Why I Chose to Study at Logos Evangelical Seminary,
And You Should Too!
As my wife and I were praying and seeking the Lord’s will together, she suddenly stopped, looked at me, and asked, “Have you considered studying for a D.Min?”
“I’ve thought about it”, I replied. “But haven’t really pursued it.”
“Have you considered studying at a Chinese seminary?”, she asked again.
“Well, I’ve thought about that, too, but…”
In my heart, the idea of doing a D.Min in Chinese was rather unsettling. I wasn’t sure my Chinese language ability would be up to the task.
But that conversation, we were both certain, was inspired by the Holy Spirit! We couldn’t ignore it. As a result, I contacted Logos and began the application process. Shortly after, I was accepted as D.Min student!
If you are a non-native Chinese speaker who has been called by God to serve the Chinese, why should you consider furthering your studies at Logos Evangelical Seminary?
First, being adequately equipped to serve the Chinese involves, among other things, a deep and accurate understanding of Chinese culture and mindset. Who could be better suited to impart a Chinese perspective on theology, pastoral ministry, discipleship, spiritual formation, or biblical counseling, than a Chinese professor!? Consider the following (hypothecial) example:
David and Lu Guang (fictional characters) sat in the cafe in Shanghai, heads down, both sensing the tension rising as they stared at Genesis 2:24. “Guang, this verse clearly teaches that you need to physically leave your parents. Either ask them to leave, or you leave them. You’ve been married for two years now, and the reason your wife is having so many problems with your parents is because you’re not obeying the command in this verse.” “You don’t understand, David,” replied Guang. “I can’t do that. It will destroy my relationship with my parents forever. I can’t just ask them to leave; and they need my support, so I can’t just leave them! That is not the Chinese way!” “Then you must decide,” said David firmly. “Either the Chinese way, or God’s way.”
Without a proper understanding of Chinese culture and mindset, we westerners will tend to read and apply scripture through western eyes, which is not necessarily biblical! Is it possible that we place unbiblical (and unnecessary) burdens on the backs of Asian Christians because of our western interpretations of Scripture? I have to believe that we western missionaries have inadvertently caused much undeserved anguish in the lives of those we love and serve, because of our lack of understanding of local culture and mindset. We are now in an astounding era when we can sit at the feet of godly Asian men and women and learn from them. I pray many more westerners will take advantage of such a blessed opportunity.
Secondly, one cannot study at a Chinese seminary without significantly improving his or her Chinese language ability. I was so nervous on my first day of class that I took a recorder to record everything that was said! But I quickly discovered that that wasn’t necessary. One will quickly become acclimated to the classroom, and be able to join discussions quite freely. Normally, the student is required to read about 1,500 pages of books before the class begins. Personally, I’ve made it my goal to read two or three of the required-reading books in Chinese; the others I am able to read in English. Almost all of the books that I have been required to read so far have been available in English, and the school has always permitted me to read English if I choose to. But by forcing myself to read 2-3 books each semester in Chinese, I have significantly improved my reading ability, vocabulary, and understanding of Chinese culture and mindset. Whereas before I wouldn’t even think about picking up a Chinese book to read it, now I have the confidence to do so! Likewise, for the most part the school will allow you to write papers and do your assignments in English. And everyone has always been so gracious and understanding of my imperfect Chinese.
Thirdly, my heart resonates with the aims and values of Logos Evangelical Seminary. Their motto is, “Attempting great things for God, rescuing millions of souls.” In all of their classes, and in everything they do, they seek to bring four areas of cultivation into the lives of the students: Spiritual Formation, Academic Excellence, Godly Living, and Ministerial Competence. With all of my heart, I can say they have certainly achieved this balance very admirably!
Fourthly, Logos Evangelical Seminary is fully accredited by the ATS (Association of Theological Schools) and by WASC (Western Association of Schools and Colleges), one of the only Chinese seminaries in North America that is. It also hosts the largest Chinese theological book collection in North America in its excellent library.
Finally, I love the rich sense of family and community here! I am writing this from my room at the Good Shepherd House, one of the dormitory facilities of Logos. I am surrounded by beautiful Chinese families who genuinely care for me and make me feel a part of the Logos family. It is among the sweetest experiences of fellowship I have ever enjoyed.
I pray you will stop and consider whether the Lord would have you further your ministry training and preparation here at Logos. Don’t let fear get in your way! Here you will find a family that will love you and walk with you all the way to the end, and beyond!
July 25, 2015