To all who are considering pursuing a Master of Divinity program,
May the peace of the LORD our Father be with you. As you click into this page, I
assume you are searching for more information about which school to attend for
further theological study, especially the Master of Divinity program. I can’t assume
that I know you very well, but I see God is delighted by your desire. With high
possibility, you are either having a burning heart toward God’s heart and kingdom or
having beautiful eyes to see the needs of the world and willing to serve. As you offer
your heart to the Lord promptly and sincerely, I want to introduce a school to you that
is special in my heart, Calvin Theological Seminary.
The first reason I recommend Calvin Theological Seminary is that I learned to
become a full human being first before I become a minister. There is much richness
here, but I will only highlight several points. For example, I learned that the soul and
emotions are different. My soul can trust in God, but my emotions can feel fear at the
same time. They are not contradictory. It is not lacking faith, but being a full human. I
am able to accept my limitation and brokenness as a human and embrace it. I learned
to give grace to myself. I learned not to expect to become everything to everyone,
because I am not God. I consider it as a boundary, which is another important thing I
learned at Calvin Theological Seminary.
I learned about boundaries which did not exist in my life before. I learned to
discern what is God’s business, and what is my business. I learned to distinguish what
is another’s business, and what is my business. Therefore, I would like to quote Mark
12:17: “Give to Caesar what belongs to Caesar, and to God what belongs to God.” It
helps me to stop expecting others to act and think in the way I prefer. It helps me to
allow myself to be me, and others to be the way they are.
I never thought Calvin Theological Seminary would be a healing place for me. In
this specific season of my life and this specific school, I finally came to a point to
truly believed that I am so precious to God that I don’t need to please anyone or prove
myself. My identity in Christ is enough for me to walk fearlessly in this unpredictable
and broken world. I know it will be an on-going learning process since the temptation
is always out there. Calvin Theological Seminary taught me to be well first as a
human being, then taught me how to be an equipped minister.
The second reason is Calvin Theological Seminary taught me to pay attention and
appreciate the difference of other’s context. We have students from around the world
that make our context very diverse. We are learning to appreciate, listen, and learn
from each other in daily context. If you have had a cross-cultural experience, then you
must have experienced how difficult it is to communicate with no misunderstanding.
Additionally, MDiv students not only have cross-cultural experiences and learning in
the class setting and students life, but we are also required to do 200 hours of cross-
cultural internship before we graduate. We have to go to another context which is
different with our original context. This past January, I went to Al Amana Centre,
Sultanate of Oman. I was shocked by the cultural differences. Calvin Theological
Seminary encourages us not to “copy and paste” Reformed theological teaching, but
learn Reformed theology with questions that can serve the students’ context.
According to my description, the teaching of Calvin Theological Seminary might
seem too practical. But is it true? Well, I’ll say it is not true. The third reason I
recommend Calvin Theological Seminary is because I am gaining a firm theological
foundation here. There is no doubt that the teaching is through the lens of John Calvin
and reformed theology, but this is what I appreciate about CTS. In addition, we do
have students from many different denominations and backgrounds that bring richness
to our lives.
I appreciate that the teaching here respects the full authority of the Bible.
Studying in Calvin Seminary is different than what people might think about
Calvinism. I appreciate that I can learn about Calvin’s theology deeply and closely
regardless of the common misunderstandings of Reformed theology and stereotypes
of Calvin’s teaching. I remember while I was reading resources for a research paper
on the Lord’s prayer, my tears fall like rain. Through gaining knowledge of the Word
of God, my faith starts to have a firmer foundation that is strong enough to confront
bigger storms in my life with hope, patience, endurance, confidence, and joy. This
experience deepened my faith and integrated all areas of my life.
Overall, I have learned many things that are important and essential for my
lifelong journey. Officially, Calvin students are equipped through theological training
as future ministry leaders and servants, but in a “hidden curriculum” Calvin Seminary
students are also nurtured and supported to be spiritually formed.
I want to clarify there is not perfect seminary in the world. As an Asian woman
student, I am seen and heard here. I am not saying that if you come to Calvin
Theological Seminary you will face no difficulties. I know that God has different
lessons for each of us in different seasons of our lives. I’ve been struggling, thriving,
and growing here. I am confident that if you come to Calvin Theological Seminary,
you will struggle, thrive, and grow as well. Feeling the pain does not always mean we
are doing a bad job. I would like to call it growing pains. I think it is worth investing a
few years of time at Calvin Theological Seminary.
My dear brothers and sisters in Christ, may our loving and faithful God the Father
bless you and guide you all the way as you continuously seek his way.
Calvin Theological Student Debbie Jin