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I did not think that I would attend seminary one day. But Westminster Seminary California was exactly where I needed to be in order to cultivate a fuller-orbed understanding of the Gospel and a deeper burden for the unity of the church. It was also here that I was equipped with doctrinal categories that will assist me in discerning truth from error, and it was here that I gained the confidence to navigate that framework.
Theology and Practice
Though I primarily gained the vocabulary of Reformed theology in the classroom, my learning was enhanced by on-campus events such as lunch-time seminars, the den Dulk lectures, chapel devotions, and faculty conferences. These opportunities showed me what practical application of theology looks like, beyond the classroom walls. I have especially cherished the den Dulk lectures, when each year a seasoned pastor comes to WSC to share his wisdom and encouragement with those preparing for the ordained ministry. Although these lectures are directed primarily toward future pastors, they are spiritually profitable for every member of the church, whether male or female, because there is always a correlate between the under-shepherd and his flock. These pastoral lectures also gave me a better understanding of how to pray for the leaders of the church.
Head and Heart
The education that WSC provides is rigorous, and I have been on the receiving end of God’s grace in this area many times. I have been amazed by how little I knew as I sat through my first classes and by how much I have yet to refine. But WSC trains one to be a student of the Word, and in that sense, to be a student for life. I also never cease to be encouraged by the pastoral hearts of the gifted faculty that drive their careful scholarship. These pastor-scholars do not stand beside accolades but behind the Word of God. While doctrine is taken seriously, it is also great fun to know that the students and professors do not take themselves too seriously (the wonderful seminary wives have a hand in that as well, I would say!).
Education and Vocation
Being at an institution that is second to none in preparing men for pastoral ministry and that also serves as a springboard for those who go on to pursue doctoral studies, I admit that I wondered more than once what I was doing here! I wondered at the same time what I would do with my education when I graduated. I often felt as thought I was standing on the tips of my toes, trying to peer over the fence to ascertain what lay ahead. I gradually came to the assurance that whether or not I apply my education vocationally, God will mark the way in his wisdom and in his time – and being a student in the meantime has indeed been a vocation.
Now that I have graduated, I continue to work for White Horse Media, which shares the same campus as WSC. I had not heard of Modern Reformation or the White Horse Inn radio program before I arrived as a student, and learning through these resources not only aided my studies but they have also personally edified me by giving me further perspective on the inter-denominational engagement between the church and the surrounding culture.
Commitment and Vision
Some things have changed since I first stepped foot on campus as a student: Friday afternoon volleyball being displaced by Ultimate Frisbee; the new stately presence of a clock tower; a new campus bookstore that carries not only theological titles but also Moleskine journals; new landscaping and café tables scattered around campus; the changing tide of the student body; and of course, not one but two ping-pong tables. But there remains the same unwavering commitment to the recovery, defense, and proclamation of the pure Gospel. This has been here long before I became a student and by God’s blessing will continue to be here long after as WSC sends out graduates both near and far.
When I worship at my church each week, I look around and see young and old, some having grown up in the doctrines of grace and some receiving them for the first time. I hear children behind me following along with the liturgy. I see black, white, Asian, and Hispanic, and know that we are united firstly through the blood of Christ. I hear redemptive-historical preaching that points to the person and work of Christ. The mission of Westminster Seminary California can never be separated from the edification of the church. I have come away knowing Christ more, savoring his Gospel more, and loving his church more, and for that I am thankful for the work that God is pleased to do through this community of faith that is Westminster Seminary California.