Though I’m no longer a student at Bethlehem, I still have the privilege of being part of the community as I teach in an adjunct capacity. Each week as I walk into the building, see familiar faces, and engage with eager students, God increases my joy in Jesus. I love this school because it contributes to my happiness in Christ.
I also enjoy being part of the school because it has had a disproportionate impact on my life. Honestly, I am eager to see the school impact others as much as it has impacted me.
That phrase, disproportionate impact, is popular around Bethlehem College & Seminary. It means that though this school is intentionally small, it has an impact that outpaces its size. Bethlehem may not boast the number of graduates as other institutions, but by God’s grace, the men and women who are being formed here are making significant differences for the cause of Christ around the world.
This idea of disproportionate impact is certainly true in my own life. I was enrolled as a student for four brief years. Yet, those four years had a massive impact on who I am today. I served for twelve years in the Military. I spent time at the University of Kentucky. For ten years I pursued an undergraduate degree at Boyce College. Yet, more so than any other institution, God used Bethlehem College & Seminary to shape me in profound ways.
Namely, God has used Bethlehem to help me put my head and heart together; that is, God used my four years of study at this school to teach me how to think critically and feel deeply; to pursue a rigorous life of the mind and give full vent to my affections for Jesus.
Head & Heart
At first, this idea of putting head and heart together was an abstract idea to me. Pursuing a rigorous life of the mind and giving vent to my affections are ideas that I thought were at odds. And the first person to tell me the head and heart were not at odds, that they were not enemies, was our Chancellor, John Piper.
Through his writings, conferences, and sermons, God used Pastor John to challenge me to see thinking and feeling in service to one another. This is something I had not experienced in my own life. However, in 2012, I had the chance to move to Minneapolis and study here. In the context of this school, I was surrounded by pastors, professors, and people in the pews of Bethlehem Baptist Church, which showed me how to live out what I had only read about. By God’s grace, the instrumental means to help me put my head and heart together in proper ways was Bethlehem College & Seminary. Here, I came to understand what the Psalmist meant when he wrote, “As I mused, the fire burned” (Ps. 39:3).
So, I do indeed love this school. But I love this school like I love other means of grace that God uses in my life. I love the means because of the end to which it has taken me. Namely, to thinking more critically about God and his Word while I give fuller vent to my affections for Jesus, my “exceeding joy” (Ps 43:4).
May the Lord continue to use this place in disproportionate ways in order to impact others in the way he has impacted me.
Till Christ returns or calls us home,
Pastor Jonathon, MDiv ’16
Northfield Community Church
- Praise the Lord with us for a wonderful time celebrating his faithfulness last Friday at Convocation.
- Pray for our students that their affections for Jesus would be increasingly their joy.
- Pray that the Lord would bring in full funding of the 2019-2020 school year scholarships.