I've been enrolled at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary for over a year now. I've also had the privilege of studying theology at Charleston Southern University for my undergraduate work. Although I am extremely thankful for the wealth of knowledge I've learned from these institutions, I've come to realize that there are many dangers in pursuing a theological education. The greatest of these is pride. Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 8:1 that knowledge puffs up a man and can make him proud. The desire of our wicked hearts causes us to become proud over the knowledge we think we've attained. We begin to look down those who don't know as much about the Bible as we do, and we become proud boasting in our academic accomplishments. It happens to us all, and it happens in seminaries.
- Pride causes us to belittle a person for not being a 5 point Calvinist.
- Pride causes us to hate Calvinists and slander them.
- Pride causes us to make enemies out of believers with different eschatology
- Pride causes us to look down on lay people who aren't academically trained.
- Pride causes us to grow envious of people who know more than us.
The dangers of pride arrive stealthy and often without notice. For those of us pursuing degrees and academics, we must constantly check our hearts and motivations and snub out even a hint of prideful boasting. For those of us who are in Christ, what is there to boast in? Certainly not in our academic accomplishments, but solely in the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ! Let us then be clothed in humility as we study God's word academically and always seek to build each other up in love. Rather than taking part in prideful intellectual duels in order to prove to be the superior thinker, let us count others as more significant than ourselves and build up the body of Christ.