Westminster Seminary California
 
EDUCATION
M.Div, '06
CURRENT ENDEAVORS
Pastor of Grace United Reformed Church
Alto, Michigan

Michael Schout

Michael Schout

Why did you choose to attend WSC?

I was largely influenced by my mentor, Rev. Steve Oeverman (M.Div. 2004), who at the time was a first year student when I visited the seminary during spring break of my junior year at Covenant College. 

After visiting, I started reading a lot of stuff by a guy named Michael Horton, and became persuaded that the Lord had gifted WSC with the type of men that would faithfully prepare me to serve in full time ministry.

I was very attracted to the idea of a seminary that was small enough to invest in me as a person, big enough to offer a meaningful and robust Reformed education, and unapologetic about being identified as a place that poured its energies into preparing pastors to preach the Gospel without discrimination.

What particular truths or experiences that you gained from WSC do you find most important and valuable now?

An unwavering commitment to a high view of Scripture, together with a unique zeal and clarity for a Gospel centered approach to preaching, teaching, counseling, and the other aspects of pastoral ministry in the local church.

Do you have an unforgettable memory from your time at WSC?

Most of my best memories happened outside of the classroom in situations and contexts where my questions about pastoral ministry, theology, ecclesiology, and the like were answered in concrete ways by my professors who shepherded me. 

I’ll be forever indebted to Dr. Godfrey for our after hour and baseball game conversations, to Dr. Van Drunen for helping me cultivate humility while getting the better of me in our weekly tennis battles, to Dr. Hywel Jones for proving that Reformed preaching should be anything but boring, to Dr. Horton for not once asking me to leave his office because he had better things to get to, and to Dr. Julius Kim for showing me that professors can be cool and committed at the same time.  

How did your education at WSC prepare you for your present responsibilities?

WSC reaffirmed and deepened my confidence in the written Word of God and particularly the Gospel of Jesus Christ to change hearts.  The apostolic paradigm is not about marketing techniques, but about the good news of salvation.  I also became firmly convinced that the Gospel is not something that believers graduate from, but is absolutely essential to growing in the Christian life. 

What, in your opinion, makes WSC a unique and important institution?

By the grace of God, I think WSC is unique in its commitment to being both confessional and evangelical in the best use of the terms.  I always knew that my professors ultimate zeal was for the truth, but that truth never came at the expense of Gospel proclamation and missionary zeal. 

WSC is firmly persuaded that the Reformed faith is the answer to the world’s deepest problems, including our own personal problems, not for some tradition’s sake, but for the sake of God’s honor, Christ’s Gospel, and His precious Church.

 

What advice would you give to prospective students considering seminary?

In examining seminaries, it seems to me that prospective students should ask this question: Which seminary will best equip me to be faithful to Paul’s words to Timothy, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15)?

See if the seminary you’re considering is committed to the confessions and has a true Gospel zeal, not just in their literature but in reality.  Look for an institution that has a high view of the local church.  Find a place where the professors are not just scholars in their prospective fields, but also pastors who preach to real life sinners. 

Then I would encourage them to read a little booklet by B.B. Warfield called The Religious Life of Theological Students. Read it, re-read it, and find mentors and friends who will pray for you and help keep you accountable to things like humility, piety, and personal discipline. 

What struck me perhaps the most about my experience at Westminster was watching and learning from men who loved their students, who loved the church, who loved their families, who loved the truth, who knew their own sin, who believed in the power of the Gospel, and who instilled those same essentials to me.

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