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Back When School Was For Real

In Faith Theological Seminary, Westminster Theological Seminary on 21/06/2011 at 13:58

An old cartoon that I remember had the dad saying to his son, “In my day, we weren’t teleported to school; we had to ride in a rickety old bus!”

From among the Papers of Dr. J. Oliver Buswell, Jr., here is a page describing two exams at Faith Theological Seminary in 1954, plus, for added comparison, a church history exam from Westminster Seminary, dated 1972:

FAITH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY
January, 1954

APOLOGETICS — DR. BUSWELL

Time limit : two periods
Use no books, notes or helps

I. (about one third of your time)
Sketch a Christian system of Ontology and Epistemology.

II. (about two thirds of your time)
Discuss at least four (4) systems of apologetics (including something about Thomas) which we have studied this semester.

SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY— DR. BUSWELL
Time limit : 2-1/2 hours.
Use Bibles, Greek and Hebrew, but no other books, notes or helps.

I. List the chief topics discussed this semester.

II. Discuss in some detail at least three fourths of these topics.

The next semester, the exams were a bit more descriptive in content:

FAITH THEOLOGICAL SEMINARY        May, 1954
FINAL EXAMINATIONS — DR. BUSWELL

SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY
Time limit – 2 periods
Use Bibles, (Greek, Hebrew, English) but no other notes or helps. Answer all four questions. Divide your time according to your idea of relative importance.

I. Discuss the Decrees of God.
Bring out the relation of the decrees to the problems of evil, free will, the glory of God, etc.

II. Discuss the Doctrine of Creation.
Bring out related problems of metaphysics, etc.

III. Discuss the Nature of Man as Originally Created.

IV. Discuss Sin, – Original Sin, Particular Sins, Sin in Human Nature, Sin of Unbelief, etc.

APOLOGETICS
Time limit – two periods. No books, notes or helps.

I. Discuss “the defense and confirmation of the gospel” or “a reason for the hope” showing what you have gained as an apologete and what kind of ammunition you can use in “contending for the faith.”

II. List as many of the students’ problem topics as you can remember and discuss two or three.

III. State briefly the main point of your own problem topic.

GREEK SYNTAX
To be written in your own time with all library aids and handed in before the end of examination week.

Give your own important gleanings in the four great fields of syntax, cases, prepositions, tenses, moods.

Or to move into more recent decades, here’s the final exam for Reformation history at Westminster Seminary, December 1972: Read the rest of this entry »

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First Commencement: Faith Seminary

In Faith Theological Seminary, Francis A. Schaeffer, Theological Seminaries on 23/05/2011 at 17:05

Second in our series on first commencement addresses —

“Soldiers and Servants of Christ”

Delivered by the Rev. James R. Graham, at the First Commencement of Faith Theological Seminary, in Wilmington, DE.
[The Christian Beacon 3.24 (21 July 1938): 3-4.]

2 Tim. 2: 3.—”Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.”

In the second chapter of Paul’s second letter to Timothy we have the seven characterizations of the Christian believer. In the first verse we find the initial relationship of sonship. In the third verse we find the soldier, and in the fifth the athlete. In the sixth we have the farmer, and in the fifteenth the skilled workman. In the twentieth verse we have the vessel, and in the twenty-fourth the servant.

It should be the purpose of the well-rounded believer to stand before his Saviour with a combination of the distinctive features found in these seven characterizations. None save Jesus of Nazareth, the only-begotten Son with the full-orbed perfections of His moral glory, ever attained fully to such a combination of virtues. It is a goal to be striven for, however — the intimate fellowship of sonship, the courageous devotion of the soldier, the strict training and rule-observance of the athlete, the unapplauded labor of the farmer, the dexterous use of our implement (the Word of God) as a skilled workman, the golden receptacle of divine truth unaffected by the acid canker of time, and finally the unobtrusive patience of the servant.

We are particularly concerned in this study with the second character, the soldier, in comparison and contrast with the seventh, the servant.

There, are clear distinctions between these two characters as regards their place of service, qualifications, responsibility, duration, and time.

It is necessary, first of all, for us to be born into the family of God by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit before we can possibly fulfill any character of service, but it is significant that the first character enjoined after the prerequisite initial step is that of the soldier and the last is that of the servant.

“Thou therefore endure hardness, as a good soldier of Jesus Christ.” The clear understanding with which any man enlists in an army is that he must be prepared to encounter any degree of danger, even to the extent of giving up his life for the glory of his master and captain, and for “the successful prosecution of the war.” It is inherent in the character of the soldier that he be an offensive as well as a defensive agent. Since it is his business to fight he can expect nothing more on occasion than to be attacked by the opponents of the cause with which he has allied himself. He serves in a place of perpetual danger. He is not only exposed to physical danger but must gladly share the criticism and opprobrium heaped upon his captain by the adversaries; and must endure the murmurings and defections of weak and fearful allies. Read the rest of this entry »