Sobering Quote

From The Reformed Reader:

“Sometimes seminarians complain that the seminary’s expectations of them are too demanding, that the course is too difficult, or that it is placing academic burdens upon them that they cannot bear.  Perhaps they feel that their sincerity and their sense of vocation are enough to sustain them in their ministry.  They are wrong.”

William Willimon, Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry (Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2002), 24.

One Reply to “Sobering Quote”

  1. Fantastic quote–I am guilty of having thought such thoughts from time to time over the past 3.5 years in seminary. Seriously, it’s amazing the lengths we humans will go–when something that we began with joy, enthusiasm, and hope inevitably becomes appropriately difficult and uncomfortable for the sake of our own growth–to justify abandoning such an endeavor, project, ministry, or even relationship.

    And it is even more amazing to me how sincere and active followers of Jesus will use spirituality as a chief tool for such retreating justification (I stopped typing just now to point both of my index fingers at myself): e.g. “All I need is the Holy Spirit to preach God’s Word”; “Seminaries are bogus because they focus too much on intellect and head knowledge–I just want to love God and others”; “The disciples and Jesus never went to a seminary!” etc. etc.

    Now of course we must make sure that we are putting into practice in daily life (not just academic environments where 99.9% of the people are evangelical Christians) what we are learning in seminary. Furthermore, seminaries must always be willing to honestly assess and courageously adapt to make sure that they are helping students to fully mature as whole followers of Jesus (mind and heart, ideological and practical, doctrine and actions, faith and works, class room and living room, pulpit and playground, etc.), not just as Biblical/Theological Quiz Bowl Olympians.

    But we students must also do our part to make sure that we do not bite the seminary hand that feeds us either by dropping out of school or choosing not to give full effort to our courses simply because “Greek is really hard!” or “I’m never going to use this in ministry!” We must make sure not to coat the feces of our spiritual laziness with sugary spiritualism…Flush such sinful shortcomings down the toilet, don’t try to repackage them for “others’ sake.” Such spiritual recycling is not environmentally friendly and is potentially catastrophic both for ourselves and others.

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