Discipleship and Seminary Education

While seminary education should certainly include a focus on the primary academic disciplines involved in biblical-theological studies, with a concerted emphasis on academic excellence, this emphasis must never preclude or preempt a strong focus on discipleship towards humility and holiness.  As expressed in our mission statement, Calvary Baptist Seminary exists “to glorify God through preparing individuals as godly servant leaders of local churches worldwide.” That is, academic excellence and personal godliness through intentional discipleship are not competing goals – but rather, they are complementary and mutually essential.

In this spirit, I was impressed by a recent quote from Don Carson in the lead essay of his Collected Writings on Scripture [Crossway, 2010, pp. 52-53]: “Because the Bible is God’s word, it is vitally important to cultivate humility as we read, to foster a meditative prayerfulness as we reflect and study, to seek the help of the Holy Spirit as we try to understand and obey, to confess sin and pursue purity of heart and motive and relationships as we grow in understanding.  Failure in these areas may produce scholars, but not mature Christians [emphasis mine].”

We at CBS are passionately dedicated to helping students develop the skills necessary to accurately exegete and effectively communicate God’s Word while investing ourselves in their spiritual development as we grow together in Christlikeness.  The harmonizing of these two essential components of seminary training is well summarized in the oft-cited motto of the prominent post-reformation era German Pietist Johann Albrecht Bengel, when he asserted:

“Apply thyself wholly to the text.  Apply the text wholly to thyself.”

It is our desire to instill this attitude in our students so that, both in word and character, they might accurately and passionately communicate the message of the glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.

About Al Huss
I am a professor of New Testament at Calvary Baptist Seminary in Lansdale, PA

2 Responses to Discipleship and Seminary Education

  1. Chris says:

    Right on the mark…the Christian life is about relationships. Relationships with our God and savior the Lord Jesus Christ and relationships with our fellow man. It fulfills the two great commandments: love God and love your neighbor. An intellectual approach to Christianity is restrictive to sanctification. Thanks for emphasizing this as a person and an institution.

  2. Jim says:

    Well said, not only learning and piety, i.e. Christlikeness but to be authentic (be really what we seem to be) and apply all that to our life…and frankly, to be “useful”, to love one another (I John 3:23)…as a well known advertisement might say (and I will say imperfectly):

    Money invested in a good seminary education…huge amount of $$$…

    Hours of time invested in a good seminary education…huge amount of time, $$$…

    Finding from within, strength and resources to support a couple that has just lost a child or parents whose son was sentenced to prison, etc. and do it with love and compassion…Priceless…

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