Seminary Life

We have arrived at RPTS. We will be going out into the city tonight. Dr. Scipione is staying here tonight as well.
RHB blogger, Michael Dewalt, is quite happy to be here. He is hoping to convert to Presbyterian soon… maybe after the Banner Conference.
Here is the favorite RP icon- the Blue Banner. This one is in Dr. O’Neil’s office.
Derek Naves laughs at Shawn Anderson, who is having battery trouble. Jeff checks the email.
The glorious seminary. We are going to have a good night.


Today I am leaving, with 4 other Puritan Seminary students for the Banner of Truth Conference in Grantham, PA. We will be spending the night, tonight, at RPTS in Pittsburgh and then going the remaining 3 hours in the morning.

I hope to blog the trip, but no promises.

Professor R Scott Clark has written an article on how to evaluate which denomination to serve in. Since I have friends who are planning on serving in numerous denominations, I think that honest discussion like Prof. Clark is exhibiting, is quite helpful for building up of the greater church. I have not digested all of what he is saying, and of course, there are areas in which I disagree with him, but overall, it is quite helpful for those who want to enter seminary but are not sure where the Lord is calling him. Read it here.

One of the first classes that I took at Puritan Seminary was on the ‘Pastoral Theology of John Owen’. It is not a required course for M.Div students, but being a fan of John Owen I took the course. Derek Thomas is an incredible professor who reinforces the study of the history of the church.

Long and short: Someone has asked PRTS and Derek Thomas if they could be made available for free… and of course, the answer was yes.

Here they are:

Derek Thomas’ Course on John Owen

I am taking an Ethics class. We have been talking about axiology which is the study of values. Our professor gave this illustration for making value judgments in all that we do (whether conscientiously or un-conscientiously) in the area of food:

“When we eat at McDonald’s, do not pray, bless this food to our bodies; pray protect us from what we are about to do.” -Dr. James Grier

I had the privilege of sitting in on a lecture by one of my colleagues entitled, ‘The Beginning of Marriage’. He went through the biblical data on prelapsarian marriage including its institution, purpose, and necessity. It was quite good and well researched.

One of his quotes stood out as quite refreshing to me. It amazes me the balance that our Puritan forefathers had on issues that today are confused and misused. Matthew Henry, speaking of Eve’s creation said, Eve was not taken out of Adam’s head to top him, neither out of his feet to be trampled on by him, but out his side to be equal with him, under his arm to be protected by him, and near his heart to be loved by him.

What a refreshing thought on Eve’s creation. How could a feminist argue with the dignity and high value that God has placed on the woman?

Today in Prolegomena we discussed the idea of dogma. We defined it according to the uses in Hebrew and Greek and showed the various ways that the Scriptures use the concept.

During the discussion time, one of our new (and insightful) students asked the question, “Can someone who does not hold to the dogma of the Church [which we loosely defined as the Ecumenical Creeds] be saved?”

I immediately thought of a quote from my best-est-est-est friend, Shawn Anderson. Samuel Rutherford, in Against Separation answers this question in his mind blowing way. This is very important as we live in times of great theological confusion- the Lord saves apart from our works (which includes our theological endevors.)

DISTINCTION ONE. One may believe that Christ is the Son of God by a Divine faith, as Peter does (Matt. 16:17), and yet doubt of the necessary fundamental consequences. Ergo, Christ must be delivered into the hands of sinners, and be crucified, as the same Peter doubted of this. For as one may fall in a grievous sin, though regenerated, and fail in act[ion], and yet remain in grace, in habitu [in condition], the seed of God remaining in him, so may Peter and the apostles doubt of a fundamental point of Christ’s rising from the dead (John 20:8, 9), in an act of weakness, and yet have saving faith in Christ, as it is like[ly] many of the saints at Corinth denied an article of their faith, the rising again of the dead. One act of unbelief makes not an infidel.
DISTINCTION TWO. A simple Papist and a Lutheran, not well educated, believes upon the same former ground, that Christ is true man, and has an habitual faith of this article, that Jesus Christ is truly the Son of David, and yet holds transubstantiation, or consubstantiation, that Christ’s body is in many sundry places in heaven, and earth, on this side of the sea, and beyond sea. Yet the connection between Christ’s humanity and this monster of transubstantiation not being possible, all error may be merely philosophic, that the extension of quantitative parts without or beyond part, is not the essence of a quantitative body, while as the rude man believes firmly that Christ is true man, and so believes contradictory things by good consequence. Therefore the quality of the conscience of the believer is to be looked into, since fundamental heresy is essentially in the mind, and pertinency and self-conviction does inseparably follow it.
(1.) There is a conscience simply doubting of fundamental points, this may be with a habit of sound faith. (2.) A scrupulous conscience which from light grounds is brangled about some fundamental points, and this is often in sound believers, who may and do believe, but with scruples. (3.) A conscience believing opinions and conjecturing and guessing, as in atheists; this is damnable, but where obstinacy is, as defending with pertinency transubstantiation, and that it is lawful to adore bread, this pertinacious defending of idolatry does infer necessarily, that the faith of the article of Christ’s humanity is but false and counterfeit, and not saving.
DISTINCTION THREE. There is a certitude of adherence formal, and a certitude of adherence virtual. A certitude of adherence formal is, when one does adhere firmly to the faith of fundamentals. A certitude of adherence virtual is, when with the formal adherence to some fundamental points, there is an ignorance of other fundamental points, and yet withal a gracious disposition and habit to believe other fundamentals, when they shall be clearly revealed out of the Word. So [in] Luke 24, Christ exponed the resurrection, and the articles of Christ’s sufferings and glorification (vs. 25-27), to the disciples who doubted of these before, and yet had saving faith of other fundamental points (Matt. 16-18). (Source)

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