Seminary Classes, Golden Calves, and the Glory of Christ – by Matt Click, a Guest Blogger

You don’t have to book an international flight in order to witness pagan idol worship. 

After all, seminary tuition is much cheaper. 

In an era when Christian education is increasingly popular, especially with the rise of New Calvinism, it is easy to forget that golden calves are not always “over there” but can sometimes be “right here.” 

As a seminary student who is quickly approaching his graduation, I have lately been pondering what it means to glorify God in all things—particularly, in my studies and, especially, while attending my classroom lectures. Now while it is no surprise that a seminarian would ask, “How should I glorify God with my life?” yet it is not as easily apparent why he (or she) would need to inquire about such in relation to his theological studies. I mean, is it not overtly obvious that the Bible student deeply cares about the glory of God even in his learning? 

Nevertheless, in my own life, I have found it to be true that I am not always concerned about glorifying God precisely in the times when I ought to the most, in particular, when I am listening to a professor give a lecture about God, the Bible, and redemption. Indeed, there have been numerous times during my seminary career when, during a lecture, I was actually consumed by things other than the glory of Jesus Christ. 

In a very real sense, there were times when I stood at the foot of the glory-soaked mountain and yet chose to produce, and run after, cast metal objects. 

No earrings were used. Nor were there any engraving tools involved. In fact, from an observer’s standpoint, I may have even appeared as one who was enthralled by Christ, with my fast-paced, note-taking precision. And yet, I must admit, Christ was not always at the blazing center of my affections. Sometimes I murmured about the classroom temperature, moaned against the length and dryness of the lecture, complained that I had too much on my plate and could not afford to write another response paper. Grumble, grumble, grumble. 

At other times, though, I almost bowed in reverence to my teachers, because of their eloquent words and clever theorems. Can you hear the fashioning sounds of the hammer? 

And so with that, then, I ask: How shall a seminary student attend a class lecture for the glory of God? 

First of all, it is important to note (and be utterly convinced of the reality) that we are, as C. J. Mahaney is fond of saying, doing much better than we deserve. It is true. No boiling-hot classroom comes even close to the scorching-hot hell that I deserve for a life of rebellion against a perfect and holy God. Yet by his awesome and irresistible grace, I have been united to Christ in faith and forgiven of my sins. I have been made new. I am a child of the Most High and an heir of all his glorious promises. No amount of homework or dry lectures will annul this truth. 

Second, it is also imperative that we recognize that for all of the good lectures (and these, I believe, far outnumber the bad, at least at SBTS), even these things—good and glorious as those classes and their content may be—are but a dull and pale-like picture of what the true reality will actually be. At seminary, we aim to know Jesus Christ and him crucified. Yet during our exile here on earth, we only know him in part. But on that great Day, when we are caught up in the air with him, we will see him face-to-face. Now we see him dimly; then we will see him in the full splendor of his radiant glory. Therefore, we need not make too much of our classes. Nor should we idolize even our Bible-saturated, Christ-embracing professors—godly as they are. For our ultimate desire is Christ. He alone is the One whose voice and unfading perfections we wish to behold. 

Third and finally, all that we learn must overflow into white-hot worship for our King. The information and raw facts cannot remain hidden in our scribbled-up notebooks. Our systematic theology must become unrestrained doxology. Our history courses must allure us to the One who controls and orchestrates all of history. Our Greek and Hebrew ought to morph us into the kind of people who love and adore the eternal Logos. Our spiritual disciplines must magnify the One who relentlessly and without fail ordered his life to please God. In a nutshell, our seminary classes ought to lead us to a deeper appreciation and fuller passion for the Christ who loved us and gave himself up for us. 

Otherwise, we might as well quit seminary and just save up for an overseas plane ticket. 

Added by Brian: you can visit Matt Click’s site and stay informed on his upcoming graduation and move to China for the glory of Christ and the supremacy of His name amongst the nations, and the Clicks church planting efforts amongst the Chinese, here.

Luke 2:39-52, “Like Father, Like Son”

This may have been may favorite study in Luke so far.  I invite you to read it and comment in hopes of further study and upbuilding in the excellencies of Christ Jesus.  It has been posted under the “Other Writings” tab as always.  Providential blessings!

The Joy of Babies Crying

Last semester, Dr. Russell Moore (my systematics professor) spoke very personally concerning the sinners adoption as children of God in Jesus Christ, the only Begotten.  It was personal on two accounts: first, that Dr. Moore has been personally adopted by God our Father in Jesus, and secondly, has followed His heavenly Father’s footsteps in adopting children of his own.  When he reflected on time spent in the foreign orphanage, he spoke of one of those occurrences that just seems unnatural, or out of place: despite the many babies, there was no crying.  

