What We Learned In Seminary 


Mike and Steve the positives they learned at seminary. 


Welcome, welcome, welcome to No Compromise Radio. Pastor Steve, after many, many moons,
Tuesday guys back in the house, welcome. Hi. Anything you'd like to say after your long absence?
Well, you know, I kind of... Ratings are down. The Arbitron ratings are in. They've gone straight downhill.
Hey, wasn't that an encouraging email we received from Belize, Central America?
They'd like to carry No Compromise Radio. It was very encouraging. Yeah. I thought, I mean, I've been to Belize.
Seriously? Yeah. I had no idea. It's probably the only place in the world I've been that you haven't been to, but yeah.
Was it military? No. Yeah. We participated in the invasion of Belize.
Oh, that was right after Grenada, Grenada. No, Janet and I went on a cruise,
I think it was in 2005. And so it started in Houston and went down to, you know,
Cozumel and some other place in Mexico. And then we went to Belize before we came back up to...
So we went cave tubing in Belize and, you know, it was fun. Did you go see any volcanoes or anything like that?
No. But, you know, I was just talking to a friend of ours, a mutual friend of ours the other day who used to be our doctor.
And he went on a vacation to Belize a few years ago and he said,
I'll never go back. Why? Too dangerous. Oh. Yeah. Interesting.
Well, I guess they have a lot of English speaking people there. Yeah. That's why they can have the show. And maybe there's high crime rates because of the
English speaking people. Is that why? I don't know. Well, I mean, I just think there's, you know, a lot of poverty and stuff.
But Janet and I ate there, we had a really wonderful meal. I mean, it was all, you know, part of the cruise line thing, but I just thought it's a blast.
And they have actually cannons on the beach where the English came in and invaded and they have some kind of like monument to, you know, the
English or some cannon there, you know. It's just interesting because the language is
English there. And I just thought, okay, that's the one part of kind of,
I don't know, is that really Central America or whatever it is where English is the language.
I had to look at the map and Belize is to the right of and adjacent to Guatemala.
How many days are you on Spanish now in Duolingo? 1 ,200? No, we're coming up on,
I think I'm like a 1 ,360, something like that. Did I tell you, I had talked to someone and they were in line at an amusement park and the person behind them struck up a conversation, what do you do for work?
This, that and the other. And the lady behind these people said, I work for Duolingo. And then my friend said, well,
I'm on day 85 or she said, whenever I meet people, they tell me what day they're on. Well, it's kind of hard for me to keep track of and, you know, part of me just wants to go to, you know, some
Spanish speaking part and just hang out there for a couple of months and like, okay, now I really am wired.
You know, I'm, I'm ready to roll because I feel like I'm at sort of a tipping point where I, I understand a lot of the, you know, different tenses and stuff like that, but I think it's kind of the hearing it and having to sort it out on the fly.
Anyway, today we have a show and the show is entitled What We Learned in Seminary.
Maybe the amended title, some of the positive things we learned in seminary. Yeah. Now, I've been to a couple seminaries and I think you've just been to one.
And so, well, actually I've driven through several, and we just wanted to kind of reminisce a little bit and say, this is what the
Lord has done in our lives and used people. And so I was at seminary from 1991 to 1996 and then
I think 2001 to 2005, when were you in seminary? 1998 to 2002.
It took you four years? Yeah. You're working full time. All right. So, let's start off with what we learned at seminary.
And I think one of the things I'm going to say is, well, this will be a tag team, Dr. Roscoe, and not necessarily his class sticks out of my mind, his hermeneutics class or parables class, but what sticks out of my mind is his desire to pray.
Did you run into him in the elevator and he asked you about his, something about prayer?
Was that my story or your story? It's probably my story. I mean, I told him of a situation in my extended family and, you know, probably a year later
I run into him in the elevator and he asked me about it. And you know, I thought, holy smokes.
He really, you know, he's, he does this, this prayer thing, but I, my overall, you know, reminiscence of him, he's got a glory now.
