Seminary Grads: God’s Name FOR YOU PERSONALLY Matters More Than Your Masters


Seminary Grads: God’s Name FOR YOU PERSONALLY Matters More Than Your Masters

For seminary graduates, summertime is a time of transition, whether as a layperson available on the market, a fledgling academic, or a minister of the chapel. And you have discovered the real names of so a lot of things on the way. You understand the difference between a Calvinist and an Arminian now, and you understand that the latter are not to be confused with the good folks of Armenia, who live just north of Iran. You’ve got Perichoresis in your back pocket.

You’ve got the Great Schism on the end of your tongue. You’ve got the Rule of Faith in a single hand and a Rule of Life in the other. You’ve got mad exegesis power and you understand that homiletics is just a really fancy phrase for the artwork of preaching. Additionally you know that only Germans whose last name begins with the notice “B” get to be read in seminary: like Barth, Brunner, Bonhoeffer and Bultmann.

You’ve not only learned the names of so many things, you’ve also obtained massive naming forces, which are a bit like Jedi capabilities. Like Eve and Adam before you, you can name the details of the global world in a way that escapes the majority of us, and when you name things and people, you exercise power over them.

This is exactly what God has in truth called and equipped you to do by going to seminary: to mention the world faithfully so that the world might know and love God truly. And because all of you belong to an area congregation of 1 kind or another, God invites you to exercise your naming powers not simply faithfully but also graciously.

The local chapel, of course, is the one place where you might be tempted, like Anakin Skywalker in Star Wars, to misuse your Jedi powers. You might be enticed to trot out the names of Arius or Athanasius with a knowing look in your eyes. You may wish, like I did so in my first sermon after seminary, to drop all manner of fancy Greek words into your sermons.

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You may wish to ramble on about the historical-critical method in your Sunday School class in a manner that makes it harder rather than easier for people to love the nice words of God’s Good Word. And because the interpersonal people of God are over the place in their spiritual lives, you may even be enticed to call them theologically ignorant philistines.

You could find yourself becoming sick and tired of them as a stiff-necked people who can’t keep theodicy or theocracy straight. You’ll look out within the congregation and think: There will go the progressive; there will go the fundamentalist. That’s the Bible fanatic; that’s the liberationist. She’s the semi-Pelagian; he’s the brain-on-a-stick. But you’re not alone in the naming business. God is within the naming business, too.