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The Privilege of Seminary Training: Personal Spiritual Development

Anyone who has talked to a seminary student or asked his pastor about his years in seminary will likely hear stories about the many great challenges of those years. The work is often difficult, and the amount of work that is placed before the students can be overwhelming for even the most gifted students. Seemingly every student of the seminary has some story to tell of a painful practice preaching session or a graded paper filled with a flood of red...

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The Final Stretch

As I alluded in my last post, it is sometimes suggested that the last semester of seminary is the most difficult semester. After soaring on the internship, the student must again clamp on the chains and manacles of practice preaching and formal class room instruction. I can understand and agree with this sentiment to a point. There is something about the internship—tasting and experiencing the real work that the seminary student anticipates he will soon be doing as an ordained servant...

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The Internship

Once again, I walked out of Professor Dykstra’s office with mixed emotions. I had just been informed that the seminary faculty had granted me an internship, and that mine would take place in Hull, Iowa at Calvary Protestant Reformed Church. Mixed emotions. Of course, I was tremendously excited. For several months all the third years had ruminated, speculated, and discussed—would we be granted internships? And if so, where would they be? Now I knew definitely: the Lord had opened yet another...

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Third Year

In preparation for writing this post I sat back and tried to think about the things that made the third year of seminary distinct from the other years, and I have concluded that part of my challenge now relates to the fact that third year was very similar to second year. The first year of seminary is distinct in my mind as the time when everything was exciting because it was the beginning—everything was new. I distinguish second year as the...

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Licensed to Speak a Word of Edification

On a May afternoon in 2015, I walked out of Professor Dykstra’s office with the same feeling of mixed emotions which was becoming familiar for me as a seminary student. On the one hand, I had just been granted license by the seminary faculty to speak a word of edification in the Protestant Reformed Churches! Being licensed was highly significant, as it indicated that the professors judged I had the necessary spiritual and intellectual gifts, and was far enough along in...

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The Second Year of Seminary

As the three seminary students who have finished their second year of seminary can attest, second year is probably the toughest year of seminary, but also a year of rich blessings. These go together and there are a couple of reasons for this. First, second year brings a sizable increase in the seminary workload. The biggest part of this increased workload is beginning Exegesis classes. Along with Dogmatics, Exegesis forms the heart of the seminary curriculum. Exegesis is the hard work...

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The First Year of Seminary

Last time we took a brief look at some of what is involved in pre-seminary studies. Today we move on to the first year of study at the Protestant Reformed seminary. At our Theological School we have a four year long course of study (though it was not always so). A lot can be covered in four years, yet it seems like barely enough time to scratch the surface of some subjects. Nevertheless, as a recent graduate from the seminary I...

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Pre-Seminary Studies

For the month of September we will be posting a few mini blog series from some of the new candidates for the ministry in the Protestant Reformed Churches, each of which were asked by the RFPA to guest write for the RFPA blog. This first article and mini series is written by Candidate Justin Smidstra. ____________ In this post and the next my intention is to describe the early years of a seminary student’s course of study and relate a few...

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