It's just when he, when he prayed really, he, I don't know how to say it other than he put his arm around you, metaphorically speaking,
I don't care how many people were in the room. It was like he grabbed each of 200 of us by the shoulder and just sort of dragged us before the throne of grace.
I mean, it was just, it was just amazing. I mean, I just really felt like he was, he was bringing us before his friend, you know, to talk and it was, it was amazing.
I think about his love for his wife, Mildred, how he talked about his car and he'd have to drive 50 miles up there to seminary and have to get back in.
What was his car called? The old Betsy? Well, he had a Mustang, so he would refer to it. He'd give us this prayer request and he referred to it as a steed and a stallion and all these different words and it was, it was pretty funny.
He wrote a couple Western novels and I think I still have them around the house. He loved Louis L 'Amour and I remember him telling the story.
He went to a Louis L 'Amour convention, I think in Riverside or something, and Louis L 'Amour was going to be there as a speaker and so he wanted to go and meet him and everything.
And he goes to Denny's and sees Louis L 'Amour because it's close to the convention center and L 'Amour's having breakfast.
And so Dr. Roskopf said, may I, you know, Mr. L 'Amour, may I please sit and have breakfast with you?
I'm here for the conference. And Louis L 'Amour said, sure, you can sit here. And then the food arrived and then
Dr. Roskopf said, Mr. L 'Amour, would you mind if I prayed for our meal? And he said, oh no, go right ahead.
And then years later I preached for, uh, who's the
Irish guy? I can't remember. Philip Dekorski. I can't remember. You know, my, my good friend, Philip, unforgettable friend.
My best buddy with a massive radio ministry, Philip Dekorski. I did talk to him a few weeks ago, but anyway,
I preached for Philip because Philip was preaching for David Jeremiah down in San Diego.
And name dropper. I know. And Dr. Roskopf came up to me after the sermon that I preached.
I preached John three and just thanked me for being faithful to the scriptures. And I didn't know he was even in the congregation.
And so that was kind of a sweet moment, but I posted a picture of you and Dr. Roskopf here a few weeks ago.
So. Oh, I didn't even know that. On Facebook. So I, that's one of the things that I've learned about seminary and that is from Dr.
Roskopf, be kind, be gentle, be humble. And I wish
I was more prayerful, but I know that's what I'm supposed to be. Yeah. He would just super gracious.
I heard Steve that when you ask him to pray for you, I have a cough button here for you, but. Thanks. Does it work retroactively?
Somebody said no compromise radio is the only show where they have a cough button, but they use it.
And then afterwards they said, I just had to put the cough button on. That Dr.
Roskopf would be a little perturbed if you ask him to pray for something and then never gave him the answer because he just keep praying and praying and praying.
So he wanted the answer to that prayer and then he would know he wouldn't have to pray for it anymore. He could just thank the
Lord for doing that. Which is very fair. I mean, I have to say he contacted me, this is after I graduated.
I don't even know if he knew I had, or if he remembered I'd graduated, but he contacted me and asked me to come in and talk to the prayer class.
So that was one of the coolest things that ever happened to me because I'm like, I told him,
I said, I can read your minds right now. You know, I know what you guys are thinking, legalist, you know, this, that, and the other thing.
So I, I kind of gently gave him a little two by four and so. All right.
Sheriff Cooley came in. Yeah. Mike Abendroth with Steve Cooley today, just talking about our thanksgiving to the
Lord for what he's taught us in the past through people. So we talked about Dr. Roskopf. I also think something
I learned, I learned at seminary was the priority of preaching in a worship service, that worship wasn't simply singing, right?
Now, you know, that was good worship today at church, meaning that was the singing and that all the things that God requires of us in worship as he regulates worship in scripture, it's all needed.
And it just, it was indelibly marked on my conscience, my will, that preaching must never take a backseat to anything else.
Does that make sense? Yes. Yeah. And I think it was modeled there for us by John MacArthur.
And then also it just, you know, that's just what it was with preaching classes and everything else. And I think to myself, why do
I believe that there's a high priority for preaching? And it's how I was influenced in my younger days when
I was at seminary. And you know, I'm just sitting here thinking about, well, obviously some people in our congregation agree with that.
