Trekked over to the presbyterian theological centre last night, and spent a few hours learning about what they have to offer. Looks like doing part-time study towards a Graduate Diploma (which I can then convert to a Masters if I like) seems like the way to go.
I was surprised at the effect that the library at PTC had on me. In the sample lecture – titled “Why are the (Ephesian) saints seated in heaven in Eph 2:6?” – by John Davies, there was mention of something I’d never heard of: the Ugaritic texts. These are the documents – as far as I can tell – related to Baal worship that date back to around 1400BC; specifically, they mention the idea of lesser gods being seated in the divine presence as a concept that the pagan (non-Judaistic) religions had, even back then. As I was adjusting to this idea of Ugaritic texts… must be a fairly obscure thing – after all, John has a PhD in Old Testament type stuff… I wandered through the library and spotted at least half a dozen books – whole books dedicated to the Ugaritic texts! Yes, they’re obscure, but it looks like there’s a lot of extra knowledge – and knowledge that would enhance my knowledge of the bible – to be had by pursuing theological study.
The next biggest challenge, though, is working out how money / secular work / earning / buying a house fits in with the notion of theological study. As one of the guys I was chatting to over supper said "the path to gospel ministry doesn’t often go through home ownership". Overall, I would recommend attending an open night to anyone considering theological study: it raises a lot of the issues in a helpful way.