Watch Your Life and Doctrine

Need proof that liberal theology is not morally neutral?

Check out this post. Here’s an excerpt from an evangelical describing his time at Princeton Theological Seminary:

My Outsider status became clear to me — if not for the first time, at least in a new way — when I sat with friends on the seminary field, stretching before a game of ultimate frisbee.  It was still my first semester, and I was getting to know the people and the place.  We were talking about the sins that were emphasized in the churches that brought us up.  I said that pre- or extra-marital sex was the grave sin against which we, in my youth group and Sunday School classes, were most gravely and constantly warned.  And, I said, I appreciated that, as it had helped me maintain my commitment to abstain from sex until marriage.

I might as well have said that I believe in eating toddlers with chipotle sauce and a side order of puppies.  My friends’ and fellow seminarians’ expressions had gone, suddenly, from benign conversational interest to something that looked like rats and skunks had deposited themselves deep in their nostrils, where they were scratching and relieving themselves and spreading their odors.  This, I saw, was the last thing my friends wanted to talk about.  And such a “backwards” and “judgmental” attitude (as it would later be described to me) really had no place at an enlightened seminary.

The point here is not really about sex.  Yes, intramural sex was distressingly common amongst the people I knew at Princeton Seminary.  So were drinking and at least recreational drug use.  There were many times – many – when we would watch one of our friends, drunken or cussing or talking profanely about women, and we would say: “Can you believe he’s going to be pastoring a church in a year?”

Where are Hodge, Warfield, Vos, and the rest?

Join the Conversation


  1. What can one expect, when the very enemies of the faith provided the means by which the texts of the Bible would be explained and applied to the church members. I mean the idiotic skeptical methods of the enlightenment, baptized with the scholarship of the Germans and then with the odour of saintliness from the Anglo Americans. The end result is skunks and rats as the blogger pointed out. What a charade. It was the putting on of intellectual straitjackets like that of so-called higher criticism plus the idea that Christians had no place in the halls of ivy, and with that went the intellectual leadership of Western Civilization along with the means to renew it. But prayer for a Third Great Awakening, the one that hopefully begins in this generation and takes the whole earth and every soul in it and continues to do so for a thousand generations and thousands and thousands of worlds, is bringing back the theology of thought, Sovereign Grace, Paulinism, Augustinianism, Calvinism, really just biblical Sovereign Grace, the Reign of Grace, with paradoxical interventions and therapeutic paradoxes to challenge the minds of humans, male and female, with opposites that lead to equality, true egalitarianism, the dignity of the person erected upon the very ruins revealed in the fall and depravity of personhood and its consequent slaveries ad infinitum, ad nauseum.

  2. It’s a mark of self-delusion that folks like that go into the ministry. What are they thinking?

  3. Thanks, Dr. Hamilton. I found all four posts in the series to be superb. His “Combating the Idols” section in the post entitled, “How Can Seminaries Shape Christ-Like Students?” was particularly challenging and edifying for me.

  4. A warning is in order, however. Just returning to the Bible will not suffice. We must bring with us in that return a new respect of the intellectual depth of Scripture. After all, if it is inspired by the Omniscient God, then we must expect a profundity of spiritual wisdom commensurate with that reality, the effect of such a cause.

  5. This makes me very grateful for the community and commitment’s of Southern Seminary. I’m glad we are required to read the Bible, not deconstruct it. How often I forget the mercy and grace the Lord has given us at SBTS to study at a faithful, conservative school which loves God’s Word and its moral standards. Praise the Lord.

  6. – when I drove back to PTS from my chaplaincy work with the New Jersey State Prison in Trenton, it felt as though I were leaving behind a place where God was real and urgent and present to a place where God was formally honored but rarely dynamically present.

    I teach a class at a prison and I fell the same way about leaving the class and going to Sunday school etc.

  7. The deconstruction of the postmodernists might be a backhanded favor from the Lord to us. After all, if what I read in Hart’s postmodernism is any indication, then the postmodernists have done us a favor by turning their guns upon the higher critical folks and demolishing their supposedly impregnable critique of the Bible. I do know that my training in Intellectual History led me to take a closer look at the intellectualism of Scripture which led to the interesting discoveries in how biblical teachings make believers balanced, flexible, creative, magnetic, and constant. Even the Intellectual Historians admired the Puritans for their hang-in-there-till-hell-freezes-over attitude. The depths of Sovereignty, Divine, that is, challenge the febrile thought patterns and thinking processes of our idiotic minds. We suffer from the sickness, the sickening sickness, of the Fall, and only Grace and Mercy can bring us hope and relief to our fevered brows. What monsters of madness we are. What ministers of mercy are the preachers of the folly of Christ, the foolishness of the Gospel. That is sanity in the midst of this inordinate insanity.

  8. I saw a lot of poor life choices and flaunted sin while living in the dorms at SBTS nearly a decade ago. I’m reminded of the guy who complained about his hangovers on weekend mornings, the guy who constantly made racist and sexual comments for shock value, the guy who smoked pot all the time, the guy who hid illegal assault rifles in his dorm closet, and the guy who bragged about bypassing the seminary’s internet firewall to look at porn.

    But, those guys were by far the exception and not the norm. At SBTS, the vast majority of students took the commands of Christ seriously and were seeking lives of holiness. Even among the guys I mentioned above, I saw more than one experience genuine repentance. That is the real difference–those who take the Bible seriously may sometimes fall into grievous sin, but they recognize sin as sin and are not ok with it.

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