This is not a critique, but an agreement with a previous post written by William F. Leonhart III that can be found here.
I graduated high school in the year 2011. Way before then I decided that I wish to pursue becoming a pastor. Many will point to my young middle school years where, when people around me wanted to become firefighters and police officers, I first told people I wanted to become a pastor. My own memory draws a blank. I suppose it’s because it was not something I wanted to recollect since even now images of child pastors come to mind.
Suffice to say, I’ve been pursuing becoming a pastor for a while.
As is typical for most soon to be graduates I toured Academia. It was a three day trip where my youth pastor, his son, his “might as well been” son, his younger son, and myself visited eight campuses. All packed in the Youth Pastor’s Prius. The site was comical and memorable. An electric motorized can of evangelicals (mostly Southern Baptist) listening
to Johnny Cash and Meatloaf.
Master’s College, Westmont, California Baptist University, Azusa Pacific, Vanguard, Fresno Pacific, Fresno State, and California Christian College which is a Free-Will Baptist institution in Fresno.
It was different times for me back then.
I enjoyed most of the campuses. The tours included a meal pass so how could a young teenager not like them? California Baptist University had the best food and therefore, according to me at the time, the best campus for where I wanted to go. I came back from the trip with the belief that I would be going there.
But dreams must end after a while.
Money is the ultimate form of smelling salts.
Cash, the idea of going into student debt, and my lack of receiving any scholarships proved that yes indeed, dreams are fantasy. The realization of not being able to pay for a private Christian university education was not going to stop me from pursuing the pastorate. It made me apply for that which soon became a big part of my life for the next four years.
I enrolled in a nearby community college. My chosen majors; Philosophy and History. I figured these two fields would be important for a pastor to learn about.
I spent little time thinking about how the overall experience would be like.
In a previous post, Leonhart listed five benefits to going to a school with which you disagree. They are:
Know What You Believe
Grow In What You Believe
Grow In Your Knowledge of What Others Believe
Grow In Areas Where You Are Wrong
Develop Friendships with People Whom You Disagree
I have never been exposed to so many differing worldviews and differing conclusions on “how things actually happen” than in the community college atmosphere. It was certainly a great place to learn about what ideas were developing in my fellow young people who stayed in their community to learn. Some of my favorite memories of community college were the student/teacher debates that would take place every semester. Students, using such things as critical thinking and logic, would debate issues of the day with professors.
Some were good and some were terrible. Hearing the ideas that people my age where believing helped shape how I can dissect and critique almost anything.
The debates as well as the philosophy classes that is.
A particular lecture was very interesting. What was a 30 minute lecture on Socrates then turned into another 30 minute “rant” of comparing Socrates to Christ. Even saying that perhaps Christ is mystical version of Socrates. (Please save the battery life of your heresy meters.)
Let that sink in. With a misuse of Hegelian dialectics, the Professor suggested (actually stated as fact to be honest) that Jewish Messianic theology (Thesis) mixed with Ancient Greek Philosophy (Antithesis) to create, in his terms, the “Christ Story” (Synthesis).
Thankfully, I knew enough of what I believe that the Professors own thesis didn’t make me waiver or stumble in the faith.
It did shake others.
I was definitely challenged and rocked to my core on occasion. It was at this institution that I first heard about the 1689 London Baptist Confession. I was reading about Baptist history and reformed theology. I came under the conviction that I was wrong on a lot of things and it made me seek out the works of Sproul and any books I could get from Chapel Library.
While my peers were wanting revolution, I was doing some serious introspection and reforming.
I was like an unchiseled stone that was being chipped away through time and experience by our Sovereign Lord.