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My Advice to Students — Bird Says "No Matter How Much You Love Your Theology, It'll Never Love Your Back"

Categories My Advice to Students

We've had a fantastic collection of advice over the past 2 months since we've launched our new series of videos featuring advice from leading biblical scholars to ministry and academic graduate students. (Watch missed episodes: Blomberg, Schreiner, Schnabel, Mohler, Campbell, and Enns) But I have to say, today's video hit me square between the eyes, and I think it will affect you in the same way.

In this authentic video, Michael Bird (author of the new Evangelical Theology) shares his own experience in Bible college, saying he went in a solid, proud, hardcore Reformed guy. He was so hardcore that he hung a sign outside his apartment that read "No Semi-Pelagians Welcomed Here!" When he graduated he was given a gift by the student union, a booklet titled Why I Disagree with All 5 Points of Calvinism. He jokes that in one sense he is pleased he was known for his Reformed theology, but he goes on to say, "I really wish I was more well-known for my love for Jesus and my love for God's people."

I can relate. When I entered my M.Div. program several years ago I came in a hyper-Emergent post-evangelical. Like Bird, I earned my own reputation because of my friendships with Emergent leaders and dogmatic Emergent theological positions—even earning the nickname "Emergent Jeremy"! I've since changed my theological posture, but I echo Bird's regret: I wish I had been more known for my love of Jesus and His Church.

It's easy to fall in love with our theology and tribes upon entering this sacred season, which is why Bird insists "no matter how much you love your theology, it will never love you back." In the video below he implores students during the course of their study to never forget the most important thing. Watch it, and never forget.

-Jeremy Bouma, ThM (@bouma)


"My Advice to Students" is a weekly video series designed to advise and guide students who are studying for a future of ministry in the Church, whether in the academy or in congregations. In these specially curated videos, leading scholars of biblical studies share their seasoned wisdom to help you navigate this important season of preparation.

Can't see the video? Watch it here:

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