The Seminary Classroom and Doxology


This guest post was written by Daniel F. Wells. Daniel is a twenty-something year old with a B.A. in Bible & Religion and Philosophy from Erskine College and is currently a student at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte. He blogs at Cosmic Christianity.

Seminaries are well-known for giving their typical speeches to incoming students. Whether it is about balancing one’s schedule, making sure spiritual devotion isn’t neglected, or that the classroom does not take priority over family—most seminarians have at some point received a talk concerning viewing the seminary curriculum in light of the truths communicated in the Wesminster Smaller Catechism Question 1, “What is the chief end of man?” Answer: to glorify God and to enjoy him forever.

Glorifying God is to be a chief purpose in seminary academics. Verses such as 1 Cor 10:31 and Rom 11:36 are repeated so often that they are ingrained in the seminarian’s mind. Not only does the catechism and God’s own Word show us that Bible classes are ultimately done for his glory, even tedious subjects such as languages or those practical theology classes you’d rather not take are not to make us grumble but instead to make us glory in God’s goodness and wisdom. (Remember, as John Frame has said, we are sitting at Jesus’ feet.)

However, I would like to add another dimension to this typical talk that you may have heard, or will hear, as a seminarian. All things are done for the glory of God, true enough. Yet, the seminary life (particularly the classroom) is to convey, appropriate, and exemplify a doxological quality to it. In other words, what is learned in the classroom should normatively cause both student and professor to throw one’s voice and arms heaven-ward to the praise of the triune God!

In one respect, to glorify God and to participate in doxology is one and the same. The Greek word for glory is dóxa, and the verb to glorify is doxáz?. But I intend to communicate an additional connotation that would have the seminarian. If theologians such as John Frame and David Peterson are correct in recognizing that Scripture calls believers in the New Covenant to not only view worship and doxology as specialized public worship but also as something to constitutes the entire livelihood of believers in union with Christ, then that would give one a perspective regarding classroom life that is probably significant different than previously thought. For it is in the classroom that one is engaging in “spiritual worship” through the renewing of one’s mind. (Rom 12:1-2)

So I would ask that all of us seminarians, us physicians of the soul in training, would take this biblical prerogative and apply it so that we may find more than simply enough motivation to “get through” certain classes. Let us instead have our thoughts ascend to the heavenly places and say of Christ, “Worthy art thou, our Lord and our God, to receive the glory and the honour and the power: for thou didst create all things, and because of thy will they were, and were created.” (Rev 4:11)

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Ryan Burns

Ryan Burns is a past Marketing Manager at Faithlife and now works at Redemption Hill Church in Richmond, VA.

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Written by Ryan Burns
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