On the Gospelbound podcast, we often discuss what’s wrong in the world and the challenges for the church. But because of the gospel, there’s always hope. God’s always working. Even in the rubble, you can find defiant new growth poking through the rocks.
A similar hope can be seen in seminary education. One of the greatest success stories can be found in Kansas City at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
The president there is Jason Allen, and under his leadership, the school has grown in enrollment and resources and in quality of education. We shouldn’t take this good news for granted, because it’s not the case at most schools. It’s exciting to consider what this turnaround means for generations of churches in the Southern Baptist Convention and beyond.
Jason says that “never before in the history of the church has theological education been so accessible—and so needed.” And he joined me on Gospelbound to discuss his new book, Succeeding at Seminary: 12 Keys to Getting the Most Out of Your Theological Education (Moody).
In this episode, we talk about the promise and peril of online education, why students should still consider residential relocation, and how you know if you’re really ready for this momentous step.
The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy.
Collin Hansen: We talk a lot on the Gospelbound podcast about what’s wrong in the world, about the challenges for the church. But because of the gospel, there’s always hope. God’s always working. Even in the rubble, you can find defiant new growth poking through the rocks. And I see a lot of hope in seminary education. I’m blessed to serve on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School in Birmingham, Alabama, where I teach cultural apologetics as an adjunct professor. And I think we live in the golden era of seminary education. I can’t think of a better time to be a seminary student with so many great options.
One of the greatest success stories can be found in one of my favorite places, Kansas City, at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. The president is Jason Allen, and under his leadership, the school has grown in enrollment and resources, and in quality of education.
And we shouldn’t take this good news for granted because it’s not the case at most other schools. But I’m excited about what this turnaround means for generations of churches in the Southern Baptist Convention and beyond. And Jason says that, “Never before in the history of the church has theological education been so accessible and so needed.” And he joins me on Gospelbound today to discuss his new book, Succeeding at Seminary: 12 Keys To Getting the Most Out of Your Theological Education, published by Moody. I’m eager to ask him about the promise and peril of online education, why students should still consider residential relocation, and how you know if you’re really ready for this momentous step. Jason, thank you for joining me on Gospelbound.
Jason Allen: Collin, it’s a delight to be with you. This is the obligatory, but heartfelt “Go Royals,” as every conversation with you must begin. But hey, thank you so much for even your warm words about the seminary and God’s favor on us these past nine years. And we’re just really, really thankful to get to steward all he’s entrusted to us here.
Collin Hansen: I can’t think of any other place where you get to go to seminary in the city of champions, the Chiefs and the Royals.
Jason Allen: Look, hey, God called us here October of 2012. And both sports teams were really dormant, as you know.
Collin Hansen: It was rough.
Jason Allen: And then the Royals awaken. And man, just incredible years. And then as they were beginning to wane, the Chiefs awaken. We got an incredible run, really with Alex Smith, and then of course with Patrick Mahomes.
Collin Hansen: Absolutely, absolutely. Well, I thought this book… It’s a short book, packs a punch, something that would have really helpful to me as a seminary student years ago. And one of the things that stood out to me right off the bat was a strange juxtaposition that you point out. And I’m just wondering, how would you explain what’s behind the evangelical high view of Scripture on the one hand, and a relatively low view of preparing to teach it at the same time?
Jason Allen: Yeah, so I think historically when you look back at evangelicalism in North America, you had certain denominations and movements and groups that placed a higher emphasis on ministry preparation. You had others, including my own, the Southern Baptist Convention, especially in the 19th century that placed a great emphasis on, “Get messengers out to take the message.” And it is a little bit of a conundrum, right? Are we trying to send people out as quickly as possible to preach the gospel to as many as people as possible? Are we trying to send out maybe fewer, a little slower, but they’re better prepared, better equipped, and we’re more competent in their ability to go preach and teach?
