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Always More: On the Importance of Theological Education

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by Dr. Benjamin MacDonald

More to Learn

When I first arrived at ADC in 2014 to study for my Master of Arts (Theology), I remember foolishly thinking that I had largely got a handle on my theological understanding. I was the son of a pastor, after all. I had been raised my whole life in the Church, and on top of that, I had read nearly all the works of C.S. Lewis – what more could there be? I wish I hadn’t been so naive, but I was. There was so much more to learn, so much to read. The call to theological education is an invitation to be a pilgrim and an adventurer, embarking on an exhilarating journey of reflection and revelation. It is a venture into the infinite glory of the Triune God, guided by faith, “being called to go out into a place… not knowing where [we are] going” (Heb.11:8), but trusting and obeying that we will soon discover a great inheritance.

Yes, my theological education overwhelmed me at times, but there was a spirit of adventure about it. Each new lesson was like a flash of light, illuminating the world around me. And such enlightenment was new to me.

Beckoned by God

I often compare my own conversion to that of the famous 17th century mathematician and philosopher Blaise Pascal.  In “Pensées,” a collection of his thoughts on God, the meaning of life, and the Christian faith, Pascal discusses his personal experience of emptiness and dissatisfaction that he felt when he leaned toward atheism and worldly pursuits. He noted that his intellectual pursuits and pleasures did not provide lasting satisfaction and fulfillment. Pascal’s conversion experience was rooted in his yearning for something greater. In his view, only a relationship with God could satisfy the innate human longing for meaning and fulfillment.

For me, two things stood out from this. First, not only was life without Jesus insufficient, but on the other side of the equation, there was the infinite depth of God, beckoning me to explore. Though there did come a moment when I eventually felt the light and presence of God surround me, leading to my conversion, the years prior to this experience were pivotal in testing my own autonomy. It was the dearth of secular thought that led me to the Lord of Life.  It was not enough merely to turn to Jesus; I yearned to dive as deeply as possible. 

Venturing Towards Christ

Perhaps not everyone needs to be come a theologian, but I did. If, like me, you feel drawn to theological education, you’ve likely been captivated at some point by the profound depth and beauty of the Christian gospel. At times we struggle to find footing, like Peter walking out onto deep waters. But while the boundless riches of theology exceed our comprehension, we are given a place to stand. Theology is the pursuit of this venturing out towards Christ in faith, and in Him find that there is always more awaiting us, urging us to continue.

We encounter a glimpse of this in the book of Hebrews as well, where the ‘preacher’ compares the glory of Jesus with the features of the Old Covenant. When placed side by side, Jesus emerges as a better high priest, a better sacrifice, and a better covenant. He offers a better promise, a better hope, and even better rest. Yet notably, the author refrains from using the superlative “best.” Why? Because Jesus always surpasses anything we discover!

We never reach a ‘final destination’ in this life because only full union with Christ could make this possible. Until then, we are always diving deeper, always discovering more. This is why I immerse myself in the study of theology: because God’s ways are boundless, and wherever I go, He beckons me to venture deeper still.

If you are ready for more, I invite you to join us at Acadia Divinity College, where a transformative journey of faith and knowledge awaits. Immerse yourself in a vibrant community, explore deep theological insights, and equip yourself for a life of impactful ministry and spiritual growth.

An alumnus of ADC, Ben brings his knowledge of higher education and more than seven years of ministry experience across several denominations to the role of College Recruiter.

Ben earned a Bachelor of Arts (Honours) in English Language and Literature (Western, 2011) and a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism (King’s, 2012), and he worked in television journalism before coming to Acadia Divinity College for his Master of Arts (Theology) degree, graduating as the silver medalist in theology in 2016. His deep interest in theology was nurtured, and he went on to Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto to earn a PhD in Theological Studies (2023).

Ben currently lives in Timberlea, a community located within the Municipality of Halifax, with his wife Melissa Evans, and their daughter, Josephine.

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