With COVID restrictions, is it worth going to seminary? Dr. Ligon Duncan discusses the importance of sharing the gospel and preparing for a lifetime of ministry, even in the midst of restrictions related to COVID-19.
I think there are a lot of folks all over the world right now asking the question, “With all the COVID restrictions going on, is it worth going to seminary right now?” And I want to say, from the standpoint of RTS’s perspective, the answer is an emphatic “Yes, it is.” Part of the reason is, because of God’s grace, we have been minimally disrupted at RTS because of the COVID pandemic. Almost everywhere in the RTS system, we are actually still doing face-to-face, person to person, residential, classroom, theological education. There are a lot of extracurricular activities that have been impacted and reduced, but our campuses are finding creative ways to be able to do things like chapel: chapel outdoors, chapel with social distancing, women’s fellowship meetings outdoors, or socially distanced in study centers. Students and faculty are figuring out ways to work around some of the things that disrupt our lives during the pandemic.
Theological Education Matters
If we were in the midst of war or pestilence or famine, it would still be important to prepare ourselves for a lifetime of ministry.But the other thing to say is simply this: if it is important to prepare for a lifetime of ministry, it’s important to prepare for a lifetime of ministry no matter what is happening in our country and culture. C.S. Lewis famously wrote an essay on why pursuing learning was important, even in wartime. He was talking about the Second World War. And why the world would you pursue learning when the world is at war? Well, if that’s true for undergraduate education, it’s even more true for theological education. If we were in the midst of war or pestilence or famine, it would still be important to prepare ourselves for a lifetime of ministry, because the word of God matters, and the word of God dwelling richly in the people who are going to be ministering to the people of God matters, because the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ matters.
The Gospel Matters
Seasons of pandemic and other kinds of distresses only highlight for us the things that matter most.Men and women and boys and girls from every tribe, tongue, people, and nation around this world are on the razor’s edge, standing on the brink of eternity. And they need to hear the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. And we need to declare it as clearly and powerfully as we can. And preparing to do that can’t wait, because the times are short and eternity is long. And we need to be devoted to the first things, the most important things, the things that matter eternally. And frankly, seasons of pandemic and other kinds of distresses only highlight for us the things that matter most. Hopefully, they concentrate us on the word of God and the truth of the gospel like never before, so that we can be found faithful servants and stewards of Christ.