Al Mohler and Patrick Schreiner on Seminary: Why Not Get All You Can?

Al Mohler and Patrick Schreiner on Seminary: Why Not Get All You Can? May 31, 2011

I’ve enjoyed a recent round of posts on seminary from SBTS MDiv graduate Patrick Schreiner.  Patrick is a sharp thinker and writer.  I would encourage you to read his short, punchy posts on the seminary experience and how to do it well.

From his insightful blog, Ad Fontes:

“The windup of my 10 pieces of counsel:

  1. Take the hardest classes.
  2. Learn the Languages.
  3. Take some professors who will teach you the art of exegesis, and others who will teach you the science.
  4. Be in ministry/don’t be in ministry.
  5. Take teachers, not classes.
  6. Concerning grades.
  7. Stay away from distance learning.
  8. Take teachers who will teach you a method.
  9. Go for depth and breadth.
  10. Seek out a mentor. 
  11. In sum: Love God and do as you please.”

Here’s a snippet from number six that I thought was well-done:

Dr. Shawn Wright put it perfectly; “For some of you it would be a sin to get an A in this class, for others of you it would be a sin not to get an A.”

Dr. Wright understands everyone comes in with a different situation lingering behind the happy faces in class. Some are working full time, and have 3 kids at home, and taking a full load. Others are single and being supported from the outside.

Generally it is right to try to get good grades. You will probably learn more and get the most out of the classes by striving for A’s. Therefore study hard and learn the material.

However, at the same time, if you are not looking to get your PhD or teach, it does not matter as much. Few church search committees will bypass you because of a C on your transcript. (They rarely ask for the transcript).

For some, the most spiritual thing to do before a test, is to go home, take care of their kids, cook for their wives, and not study for the test tomorrow.

This is good stuff.  Many moons ago, I wrote a three part series on my own reflections from the Southern Seminary MDiv: Seasons of a Seminarian parts one, two, and three.  Glad to see other seminarians passing on advice about the long, hard, and highly rewarding task of completing an MDiv, the biggest, baddest master’s degree of them all.  There is a reason churches look for the MDiv.  It signifies that you have labored to gain tools for Christocentric ministry in order that you might “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

As Al Mohler said recently on a Gospel Coalition panel (listen to the panel audio with Mark Driscoll, Mohler, Ligon Duncan, David Helm, Bryan Chappell, and Don Carson), why would you not want to do all you could to prepare for the ministry of God’s Word, the most precious, complex, and meaningful endeavor one could undertake?  Why would you not get every drop of learning you can?

(Image: SBTS Archives)

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