WS LogoOne of the things that happens to you when you are in seminary is that people start to ask you questions about Scripture and Theology. This can be fun, but I think it also needs to be balanced. There is a myth that when you are in seminary somehow you have the answers. I have found this to be very untrue. At best, when you are in seminary you have some of the questions. A Seminarian is someone who is developing his/her theology. It is in flux.

The other myth is that somehow, when you are in seminary, your thoughts are more authoritative. This terrifies me. Recently, both of my parents have, on separate occasions, asked me questions about Scripture or Theology. Here is the thing: yes I can read Greek and Hebrew, and yes I am up to speed on at least some of the currents of conversation in theological studes, but I AM ONLY 26 YEARS OLD. My conclusion about Seminary is that, the greatest seminary training should not be viewed as better than decades of Christian living and study.

Example. My mom has read her Bible every day (with very few exceptions) for most of her life. Only since college have I even attempted this (with varying degrees of success). There is no way that I can claim to know the Bible as well as my mom, a non-seminary trained, dedicated Christian. I just haven’t had enough years. I’m happy to answer questions, and to talk Bible and theology with people, it’s what I love. But I want to make sure that I have a healthy respect for the views of people who have dedicated their lives to Christ for decades longer than I have been alive. I think there is a reason that leaders in the church are called ‘elders.’ There is a level of Christian maturity, knowledge and relationship that can only come over time. You do not magically get this by going through a few years of classes.

All this is to say, when you are a seminarian, prepare to have people ask you questions. But also prepare to give other non-seminarians their due respect. In many cases they have ‘walked the walk’ significantly longer than you.