And it's not because I, or you, am up there preaching. It has nothing to do with the person, it has everything to do with, we want to hear from God.
God is speaking, and you pray this regularly when it's the pastoral prayer, that God speaks through that person, and we want to hear from God.
I guess the question could really be, Steve, to you, why is it so important for us to hear from God on a regular basis, proclaimed on a
Sunday versus just read at home? Well, I think we get plenty of opportunities to hear from the world, get plenty of words, you know, that are utterly satanic spoken into our lives and plenty of discouragement.
So how good to come in on a Sunday and to hear, as it were, you know, our
Father speak to us as His children and say, you know, essentially, despite all that you do,
Monday through Saturday, I don't disown you, I love you, you're still my child, because of the finished work of Jesus Christ.
So I think it's good for us to come in and be refreshed, renewed, recharged, you know, made ready for another week.
I totally agree. And while I didn't learn these words at seminary, it's true, nonetheless, or maybe
I just forgot them. It's a means of grace, right? Preaching is a means of grace. And that is, of course, there can be chastisement and there can be conviction.
I mean, I think last week's sermon, I think probably some people got convicted about forgiveness, right? Forgiven people need to forgive.
I think so. If not, I can't forgive them. But a proclamation of the
Lord Jesus Christ, grace incarnate, and it's encouraging and it builds people up and it motivates them.
And like you said, I mean, people hear from CNN enough and, you know, Drudge Report or whomever they listen to, and now we get to hear from God again, that He's a speaking
God. I think maybe it was Al Mohler who said something like the idols were all mute, they couldn't talk.
But God is a God who you can't see. I think Isaiah said that. It dawned on me when
Mohler was quoting Isaiah. In addition to preaching being central and important, how about studying to show yourself approved?
How about it takes time and work to deal with issues that are of a different culture, 2000 years ago, different language, et cetera.
Did you, in fact, Steve, with me, learn that studying to show yourself approved, a work not ashamed is vital?
Well, yeah, I mean, absolutely. I remember the first time reading something, maybe as a reference, that said something about ancient
Near East mythology, and I thought, what in the world? You know, who would ever think about that?
But when you're talking about the Old Testament, it's interesting how a lot of mythologies from surrounding false religions would sort of mirror what the
Word of God said. Or, you know, so I mean, that's just getting into the weeds. But all that to say that when you recognize what it really takes to make a sermon, to write a sermon, to think up a sermon, it takes a lot of work.
I mean, you can look at things and just kind of spiel your way through it, right? But to actually organize something, to actually put something together that edifies and communicates and, you know, raises people up and actually puts them into, as it were, the place of listening to the words of God, that does take some work.
Peter Steve, it is amazing to me, you study the Bible, and it's not that hard to regurgitate what you've learned about verbs and participles and immediate context.
That part's not the hard part. But putting it together with, let's use the words for homiletics, the science and art of biblical proclamation.
The science part, I mean, I'm not saying it isn't hard, but that's not really the hardest part to me, is to take the science and craft it well to listeners who have to listen to you every week.
Right? A one -off is easy. But these people expect good messages, something interesting, lively,
Christ -centered. And so, one of the things I learned at seminary was to make sure you really study. And I'm constantly asking myself, you know, how does this preach?
Sometimes the answer is, it doesn't. I come across the fact that I absolutely love, I'm like, okay.
Oh, like for a word study, this is, this word is used 27 times. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I mean, that wouldn't be something where I go, oh,
I've got to tell people 27 times. Can you believe it? No, it'd probably be more like, this word can also mean, you know, something.
And I'm like, okay, but that just takes me down a rabbit trail that doesn't do any good, even though it's fun.
Right? Cutting room floor. Yes. So, one of my favorite topics. Yes. What we learned at seminary or seminaries in my particular case, how about that the
Word of God is God -breathed and can be trusted? How about that?
