Jul 30, 2012

Why I Studied at Ligonier Academy

2 Min Read

In the summer of 2012 I visited Ligonier Academy to audit a week-long D.Min. (Doctor of Ministry) course on the Trinity, taught by Dr. Robert Letham. It was a rewarding experience, and I'm eager for other pastors and ministry leaders to benefit as well. The reason I took this class, and would encourage others to consider the same, is that Ligonier Academy offers world-class teachers teaching on the most important things in the world in the best possible setting. Let me briefly unpack this.

First, much that passes for serious academic study—though impressive at certain levels—is little more than playing games and majoring in the trivial. The academic fads of today become refuted in the footnotes of tomorrow. But God's desire is for us to think his thoughts after him. That's not only the goal of our academic studies, not only the aim of our ministry endeavors, but the very purpose of our lives: to glorify him as we order all of our thoughts, affections, and actions in conformity with the character of our sovereign triune Lord. As Francis Schaeffer rightly reminded us, God has spoken and he is not silent. There are many things worthy of concentrated study—but few things more important than the revelation of God, his will, and his ways in the world. At Ligonier Academy they study the first things; they keep the main thing the main thing.

Second, Ligonier Academy has attracted some of the most gifted teachers in the world to teach their classes. Dr. Robert Letham, the professor for the class I took, is a committed churchman who aims to edify the body of Christ through his ministry. He is widely regarded as one of the most gifted teachers in the evangelical-Reformed world on the doctrine of the Trinity—its theology in Scripture and in the church. It is an enormous privilege to sit in a class discussing the most important things in the world with one of the world's foremost experts on the subject.

Third, the setting is conducive for optimal benefit. The classes are small (there were ten in my class), and the students were engaged, mature, and each involved in full-time gospel ministry. The course was more than just listening to 40 hours of lecture (you don't need to leave your computer at home to do that), but involved indispensable and sustained discussion of primary sources. The intimate setting—nestled in the gorgeous setting of Ligonier's campus—is wonderfully conducive for engaging in serious learning and stimulating fellowship.

I would give my strongest encouragement for those in pastoral ministry who want to grow in their knowledge of the faith. This is not a do-some-busywork, check-some-boxes type of program. I'm sure there are trendier options, more on the cutting edge. It's not for everyone. But for students of the Word who are serious about growing theologically in the context of worship and fellowship for the edification of God's people, it is worth carefully considering this wonderful program at Ligonier Academy.