Two and a half years, massive piles of books and papers, and over $50,000 worth of classes later (thanks to financial aid that’s not what was actually paid), a question arises which demands an answer: Was all of that worth it? Am I any better a Christian than I was when I started at Multnomah University? Has it enabled me to be a better bearer of the image of Christ than before?
Thinking back, each semester had it’s own lessons to teach me that were beyond the curriculum of the classes I happened to be taking. It seemed I was always being taught something by God. But what about the content of the classes themselves?
There are perhaps three main benefits, I think, to going through Bible college:
- A Greater Ability to Defend the Faith
I would have to say that probably the greatest thing I discovered at MU, from the very beginning, is that our faith is indeed reasonable! More Christians than not probably have the lurking suspicion in the back of their minds at one point or another that perhaps their faith has no grounds, that perhaps Christianity is just one among many of the world’s religions. I certainly thought these things in the past. It’s not as if I never question anything anymore, but what has been firmly established in my mind beyond a shadow of a doubt is that if there is anything on this earth which we are able to know is true, it’s that Jesus is God, that he has payed for our sins, and that he now commands our allegiance to him. What I discovered is that if Christianity were not true, if God was not real and active in our lives, any ability to understand anything in the fabric of our universe would disappear altogether. As C.S Lewis put it:”I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.”This is what I discovered at Multnomah. Now I not only have greater assurance, but am more able to defend the faith with nonbelievers.
- An Appreciation of Other Theological Viewpoints
I have already shared some of my thoughts about these things in this post. What I have learned is that there are no two Christians who agree on everything. In all my classes, I never had an instructor with whom I agreed on everything. I have learned to try to treat all views not as valid, but as worthy of being heard and considered whether they are valid on the grounds of a reasonable reading of Scripture. I therefore had to revise some of my beliefs.
- A Realization That I Only Scratched the Surface
While doing in-depth papers on only one or two verses, I realized that there’s so much more to know in God’s word. It’s not as if there are hidden things which only the skilled or the wise can find out, secret messages waiting to be found. Rather, there’s simply so much to know about God himself, and our life-long journey to getting to know him only begins in Scripture. It has put in me a hunger to know God fully.
A Crucial Truth
These three benefits are great, and one thing I will never say is that I wasted my time at Bible college. But one key thing I must remember: it doesn’t matter that I’ve gone to Bible college and learned a lot if any fire that was kindled in me goes out.
God is concerned not with how much I pursued him in the past, but with how much I am pursuing him right now. May I never get to the point where the things I’ve learned are only things of the past and insignificant to my life right now.