The Temptation to Develop a Hypercritical Spirit in Seminary

Being a seminary student isn’t easy. Throughout the semester, you’re constantly busy. Either you’re working, schooling, involved at church, or pursuing some other interest. It’s a great place to learn time management.

In addition to juggling a variety of tasks, you also learn how to become a critic – of another scholar’s work, a fellow classmate’s preaching, a friend’s answer to a discussion question, your professor’s lecture…the list is seemingly endless.

Although critique serves its purpose in the classroom, an unhealthy sense of criticism often hides in our mental luggage and reveals itself in our local church, relationships, and our view of society. After spending time in the critic mode, it’s hard to flip the switch off.

Pretty soon you find yourself:

  1. Critiquing the preacher instead of internalizing the preaching of God’s Word.
  2. Judging church members instead of lovingly walking alongside them.
  3. Overlooking your own blind spots.
  4. Judging the theological truths in the lyrics instead of approaching the Lord with a worshipful spirit.
  5. Rating the church service instead of participating in the gathering of brothers and sisters in Christ.

Those are just a few. Here’s the point: although we are filling our minds with knowledge, we must operate with a heart of humility. Our opinions are not always right, and our critique is often harsh.

If you are a seminary student, I invite you to check yourself regularly for a hypercritical spirit. Let’s commit to protecting the intellectual gift of education with a spirit of humility.

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