“You must keep the fires of religious life burning brightly in your heart; in the inmost core of your being, you must be men of God. –B. B. Warfield, “The Religious Life of Theological Students”
As a new school year begins, DBTS is emphasizing the core goal of seminary students – to know God. Grades, degrees, ministry activities are all important. But if a student doesn’t have a burning passion for the glory of God, it’s all in vain. We emphasized this theme in all opening activities.
We kicked off the school year with the Convocation Dinner on Monday, August 22. New and returning students, family members, and faculty came together for a delicious Mediterranean meal, good laughs, and a poignant scripture challenge from DBTS alumnus, Pastor Jay Searcy.
Jay reminded the student body that “life is more than seminary” and encouraged students to take care of their personal relationship with God and their family responsibilities. He also said that they might have to give up getting the top grades because of family and church. “Don’t neglect getting involved in your church because you’re too tied to the books.”
Garth Kassner, a first-year student from Michigan, recognizes the necessity of balance, especially since seminary can be such a rigorous time. “I’m sure it’s going to be a lot tougher and a lot different than what undergraduate is,” says Kassner, “[I need] perseverance to remain faithful and to continue in my walk with Christ. …We all have our sinful nature and our pulls with the flesh, so [we need] to stay straight ahead on the straight and narrow, and not fall off it.”
Adam Lenze, another first-year student from Pennsylvania, says that he is praying that God will help him find “the right balance of work and school and at the same time don’t lose my sanity,” Adam says with a grin, “and to get a little relaxation in there at some point.”
DBTS also welcomes a new professor, Dr. Kyle Dunham. Dr. Dunham is a former DBTS student who is taking over for his mentor, Dr. McCabe. “It’s a great privilege to be able to come back and particularly to take the mantle from Dr. McCabe, who was my own mentor,” says Dunham. “He really guided me toward Old Testament as a major emphasis, so he’s like a father figure to me.” Dr. Dunham said that he is excited about the quality of the students at DBTS, as well as the “valuable theological and exegetical work that’s being done in the Scriptures.”
When asked about his burden for the new students, Dr. Dunham said that cultivating personal Christlikeness is vital, especially during the seminary years. “Pray that the Lord would be able to match keen minds with warm hearts,” says Dunham. “If you look at the qualifications for ministers in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, what we’re doing [at seminary] is really only part of the picture, so character development is critical.”
Along with emphasizing personal growth, this year DBTS is expanding the MDiv program to offer more practical classes in missions, counseling, and apologetics. Students can choose from five ministerial concentrations within the MDiv program: missions, biblical counseling, preaching, apologetics, and biblical languages. Seminary students have the opportunity to select a concentration that will best prepare them for their future ministry. See the new catalog here.
“One of the motivating factors in adding the concentrations was an alumni survey that we conducted in the summer of 2015,” says Brian Trainer, dean of DBTS, “An overwhelming number of alumni responded to this survey, and the input that was given helped us shape the curriculum as far as the future is concerned.” Trainer said that adding these concentrations highlights how important these areas are to DBTS.