What seminary taught me

13240631_10103459013196830_6669337147853210272_nI graduated seminary two years ago today. I consider it my proudest accomplishment.

It wasn’t easy. I chose Trinity Evangelical Divinity School because I knew it was a great school that was academically rigorous. And they did not disappoint on that front. I’ve compared it to four years worth of theological Navy SEAL training.

I learned a lot there. Things I learned about preaching, I use every week. Training in theological and Biblical studies impacts me on a daily basis.

I learned the importance of Church history.

There were also many things I learned outside of the classroom from friends. Preconceptions were challenged. It was a wonderful learning experience. And I can honestly say that there are still things I still from seminary friends.

I learned that not every disagreement needs to be a theological hill worth dying on.

Over the last several weeks, I’ve seen a new video series on the Gospel Coalition website entitled “what seminary didn’t teach” and it includes responses from many of the leading pastors and scholars in the Evangelical world.

I was struck by John Piper’s response. He doesn’t like that question.

Seminary can’t teach everything. Basic training and military training can’t teach a soldier everything there is to being in a war.

I never had a professor in seminary who gave any false notion that seminary would fully prepare a person for every aspect of ministry. It’s too complicated of a job with too many hats to wear and too many plates to keep spinning. There are an infinite number of situations and scenarios a pastor can potentially face. And those situations involve different and unique people where the appropriate response is not always the same.

I didn’t realize how much I didn’t know when I graduated. I feel like I have continued to study and learn since my time in seminary, and I realize I’m still really just scratching the surface on studying theology and the Bible.

I didn’t realize the impact of sin and how it ripples through a church and family.

Josh Benner is the associate pastor at Cornerstone Evangelical Free Church in Fergus Falls, Minnesota and has a Master of Divinity from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He enjoys writing about faith and culture. He lives with his wife Kari in Minnesota.