I start seminary on Monday at 10 am. It is truly a dream come true. The dream, though not long in the making, has served to preserve me through hard undergrad years. This dream is a function of a larger dream: being a pastor, preaching and teaching for the enjoyment of God in peoples who do not yet know Him. That is the reality that drives me, and when it does not, I am not at my truest. It is with that goal, to spread a passion for the supremacy of God in Christ in all things, that I am eager to start classes at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary.
These men love the Bible. They are not primarily concerned with being scholars, but with knowing God. But great scholars they are! Even with the best of intentions, men can come to learn and forget why they are learning. More fearfully, we might forget who we are learning. Knowledge becomes a job, things of God being common (not in a good way). Knowledge is no enemy to piety and faithfulness. On the contrary, it is essential to them both. God has revealed Himself to us as He is. To know God is to study Him on His revealed terms; namely, the inspired, inerrant, authoritative, sufficient Scriptures. So here on the eve (close enough) of the beginning of my formal training, I propose the following resolutions.
First, a word on resolutions. Jonathan Edwards was a pastor-theologian in the 18th century. As a young man, Edwards wrote a long list of what he called his resolutions. These served as his life aspirations. They all center on the enjoyment of God and are radically dependent on the gospel of free grace in order to complete them. I hope to resolve the same, begging God and expecting God to preserve my soul during this time of learning the Bible. To that end:
I am resolved to…
- Come to the biblical text for the purpose of knowing God; to glorify God by enjoying Him forever.
- Never allow “scholarship” to override the clear meaning of the biblical text.
- Study in order to grow in the desire for the office of elder in the local church.
- Place the emphasis of my life in the local church, not in the classroom.
- Keep Christ and Him crucified, raised high in the gospel, and His glory savored and displayed as both the source and the end of all my endeavors.
- Interpret the Bible primarily by the use of the Bible and the concrete doctrine that arises from it.
- Write with doxology, fueled by beautiful truth, for the aim of making the nations (saved and unsaved) glad in God, to the praise of His glorious grace.
- Be a theologian, first for my own soul, and then out of that overflow, for the church.
- Spread a passion for the supremacy of God in all things.
- Never count intellectual knowledge divorced from exultation, affections or holiness of life as a success or mark of maturity and wisdom.
- Focus on trying to become a better man and future husband, father and elder.
This is my aim. There will be times when I do this better than others. I beg you to, if you see deviation in my life, to call me to the carpet. If I am not faithful to the Bible then I have zero chance of enjoying God or being a useful instrument in the hand of God to make others do so either. I need to see Him, brothers. I must. My soul will shrivel if this education becomes about me or about anything other than God. I don’t wish to speculate about Him. He has given a clear Word. I want to adore Him, to see His glory as my greatest good. May my long hours of study only benefit my soul’s delight in the Anchor of my soul. May every Word I write point to the sufficiency of the gospel for all of life; indeed, all of eternity. Pray for me.