This January marks one year since I began my studies at TMS as a divinity doctoral student. My wife and I are very grateful for this incredible opportunity that is deeply shaping and impacting me as an individual and as your pastor.
The phrase that has been echoing in my mind are the words spoken by Esther: “…for such a time as this” (Esther 4:14). I firmly believe that God has placed me in the right place, at the right time, for His plans and purposes, for such a time as this. It is important that we not miss this moment. As Esther was able to understand and embrace her God-given opportunity, I am also learning to embrace where God has me in this moment of time.
For this season and time at TMS, I have been stretched academically and spiritually through long days and evenings of lecture, teaching, worship, and study. My journey encompassed the theological richness of the New Testament and the grand sweep of Scripture through the instruction of several gifted men and in particular, the following:
Tom Schreiner, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Professor of New Testament Interpretation and Biblical Theology
- Dr. Schreiner shared about the power of the Word through 1 Corinthians. He reminded us that: “The Gospel has a prescription to meet the ills of the church, and no human counselor can expose the truth about you like the Holy Spirit.”
Sinclair Ferguson, Chancellor’s Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary and Teaching Fellow at Ligonier
Dr. Ferguson provided us with sound and thorough teaching on the Puritans. His lecture on Puritan Piety and Preaching, provided us with these key takeaways:
- By highlighting the character and the law of God, the Puritan preachers took part in a deconstruction of the hearer. This was followed by a focus on the centrality of the Gospel, so the hearer was able to be built up to understand the Word clearly.
- Regarding the style of the Puritans—their style of homiletics was to communicate the Gospel to the mind, in the power of the Spirit. They sought God’s working in and through the preacher and the preaching event. Through this process, the people would be blessed. They sought a “plainness of speech,” but plainness did not mean they were unable to bring concepts, categories, and vocabulary to life in their preaching.
Additional teachings and insights came from, T. Desmond Alexander, Senior Lecturer in Biblical Studies from Belfast, Northern Ireland, who helped us better understand the meta-narrative of the Scripture so we could view heaven in the right perspective. Finally, Dr. Lawson spoke on holiness and the preacher and guided us through every book in the Bible to discuss the meaning of sanctification for the preacher.
During the next several months, I will be focused on a study of the Trinity, which will include sermon evaluations and an in-depth essay on the subject. My last module of study will be in July 2020 and then I begin working on my dissertation for the final year.
Continue to pray my family, our church and its leadership, and for persevering grace for this journey.