It was silent.  The reason was neglect.  The infants had learned over time that no one answered their crying, and so they stopped hoping.  

With this in mind, I couldn’t help but enjoy the background noise during yesterday mornings sermon – babies were crying.  What might ordinarily have been thought an interruption, was a very wonderful lullaby.  It is a joy to hear a baby crying, for a baby crying is a baby with hope.  They are babies who are answered when they cry out – “I am hungry, I am thirsty, I am cold, I need changing . . . and I can’t do anything about it.  I am dependent on dad, on mom, on somebody.”  They have known fullness, satisfaction, warmth, in a word, they have been loved, and therefore, they cry in hope and in absolute dependence.  So it is a joyful sound to hear babies crying, especially in the midst of a good sermon.

And so to bring this full-orbed, is this not the way sinners are when God begins to crackle life and light in upon their hearts, granting them repentance and faith in Jesus.  Is not faith this cry of hope and dependence upon a heavenly Father?  “For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord (Jesus) will be saved” (Romans 10:13).  And having become children of God through faith in Christ, must we not still now cry out to Him in absolute dependence for food, drink, life, and love.  And He is a perfect Father who gives us all things pertaining to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).  As Jonathan Edwards wrote so sweetly in “God Glorified in Man’s Dependence”, God has given Christ to us “as a feast for our souls.”

Indeed, it is a joy to hear babies crying.  Praise God for babies who cry out.  And however tragic it is that some are not filled on earth, praise God that in Christ Jesus, all whom He has adopted to Himself will in no way go dissatisfied – in this temporal life or in that which is everlasting.

Chalcedon on Jesus Christ, 451 A.D.

Therefore, following the holy fathers, we all with one accord teach men to acknowledge one and the same Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, at once complete in Godhead and complete in manhood, truly God and truly man, consisting also of a reasonable soul and body; of one substance with the Father as regards his Godhead, and at the same time of one substance with us as regards his manhood; like us in all respects, apart from sin; as regards his Godhead, begotten of the Father before the ages, but yet as regards his manhood begotten, for us men and for our salvation, of Mary the Virgin, the God-bearer; one and the same Christ, Son, Lord, Only-begotten, recognized in two natures, without confusion, without change, without division, without separation; the distinction of natures being in no way annulled by the union, but rather the characteristics of each nature being preserved and coming together to form one person and subsistence, not as parted or separated into two persons, but one and the same Son and Only-begotten God the Word, Lord Jesus Christ; even as the prophets from earliest times spoke of him, and our Lord Jesus Christ himself taught us, and the creed of the fathers has handed down to us.

Does Satan Really Exist?

I gave Mark Driscoll a bit of grief in his interview with D.L. Hughley, perhaps more than I should have.  In this panel discussion, however, Driscoll does a wonderful job with the questions presented and takes a clear stand against much of the clear inconsistencies of his opponents, especially those of Deepak Chopra.  In his comments, Driscoll brings forth moral accountability and faith in Christ as the remedy to that moral problem.  Chopra seems to want to cut the legs out from under “faith” as that which is contrary to reason; in this regard, his argumentation falls woefully short, for biblical faith is neither contrary to reason, nor in any way a blind leap, but also a solid, concrete state of being and of living in relationship to God and His law, that is, no longer under the law for condemnation, but in Christ having the righteous requirement thereof fulfilled in us, and thus we say that faith is a state of being in which we are no longer under that guilt and condemnation of God’s law, but in Christ – who perfectly fulfilled it for us – it is accounted to us, and it becomes our delight to obey for it is nothing less than loving the infinitely valuable God, the overflow of which is loving people.  Anyway, watch the intriguing video here.

Who was more biblical concerning the cause of conversion and revival? Jonathan Edwards or Charles Finney?

My answer is posted under the “Other Writings” tab.  The appendix is not nitty gritty practical.  Practical thoughts would be quite welcome.  This is an important issue – to steal Iain Murray’s book title, it is the issue of “revival and revivalism” or better, revival or revivalism.  In a day where many of our churches have been born out of revivalism, practice revivalism, and do so in newer and cooler ways, a discussion of the issues and of biblical conversion and revival is extremely neglected, and extremely important.

Luke 2:1-21 – “The Invitation to Heaven’s Celebration of Jesus, God-Incarnate”

Posted manuscript from Luke 2:1-21 under the “Other Writings” tab above.  If you have time amidst your busy day, or need a break from studying for mid-terms and want something random to critique or read – it’s there for you.  Blessings!