Why did you decide to attend WSC?
Before enrolling at WSC, I attended an evangelical seminary in the dispensationalist tradition. During my time there I began to investigate Covenant Theology, a study partly inspired by my listening to the White Horse Inn. After many months of investigating Scripture and theology, I came to the awareness that Covenant Theology is the Bible’s theology and that I must attend a seminary that would train me to be an expert in that understanding of the Bible. I explored multiple Reformed seminaries and chose WSC because of its unified curriculum in Covenant Theology. The Reformed approach to Scripture permeates every aspect of the program.
What particular truths or experiences that you gained from WSC do you find most important and valuable now?
WSC taught me that Reformed theology comes to fruition in the life of the church. All of our study of Scripture, theology, and church history is put into practice in the worship and work of the church. The goal of all our labors is to glorify Christ by serving His church. Therefore, the activity of our churches should reflect the theology of our confessions. We cannot be Reformed in our confessions but non-Reformed in our worship or ecclesiology. WSC taught me to seek consistency in the union of our theology and practice in the form and function of the church.
Do you have an unforgettable memory from your time at WSC?
My favorite memories are the interactions that I had with my professors and fellow students. Unlike some institutions where professors are rarely seen outside of the classroom, WSC professors are incredibly gracious with their time before and after class, not only for further instruction but also friendly interaction. My professors never presented themselves as ivory-tower academics that could not be bothered with the personal lives of their students. Rather, they saw themselves as brothers in Christ who were a little further down the road of discipleship than the students. Instead of lording their education and gifting over us they used them to raise us to a higher level.
The aid of my fellow students carried me through my time in seminary. Whether it was sharing notes, providing clarification of something taught in class, or cracking jokes in the student lounge, student life at WSC was of immeasurable help. I have never worked harder than I did at WSC but I also have never had more fun.
What is your vocational goal and how did your education at WSC prepare you for your present responsibilities?
I hope to be ordained as a Minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, finish my doctoral program at the University of Geneva, and serve the church as a pastor or as a professor in Church History at a seminary or Christian college.
My education at WSC emphasized the importance of interpreting texts within their original contexts. This skill requires an understanding of the original languages but also takes into account the various contexts in which an author wrote (political, cultural, economic, literary, etc.). There are some differences, of course, in exegeting the inspired text of Scripture and non-canonical writings, but most of the same principles apply. I try to approach the writings of church history in much the same way that a pastor approaches his sermon text – with care, precision, and accuracy. WSC prepared me to be a careful reader of texts.
What, in your opinion, makes WSC a unique and important institution?
WSC possesses a unique combination of serious academic scholarship and a sincere love for Christ’s church. The academic requirements are formidable, as they should be, but they are never divorced from their application within the church. WSC does not promote learning for learning’s sake; everything must be done in service of the church. WSC is also unique because the intensity of study is balanced by a good-natured environment. As Dr. Godfrey says, “We take our theology seriously but not ourselves.”
What advice would you give to prospective students considering seminary?
Take the long view. Choose the seminary that best prepares you for the next forty years of ministry. Short-term concerns such as finances and location certainly must be considered but the quality of education should the most important factor. Eventually, you will pay off your student loan debt and move back to your hometown; these sacrifices are temporary. Shortchanging yourself on the quality of seminary education, however, is permanent. You cannot rectify an inferior education through your own study. I estimate that at least 40% of my education at WSC came from outside the classroom, either in private conversations with professors or in discussions with fellow students. You cannot substitute for a quality seminary education.