Monday Morning Manna: Why Study?

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Early in my tenure on a seminary faculty, I attended an annual academic meeting of national scholars, similar to the one that attracted 10,000 persons last week in Boston. From the time I graduated (the first time) from Seminary, until my retirement, my ministry related to campuses – fifteen years to three University campuses and twenty-two years to a Seminary campus. For three and a half years I was a national consultant spending much of my time on various campuses in North American. Three of my sabbatical leaves were spent teaching on three Universities outside of America. I believe in higher education. I am committed to life-long learning. However, when I read the report of the liberal agenda of last week’s meeting, I remembered in the meeting I attended years ago, that I became disinterested, and returned to my hotel room to watch a football game on TV between two Universities in which I had no interest. I love academia, I respect scholarship, and I agree with the purpose statement of last week’s group – “To foster excellence in the study of religion” – but I grow weary of the beliefs and actions of liberal “theologians” who worry themselves with issues which I perceive as too far removed from the practical application of biblical truth. For many years, I began every class with II Timothy 2:15 and reminded the students that (in the words of the King James Bible) they were to spend the semester “Studying” (or to use a more modern translation – “diligently studying,” or to use the purpose statement of the national group “to foster excellence”), but not just to study. They were to study for the purpose of presenting themselves to God. And beyond that, they were to study to present themselves to God as a “workman who does not need to be ashamed.” And finally, they were to study to present themselves to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, “accurately handling the word of truth.” While I respect those with whom I disagree, and acknowledge that they have a right to their opinions, I am content to present myself and my teaching ministry before God as a II Timothy 2:15 believer and proponent.

Dr. Dan Crawford, Senior Professor at Southwestern Baptist Seminary, is the WestCoast Baptist Association’s Spiritual Life & Leadership Mentor. Follow Dan on Twitter @DrDanRC and Facebook www.facebook.com/dan.crawford.

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