And so I think we find ourselves now in the year 2021 in the backdrop of all of that. And so we have denominations and churches that still have that impulse to preach the gospel, to share the Word. And if God has called you, you need to go do it as soon as you can. But be prepared as much as you can as you go.
So it’s funny that you start our conversation with that question as you did, Collin. I got a letter in the mail yesterday from an individual. And I’m paraphrasing the letter, but I’m not embellishing the letter. OK? It was, “Dear Dr. Allen, I see you wrote a book, Succeeding at Seminary: 12 Keys to Getting the Most Out of Your Theological Education. How dare you write a book saying you have to have a seminary degree to preach the gospel.” And there’s another page and half kind of teasing out his frustration with me. Of course, I’m looking at it, and I’m just smirking because I emphatically say in the book, you do not have to have a seminary degree to preach the gospel.
And I talk about personal mentors who have not been seminary trained. I talk about heroes like Charles Spurgeon, who were not seminary trained. So you don’t have to be that. You don’t have to have that. But at the same time, we are called to rightly divide the Word of truth. We are called to be as prepared as we can be to equip the people of God as much as we can equip them. Conventionally, that has taken place most commonly and in the modern era, in a divinity school or in a seminary context. And that’s for a whole host of reasons. And we’ll touch on some of those today, I’m sure, Collin.
But we do find ourselves strangely in the year 2021 with this evangelical irony of, “We believe the Scriptures. We uphold the Scriptures, we value the Scriptures,” but there’s a lot of sloppy interpretation, a lot of laziness showing up in the pulpit.
And when it’s a person by God’s grace who is doing the best they can with what they have, I don’t want to sound one bit condescending or critical. I want to say, “Amen brother, do your best. Do the best you can with what you have. And access all the resources that you can afford to have.” But if it’s a person who actually can do better, because there is so much available, I want to say, “Man, don’t pull up short. Do your very best to be equipped at Midwestern or somewhere else that’s faithful, and step into the pulpit with confidence that you are rightly dividing the word of truth, and better equipped to minister all the different needs that the people in the pews have these days.”
Collin Hansen: So that’s a lot about, especially the past and how that’s a prelude to what our current situation looks like. I’m also wondering about the present and then heading toward the future, given how much we can read and listen to on our own for free, and including from places like Midwestern, not to mention just the other books that we can buy online that are accessible to us in ways that other generations could only have dreamed. Why should someone still invest years and money in seminary?
Jason Allen: Yeah, boy, that’s a big question. And again, answering that could fill our time today. So I’ll try to be succinct, but it is an important question. Look, I think the value proposition component is there as it relates to theological education, as it is to most any other area of life. And in my book, I even talking about the appropriateness of you thinking about the practicalities, like, “Can I afford seminary? How do I afford seminary? How much should price and cost of living factor in to my decision as to where I go to seminary?” So those are legitimate questions and concerns.
With all that said, though, look, I still believe it’s a compelling and an important step for people to take in the main, to actually enroll in a faithful seminary. So why would that be?
Let me start a few things. First of all, the grandeur of your call to ministry. I have been in ministry now over 20 years. I have many shortcomings that my friends know and my family know even better, but I really haven’t gotten over just the grandeur of God’s call. The gospel call is a promiscuous one. All can hear, and all should hear, and can respond. But the call to ministry is selective. We are a part of a conscripted force. God has chosen a certain amount of people in an Ephesians 4 sense to serve his church. And there is a royalty to that, a regality to that, a beauty to that, that we don’t want to gloss over.
And so since that call indeed is so special, who am I to be casual about it? And you think about other areas of life, right? When we moved to Kansas City in 2012, my five children were much younger then. If we’re looking for a pediatrician, and I can assure you, we were careful about the pediatrician. We didn’t want to just find one who dabbled in pediatrics, but the one who had been trained and certified and had good references and all the rest. And in every area of life, an accountant for your taxes, a mechanic for your automobile, you want a person who’s equipped, who’s been trained, who’s been proven.
