SERVING CHRIST’S DIVERSE CHURCH by Jeong Woo "Ja m e s" L ee
e all know how each decision we make has consequences—even a small, routine one. We can feel the immediate impact of what we decide to eat—or how much—and what time we decided to go to bed the night before. But there are some decisions we make, whose profound and far-reaching consequences boggle our mind. Of course, the greatest of them concerns our relationship with Christ: it impacts every aspect of our life, both here and now and for all eternity. We can also easily see the life-changing impact of whom we marry. And up there with the most significant decisions of life is what seminary we attend, particularly for the candidates of pastoral ministry. From time to time, I marvel at the life I now have— nothing like what I imagined it to be! I've been pastoring New Life Presbyterian Church of La Jolla (PCA) for the past 22 years, first as a church planter and now as its senior pastor. A Presbyterian pastor of a multi-ethnic congregation! I grew up in Korea in a Buddhist family. I came to the States when I was 15 years old. Soon after I was converted in a Korean-American church (non-denominational but Wesleyan in theology) at one of its youth retreats. By the time I was in 10th grade, I was certain that pastoral ministry was God's calling for me.
But when I got to college, I was in deep trouble. The church I grew up in was strong in fervency and service but not in doctrine and apologetics. I was completely unprepared to face so many blatant, merciless challenges to my faith. I felt like a second-class citizen all through my college life. I hit the bottom one night in my junior year. All night long, with all my strength, I was trying to fight off the nagging and terrifying thought that maybe, quite possibly, God didn't exist. I graduated from college in that battered condition. I couldn't go to seminary like that! (And the only seminary I knew of and considered attending was Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena). So, I entertained the idea of going back to Korea and studying Eastern philosophy. When my father heard it, he called a friend of mine, Steve Park (senior pastor at Jubilee Presbyterian Church, Philadelphia), who was attending Westminster Seminary California. He asked Steve to convince me to go to seminary. Knowing me well, my father feared for my life. He was sure that if I went back to Korea I might end up joining some underground anti-government student group and get myself arrested or killed! Steve gladly obliged and how thankful I am that he did! He came over to our place one day and showed me what he was learning in Dr. Meredith Kline's Pentateuch class. He explained the
“UP THERE WITH THE MOST SIGNIFICANT DECISIONS OF LIFE IS WHAT SEMINARY WE ATTEND, PARTICULARLY FOR THE CANDIDATES OF THE PASTORAL MINISTRY.”
UPDATE | FALL2016