Dr. John N. Oswalt, Visiting Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary, gave the commencement address at the 2012 graduation ceremony at Wesley Biblical Seminary (WBS). (Dr. Oswalt was Research Professor of Old Testament at WBS when I attended WBS. His message to the graduating class: if one is to survive in ministry today, there had better be a depth in him or her greater than anything that they will meet in the form of broken individuals. The greatest danger of a seminary education, Dr. Oswalt warns, is that it trains us to appear spiritual when we are not. It teaches us ways to project an image when all we are really doing is seeking what we think is our own self interest. To be a successful minister in God's eyes, self interest is the main enemy to be dealt with. And it must be dealt with ruthlessly, or it will not be dealt with at all. "The only way to deal with the Golden Calf is with a sledgehammer" Dr. Oswalt says. In place of self interest, we must have an undivided heart, a passion for God. The mission of WBS, proclaims Oswalt, is that we can have a heart that is wholly God's. A joyous ministry is the by-product, not the end, of having an undivided heart. Here is a link to Dr. Oswalt's commencement address. (Click the link to the WBS podcast page.) It is 29:04 in length.
In the near future I will be reviewing two books by Dr. Oswalt: The Bible Among the Myths and Called to Be Holy.