Well, the call to serve the local church is so much more consequential. And so that sense of right expectation of provenness and of training ought to be all the more a reality in our lives. And I would just take a few more here. Look, to rightly divide the Word of God. Happening in a seminary setting, you can learn from other people, yes. But in your church, you probably don’t have individuals who are accomplished with Greek, and with Hebrew, and with exegesis, and with systematic theology, and with historic theology. And oh, by the way, to teach you to counsel the Word of God. And oh, by the way, to defend the faith in an apologetic setting. And oh, by the way, homiletics classes and professors to teach you those things.
And so the healthiest churches in North America may have something of some of those gifts in their church, but I know of very few churches who have something resembling all of those gifts in their church, by way of men and women in the church with that level of equipping, who can actually pass it on to individuals called to minister in their midst.
And then you think about the broader context. Good grief, the needs of the church. I mean, we have churches in America who have tremendous needs. The average evangelical church in America, not just mainline, the average evangelical church in America is declining numerically. The vast majority are declining and/or plateaued.
And then you think about the culture, everything coming at us to be equipped to deal with what is before us, and interpret what is coming, and to answer this question from the church member about their granddaughter exploring their gender identity. And then this matter of sexuality, this matter of ethics. I mean, it’s just coming at us. And so it’s not amateur hour. And then you get into, look, the mentorship you can receive by faculty to actually invest in you. And at a healthy seminary, the faculty will invest in you. You’re not just a name, or you’re not just a tuition payer, you’re a person with a real call, and the faculty are investing in you. And then the other things that take place that are a little more organic or intuitive, but are important nonetheless, you develop a band of brothers or a band of sisters if you’re a young lady. And those friendships sustain you and support you and strengthen you in ministry.
And then you learn a lot about your self-calling, self- discipline. You have to actually pay the bills. And if you’re married and have children, care for your family, your spouse, and study, and memorize some Greek, and read a bunch of books, and write some major papers. And it brings out the best version of yourself. It refines you, and really forces you to cultivate a self-discipline that is helpful.
And I’ll say this as well. Look, I don’t want to graduate seminary students who are arrogant or prideful, but I do want to graduate men and women who are confident. And a healthy seminary experience does help imbue one with confidence that, “OK, I am accurately dividing the Word of truth. I’m rightly handling the Word of God. I am equipped to preach, to teach, to counsel the Word of God.” And in conversation, I’m so often around ministers, and I’ll often hear almost an apology of, “Well, I’m not seminary trained,” or almost as though… You sense in them a lack of confidence in their own ability that they have for themselves in rightly handling the word of God, and rightly engaging the meatier issues of the faith. And so I could talk a lot more about this, but those are some of the major points, Collin.
Collin Hansen: Well, one of the things you and I have talked about before is online education. A lot of the benefits that come from that, it’s something you guys have invested a lot in at Midwestern to make accessible. And yet, nevertheless, in this book, you still also argue for the benefits of a residential education. So talk about that a little bit more. Why should somebody still follow through with a residential education when they have all these online options from Midwestern as an example?
Jason Allen: Yeah. Look, I think we have to be real careful here and speak with intentionality. Every person’s different. Every calling is different. Every life circumstance is different. But I want to say a few words here. And I’m going to go back. Collin, you and I are about the same age. I might be a couple years older than you are.
I experienced a call to ministry. I became a believer in 1995, experienced a call to ministry ’97, ’98, ’99, that was really crystallizing for me. Got married in ’99. My wife and I move off to seminary in 2001. Well, that was just ahead of the real online wave that was coming. Online classes in 2001 were, you would receive some DVDs in the mail, you would watch them, and you might interact with some kind of discussion board. And so I never really considered, “Am I going off to seminary or doing online?” It wasn’t as available. It wasn’t compelling. You cannot complete a degree online through ATS standards then.
