Do you have to go to Bible College to get a good apologetics education? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.
Recently, a comment on a blog I wrote was by someone who had a passion to be an engineer and was studying to be one, but wanted to know apologetics as well seeing as to how important it is. This person, named Michael, admitted to not being solid in faith or having 1,000 Scriptures memorized.
Yet they thought the only way to go was Bible College. Is this the case?
Let me state at the start that I did go to Bible College. Bible College is great, but it is not for everyone. When I went to Bible College, I did not know a thing about apologetics. I found out there. Much of my learning then came from my own reading as I sought to devour everything I could. To this day, I still regularly go down to the college and go to the library and get some books. I say, and I’m afraid it’s true, that I use the library more than most of the students.
While I was a student, my classes would sometimes touch on apologetics matters, but I only took one class that really looked at the issue much and that was a class on worldview thinking. In many ways, I have been largely self-taught, though I did get some invaluable training in Seminary, especially on Thomism, a background I think that will shape me for the rest of my life.
I am glad that Michael sees the importance of apologetics and knows that this needs to be done, but Michael, if your passion is to be an engineer, then I encourage you to please stay in school where you are and seek to be an engineer. God’s program with the Kingdom calls for engineers after all. You can use your ability in engineering in various ways for the kingdom.
Now am I telling you to not study apologetics at all? Not a bit. I encourage you to do so and if this is a drive of yours, then keep it up. If you want, get a degree in engineering as high as you can and want to and then, you could consider going to Bible college as well and getting a degree there.
Yet you might not want to go that route. That’s fine. If not, you have more access to information than has ever been possible. You can go to ITunes and download college and seminary courses on various matters and learn from the best professors. You can go to the library at a Seminary or Bible College still and set up an account so you can use the books there.
Also, you can find someone in your area who is trained in apologetics and have them be a mentor for you. Note that this is also an encouragement to those who are mentors and helps them to do their own study knowing someone else is depending on them.
The main thing is to try to do the best you can to manage time, something we all have difficulty with. Set aside a bit of time each day to do some studying and remember at the same time, it’s not all studying. If you’re married, you’ll need to spend time with your wife and if you have them, your children. Remember, all work and no play…
Apologetics is important after all, but not everyone is meant to do full-time apologetics. We need Christians who are teachers. We need Christians who are doctors. We need Christians who are scientists. We need Christians who are garbage pick-up men, janitors, bank tellers, cashiers, police officers, soldiers, etc.
Also, we need good Christian pastors and counselors. These should have some basic understanding at least in apologetics, but I also think that a pastor should be able instead to point to someone in his church who is highly skilled in apologetics to leave him the freedom to focus on pastoral duties. He should answer basic questions, but pass tougher ones on to an expert. A counselor should have basic information such as helping with the problem of evil, but he needs to focus on what he needs to be a good counselor and be also able to refer to an expert.
Ultimately, we could all be blessed by learning more about God and our faith system, but we should not think that that means everyone is meant to do that full-time. The reason a church pays a pastor is so the pastor can be able to devote his time to study and then be able to share with the congregation what he has found. The reason someone should support the apologetics ministry, like this one, is because we are out there doing the same kind of work. (In fact, I find our work is much more dangerous than that of your average pastor. We’re the ones out there taking bullets on the front line.)
Michael. Stay in engineering. Be the best engineer that you can be. If someone is in apologetics, they should not seek to be mediocre. They should seek to excel. Excel as an engineer. Get the best degree that you can and do the best work that you can do! When you have time to yourself, learn something about apologetics. Read this blog. Read others. Download podcasts and listen to them on your commute to and from work and school. Before getting a book, look over a number of reviews of it and see if it’s one you really want to invest yourself in.
Remember finally what Paul said, whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. (1 Cor. 10:31.) My recommendation is that you follow your passion while still doing what else you can otherwise and let God bless your service in engineering to his glory.