Meet a Student
January 21, 2011
Rev. James Mulroney (MAR '10), ThM Student, Old Testament emphasis
The following interview is a trnscript:
What led you to Westminster?
You had been in the ordained ministry before you came to seminary, what made you decide to leave that and go into a seminary?
Was there any particular professor that stood out that drew you to Westminster?
Now that you have your M.Div., are going for your Th.M., and are hoping to get a Ph.D., do you feel that you are prepared for the ministry, as opposed to when you were in ordained ministry beforehand?
What kind of an influence has Westminster had on your own personal life?
However, the most interesting classes that I’ve had here, the ones that have probably changed me the most, have been the small seminar classes. That’s the stuff that’s made the biggest difference to me here, is when professors start to get into the nitty-gritty of how things really apply, what things really mean, and how they fit in the context of scripture. The best classes that I’ve had here, the ones that have probably changed me the most, have been the small seminar classes, where it’s just three of us going through the text. You see a lot of either difficult or interesting questions about the text, and I find it very fruitful just having a reformed base on which to do that.
What would you recommend to a student that is just coming in and a student that just started?
To a current student, I’d say, persevere, and to really start digging into the classes, and start asking really critical questions such as: “How does this relate to the framework of Scripture? How does this relate to my systematics class, how does this relate to my history class, how does this relate to my Biblical studies class? How does this relate to the sovereignty of God? How does this relate to the doctrine of God?” Start asking really critical questions about the material: so a Biblical studies student could be sitting in and doing a Poetry and Wisdom class and reading a lament, and should start asking questions like “How does this relate to God’s sovereignty and his goodness?” And really, really thinking about those things, because I think that when a student starts to exit in their third year, and get their master’s degree, there’s something to be said for that. You are saying that you are a master. If you’ve never really thought about the serious questions, can you really say that you’ve mastered the material?
Also, be involved in a church. I don’t mean attending a church, I mean actually teaching and serving in a church. I teach a theology class every week, and I lead worship and do a bunch of other things. It takes from my time, but I think it’s crucial to spiritual development in the church as a seminary student. I think about Proverbs 18:1, “He who separates himself seeks his own desire,” I think it is actually an indication of selfishness, rather than an indication of selflessness. My experience has been that you don’t know how to serve if you don’t start serving. So you don’t leave seminary and think that you’re going to start serving, when you have no practice. It’s like boot camp: the reason soldiers go through boot camp is to prepare them for the real thing, otherwise what would be the point? You just sign up, and send them off to war. You need to prepare in some fashion, seminary should be preparing you, and part of that preparation is learning to be a servant.