How to Stay Christian in Seminary

Andy Naselli —  January 30, 2014 — 3 Comments

Mathis-ParnellSeminary students (and professors) would be wise to read this new little 80-page book by two recent seminary students:

David Mathis and Jonathan Parnell. How to Stay Christian in Seminary. Wheaton: Crossway, 2014. 14-page PDF sample.

The authors are good men, and they write well.

Justin Taylor approached them with the idea for this book after their blog series for Desiring God. (My contribution: “Thank God for Gifted Professors and Students.”)





  1. Piper foreword: “Don’t think of your seminary years as the time when you learn what you need to know for ministry. If you do that, you will spend the rest of your life blaming the seminary for what you didn’t get. I get very tired of those complaints. I have never blamed my seminary for anything I had to learn later. . . . [D]on’t even begin to think you will graduate with what you need to know. The second day on the job you will be faced with something that baffles you. Don’t blame the seminary. Don’t blame anyone. It’s the way it is.” (p. 12–13)
  2. Mathis-Parnell introduction: “If you stuff your head full of more than your heart can digest, you will not be well.” (p. 16)
  3. Mathis: “There’s an expiration date on the fruit of preaching to yourself once it’s off the vine.” (p. 39)
  4. Parnell: “There are no footnotes to Ephesians 5 that qualify Paul’s instructions as pending graduation. Don’t be duped here. It’s too costly.” (p. 59)


1. Last week John Piper preached at sermon at SBTS called “Don’t Waste Your Theological Education“:

2. John Frame’s Advice: 30 Suggestions for Theological Students and Young Theologians


3 responses to How to Stay Christian in Seminary

  1. I still remember the short video interview Mathis did with Carson on reading the Bible devotionally while studying it theologically.

    If I was a professor, I would hand this and Helmut Thielicke’s A Little Exercise for Young Theologians to first-year seminarians. And then I would make it required reading once a year for every year in seminary. Actually, there are those who write online that could use a good dose of Thielicke.

    Happy to see this. I’m sure there are working pastors out there that can use it as well.

  2. Thanks for the recommendation (again)! I would also recommend John Frame’s booklet “Studying Theology as a Servant of Jesus.” I found this booklet to be tremendously helpful when I was in seminary (and still do, in full-time ministry).

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  1. How To Stay Christian in Seminary – Christian Thought & Tradition - February 6, 2014

    […] follows is an image of the Table of Contents that I shamelessly copied from my friend Andy Naselli’s website. I hope you’ll purchase a copy of this short, inexpensive, soul-stirring book and take it […]

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