingdom. This walks a fine and dangerous line. Russell Moore exemplified this attitude best in a theology class I sat in on about Eschatology. He said something akin to, “We’re to be dogmatic about the things Scripture is clear about and humble about the things it is not. We can learn much from the elderly dispensationalist-holding church members as they eagerly await the rapture. And they can learn much from us historic premillenialists as we prepare ourselves for suffering.’ That is an impressive attitude.
There’s other reasons why I’m going to attend Southern, but these are the most important. I’m thankful for the year off to recharge my academic batteries, and I’m excited to begin this new stage in my life.