Here’s a bold truth that needs repeating: Seminary students are sinners too.
Just because someone enrolls in a degree to study divinity doesn’t make him or her exempt from the struggles and temptations of the evil one. In fact, there’s evidence in Scripture to say seminary students are even bigger targets for Satan.
So look over this list, humbly, and prep yourself for battle. If you know the common pitfalls to avoid you’re more likely to see them coming from a mile away.
Here are the top 5 sins of seminary students:
The Barna Group released some startling stats from an in-depth research study on the problem of porn–and the results are eye-opening, especially for ministry leaders. Here are the facts: Most pastors (57%) and youth pastors (64%) admit they have struggled with porn, either currently or in the past.
In addition, an article on the Desiring God website, Harry Schaumburg writes,
“Several years ago a seminary professor told me: ‘We no longer ask our entering students if they are struggling with pornography, we assume every student is struggling. The question we ask: ‘How serious is the struggle?’”
Porn and porn addiction is a real struggle in the seminary years and we need to do everything we can to deal with it head-on, openly and honestly. Pornography has lasting impact and affects its victims for years (both during the struggle and post-victory). The brain is a marvelous creation that holds memories for a long time (sometimes to our hurt or shame); this means that the images viewed will remain available for retrieval (at inopportune times).
Original sin is alive and well – even (especially) in Seminary. Pride feeds the ego with thoughts like, “Because you are a Seminary student, you are special in God’s sight – more worthy of His love,” or “You know more than your classmates and church members” and “God is definitely going to use you in a mighty (public) way.”
This is manifested in the one who asks questions ‘for the benefit of others’ or seeks to correct perceived errors made by the professor. Pride shows in the bringing of the Greek texts to all classes (and church/chapel) to make sure the preacher translates the words accurately.
Pride manifests itself in a variety of ways, but it is always the same theme “I deserve _____.” Whether it is attention, honor, respect or material goods, the attitude of pride spoils the opportunity for God to work in your life. It is what Jesus railed so hard against in the Pharisees and teachers in Scripture. Pride camouflages itself as concern for accuracy, self-justification and “being misunderstood.” The best way to combat it is to seek it out with strong determination and relentless self-examination.
Our culture promotes the ideas of entitlement and laziness. When the lottery jackpot gets big, the line to buy tickets swells exponentially. Why? Because everyone wants success but few are willing to actually work for it! This, too, is rebellion against Scripture.
Frequent examples in Proverbs as well as Paul’s writings point to the value of work. This applies to study as well. God loves you, you are now a Seminary student, your path is clear.
Time to coast until that senior pastor position opens up? May it never be! This is the time to devote all of your energy and time to learning as much s possible about God through Biblical history, Church history and Scriptural principles. To be lazy or apathetic about your Seminary career leads into the next item…
4. Abuse of Scripture
Your inner student might be tempted to view Scripture as a textbook to study, not as God’s Word to be cherished and obeyed, or possibly even a weapon to use for your own preferences or ego. Scripture, on the other hand, is the revealed mind of the Creator God toward His people, containing many types of communication (narrative, poetic, doctrinal) to guide Man through his life in order to have perfect fellowship (restored) with him. The Word of God was never meant to be twisted just to benefit our personal views. It’s also not a dry, lifeless textbook to dissect.
It is the very Word of God to point us to Jesus.
5. Fear & Insecurity
It is only natural to feel uncomfortable in a new situation. It is perfectly normal to be nervous as you start something new. What is sinful is to allow that nervousness and discomfort to grow into paralyzing fear – to the point where you cannot function as you ought due to being afraid (of failure, ridicule or just being wrong).
Fear is mentioned in Scripture often because we are a scared lot. The world is a big scary place and school environments can be small scary places. But fear is rebellion against Scripture (search “do not be afraid,” “fear not” and “be of good courage” and see what you find). And the antidote to fear is not confidence, but love (see 1 John 4). Grasp what Joshua was told as he took over leadership of the nation of Israel to lead them into Canaan – and hold that principle as you enter your promised land of Seminary.
Again, there are more obstacles and sinful attitudes and manifestations you will encounter in your Seminary career; this list highlights only five.
Getting victory over (or avoiding) these areas will help you achieve your greatest desire – being used by God for His purposes and His glory!