The Necessity of Community (Reflections on B. B. Warfield’s The Religious Life of Theological Students #6)

Classical Christian education rightly places God at the center of the student’s education. Yet the emphasis on God in the education could have the unintended consequence of causing students to think that their education in Scripture and theology makes involvement in the local church unnecessary. Few go to such an extreme position as to have no involvement, but I have seen students who begin to decrease their local church involvement significantly, either because of the busyness of school or the mistaken idea that they don’t need to go to youth group because they don’t learn anything. Rarely, I daresay never, is it true that a diligent student would learn nothing.

But the role of the church goes beyond education. For one, the student, if they are more educated than their peers, should serve the community by sharing the things they have learned. They have been entrusted with a great deal of truth, and it should be their desire to share that with others. Additionally, the student who eschews church involvement misses valuable Christian community.

Warfield writes of this danger when he says, “No man can withdraw himself from the stated religious services of the community of which he is a member, without serious injury to his personal religious life […] To be an active member of a living religious body is the condition of healthy religious functioning.” Both students and staff at classical Christian schools need to keep this warning in mind. If we fail to remain actively involved in the local church, we harm others and ourselves, regardless of how good our theological education is.


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