On the balance between scholarship and discipleship

Since starting seminary over a year ago, I have often wrestled with this question: How do I merge the scholarly world of intellect and information with the “real world” of faith and discipleship? In some traditions, talk of seminary and intellect has such negative connotations that anyone taking an interest in such things is deemed suspect. Destined to fall into the abyss of cerebral knowledge absent of authentic worship. In other circles, knowledge and intellect are so revered that church leadership is withheld until certain academic standards have been met. And Christian discipleship can, in this scene, be relegated to a secondary place after the pinnacle passion of knowledge.

But does it have to be this way? Does there need to be such extremes? Can the worlds of knowledge and discipleship collide in such a way that each speaks a word into the other? On the long drives home from school, I pray that this “collision” of sorts would happen in my life. I dream of becoming a man whose discipleship is inescapably fueled by his academic pursuits, and whose academic pursuits are tempered by and understood entirely in the context of discipleship.

I think T. F. Torrance hits the nail on the head in this struggle to balance the two:

“The transformation of the human mind and its renewal through assimilation to the mind of Christ is something that has to go on throughout the whole of our life—it is a never-ending discipleship in repentant rethinking as we take up the cross and follow Christ. That is why we cannot be theologians without the incessant prayer in offering ourselves daily to God through the reconciling and atoning mediation of Christ; and that is also why we cannot be evangelists without being theologians whose minds are constantly schooled in obedience to Christ.”

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One thought on “On the balance between scholarship and discipleship

  1. Great post!… and an excellent quote from Torrance.

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