Dear Brethren and Sisters in the Lord:
It is our purpose in this brief letter to share with you a few items of news from the Seminary.
There have been a few breaks in the Seminary schedule this semester. In the latter part of February the school recessed for one day to meet with the ministers in the Grand Rapids area and with Rev. Sang Chan Lee, a minister in the Hapdong Presbyterian Church of Korea.
In the first part of March, school was dismissed for two days to enable the students and faculty to take part in the Ministers’ Conference held in Pella, Iowa. The ministers of Classis East and the Theological School were invited by the ministers of Classis West. The general topic of the conference was “Pastoral Counseling.” The papers delivered at this conference and a summary of the discussion will appear in the next issue of The Theological Journal. This conference proved to be both refreshing and instructive.
Spring vacation is now over in the Seminary. And so the school enters into the final weeks of this semester. For four of our students these weeks will be the last in school. They will be examined by the Synod in June, the Lord willing, and look forward to receiving of the Lord a place in our churches.
In connection with the news concerning the work which is being done towards a pre-seminary course which appeared in our Standard Bearer, the faculty received a very encouraging letter from Prof. Robert Rudolph, professor of systematic theology and ethics in the Theological Seminary of the Reformed Episcopal Church. We have received permission from him to share parts of it with you.
“I was reading in the ‘Standard Bearer’ your remarks about your Seminary. In seeking to establish this school you are following the only course which can perpetuate the emphasis of your denomination. Our Seminary became a fact because ten years after we were founded in 1873—in 1886 one good woman realized its need and provided the building and a modest endowment.
“Our Church (a sister church in the same actual denominational structure) in England, founded somewhat later, never did secure a school and are finding the going exceedingly difficult when their men come from many schools….
“I write to share with you brethren in Christ the fact that we have found it exceedingly important to emphasize Seminary FIRST. Our men then go to the colleges, which often are not altogether friendly with our Reformed position, and are less influenced.
“We came to realize, a generation ago, that if our men were sent to colleges first and received there the first impression which, if the college were truly of a liberal arts nature would include, even in a very Reformed place, exposure to the rationalism and liberalism of the classical writers, they would be getting their first impressions from those not particularly influenced by God’s Word, the Bible. As this happened generation after generation and these somewhat ‘secularized’ men became teachers of the next generation, there would be a general secularization of the Church….
“We, at Reformed Episcopal, will be praying that you may be enabled to establish your needed institution.”
We found this unsolicited support and encouragement of our churches’ pre-seminary plans from another seminary professor to be rather interesting. Our method, of course, is different. We do not purpose to have seminary first, followed by college work at other institutions. But we purpose to furnish our future ministers with all their higher education, both preseminary and seminary, as much as possible, and to have our students receive “outside” education only in those subjects in which we are not at present able to train them. To a certain extent, history. our Seminary did this already in the early years of our And in the late 1940’s our churches purposed to begin to add pre-seminary courses to our curriculum. Now we are at last beginning to achieve this goal. And it is high time, too. For the need is greater today than ever before.
We close this letter with an announcement of interest to pre-seminary and potential pre-seminary students. May 5, D.V., at 1:00 P.M., On Friday, there will be a meeting at school of representatives of the Theological School Committee and the Faculty and as many of our future preseminary students as can possibly make it. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss plans for the beginning of our pre-sem course. Students should come prepared with complete and accurate information as to their high school credits, especially, for example, in foreign languages. And those who have already taken some pre-sem work should be able to furnish full information about this. This is a rather important meeting at all possible. We urge you to attend if And if you are interested but cannot attend.
We commend the Seminary and its labors to your prayers.
With greetings in the Lord, The Faculty
P.S. There is still time, if you hurry, to get your name on the mailing list of our Journal. Perhaps some of our elders will be especially interested in the next issue, which will contain the conference papers. We will gladly add your name, either to our permanent list or to our list for the coming issue only. Please write to Prof. Hanko is you are interested.