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My advice for people who go through a seminary

Here is some advice for people who go through a seminary (advice which even can be taken after the fact of graduating from a seminary even long ago):

Always have in your mind 7 books that most influenced you for the better and taught you the most during your seminary education. Determine what those 7 books would be and keep them in memory, and even revisit them with complete readings now and then. The books should be of an elemental nature to the subject matter learned in a seminary.

A book, for instance, like Machen's Christianity and Liberalism. This book is a good example of what I'm getting at. I hear that it is a book often assigned to students in their first year in more conservative Reformed type seminaries, which is good. Yet the mind of seminary graduates typically would think of this book as too "beginnerish" or too simple to be something to put on the list of 7 books I'm talking about. Wrong. It's just the type of influence and subject matter that needs to be remembered and revisited.

Unfortunately it would be typical of a seminary graduate to populate such a list as I'm talking about with the most 'erudite', academic, nuanced pieces crap books they could think of. Books "lay people" might not even have heard the existence of. No, this is not about making a list of 7 books that if other seminary graduates saw it they wouldn't laugh at you or think you were simple (simple, by the way, or 'plain' to use the biblical word, is a great virtue in the Christian faith).

Yes, you can choose a book like Vos' Pauline Eschatology even though it defeats "lay people" because it's got so much damn Greek in it. That's OK. That wouldn't be pretentious. You didn't labor through See It and Say It In Biblical Greek, Vol. 1 and half of Vol. 2 to not get any reward for your efforts.

For another example...was there, for instance, an essay or book by Warfield that really taught you something basic about the faith or arguing for the faith? A book such as Revelation and Inspiration? Put it on your 7 book list and remember it. Carry it with you in your memory. Read it again every now and then.

Your 7 book list doesn't have to be populated with major, classic works. There could be a simple essay or article or intro to another book. Packer's Intro to Owen's Death of Death In the Death of Christ, for instance. Or whatever you encountered going through a seminary (notice I don't say seminary without an 'a' or 'in' in front of it? We are not English. We are in a hospital. We are not in hospital (some of you are inhospitable). And we don't say am-ih-ter, Camden Bucey, we say am-ih-CHUR.

Anyway, with your 7 book list carried around with you in your memory you will have the best, the basics, of your seminary education remaining with you.


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