As I graduate with my Phd from Southern Seminary today, I’ve reflected on my five favorite courses during my time in Louisville. Here’s the list with a brief explanation of why I enjoyed them:
- Christian Preaching with Russell Moore and David Prince: This course transformed both the way I understand the Bible and the way I understand the task of preaching. It opened my eyes to the centrality of Christ in the biblical narrative and the necessity of declaring the Christ-centered message of every biblical passage. Added bonus: The stories of preaching highlights and lowlights from this course have provided many laughs over the years.
- Christian Ethics with Russell Moore: This course taught me how to think through ethical issues from a Christ-centered, kingdom-oriented holistic perspective. The hypothetical situations we wrestled with in class discussion provoked me to evaluate my viewpoints on a variety of topics in ways that practically shaped me for ministry in the future. Added bonus: The final exam on whether to baptize a cyborg launched the trajectory of legendary ethics final exams by Dr. Moore in future semesters.
- Theology of Marriage with Albert Mohler: This course provided a holistic examination of the biblical, theologial, and practical dimensions of marriage. The chance to take a course from our President on one of his best subjects in my first semester on campus was too good of an opportunity to pass up. This course made me a better husband and a better minister of the gospel because of the way it shaped my view of marriage. Added bonus: The abundance of reading in this first semester course made the reading list for all future masters level courses seem like child’s play.
- Biblical Foundations for Spirituality with Tom Schreiner: This course honed my exegetical skills as we translated the book of Ephesians while making practical application of the text to issues of church-related spirituality and personal piety. Having a New Testament master such as Schreiner be our tour guide through the biblical text transformed how I approach the Bible in its original languages. Added bonus: The paper I wrote for this class had a fundamental impact in clarifying the topic of my dissertation.
- Eschatology with Russell Moore: This course shaped my understanding of the Christ-centered nature of the end times. As the first class of my PhD program, it also established my expectations of what rigorous doctoral-level discussion should look like. Added bonus: I’ll never forget the first day of class (which started at 7 AM) when Dr. Moore banned laptops because he didn’t want technology to inhibit our discussion and engagement.
As I look back on my 6 years at Southern Seminary, I am thankful for all that I’ve learned and the faculty who have personally impacted my life. Today’s graduation is a day of personal rejoicing for my family.