Thursday, August 12, 2010

Some Class Notes That Have Counted

I am for the academy; especially while our churches fail to identify and train qualified pastors. Some of the most truthful and helpful words I have ever heard came from the hearts and mouths of my seminary professors. Following college I began seminary studies at the Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary (MABTS) and finished at the Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS). I finished having done exactly half of my grad school time in each institution. If I had it to do over, I would not have chosen a Baptist institution though I think highly of both of the schools I attended. I think instead I would have gone to Westminster in California, or Reformed Theological in Orlando. Nevertheless, I was helped much by my Baptist teachers.

I carried the same Bible to class every day (Or on the days I went to class. I did do my share of skipping) and wrote in it the statements and questions I wanted to be sure to remember. Here are a few of the better words:

If you compare yourself to Christ, you'll be humble enough to be useful -- Dr Lanier in 4/02, SEBTS.

Our marriages are to be pictures of the way God is willing to treat us in Christ --
Dr Liederbach in 2/02, SEBTS.

Speaking to pastors, Act like a shepherd -- Dr Owens in 4/02, SEBTS

Meekness is born in constant misrepresentation, like a piece of stiff, tough, hard leather that has been worked over and now, though soft, remains tough as old boots. Meekness has been illustrated by speaking of the broken horse; while before it was wild and dangerous, is now tame and useful. What's left out of that illustration is the tear in the horse's eye, because it has been genuinely bruised --
Not sure of the source. But it sounds like Dr Lanier, SEBTS.

Ministry comes from giftedness, not from position -- Dr Hammett in 11/97, SEBTS.

It's always easier to go back than to fight the fight before you --
Dr Owens in 4/02, SEBTS.

Just because something is figurative doesn't mean it's any less real --
Dr Walker in 3/96, MABTS.

The following 2 are my favorites; so simple, yet so profoundly biblical.

Keep your heart warm to the Lord --
Dr Dunavant (one of the happiest people I've ever known) in 4/95, MABTS.

Be content to follow God --
Dr Bill Murray [my all-time favorite professor, who, by the way, was a full-time engineer with a PhD in Greek and only taught, to my knowledge, one year at MABTS (1994-95). It seems that the administration preferred more domesticated employees. I am so thankful to have known him. He was brilliant and humble. He prayed for us and with us. He wept with those who wept and rejoiced with those who rejoiced. He spoke the truth in love which meant he sometimes challenged the establishment. What a gift he was to me in those days. Praise God for His sweet providence. I hope Dr Murray is somewhere today teaching Greek and, as a by-product, sound theology].

Some of you may look at the dates of the quotes and wonder how long I was in seminary. I was actually in only 3 years going full-time each semester (An MDiv requires 98 credit hours). But I transferred from MABTS to SEBTS halfway through because I like change. Then I dropped out of SEBTS several weeks into my final semester with only 14 credit hours remaining, mostly because I was angry. Never mind about what. Then, by God's kindness and providence, went back 4 years later to finish, which required an 18 credit hour semester. The challenge wasn't the course load (my final year in college I did 18 then 21 to get out in 4 years), but the second semester Hebrew class. I had taken first semester Hebrew 4 years earlier and had not made the effort to retain what I had learned. By the time it was all over I was so eager to be done that I didn't even show up to graduate. I played two rounds of golf instead and drank several of my favorite brew. I do not regret that decision.

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