M.A.R., Theological Studies emphasis
How did you first hear of Westminster?
Really, I hadn't heard anything of Westminster until about two years ago. My first time hearing and visiting was during the Hitchens/Wilson debate in 2008.
What made you decide to come to Westminster?
In all honesty, when I entered Van Til Hall for the debate and sat down, I had something of a "lightening strike" moment. Dr. Oliphint introduced things--and this was my first time hearing the word "apologetics" mind you--and I felt strongly drawn to what I perceived to be a perfect blend of Christianity and Philosophy. The debate itself was very good, but what I remember most was walking onto the campus and, even though I knew literally nothing about the place, I felt a strong sense of "needing-to-be-here." Before coming here, though, I had no thoughts whatsoever of attending a seminary. It was a very striking moment because of the clarity of the feeling. I truly believe that God has led me here.
Was there someone (faculty member, alumni, staff, etc) who was particularly influential in your decision to come here?
As mentioned earlier, Dr. Oliphint was the first person from Westminster I ever heard speak, and I was very encouraged and inspired by the way in which he handled some very coarse remarks from Mr. Hitchens. Right after the debate, I ran to the bookstore (which was still on campus at the time!) and bought Reasons for Faith.
At the start of seminary, how did you adjust to the work, as well as life in a new location?
Having just come out of undergrad (Bryn Mawr, Class of 2010), there wasn't much of an adjustment to be made, thankfully. I didn't have much of a summer break either, so I was still in "work mode." Of course, my first class at Westminster--summer Intro Greek--was like jumping into a fire, so that was something of an adjustment. I had to work really, really hard!
What have been some highlights in your education?
Westminster has proven to be truly, truly challenging; and, admittedly, this is something that I did not expect from a seminary. In my ignorance, I thought that the work would at least be a little bit easier than in undergrad, but, gratefully, I am learning more and more that the richness of our subject matter--namely, God--is inexhaustible, so there will always be more to learn, not only quantitatively, but qualitatively. I love it.
Not only the academics, though, but the focus on growing spiritually has been a pleasant surprise. Honestly, previously in my life, I have kept "growing in grace" and "growing in knowledge" in very separate spheres. At Westminster, I am learning not only how to combine the two, but the necessity of doing so.
How has God used Westminster thus far to grow you in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ?
I'm learning very much to see and understand theories and theologies that differ from my own. Also, I'm learning to sharpen my own beliefs in such a way that they are consistent not only with each other, but, more importantly, with the Word of God. And, even more importantly, I'm learning a lot about myself, and seeing more clearly the deep scars in my character that can only be repaired by the Love of God.
What are your hopes for after graduation?
No idea. I do want to pursue a PhD, though, if this is at all possible. And (another distant dream) but I hope and pray that I will be able to write books on apologetics some day. My passion is the marriage of philosophy and Christianity in a way that is not often done, and in a way that really hasn't been done outside of Westminster circles for some reason! (I mean, seriously, why isn't VanTil more widely taught!?) Also, I'm certain that I want to serve in some way at my home church, which is very small and close-knit.
What makes Westminster different from other seminaries?
Westminster is dedicated to staying true to the Word of God and, sadly, I found this trait lacking at some other seminaries. Out of curiosity, I looked into a few of the more "popular" and "well-known" ones, and found them to be very "secular." It pains me to see students being taught what is contrary to God's Word, and that's why I'm so thankful for Westminster. They recognize the pure value and worth of the Bible.