What I did not know what was happening for me, but in hindsight did happen, is that move to seminary. We’re going to load up our belongings, move 600 miles. That so formalized, not only to my peers, but in my own heart, that ministry is what God is calling me to do. And there are all these different things you’re doing that are significant, dramatic steps for a guy and gal in their young 20s to be taking to go. But also, that is something for me psychologically, emotionally, spiritually, that this is serious enough that we are cutting ties, moving from family, and going somewhere. And that helped to cement our call. And I got to tell you, I don’t know that I’d be here today on this podcast with you or in local church ministry if those steps haven’t been taken.
I’m going to answer your question, stay with me here. What I think began to develop, unfortunately, for some through the online wave, was it was the opportunity to dabble in ministry preparation, and thus dabble in ministry. And a lot of people that maybe were not as serious and as intentional, and as focused on pursuing ministry and ministry preparation for that ministry, and online has enabled them to dabble with it. And if online education, occasionally taking an online class, is actually inhibiting you aggressively following God’s call, that is not good.
And so I do think in the mid to late 2000s, early 2010s, a little bit of stereotype around online students developed to where you’re serious people went to seminary, but those who are not as committed were online.
Now, I want to say at this point emphatically, I do not believe that is true. That may have been true 10 years ago, but I don’t find that to be true now. What I find happening now more often than not is the online student is the guy who’s 28, he’s married, he’s in a great local church setting, he’s serving as student minister, has senior pastors mentoring him. And he’s chipping away at his ministry training and seminary degree online. And I can rejoice in that. And I do rejoice in that. And for me, I tell you what has been really revealing for me along those lines is we do major conference classes, our For the Church conference, Gospel Coalition Conference. I was there a couple weeks ago. The T4G conference. And so you may go to those, and I’ll often teach a class, and I’ll be there with 50, 60, 80 online students for several hours. And I am so impressed by the quality of the students there.
So what I’m saying is every person’s different. Every calling’s different. Every life station is different. If you can go in person, go. If your circumstances seem to be lining up to where online makes most sense, and God keeps calling you to remain stationed where you are, and you’re going to pursue online education, do that as best you can in a concert of pastoral oversight and mentorship. And make sure that online program, you’re undertaking it because it is enabling you to engage in ministry and pursue ministry. It’s not delaying you from engaging in ministry or pursuing ministry. And rejoice in that. It’s not a second-tier degree or second-class degree. No, your diploma doesn’t say online in parentheses. No, it’s just as rigorous, just as strong, and you should be just as proud of the accomplishment of getting it.
But I do believe for the average person, especially the younger coming out of college, go to seminary. And it’s easy to fall into the thinking that, “In two years, my life is going to get simpler, and I’m going to move in two years.” That’s never the case. Life tends to get more complicated with each passing year. And so if God is calling you, go ahead and go do it, pursue it, fulfill it, enjoy it. And don’t be surprised at you looking back after your seminary training, having gotten so much more out of your time at seminary. In many ways, they’re even intangible and not quantifiable.
Collin Hansen: One thing that surprised me a little bit when I was going through seminary was trying to think about how to be in a performance-based classroom environment that I was very familiar with, but also doing that among peers, where we were really trying to cheer one another on. We weren’t competing against each other in that regard, but at the same time, some of us were preparing for PhD-type education where our grades really mattered. Then at the same time, we’re also trying to be responsible with our callings in life of ministry and family, as you’ve talked about here. And that was an interesting mix when it comes to the question of ambition. And so, one of the things that stood out to me when I was reading through Succeeding at Seminary was that question of, “Is there a sanctified way to be ambitious in seminary?”
Jason Allen: Yeah, I think so. And if I could be a touch autobiographical here, I was in high school. I was an athlete. I earned a college scholarship. Sports were clearly my thing. I was not a straight-A student. I made A’s, B’s, throw in an occasional C in high school. And I did that primarily by cramming at the last minute and being somewhat responsible with my homework. I go to college thinking I’m going to go to law school, and some I’m a political science major, history minor. I’m far more focused on my academics, but I quickly sensed this call to ministry. And so I’m taking political science classes and history classes, but at the same time, I’m in the back of the class, literally thumbing through my New Testament as the professor’s lecturing. Made good grades, but again, my passion had moved from law to ministry.
