Subjectively, I was persuaded that God had put the desire into my heart for preaching ministry. Throughout the years God provided me with opportunities to receive some training in counseling and theology. It was a joy to practice what I learned in various preaching, teaching and managerial contexts. Seeing my personal fulfillment and the fruit of those labors continued to add willpower to pursue the call further.
Objectively, I sought to have my call tested by my elders and the congregation as a whole. So far the Lord has affirmed me through the evaluation of others in my life, and I strive to continue working out my calling. I believe that receiving a call is not a once-and-for-all thing, like becoming president, but something one continues to strive for and “fan into flame.” Thus far my elders and fellow churchmen agreed that a theological education would be good to further my development. God has given me peace, a clear conscience and solid conviction to pursue a full-time theological education, in hopes of further testing my call to pastoral ministry.
I wanted to be taught by some of the best and brightest in the fields of systematic theology, apologetics and biblical counseling.
Systematic theology is valuable to me because I wish to have a thorough understanding of every doctrine, from the entire testimony of the Scriptures. I wish to be well trained to compare Scripture with Scripture, to explain passages that seem to be contradictory, but can be brought into harmony, and to be able to bring the truths of the Bible into a well-organized system for explaining the world through a Biblical worldview. My conviction is that a pastor must be well trained in this field to proclaim the Word of God with clarity, edification and to equip Christians to think logically and scripturally, as they seek to make sense of the world around them and as they interact with others.
Apologetics is precious to me because it helped me as pre-medical student in my college years, to strengthen my faith. It is invaluable to be well trained to defend the truth and give guidance to Christians who are assaulted with every manner of non-Christian worldviews. There is no denying it – we are at war. As a fellow Christian I wish to play a part in helping God’s people by building up those whose faith has been shaken. I want to be a means that God uses in other’s lives to restore any lost confidence and boldness by providing answers to the typical questions and objections that disbelievers may raise.
I believe that Biblical Counseling is vital to the local church because God has used it to help people like me receive Christ-centered correction. After receiving Biblical Counseling for the first time I came to see that the head knowledge that I had was not enough because I did not know how to apply it. I was not applying the Word of God because I was stuck in sin and Biblical Counseling helped me to see that the Scriptures are all sufficient when applied to the heart. My pastor would meet with me once a week to help me see the gospel as the path to true, deep, and lasting change. I learned that God will do serious things in the lives of those who take the Bible seriously. It was not therapy and it was not rehab – it was the simple call to apply the Word of God to my own heart. My elders were great examples to follow in their patience, love and tact. I have been a member in a church where there was no biblical counseling and I saw first hand that “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in abundance of counselors there is victory.” (Proverbs 11:14).
Once I came into a context where there was an abundance of wise counsel, I experienced spiritual victory. I am persuaded that no congregation should have pastors that are unable to biblically counsel. Christians need help in times of trouble, confusion, and difficulty; we need to be able to use the Word of God as our counselor. Sometimes we will need others to walk us through the Word together, but we must always walk through the Word. This is why I wish to be well equipped in helping others walk through the Word with direction and focus. Considering many different seminaries, Westminster Theological Seminary stands-out with itsvalue of Systematic Theology in the tradition of John Murray, in its apologetics in the tradition of Cornelius Van Til, and its emphasis on biblical counseling in the tradition of Jay Adams.
I am searching for a seminary that is doctrinally reformed and committed to the infallibility of Scripture, and stresses the inspiration of Scripture. I hope to find a place where I can develop lifelong partnerships with likeminded people, where academics are valued, and concerned about the Great Commission. I was also attracted to Westminster’s wide array of studies and it would be an honor to study under the current faculty.
I realize that I do not yet fully comprehend all the difficulties that will come through seminary training. I do however know God blesses those who take the time and effort to be equipped for the work of ministry. I believe Westminster Theological Seminary is the right place to further test my call and provide me with an education that will equip me for ministry. I have made my decision with the peace that God’s will is leading me, knowing the difficulties that will come will be filled with profound joys and worthwhile sorrows.