How to Waste Your Theological Education

Discussion in 'The Pilgrims Progress' started by crhoades, Jun 1, 2008.

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  1. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    My pastor forwarded this blog post to me.
    How to Waste Your Theological Education « From the Study

    May God have mercy.

    1. Cultivate pride by writing only to impress your professors instead of writing to better understand and more clearly communicate truth.
    2. Perfect the fine art of corner-cutting by not really researching for a paper but instead writing your uneducated and unsubstantiated opinions and filling them in with strategically placed footnotes.
    3. Mistake the amount of education you receive with the actual knowledge you obtain. Keep telling yourself, “I’ll really start learning this stuff when I do my Th.M or my Ph.D.”
    4. Nurture an attitude of superiority, competition, and condesension toward fellow seminary students. Secrectly speak ill of them with friends and with your spouse.
    5. Regularly question the wisdom and competency of your professors. Find ways to disrespect your professors by questioning them publicly in class and by trying to make them look foolish.
    6. Neglect personal worship, Bible reading and prayer.
    7. Don’t evangelize your neighbors.
    8. Practice misquoting and misrepresenting positions and ideas you don’t agree with. Be lazy and don’t attempt to understand opposing views; instead, nurse your prejudices and exalt your opinions by superficial reading and listening.
    9. Give your opinion as often as possible - especially in class. Ask questions that show off your knowledge instead of questions that demonstrate a genuine inquiry.
    10. Speak of heretical movements, teachers, and doctrine with an air of disdain and levity.
    11. Find better things to do than serve in your local church.
    12. Fill your life with questionable movies, television, internet, and music.
    13. Set aside fellowship and accountability with fellow brothers in Christ.
    14. Let your study of divine things become dull, boring, lifeless, and mundane.
    15. Chip away at your integrity by signing your school’s covenant and then breaking it under the delusion that, “Those rules are legalistic anyway.”
    16. Don’t read to learn; read only to refute what you believe is wrong.
    17. Convince yourself that you already know all this stuff.
    18. Just study. Don’t exercise, spend time with your family, or work.
    19. Save major papers for the last possible moment so that you can ensure that you don’t really learn anything by writing them.
    20. Don’t waste your time forming friendships with your professors and those older and wiser than you.
    21. Make the mistake of thinking that your education guarantees your success in ministry.
    22. Don’t study devotionally. You’ll never make it as a big time scholar if you do that. Scholars need to be cool, detached, and unbiased - certainly not Jesus freaks.
    23. Day dream about future opportunities to the point that you get nothing out of your current opportunity to learn God’s Word.
    24. Do other things while in class instead of listening - like homework, scheduling, letter-writing, and email.
    25. Spend more time blogging than studying.
    26. Avoid chapel and other opportunities for corporate worship.
    27. Argue angrily with those who don’t see things your way. Whatever you do, don’t read and meditate on II Timothy 2:24-26 and James 3:13-18 as you prepare for ministry.
    28. Set your hopes on an easy, cushy pastorate for when you graduate. Determine now not to obey God when he calls you to serve in a difficult church.
    29. Look forward to the day when you won’t have to concern yourself with all this theology and when you will be able to just “preach Jesus.”
    30. Forget that your primary responsibility is care for your family through provision, shepherding, and leadership.
    31. Master Calvin, Owen, and Edwards, but not the Law, Prophets, and Apostles.
    32. Gain knowledge in order to merely teach others. Don’t expend the effort it takes to deal with your own heart.
    33. Pick apart your pastor’s sermons every week. Only point out his mistakes and his poor theological reasoning so you don’t have to be convicted by anything he says.
    34. Protect yourself from real fellowship by only talking about theology and never about your personal spiritual issues, sin, and struggles.
    35. Comfort yourself with the delusion that you will start seriously dealing with sin as soon as you become a pastor; right now it’s not really that big a deal.
    36. Don’t serve the poor, visit the sick, or care for widows and orphans - save that stuff for the uneducated, non-seminary trained, lay Christians.
    37. Keep telling yourself that you want to preach, but don’t ever seek opportunities to preach, especially at local rescue missions and nursing homes. Wait until your church candidacy to preach your first sermon.
    38. Let envy keep you from profiting from sermons preached by fellow students.
    39. Resent behind-the-scenes, unrecognized service. Only serve in areas where you are sure you will receive praise and accolades.
    40. Appear spiritual and knowledgeable at all costs. Don’t let others see your imperfections and ignorance, even if it means you have to lie.
    41. Love books and theology and ministry more than the Lord Jesus Christ.
    42. Let your passion for the gospel be replaced by passion for complex doctrinal speculation.
    43. Become angry, resentful and devastated when you receive something less than an A.
    44. Let your excitement for ministry increase or decrease in direct proportion to the accolades or criticisms you receive from your professors.
    45. Don’t really try to learn the languages - let Bible Works do all the work for you.
  2. kvanlaan