I learned that. I think that's a great thing to learn and, you know, to be firm about,
I think it's also, you know, when we, from time to time you'll hear somebody say that it's multifaceted, the
Word of God is. And so, you know, what does that mean? Well, I can recall occasions where, you know, you come into the preaching lab and somebody says, you know, my passage today is whatever.
And the other guy goes, oh, that's my passage too. Right? And so, you go, oh, this is going to be great.
I'm going to hear two messages that are going to be exactly the same. And they're nothing alike, but they're both men are faithful to the text.
And you just go, how does that happen? Because of the depth of the riches of the knowledge of God.
Right? Steve, when I was in preaching class, I got up to preach.
I was assigned or I decided to pick something from the Minor Prophets and I pick Habakkuk 3, 16 to 18.
And the guy before me preached that. So I changed my introduction, if memory serves, to, you know,
God's Word is so powerful and rich and full of treasures that you can hear a sermon on Habakkuk 3, 16 to 18, and then hear another one of them and still be encouraged.
Right. I took a class with Dr. Thomas, New Testament Introduction.
And I think probably, Steve, at the end of all that, we could talk about difficulty of tests and footnotes and all these other things.
That's a myth, by the way. It is a myth. His quizzes were very gracious, I thought. Oh, right.
I got so many zeros out of five, it was unbelievable. I think that's the only C -plus I ever received in seminary.
It was the exams, you know, that killed me because I could not discipline myself to study things like the eight reasons for Southern Galatians theory and eight reasons...
I'm just like, I don't care. I know. But remember, this is a positive show. Okay. This is what we did learn.
Positive. It's almost like that class, though, or Dr. Thomas, in this regard, sat on my shoulder or sits on my shoulder when
I'm looking at a text and I'm thinking, I know this text is trustworthy. I know, of course, the original autographs, but what we have in our hands is
God's Word and I can trust it and is therefore infallible and inerrant and trustworthy and builds up and authoritative, sufficient, all the words we use.
But I walked out of there thinking God's Word is God's Word. And if it's
Mark 16, 9 through 20 slash 22, it's not. If it's
John 8, 1 to 10 or 1 to 11, I can't remember, I think 1 to 11, it's not.
But when God speaks, He speaks. And I walked out of there, hopefully never to betray that idea that God's Word is a breathed out.
Yeah. All right. Anything else you learned that just pops into your mind that you think, that was really important for me,
Steve, and I asked you a question, now I answer it. How about integrity and trying to live a holy life, try to walk in a manner worthy of your calling?
Did you get that from seminary? Oh, definitely. And, you know, I mean, one of the things I say, and this is definitely a positive, even though it sounds kind of like a negative, but I learned how much time
I waste. You know, so when you talk about a life of integrity, well, I mean, because while I was in seminary,
I had very little free time. Like you said, I was working full time. I'm taking,
I think the least number of units I took was 10 and a half. I did that once. Typically, I was between 11 and a half and maybe 13 and a half units of grad school stuff.
I think I took 14 one semester and, you know, working anywhere from 40 to 56 hours a week because I needed the overtime to pay for seminary.
So when you talk about, you know, wasting time, it was like, well, because I would get this day of the week,
I would get three hours of sleep and this day of the week, I would, you know, I would stay up all day and, you know, it was kind of like, and then, you know, some days
I'd get six, seven, eight hours of sleep, but it was this constant trying to squeeze in sleep wherever I could and squeeze in studying.
Everything had to have, you know, a particular schedule. Sometimes my wife would say, hey, the girls and I are going to watch whatever movie and I'd go have fun, you know, because I don't have time for that.
I got a lot more reading done in seminary than I do now. Yeah. Well, because, you know, again, it's the terror of the clock, you know, of just knowing, okay,
I've got to do that. I mean, I one semester in seminary, I actually rented a reading cubicle because I thought
I just have so much reading to do. And then my schedule was kind of not the best.
So I thought, well, I've got to make the most of the time. So I'm just going to stick those books down there in that reading cubicle and go down there every chance
I get and read, read, read, read, read. I was I think I was next to Phil Johnson that semester. So you could rent a cubicle.
