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CHAPEL ATTENDANCE FOR SEMINARIANS

One of the constant issues of seminary life is chapel attendance by students. For some students it is irksome to be required to attend. They have other things they need to do. Some of these things are undoubtedly good things. But I for one would argue that one key difference between a seminary and other types of academic schools of higher education is that a seminary is not only a place of academics. It should be that. But it is not only that. It is also a community of men and women learning to be servants of Christ and His Church. And as such a community there needs to be times when the doxological goal of their studies finds corporate expression. And chapel is the perfect place for this.

Here is a great testimony as to why students at a theological seminary need to attend chapel: "Mother Never Told Me Not to Pee in the Neighbor's Yard".

I think you hit a nerve. I've often found the chapel attendance requirement to be the hair-shirt of seminary. I've frequently attended chapel strictly out of duty, not a "doxological goal," because faculty notice when you're there and not. Is it a willful sin, giving the impression of worship when all you're doing is duty, making sure you're seen by the right people? Secondly, what do you do when the "corporate expression" is not one's own tradition, perhaps even antithetical to it? I have sat politely through many services, but I would hardly call my sitting worship. Counsel, please.

Well maybe a chapel could be boring and God would want one to better use her time.

Kim

It has so often been the case that when God comes down in powerful revival, so to speak, it is in a corporate setting. I would rather go to four boring chapels to be there when the field was flooded with rain!

Michael.

Nancy

Simply being there to be seen is hardly worship. You are right. Is that sin? Yes, if you are seeking to make an impression.

At a school like SBTS, I am sure one could go for months without attending chapel, and none would know. So many attend.

What to do when the "corporate expression" is not one's own? Now that is a much more difficult question. There will be quibbles, even grumblings, about what is left out or what is done. But yet: it is still within the mainstream of Evangelicalism and as such there must be things with which you resonate--the hymns, the preaching. Even if certain favourite things are missing, the preaching can and must be a place where God is met. If nothing else comes to my rescue, at least preaching will or should.

Michael H.

Just to clarify my position, the issue is not "boring" chapels. It's more that I think that the chapel requirement causes me to sin (or should I say, the law points out my sin?). As Evangelicals we can broadly agree, but really, not for very long; as Luther and Calvin bear witness, both preached the word of God, but they couldn't all just get along. As for SBTS, certain faculty have noticed and inquired. I have resigned to go out of obedience to those in authority over me; it makes them happy. That is my act of worship.

Considering the study on the Holy Spirit that you are doing at the TBS chapel on Wednesdays, I hardly doubt that anyone would be bored! Thus far your look at the Spirit's role in Creation, using a biblical theology of raven's as an example, and today's sermon on the Spirit's work with the Messiah in the OT have proven both fascinating and edifying.
May that all of our students scramble to chapel to hear from God through your own preaching and the preaching of others! Just the singing alone should be reason enough to come, between Kitty's piano and O'Neil's leading, I feel as if I have gone to heaven when I sing.
Amen!

Whether chapel is boring or not is beside the point. One would hope that the minds of seminary students aren't so empty as to need constant entertaining.

I think this can safely be asked of anyone else's mind as well, but I digress.

Christianity is work and drudge with moments of ecstacy and joy.

Is there a better way to spend one's time than to be a hearer of the Word?

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