Why I Hated and Loved My Theology Professor
I read with pleasure this post by Andy Naselli and it made me remember an incident in my past.
When I was in seminary I had an unusually large number of elective credits available to use as I pleased. I also had Dr. Zemek as my adviser and since he was the theology professor I was eager to get his counsel. I love theology, he loves theology, I have credits to burn, he will tell me to burn them on theology classes. Right? Nope…
I remember sitting in a chair in his office telling him of my fortunate situation. Then, being the humble guy that I was I asked him on how I should use the credits. Here is essentially what transpired. He leaned back in his chair and with genuine seriousness said, “Matt, will you promise that you will do what I counsel?” “Yes sir,” I quickly replied. He then looked me in the eye and said, “You should spend every one of them on learning the biblical languages.” I was stunned and sickened because I despise learning languages, especially ancient ones.
He then told me a simple truth that has never left me. “If you don’t learn the languages well then you will always be dependent on someone else to tell you what the text says and what your theology should be. But if you master the languages then you will naturally develop your theology from the text.” A very sad man walked out of that office.
Fifteen years of preaching and I can say that he was absolutely right. And that is why I hate and love him.