August 3, 2008

What Do I Want?

Think about whether you want a degree or an education. That statement from my first instructor at DTS resonated off the walls of my brain, echoing in the emptiness of my mind that particular day. What do I want from seminary? I want an education, yes. I want the degree too, as evidence that I got an education I set out to get. But what do I want? If I say that I am attending DTS for personal enrichment, I am making this whole journey all about me.

As noble as the goal of personal enrichment sounds, I think that it can be really quite selfish. I do not want to be a bible blimp, bloated because I feel I am so well educated, so arrogantly knowledgeable in the bible, all of it for my own edification. I can see where a little knowledge can be dangerous; and a lot of knowledge can be fatal. If it makes me lose touch with the people I am called to minister to, it is fatal to me. God will minister to them some other way if I float off like some gasbag, secure in my knowledge and deaf to the needs of others because I am too busy telling them what I know instead of learning what they need.

Although Paul was speaking specifically about food sacrificed to idols, 1 Corinthians 8:1-2 has some hard words about knowledge. Improperly applied, it puffs up and makes us think we know more than we do. When the bible warns you, beware!

What do I want from life? I think that is the question I really should be asking. Immersion in bible studies without a kingdom goal seems kind of pointless. If my studies are only about me, I am going to miss the mark (in the Bible, the Greek word for sin means to miss the mark). If I am grounded in myself, I fail. I need to be grounded in God, his work, His will.

Or else I will get ground up or explode upon impact with the Truth.


David Porter said...


Boy, you didn't like that phrase "personal enrichment" did you?

I will face the same issues here at Phoenix Seminary.

For me the question is: do I want the formal degree, or not?

If I choose not to get the formal degree, then I will get what they call a "graduate diploma".

This graduate diploma isn't "officially" recognized in the collegiate world. However, there are many who simply desire the education and have no need for the formal diploma.

This is the course that I will likely take. I don't see myself working towards a PhD or anything. I simply desire to be taught by trained theologians who can give me a much deeper understanding than I might do on my own.

I suppose you could call this "personal enrichment". I choose to call it being taught the mysteries of God's Holy Word by very bright Theologians.

I then plan to take that education and grow some fruit!

For me, I don't need the official diploma, at my age, to grow fruit.

I thought seriously about getting the official degree, but for me, in the end, the degree served only to puff up my ego. I could get the education without the official degree and leave my ego at the front door of the seminary. But that is me and my sinful nature. I am not suggesting that my sins are also yours.

Besides, I am not the 25 year old that needs the degree to further his education.

I simply want to understand the things of God and have massive amounts of fruit hanging on my branches.

So...all that to say, when I decide to actually start @ Phoenix Seminary I will be taking the Graduate Diploma (personal enrichment) route.

Does that make sense?

Does DTS offer a diploma instead of a degree? For me, the diploma is just fine.

Andy C said...

DTS does have a Certificate of Graduate Studies program that seems very similar to what you are talking about. I thought about that, but decided on the more intensive education of the Masters program. I have the time and resources to do it; I am looking forward to this immersion in the bible.
I will fight my own "puffery" issues, but I too look to bear fruit from whatever I do.
Your path is sound, I pray mine is as well.

John said...


Thanks for joining! Looking forward to seeing some of your QT's!