Yep. I did not know that. Yeah. All right. That's after my time. I really sought modeled and I heard it preached and I understood the gravity of First Timothy chapter three and Titus chapter one about living a holy life.
And there were many students and other people that we heard blowing out of ministry. And it made me think it's time to live a holy life and be obedient and not perfect.
I don't think I believe that back then. I certainly don't believe that now, but just living a holy life. And it's almost like Robert Murray McShane, a holy something like a holy man is an awful sword in the hands of God or something like that.
That's close enough. I think I think Robert Murray McShane would approve of that paraphrase.
How about Steve from seminary? And by the way, we have no list that's just off the cuff. And so if we've forgotten something that's very important, these are just some of the things that we've learned.
Not an exhaustive list. Correct. Not even listed in order. Because this next one is kind of like just the fruit of it, but still wonderful in my mind.
How about learning at seminary, how valuable fellow comrades, fellow friends in gospel ministry, how important they are.
In other words, we made friends for life. We know different men and just it's good to have other men to rub shoulders with and bounce things off and pray for.
That's one of the lessons I've learned. I mean, sometimes, you know, it was guys that I just kind of saddled up, saddled up next to.
Anyway, I just push up next to during seminary because I remember one time I came out of a class and I had absolutely no idea what the professor was talking about.
I mean, you know, I just felt like a complete moron. And so I go, OK, this guy,
Jeff, he had this professor all last year and I didn't. So I'm just going to ask him, hey,
Jeff, did you understand what he was talking about today? And he looks at me and he goes, not a single thing.
And I go, you don't know how much I want to hug you right now. It just made me feel so good that that was early in the semester.
By the end of the semester, I probably understood half of what he was saying. So I am in regular contact with different students that I went to school with and learn about their wives and their children and ministry.
And when I need encouragement, they encourage me that they need encouragement. I try to encourage them. Just even yesterday,
I emailed Donald Stevenson and hadn't been keeping in touch with him. He's down in New Zealand.
How are you doing? Updating and just thinking of some of the rich fellowship times we had with different students.
Yeah, I mean, I it it really is a blessing. I mean, I like there were just a few guys
I got really close to. Right. And and because I just didn't have the time. But when you you sort of make those bonds, they're just, you know, forever.
Amen. All right. Maybe for the last one, Steve, I learned probably along with you, and we alluded to it earlier, but now let's make it explicit.
I learned the value of reading and how important reading is for seminary students and then also for pastors and lay people as well.
Did you have that same lesson? You have the leaders have to be readers and you need to be well read and read the right sources.
Oh, and in a in a big way. I mean, I I read so much and, you know, it's just like I mean,
I wish that there's just some way that I could retrieve everything that I've read. You know,
I just have I mean, that was one thing that bugged me when I was in seminary was the guys with the photographic memories.
And I'm like, so uncool, but I'm glad you're on our side. Only problem with those guys, while I want to be those guys, sometimes
I forget about sins that I've committed against other people and they've committed against me. And those guys probably still remember them.
Yeah, that would be that would be difficult. But yeah, I just reading, you know, even now,
I mean, I was just thinking today, just reading about the
Trinity and just different. You know, truths about the Trinity and how much
I'm enjoying it, right, and it's just amazing how reading.
Well, it's not new truth, but just reading truth is just good for your soul. Right. And invigorates you and it excites you.
It reminds you of why you got into ministry in the first place. Right. I mean, you just because you're just like, this is so good.
This is so rich. I can't wait to, you know, tell this to other people. So, amen.
Good. Well, today on No Compromise Radio, Pastor Steve and I were talking about what we learned at seminary.
I went to master's in Southern, Steve went to master's. And I'm thankful to the Lord for many things that I've learned and for some of the professors we had or for the professors we had.
And so I just this is just like positive, encouraging Caleb today, isn't it? Give everybody a hug.
Uh -huh. Well, I think we're still on the alumni list, aren't we? Yes. This is not our attempt to get on the alumni list.
We are still on the alumni list. Although, you know, we'll grovel. You can write us info at NoCompromiseRadio .com.