What I Learned in Seminary
People often aks me, "Curt, what have you learned in all your extensive studies as a professional student?" Well, here is a brief answer, for all you curious readers out there.
I don't intend to put these in ranked order, because they are all quite significant. So just consider these an unordered list.
- A solid understanding of Affective Theology. That is to say, when we consider why God saves us or why we respond to him -- or for that matter why we reject him -- the key to the whole interaction is the heart (the "affections"). God loves us, and therefore he saves us. We initially love ourselves above all else and are trapped in our self-love ("concupiscence"). But when God reveals his love for us, and we receive it, then we have a greater love and are freed to love God in response. By God's love, we are freed from our self-love (sin). Our growth as Christians is thus a matter of learning to love -- to participate more fully in the loving relationship that God has established with us. [Note that this is a significantly different view than the usual theological understandings that focus on the will not on the affections. In the volitional model, the Christian life tends to consist of following rules -- not growing in love.] Thanks to Dr. Frost.
- How to accurately interpret the Bible -- good "hermeneutics." Thanks to many professors, especially Drs. Wecks, Baylis, and even the somewhat unorthodox Lubeck.
- The thorough reliability of the Bible. The deeper you look, the more solidly reliable you will find the Bible to be. [Note that this point is rather dependent upon having good hermeneutics. If you misinterpret the text, then of course, you'll be likely to miss the Bible's reliability.] Again, thanks to many profs, but especially Dr. Baylis.
- A fundamental understanding of personal psychology -- which, incidentally, fits very well with Affective Theology. Thanks primarily to Dr. Reeve, but also to Byron Kehler and Gini Adduci.
Of course, there are plenty of other things that I've learned. But these do seem to be the broad lessons that "bubble to the top" as the most significant.