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Shadows of Divine Things

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Location: Texas, United States

This site is devoted to theological and philosophical investigations of the spiritual meanings of life, current events, music, spiritual growth, nature, and learning to be attuned to listening to the 'language of God.' The name of this blog comes from one of Jonathan Edwards's journals which he called 'Shadows of Divine Things,' and later renamed 'Images of Divine Things.' As a Christian I am continously on a spiritual journey to grow more into the image of Christ, to understand what it means to be crucified with Christ. To seek the truths of the Christian Faith is of upmost importance, and to know that any truths that are found outside of Christianity are present there because they ultimately point to God. I have an M.A. in theology and apologetics and I completed one year of graduate studies in Philosophy at Marquette University.

Monday, February 13, 2006

A Bit of My Background (Part 2)

Between the time of my “traumatic” conversion and actually leaving for seminary was a 6 year period. In that six year period I moved from my hometown to the Dallas/Ft. Worth area and joined one of the largest Southern Baptist Churches in that area. It was at this church where I met my wife. I was teaching a Wednesday evening class and she attended, and the rest is history. I was also teaching one of the largest single adult Sunday morning classes at this church (about 100 to 150 people in the class), so this forced me to do my homework.

In this six year period, due to serious research of theology texts, and Scripture reading I slowly transformed from an Arminian theology to a Calvinistic theology. However, within this transformation I also changed from a solid Southern Baptist belief in dispensationalism to a covenant theology. So this was a “whole” theological shift. At the same time I was making this shift, the Southern Baptist Church where I (and now my wife) was a member slowly shifted to a more contemporary entertainment “worship style.” This simply did not set well with my newly formulated Calvinistic framework and so my wife (we married in this church) and I left this church. Moreover we actually left the Southern Baptist denomination, never to return (more so for my theological shift than anything else).

We actually landed at a Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) which was just across the street from our old Baptist church. The Sunday school teacher and associate pastor of this PCA church was a friend of Michael Horton’s. By this time I was very familiar with the works of Michael Horton, Sinclair Ferguson, R.C. Sproul, James Montgomery Boice, etc. So this new church was a near perfect fit for us. However, after a little over a year I decided it was time for me to further my education, so I searched out seminaries which had an emphasis in apologetics. Through RZIM (Ravi Zacharias’ ministry) I discovered a little seminary in North Carolina called Southern Evangelical Seminary. This school actually offered a degree in apologetics with an emphasis in philosophy.

So, after applying and gaining acceptance into the school, off to North Carolina we went. This was a major decision and a major move for us, since neither my wife nor I had ever lived anywhere else but Texas. But off we went nonetheless. Now, my seminary experience was both “bitter” and “sweet.” It was sweet in that the faculty there was some of the most well known in evangelical circles; men like Norman Geisler, Ravi Zacharias, Frank Beckwith, etc. taught classes at this school. Moreover, because Geisler was the President of the school there was always a need for students to do research for his books and other well known writer’s books (i.e. Josh McDowell). I also was fortunate enough to travel with Dr. Geisler to many of his speaking engagements at various universities, churches and conferences. Through Geisler I met men like R.C. Sproul, William Lane Craig, J. P. Moreland, etc. I was also invited by Geisler to go see several conferences which included speakers like Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan (and other Jesus Seminary fellows – but it should be pointed out that I am not too impressed with the Jesus Seminar group and their work) and was able to hear Geisler carry on conversations with these men. And during this time I was also privileged to here N. T. Wright speak on the resurrection of Christ (an experience I will always cherish). However, it was bitter in that I was an historic Calvinist and quite covenant in my theology and Geisler as well as SES was not; albeit Geisler called himself a moderate Calvinist, I do not believe he was. However, this made for great discussions in class and on the road with Geisler. It also forced me to dig deeper into my research of the Reformation and Reformed thinking.

Another nice feature of SES was the student to teacher ratio, which meant that I got to know everyone of my professor very well. That being the case there was one professor in particular who had a tremendous influence on my life. It was through this professor, and his brother who taught Greek, Hebrew and Old Testament at SES, that I “discovered” Thomas Aquinas in a more thorough and deeper fashion. What is more, it was through this professor that I discovered and was encouraged to apply and attend Marquette University.

Seminary opened up a whole new world of theology and philosophy to me that I was totally unaware of pre-seminary. So I at least have that much to be thankful for with my education at SES. Moreover, I meet some great people at SES such as Doug Beaumont and Jeremiah Cowart (both bloggers in the blogsphere); Jeremiah was, at the time I met him at SES, more interested in Kant than any other thinker in philosophy and theology and after many hours of conversations in the library with Jeremiah, for me he sparked a huge interest in Kant – thank you much Jeremiah!

However, it was in seminary where I began to study the writings of Martin Luther specifically and the Reformers in general which ultimately led me to a deeper study of Church History and the issues of Scripture, Tradition, and how worship should entail word and sacrament (which, by the way, is a very Roman Catholic notion albeit the Reformers stressed it quite often in their theology). So that by the time I graduated seminary and was accepted into Marquette University, I had developed a huge interest in Tradition and Scripture as presented by the Reformation and its theologians. It was with this mindset and interest that I entered Marquette University.

[To be continued . . .]


Blogger C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

8:59 AM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger C. Stirling Bartholomew said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

9:01 AM, February 14, 2006  
Blogger Ariel Gazelle said...

BTW, I want to mention this in passing as I read through your post. You should also take a look at New Covenant Theology(NCT). Most people are familiar with Covenant Theology and Dispensationalism, but not NCT. John Reisinger has done a 4 part series on What is NCT? Google it. Its good stuff.

Ok... now back to the blog.

God Bless,
- Raj Rao

8:24 PM, February 21, 2006  
Blogger T.B. Vick said...

Raj . . .
never heard of it, but I'll look into it. Thanks for the heads up.

10:46 PM, February 21, 2006  

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