...always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence... -- 1 Peter 3:15However what this mainline Seminary has done is provide plenty of questions without supplying any semblance of an answer to its students, it has made the mortal mistake of believing that its students come here already "converted" to the Gospel and that it is the duty of the local church and the student's own studies (which I agree should be true) to have an a priori knowledge of this hope that Peter speaks. In other words it is not the mission of the seminary to prepare the students to preach the Gospel (and to teach what that Gospel is) but to preach of the "Gospel" to an already converted congregation. There is no focus in our primary coursework on reaching the lost, directing the equipping of the Saints, or expositing the Word of God to the People of God. Only on how to deconstruct the Word of God, skim over the ignorance of those who came before, wisely plucking the wheat from the chaff nary an eye shall see the "Pastoral Heart" of Westminster, the Puritans, or even the late John Gerstner who taught at this institution less than a generation ago.
Catch my drift?
Today as part of our "Church and Society: Local" course (which I think has been very beneficial) we went and visited the Allegheny County Jail to meet and listen to inmates who work through a chaplain's program while incarcerated. Through the words of these unlearned prisoners I heard the doctrines of Providence, Total Depravity, Assurance, 3 Works of the Law, Justification, and Perseverance (and gasp!!! Innerency!!!) elucidated in a way I have never heard from a Ph.D. at Pittsburgh Seminary. I heard men beaten by life speak the Gospel as if it were REAL!!! As if it was truly transformational and life-changing. I was asked recently by a friend if I thought there were unconverted people in the room with me as I sit through classes at PTS and I sadly answered with a yes, thinking only the words of Christ in Matthew 7:21-23 and what the Confession speaks in Chapter 10, Section 4 which says:
IV. Others not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the word,p and may have some common operations of the Spirit,q yet they never truly come unto Christ, and therefore cannot be saved:r much less can men not professing the Christian religion be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they ever so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the law of that religion they do profess;s and to assert and maintain that they may, is very pernicious, and to be detested.t
p Matt. 22:14.
q Matt. 7:22; Matt. 13:20-21; Heb. 6:4-5.
r John 6:64-66; John 8:24.
s Acts 4:12; John 14:6; Eph. 2:12; John 4:22; John 17:3.
t II John 9-11; I Cor. 16:22; Gal. 1:6-8.