Doris and I moved to Wake Forest, NC so I could start Graduate studies for my MDiv in the Summer of 85. We moved in and when we finished unloading everything we went for lunch at the local fast food eatery (because we were poor). Sitting at the table, a couple of SEBTS students engaged us in conversation.
I had decided to start right off in Summer school and I had signed up for Hebrew (which meant 3 hours each day Tuesday-Friday in class and many hours of study outside of class). When I shared my course choice with our new friends they expressed shock and dismay. ‘Oh’, they warned me, ‘even God couldn’t make an A in Professor Balentine’s elementary Hebrew course’. So naturally I was petrified.
I took the course that summer, both summer sessions (the equivalent of the first year of Hebrew in two regular semesters), and I did quite well. In fact, I earned an A both sessions.
I saw the guys from the fast food place at the end of the Summer and they asked me how I had fared (as they had both taken Hebrew (it used to be required) and had earned a C). I told them ‘I think I did ok, I got an A both sessions’. The looks on their faces were priceless.
When I told that story to Sam Balentine some years later he quipped ‘did you tell them to bow down and worship you?’ I should have, but I didn’t think of it.
I loved Southeastern Seminary. I loved doing an MDiv there and staying around for a ThM. I loved the faculty and the administration (until the days of darkness descended with Lewis Drummond and his ilk). When Drummond drove off the majority of the faculty and replaced them with right wing Fundamentalists, the school, in my mind, died. From then on it was never the greatest of the SBC seminaries (which it, formerly, had been- having the reputation of being the place you wanted to go if you wanted to be the best, most learned, most erudite exegete you could possibly be).
My Profs were the greatest Baptist scholars of their generation. And I miss being with them every single day. I miss our discussions and their lectures and their wisdom and their kindness and their love of God and truth.