When students arrive at Lutheran Brethren Seminary (LBS) to begin their ministry education, training and formation, they enter into a season of life that can be both exhilarating and exhausting. Moving to a new (and often smaller) city, arranging for housing and schooling for family, and finding a source(s) of employment can take one from the heights of excitement to the valleys of anxiety. And, then there’s the whole schoolwork side of things…
Having graduated from LBS in 2008 and having just finished the coursework phase of a PhD program in Biblical Studies at Concordia Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, I know a little something of what our students are experiencing. I moved my family to a new (much larger) city, my wife and I both had to find new jobs, my kids started in new schools, and we all left many close friends behind in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. And then there was the whole schoolwork thing…
Seminary training, whether in a Master of Divinity or a PhD program, includes intensive reading and study. On a personal level, while I am very thankful for the training and education I received at the Lutheran Brethren Seminary, it took me only about two days of PhD classes to realize that I had much to learn!
The reality is that theological study is hard, disciplined, time-consuming work. It seems that the amount of new information one must consider, read, process, evaluate, synthesize, reorganize, and apply is never-ending! Every verse and phrase in the Bible has innumerable volumes written about it. As ministers of the Gospel we do well to consider as much of this material as possible (at least the significant writings) so that we can teach and proclaim God’s Word with clarity and understanding. This is what a well-trained theologian does. We want our LBS graduates to have a keen appreciation for the disciplined work of theological study. In addition to a humble, Christ-like character, we also want them to have skills and knowledge that will serve them effectively in the ministry, missions or pastoral positions to which the Lord is calling them.
Yet at the same time we would fail in our calling to serve Christ and his Church if we did not also impart to each of our students this simple truth: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16). This is the heart of the Gospel that is the central message of the Bible. As complex as theological study can be, it must always serve the confident and persistent proclamation of this Good News about Jesus Christ in our local churches, our communities and in all the world.
I am excited and humbled to join the faculty of the Lutheran Brethren Seminary. And I welcome the opportunity along with the rest of our faculty and staff to encourage and equip many church leaders, missionaries and pastors through our seminary. To God be the glory!
Rev. Brad Pribbenow, Professor of Old Testament Lutheran Brethren Seminary, Fergus Falls, MN.
Visit Lutheran Brethren Seminary online at www.lbs.edu