The Biggest Things I Learned After My First Semester

by on February 26, 2016

About five years ago, I did my first year of seminary. I took a break after that year and have now returned to a different school to continue. Recently, I stumbled on an old journal entry I wrote on the last day of my first semester.

 

I was a very different man then, fresh out of college and incredibly sensitive to every little thought and reaction during seminary. Reading this over, I think there are some lessons we can all pull from these words, especially for those just about to enter seminary and are wondering what they might expect spiritually.

 

Things I’ve learned this semester:

 

I am a weak and finite man wholly dependent on the grace of God for anything good within him.

 

The substance of this Christian life is one of God using people, circumstances, and His Spirit to show you the depths of your own weakness and sin, that you might see His love and faithfulness toward you to a greater degree and that this might lead you to worship and rest in Him more.

The entire logic and reason behind the whole of the Christian faith is ultimately circular, just like everyone else’s epistemology. But circular logic is okay, as long as you’re in the right circle.

God has so structured this “Christianity” thing such that it would all depend wholly on faith.

Ultimately we believe in God simply because we do. Any other reason makes that the authority our faith is resting upon. This faith is messy. Our canon development, textual criticism, historiography, and even our very knowledge of God rests ultimately on our faith in Him, and not on any external standard or rule of truth.

I am more sinful than I ever dared imagined, but more loved than I could ever dare hope.

Due to the curse of God on this earth because of Adam, everything will war against me being the man God has called me to be.

God has given me the opportunities, things, and relationships in my life not to feed my lusts and insecurities, but rather for me to properly steward and enjoy them as God has providentially led them to be right now.

Sanctification is a crawl; it is no super-highway. It is progressive and rarely happens in spurts. I have waited too long for “the perfect sermon”, “the perfect song”, or “the perfect Bible verse” to change me rather than resting on and in the perfect righteousness of my Savior.

The imputation of the righteousness of Jesus Christ to His believers is my favorite and most precious doctrine of the Christian faith. Clothing His sin-stained Bride in the robe of His own life is the foundation of my acceptance and rest in the arms of my Lover.

Right theology must lead to both right practice and worship for it to be true Orthodoxy. Anyone studying the Bible who is not stirred at the affectional level is not doing theology; they are merely studying literature

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About

Frequenting the coffee shops of Philadelphia while employed in social work and finishing up a Masters of Divinity from the Newbigin House of Studies at Western Theological Seminary. He serves Liberti Church as a deacon and seminary intern. Paul blogs at the long way home and tweets as @PaulBurkhart_.