    kvanlaan Puritan Board Doctor

    I'm not at seminary, but this one hit home. I find that I can read pages and pages of theology, but would have trouble keeping up with some of the discussions on the board without having a Bible at hand due to inadequate Biblical knowledge.
  3. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    One of the ironies of being poor in seminary. I never had the money to afford Bible Works. Probably a good thing, too.
  4. Zenas

    Zenas Snow Miser

  5. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

  6. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

  7. JonathanHunt

    JonathanHunt Puritan Board Senior

    What REALLY speaks to me in this is the whole theme of only reading to bolster your prejudices and never considering the other side. It is, as the list says, superficial. And that was me, as recently as five years ago. Thank God He didn't want me to stay that way.

  8. Timothy William

    Timothy William Puritan Board Junior


    They apply in church/ bible studies/ discussion boards, and in non-theological academic study, as well as seminaries. Some of those really hit home for me (and I haven't even been to seminary.)

    In particular 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9(especially), 10, 11, 12, 15, 20, 22(sometimes), 27, 31, 33, 36, 38, 40. Quite a list.
  9. Blue Tick

    Blue Tick Puritan Board Graduate

  10. a mere housewife

    a mere housewife Not your cup of tea

    16. Don’t read to learn; read only to refute what you believe is wrong.

    I think this is a major problem in Christian circles, not just with seminary students but 'mere housewives' as well -- we are always reacting against something which is a reaction against something else etc. -- and our focus in learning becomes entirely a negative one, to counteract something we believe to be wrong rather than out of a desire to learn something true, to know Christ.
  11. Ravens

    Ravens Puritan Board Sophomore

  12. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    As a funny anecdote, I had a classmate who, if you looked up the definition to #9 in a dictionary, you would find his picture there. One of our profs had a great way of handling this habit. After the student had concluded his "extended lecture under the guise of asking a question" this prof would drop his glasses down his nose some, pause for what seemed like forever while looking directly at the fellow, and then without changing his blank expression in the slightest, say, "Was that supposed to be a question, or were you trying to tell me something?", and then pause and stare some more before resuming the lecture as if nothing had ever been "asked".

    It was brutal, but effective.
  13. Timothy William

    Timothy William Puritan Board Junior

    One of our ministers used to sometimes ask if there were any questions at the end of sermons. I would always ask something, and, while they were genuine questions not longwinded statements with questions tacked on the end, they were in part to show how clever I was.

    When I was an economics graduate doing a graduate finance degree, I had a business ethics class taught by a law professor, and I once interrupted his lecture to disagree with him on the role of junk bonds in corporate finance. I thought I was so clever that the time. :smug:
  14. jawyman

    jawyman Puritan Board Junior

    This one brothers and sisters hit me right in the stomach.

    34. Protect yourself from real fellowship by only talking about theology and never about your personal spiritual issues, sin, and struggles.

    This is a struggle of mine. Sometimes, I am too guarded.
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