The depth of the ministerial task and the complexity of our age call for forceful training. And yet, I meet more and more students who are making degree choices based upon what has the least force. Along with this, too few churches and individual believers want to invest in the cost of training their future leaders.
This week I will begin my 40th year of teaching the Old Testament (OT) at Western Seminary. In their degree programs at Western, most students will invest 70 hours of class time and 140 hours of personal study in the Old Testament. Why is teaching the Old Testament an important part of the curriculum at Western Seminary?
Western is committed to a “renewal through reformation and revival” agenda. We are laboring to train leaders who can effect positive change by bringing a classic, robust evangelicalism to bear upon the contemporary scene.
Western Seminary stands in the great tradition of the Reformation, embracing the five solas. The solas of the Reformation are at the heart of the gospel centered transformation taking place among our students at Western Seminary. There’s not sufficient time to address each one of the five solas, but I’d like to touch briefly on Sola Gratia, by grace alone.
On its surface, this passage looks like it means that one’s eternal salvation is determined by one’s acts of compassion. Whenever we help the disenfranchised and the downtrodden of society, our entrance into heaven is all the more assured. On the other hand, as I heard one famous teacher describe it, Jesus will turn away at the final judgment from self-identifying Christians who failed to help the poor during their lifetime, saying, “I don’t want to hear it!”