At the end of this month, I begin classes at The Master’s Seminary. After seventeen years of serving in church ministry (with about 14 of those as the primary preaching pastor), I will work to obtain a Master of Divinity degree. It will take three years as a “full-time” student to complete my coursework. I say, “full-time,” but I will also remain the “full-time” senior pastor of Anchor Baptist Church. I suppose that makes me “double-time” – or perhaps just “out-of-time.”
Some of my friends (including my wonderful wife, Lindsay) can’t conceive of 3 years of graduate school as an exciting prospect. But I am thrilled about the opportunity! So, why am I enthused? And, why am I doing this now?
There are many reasons, but I’ve narrowed down my list to three.
Confidence in the Bible
Leading the charge is my growing confidence in the Bible. Not that I just started being confident. The Bible is perfect without question because it is God’s Word. In Bible college, I learned this a foundational principle: “The Bible is the final authority in all matters of belief and practice because the Bible is God’s Word.” The longer I try to serve the Lord, the more convinced I am.
Over the years I’ve preached approximately 2,000 messages from the Bible. Each time, I aimed to be faithful to the text of the Bible. God continually uses His Word to shape my thinking and my life. The more I understand and apply the Word, the more I realize how unique and irreplaceable the Bible is. There’s nothing like the Word to guide my life and ministry.
I must learn it more so that I can know, love, and serve God more.
Awareness of my Insufficiency
Continued study convinces me I have much to learn. To correctly apply the Word to pressing issues of today, Scripture must first be understood in its original context. I’m looking forward to immersing myself deeply in the Biblical languages. I want to comprehend thoroughly what the original recipients of God’s Word would have understood. Also, I want to ensure my understanding isn’t novel – it should be well-informed by the conversations about God’s Word throughout history. Three years of seminary training will do much to equip me in these areas.
The Kindness of God
I am also thrilled to get started on my M.Div. because of God’s kindness to me. Just over four years ago, we moved to the Los Angeles area to plant Anchor Baptist Church. I’m within driving distance of The Master’s Seminary where John MacArthur serves as President. It is a tremendous privilege to be able to study under a faculty that is committed to the faithful exposition of the Scriptures.
Please pray for me as I get started. This semester I’ll be taking Hebrew!
If you’d like to help out, here’s a list of required books that I haven’t purchased yet. I don’t have a complete list yet, so I’ll be adding to it continuously: required seminary books on Amazon.