Kevin T. Bauder
At the time my father enrolled in Bible college, couple of fundamentalist pastors went to seminary. That was starting to modify a decade later as I approached my senior year. Some of my professors had been encouraging me toward seminary. 1 evening our church hosted a seminary president at a specific occasion, and he took the time to speak to me about the procedure. He invited me to come pay a visit to his college. He also recommended that I feel about a a single-year Master of Arts system if I was uncertain about the 3-year Master of Divinity. He was a sly old fox.
Debbie and I drove to Denver with her parents to pay a visit to the seminary. It was a tiny college, and classes weren’t in session. I had a opportunity to meet many professors, although, and was impressed by the private interest they took in me. I was also impressed by their credentials and reputations.
Days just after graduation Debbie and I left for Denver pulling all our goods behind my Chevy Nova in a twelve-foot trailer. The temperature was in the 90s, and the tiny 250 straight-six regularly threatened to overheat. That evening we stopped west of Omaha and a cold front blew more than us. The morning was chilly and rainy, and we had no a lot more problems. We pulled into our apartment in Denver (in fact Thornton) that evening, and the subsequent morning we awoke to snow.
We speedily adjusted to life in Denver. That summer time, 3 issues occurred to solidify my path. 1st, I got a job with a safety business, which left me time to study at operate. I set myself to operate via A. H. Strong’s Systematic Theology. It was an imposing operate, more than a thousand massive pages of fine print supplemented by even finer print. It was the initial really serious theology with which I had attempted to grapple. I located myself in a continuous argument with Sturdy, underlining passages and seeking up references. In some cases he would convince me other occasions not. By the finish of the summer time, nevertheless, I had begun to appreciate the operate of systematic theology.
Second, my father gave me a copy of Francis Schaeffer’s The God Who Is There as a graduation present. Although Schaeffer’s operate has its weaknesses, I am indebted to him for two factors. 1 was that he offered me with my initial overview of Western intellectual history. The other was that his apparent interest in art, music, and philosophy gave me what I can only contact permission. I’d usually been drawn to the arts and humanities, but I had the impression that they had been beneath the interests of really serious Christians. I need to be clear at this point—neither my parents, my churches, nor my college ever told me that. Numbers of my college professors would have been horrified at the suggestion. It was an inchoate impression that I’d picked up somehow, and Schaeffer dispelled it completely.
Third, I struck up an acquaintance with two old college classmates who had gone on to get philosophy degrees from a state university. They brought me into a complete globe of inquiries and discussions that I’d hardly recognized to exist. They fired my intellectual curiosity and furthered my resolve to take the life of the thoughts seriously.
1 may possibly feel that a tiny, fundamentalist seminary would be a poor spot for genuine intellectual development, but it was specifically what I required. Students and professors enjoyed a lot more of a peer connection than I had knowledgeable in college. I was in a position to study each their intellectual intensity and their private devotion. They did not all share the similar intellectual interests, of course, but each and every set an instance that challenged me to pursue his discipline to the very best of my potential. Amongst them had been men and women who study broadly and believed deeply about the permanent inquiries, and they offered each stimulus and guidance.
Seminary also brought a widening circle of friendships. Not all seminary students have the similar interests and skills, so these friendships created in unique directions. Most vital to me had been the close friends who, in addition to sharing exegetical and theological progress, stoked my interest in art, music, and philosophy.
Much more vital than the intellectual development of these years was the spiritual deepening. This progress came not so substantially from study as from the relationships that I enjoyed with my professors. The president, William Fusco, may well have been the kindest man I have ever met, even although his wife was dying (and ultimately did die) of a terrible illness. Faculty salaries had been months in arrears most of the professors had to operate outdoors jobs, normally performing menial operate. I under no circumstances heard them complain, but I did hear them cry out to God in moments of will need. They usually took time to give private consideration to their students. I was challenged by these examples and understood that God may possibly nicely ask the similar of me someday.
Following earning my MDiv I stayed an more year to operate on a ThM. I was also provided my initial chance to teach—an practical experience that changed my path in ministry. Two years later, the seminary closed its doors and the faculty was scattered. My diplomas may well as nicely be created of rubber, and a single college to which I applied for doctoral research stated as substantially. For years I wondered no matter if I had definitely received a credible education.
Ultimately I went on to full each a DMin and a PhD from massive, accredited seminaries. In these institutions I sat in class with graduates of most of the vital seminaries and schools of divinity in this nation. That was when I found that I was as nicely ready for doctoral research as any of my peers, no matter what schools they had attended. In truth, I was far better ready than most. Evidently it was attainable to get a decent education at my tiny Bible college and seminary.
I graduated with my ThM in 1983, specifically ten years just after leaving higher college and almost forty years ago. Now, decades later, I am nevertheless increasing up. I am also nevertheless a fundamentalist. Completion of seminary, nevertheless, appears like a affordable spot to finish this narrative. It is also the spot to say a word about why I have written it, but that will have to wait for the subsequent installment.
This essay is by Kevin T. Bauder, Study Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Central Baptist Theological Seminary. Not every single a single of the professors, students, or alumni of Central Seminary necessarily agrees with every single opinion that it expresses.
Let Zion’s Watchmen All Awake
Philip Doddridge (1702–1751)
Let Zion’s watchmen all awake,
And take the alarm they give
Now let them from the mouth of God
Their solemn charge obtain.
‘Tis not a trigger of tiny import
The pastor’s care demands
but what may possibly fill and angel’s heart,
And filled a Savior’s hands.
They watch for souls, for which the Lord
Did heavenly bliss forgo
For souls, which will have to forever reside
In raptures, or in woe.
All to the fantastic tribunal haste,
Th’ account to render there
And should’st thou strictly mark our faults,
Lord, how need to we seem?
May well they that Jesus, whom they preach,
Their personal Redeemer see
And watch thou everyday o’er their souls,
That they may well watch for thee.