Well, I go to seminary and I am in hog heaven. I had a wonderful experience at Southern Seminary. I did two degrees there. And I really, for the first time I’m making all A’s. I’m devoted. I want to maybe do a PhD one day, I don’t know. But I’m taking it seriously, I’m motivated because this is my calling, and I’m down front and taking notes, and it’s great.
And I say that to say, I think it is good to aspire, to excel academically in seminary. I don’t think we need to be delusional about our own callings. And I had a conversation a period of months ago with a student here who completed his MDiv degree, and was kind of flirting with a PhD. And we have a big PhD program, and I love the pastor theologian. And the many folks who want to do a PhD, but they’re realistic saying, “I’m probably not going to get a seminary teaching job, but I’m OK with that. I want to be better equipped in my local church as a minister in the local church. And I want to get the PhD.”
But I can tell this person was romanticized in the PhD program, and was frankly overestimating his own academic abilities. But his whole thing was, “I think I’m going to stay here in Kansas City for another five years and put my wife and three kids on hold while I do this PhD degree. And my wife’s working full time and I’m working part time.” And everything about this was this doesn’t sound healthy to me. And if you did complete a PhD, you’re probably not going to be at the top of the list of candidates for an open New Testament position, or ST position, or whatever it is you’re wanting to write on.
And so being realistic about that with ourselves is important. Because our pursuit, MDiv, PhD, whatever, if we’re married, that impacts our spouse big time. If we have children, that impacts them big time. And we need to make sure we’re clear-minded about what sacrifices we’re asking them to make as we’re pursuing our studies.
Now also say in the book, and I think this is where you’re getting at, Collin, or wanting me to get at. I talk about the home dynamic and the fact that… Look, be ambitious, but if you have to choose between an A in class and an A at home, and a C in class and C at home, get the C in class and the A at home before you get the A in class and the C at home. Now that’s not new to me. We’ve all been encouraged along those lines when we went to seminary. I remember Danny Akin speaking that to me and to our class as a first year seminarian.
But I also in the book, and this is big, and I’m connecting some dots here from this conversation. I also in the book talk about the fact that many of us can actually excel in the classroom and at home. And what often needs to happen is the me time quotient condenses. And it’s probably you get an A in both, but you’re not going to sleep in to 10:00 AM on Saturday. You’re going to need to get up at 6:00 while your wife and kids sleep in to 9:00 or 10:00, and do three or four hours of study. You’re probably not going to be playing 36 holes of golf in seminary. You’re probably not going to be refining your other hobby and personal pursuits. And that’s OK. See, this is a season of focus, concentration, and study.
Collin Hansen: Yeah. Another thing that stood out to me through my own seminary years was just the unique dynamic of students. You’re learning a lot at a young age. You’re academically precocious. You’re in a dynamic exchange environment of education. It really draws out the best in a lot of ways. We’ve also all been in those classrooms where it draws out the worst. How do you turn a student trained in the art of criticizing the church into a steward of the church for the next generation? Because of course, that’s who you’re trying to raise up.
Jason Allen: Right. I think you have to be intentional about that. I think for us, we are intentional about it. We talk about those three words around here a lot: for the church. And in places like convocation or new student orientation, I’ll say things like, “My calling, our calling is not to train a generation of church critics or hypothetical church servants, but actually those who love the church.” So that is taught, but also it’s caught.
And we want our professors and we have professors that they love the local church. And so students sense that here. What is more, you need faculty. And again, thankful to the Lord that we have this type, who they don’t see the church as a little laboratory experiment. We always go around critiquing this sermon, and that ecclesiology, and this issue or that issue.
