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Meet A Student/Graduate

Matthew Leighton

Matthew Leighton

I first came to Spain in 1996, sent by a parachurch missions organization.  What free time I had my first few years here I filled with the reading of popular introductions to Reformed theology.  I devoured Michael Horton’s Putting Amazing Back into Grace and other books during my daily train rides into Barcelona.  Largely as a result of my reading, the Lord began working in me a strong conviction concerning the centrality of the ministry of the local church in the life of the believer.  Gradually I was persuaded that I could better serve the cause of the gospel in Spain, in pastoral ministry and in the training of others for the same.

The next step was to choose a seminary where I could begin preparing for the task.  The decision was not difficult.  I had read books, chapters of books, and articles written by WSC faculty that gave me a good idea of the Christ-centered theology I could learn and the sort of men I could study under in Escondido.  I went for a visit, and after a day on campus I was convinced that WSC was the place for me.  Núria and I moved from Barcelona to Escondido in the summer of 1999, just in time for Summer Greek with Dr. Steve Baugh. 

I am very thankful for having been able to attend WSC.  As the years go by I am all the more appreciative of the education I received there.  The challenges of pastoral ministry are often complex, as are those of teaching theology and pursuing graduate studies.  I learned much at WSC that helped equip me for these challenges, including how to research topics we did not have time to cover in class.  To say it another way, WSC put me on track for a lifetime of learning and teaching from the Bible.

I might briefly mention a few things I valued most about the curriculum at WSC: a commitment to Calvin’s view of the knowledge of God (the only biblically defensible view, in my opinion); a high view of Scripture (its inspiration, self-attestation, unity, and authority); the commitment to the need for preachers to learn the original languages; a hermeneutic that arises from the Scripture itself (paying attention to issues of genre, distinguishing between law and gospel, seeing how the whole of Scripture relates to Christ); and most of all, the centrality of the gospel in Christian living and ministry.  This last point was, I think, the most significant discovery I made while at WSC—the gospel of Jesus Christ is the power of God for salvation from beginning to end, not just for conversion but also for every day of the Christian life until glory.

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