Well, this isn't really a letter to John MacArthur specifically . . . but it is my application to enroll in the seminary that he is president of. I cannot think of any better place in the world to be trained as an expositor of God's Word than The Master's Seminary and to apply for their Masters of Divinity program required that I write a letter of application outlining the major reasons why I want to attend TMS. What follows is that letter of application:
WHY I WANT TO ATTEND THE MASTER'S SEMINARY AND MY MINISTRY GOALS – CAMERON BUETTEL
I have spent too much of my Christian journey in the kind of fellowship that Dr. John Macarthur would describe as a “church of the tares”. Coming out of this and discovering the gospel truths that the reformers recovered has been like coming out of the desert and taking a drink from a fire hydrant.
I believe my conversion did actually occur in 1989 even though my first ten years of church life were in a “church” that was typical of the modern evangelical landscape – moralism, self esteem, success, and superficiality. In spite of this climate, I found myself to be a strange animal in this world. Conviction of sin and gut wrenching repentance (though I was not able to articulate these terms) were experiences that I knew but were completely foreign to others. Sometimes a blind squirrel finds a nut and by God's grace I became acquainted with the glorious truths of God's sovereignty, man's depravity, the miraculous nature of regeneration, and the breathtaking doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement.
This has cultivated an insatiable longing to proclaim this once for all delivered faith wherever and whenever I can. Defending and contending for this glorious gospel is what consumes my thinking. Reading Calvin's Institutes, A.W. Pink, and Systematic Theology are now pleasurable pursuits for a man who once despised reading. Even Scripture has taken on a whole new level of meaning as I have learnt to study it as the seamless story of Christ rather than a smorgasbord of moralisms.
I realize that the engine room at the heart of God honoring defending/contending/proclaiming is sound biblical exposition. I live in the ruins of the once great reformation. Living in Denmark is a harrowing experience due to severe lack of fellowship and the lack of godly men to be trained by. By the grace of God we have pioneered a church plant, an evangelism ministry, and an annual reformation conference, through seat of the pants learning via the internet. These are endeavors that I am completely untrained to do, and would gladly relinquish to someone more qualified. But with a boldness that comes from the knowledge that I could not possibly make things worse, coupled with the intense grief of never finding a single sound biblical church in the entire country, has given the energy to embrace this labor.
The rampant apostasy of the cowardly and compromising shepherds in the land of Denmark is nothing short of disgusting. I realize that the greatest need in this climate is men who are governed by God's Word, men who are passionate proclaimers of the one true Gospel, men who fear God but have total disdain for the prevailing cultural views, and men who know when to associate and when to separate. I want to dedicate the remaining years of my life to this task – this is what consumes my thoughts!
Through my own experiences attending two Shepherd's Conferences, acquaintances who have studied at TMS, meeting lecturers, and the goldmine sermon archive at www.gty.org , I am thoroughly convinced that The Master's Seminary is the best place to be trained as one of these men.
It is a seminary where:
The lecturers understand that they are gatekeepers and guardians of truth which is necessary to avoid the slide into liberalism.
The literal view of Genesis chapter one sets the tone for the other 1188 chapters.
The goal of interpreting Scripture is to find the authorial intent – not to “re-imagine it”.
Our labor is seen as a matter of life and death, heaven and hell.
There is reformed soteriology without the paedo-baptism.
There is little or no contamination of the 21st century sensibility which causes good theologians to lose their minds by being civil and tolerant toward heretics.
There is an In'N'Out burger joint on the same street.
The Master's Seminary is where I earnestly desire to be trained and ultimately deployed from. Thank you for considering my application, and more importantly, thank you for being steadfast in a world full of “climate change”.