So speaking winsomely about the church that is, not the church we want to be. And also, being honest about even… The fact, as bad as we talk about the church essential versus the church complete. If you have the church essential, the right administration, the ordinances, the preaching of the Word. And then you have the church complete, which is a church that’s fully functional on all eight cylinders of health, which rarely exists this side of heaven. And every other church is on the continuum in between.
And so I can rejoice when the gospel is preached, even if it’s not preached expositionally from a text. Right? So to find different levels of joy there, and maybe I would enjoy that church, or maybe I wouldn’t want my kids necessarily coming up under that ministry. But look, where there’s something to rejoice in, let’s rejoice. And let’s be honest. We need things to rejoice in these days. There’s a whole cottage industry of criticism out there. Social media, the internet, and elsewhere, and to choose not to be a part of that is a healthy choice to make.
Collin Hansen: Oh, I couldn’t agree more on that. That’s a lot of what we try to accomplish in this Gospelbound podcast. Jason, years ago I edited a book called 15 Things Seminary Couldn’t Teach Me, which was actually designed as an encouragement to seminary, not as a detraction in any way from seminary, because we appreciated, and Jeff Robinson and I working on that book together.
Collin Hansen: My question coming in here is do you see any temptation for students to expect seminary to do too much, compared to what you need to learn in life and in ministry?
Jason Allen: That’s a very good question. And again, I tell our folks here, “We have to be mindful that many of our students come from unhealthy churches and often from unhealthy families.” So we have to be very careful about what we assume students show up having experienced or having known. Many of them come to Christ in college. So they’ve never had a home church experience. Never had that. And so that’s not just a denominational familiarity as a Southern Baptist institution. It’s just a Christian life familiarity.
I teach pastoral ministry classes, for instance, where there’s kind of Dutch uncle talks. It’s not just about formal aspects of local church leadership, for instance, but it’s about, what’s a basic decorum for dealing for dealing with people older than you? What’s a basic decorum as to how to engage people younger than you? How do you interact with the cranky person? Those sorts of things that maybe some of us would pick up intuitively by being in different scenarios, but we can’t assume that.
So I think we have to be careful about that, remembering that many students are coming from church and family contexts that are less than ideal. But also the other thing I would say, and here’s this particular word of warning to future students. Don’t expect a seminary to fix you spiritually. We will have a course and courses woven into courses, certain spiritual expectations as far as Bible reading, prayer, journaling, personal evangelism, those sorts of things. But some people go to seminary, I think, hoping that, man, the seminary’s going to fix me spiritually. And we sure hope to strengthen you spiritually, but your personal piety, your personal spiritual vibrancy, you need to be monitoring that and stimulating that and fostering that before you come to seminary, in seminary, and after seminary.
The last thing I would say is, many pastors… And look, I’m a pastor. I love pastors. But they almost want seminaries to kind of fix people. And so they’ll want to send someone our way. And then three years later, hope we spit them back out to them a model 25-year-old rated minister. And look, we have to work with what we had to work with. And the type of graduates we produce invariably correlates to the type of students we receive. And so I want to say to the pastors, “Invest in them on the front end before they go to seminary. Don’t look to us too much. Look to us a lot. Expect a lot from us, but see us as complementing, and hopefully solidifying what you’re doing to invest in would-be students. Don’t see us as doing the work the local church and the elders and ministers in the local church should be doing, as well.”
Collin Hansen: We’ve been talking with Jason Allen, author of the new book, Succeeding at Seminary: 12 Keys to Getting the Most Out of Your Theological Education. I’ve told you guys that it really is a golden era for seminary education. I know growing up just north a few hours of Kansas City on I-29, I would have loved the kind of seminary that you’ve built there now, to be able to attend at the time, and just grateful for what God’s doing in your midst. And I’ve got final three questions, rapid fire questions here, Jason. First question, where do you find calm in the storm?
