Studying the Reformation

Last week marked the start of another grad course in my Master’s program in historical theology. This particular course is on the Reformation and is somewhat intense because it lasts for only 1/2 a semester (what at Wheaton is called a “quad” — as in, A Quad and B Quad).

Graduate coursework at Wheaton is pretty interesting. This course is being taught by a professor who is a prominent Reformation scholar with a PhD from the University of St. Andrews who also happens to be a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society.

Then there are the students. One is from Zimbabwe, another from Brazil. A third is from China and a fourth is from Taiwan. Yet another one is from South Korea originally, although she has lived in the U.S. for a while. Another student is pursuing a PhD in psychology at the same time as a Master’s degree in Biblical exegesis, believe it or not. It’s a pretty amazing group, and that’s just a brief description of six out of the ten students in the class. There are two of us faculty librarians in the course as well.

Honestly, I already find the coursework intimidating, and once again, that old friend, Self Doubt, whispers in my ear: What are you doing here? You can’t possibly handle this in addition to everything else. What were you thinking? Maybe you should quit while you’re ahead. You’re not smart enough or hard working enough to handle it.

Here’s the thing, though: I love the learning, and I really enjoy the diversity of perspectives among my classmates. The professor is enthusiastic and engaging, and I enjoyed studying this period of history a bit while an undergraduate history major. (I was fortunate enough to take one or two courses from noted British historian, Geoffrey Parker, who was then at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign but more recently has taught at Ohio State.) It’s also an absolutely critical period in church history to understand where we are today and why we believe what we believe as Protestants.

So I think I’ll limp along and see how it goes. I felt the same way about last semester, and somehow made it through. Lord, help me make it through this one as well.

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