Jason Allen: In the Word of God, the promises contained therein, and in my wife and kids. I pity the man who does not look forward to going home at night. To me, that is just… It doesn’t matter how bad a grade is on my kid’s assignment. What went wrong that day I meant to deal with. It’s just still a refuge and joy for me.
Collin Hansen: It’s amazing what a motivation it is. I’ve got photos of my kids, or what a motivation it is when I’m at work, just to work hard and be excited to be able to go home to them. What a blessing.
Jason Allen: Oh, absolutely.
Collin Hansen: What a blessing. Where do you find good news today?
Jason Allen: First of all, I’m in conversation with pastors all the time. And yes, in those conversations you hear of challenges. But there is a lot of good work out there. And I won’t make a heavy digression here, but in my context, a Southern Baptist context, it’s something of a Rorschach test. You have nearly 50,000 churches and people can see whatever they want to see in it. And I see a lot of good because I’m talking to a lot of pastors who are doing great work. And to me, that’s encouraging. I’ll tell you, I minimize my time in social media and even online. I’ll do things online, of course, but I’m just not surfing the internet to see who is writing what about some evangelical leader. That’s not healthy or productive.
And I saw some data even last month, that showed something like, I think 6 percent of Americans are on Twitter. And less than half of those are actively on it. And it’s like, “Okay, that’s helpful.” Because it’s easy to think that Twitter is reality, but it’s not reality. And so even my sources of news, and I love reading news. I’ve subscribed to half a dozen newspapers and dozens of magazines, everything. But if it’s a source of news that is always negative or that is obviously political in its bent and agenda, I tend to steer away from it. I do. I tend to steer away from it. And I’ll tell you, this is a courtesy plug here, The World and Everything in It Podcast, I listen to that while I’m shaving or whatever. And one reason why is because it’s not three things going wrong with the world today you need to know about. And yes, they speak critically at times. And they’re trying to inform Christians, but there tends to be a thread of winsomeness through it that I find appealing.
Collin Hansen: Well, that’s one reason why, Jason, I wanted you on this podcast, because a big emphasis of this podcast is to be critical of the sources of our immediate input, and how they’re shaping us in certain ways, and to be able to ask deeper questions about what’s really happening, and what God’s really doing. And it’s amazing how your perspective can change. And with the Southern Baptist Convention, just the sheer size of it means whatever thesis you want to prove is provable somewhere in the convention. That’s the challenge.
Jason Allen: Right. And not only a size, but the fact we’re a free church denomination. It’s remarkably simple to actually affiliate with us and remarkably easy. I tell people that you can find any type of scallywag you want to find. And you can find more than one. And so I just want to say don’t assess the SBC or whatever evangelical group you’re a part of based upon what someone on Twitter’s saying about them. Experientially, what have you experienced? So me, I literally know hundreds of churches and hundreds of pastors, somewhat personally, at least. I know very intimately scores of churches and scores of pastors. I know thousands of seminary students here. That’s not accurate. I don’t know all of them personally, but I do know hundreds of them somewhat personally. And I see the good taking place, and there are missionaries overseas, there’s a lot to rejoice in.
Collin Hansen: Right. Again, that’s exactly what I was… Message we’re trying to amplify here with this podcast. Last question, what’s the last great book you’ve read?
Jason Allen: Oh my goodness. I hate these questions because it always makes me afraid I’m going to leave one out. I would probably say Carl Trueman’s Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self. Probably that, Collin. I love reading books. I know you do, and your listeners do so. But it’s just, there’s always a book or two or three or four in my briefcase or on me. And I just love it.
Collin Hansen: Well, my guest has been so great here with Jason Allen, author of Succeeding at Seminary: 12 Keys to Getting the Most Out of Your Theological Education. And of course the president of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City. Go check him out. Thank you, Jason.
Jason Allen: God bless you. Thank you, Collin.
This episode Gospelbound is sponsored by The Good Book Company, publisher of Faith For Life. More information at thegoodbook.com.