One Perk of being a seminarian’s wife: enrolling at AFLBS
By Allie Westerbur
ALLOW ME TO SHARE my first Bible school class with you: I walked in to the senior classroom, sat in the back (and was quite certain I probably took someone’s seat), and then sat in awe. Mind you, there was feverish note taking, but there was a sense of gratefulness and reverence for what I heard, as well. Pastor Phil Haugen was sharing with us the many theories that exist (primarily in liberal theology) which question the authorship and inspiration of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke). He explained that these theories often deny the eyewitness accounts and leave no room for the miracle of inspiration. As a woman with an undergraduate degree from a liberal arts college, I was not at all unaware of these highly popular ideas.
Once again let me share with you another first day of class: my first day taking a course called “The Bible” in my freshman year of undergraduate education. My professor taught all of the same theories Pastor Haugen would explain eight years later in that AFLBS classroom, yet she would teach them as fact and evidence to question the accuracy and infallibility of the Word of God. I remember feeling so upset that it was commonplace to believe these theories. I spent that year quite confused as seeds of doubt had entered my heart. By God’s grace, in my sophomore year I found a Bible study and group of friends who believed in the inerrancy of Scripture and encouraged me in my walk with the Lord. I met my husband, Brian Westerbur, who was among that group and he is currently in his second year at AFLTS.
One of the perks of being the wife of a seminarian is the ability to take classes at AFLBS. This past fall, I took the aforementioned “Synoptic Gospels,” “Bible Doctrine I,” and “Poetical Books.” Each course has truly deepened my walk with the Lord and increased my knowledge about theology and God’s Word. So many of the questions that grew out of my young adult years have been answered as I’ve dug into Scripture this semester. I’m so grateful for this time that I can prepare alongside my husband for the work God is calling us to do for His kingdom both now and in our future ministry. We know that God has led us to do His work together as a couple. And as we followed the call to AFLTS, I knew I wasn’t just going to be watching from the sidelines.
Perhaps it would have been easier if I had known about the Bible school when I was 18. I would have avoided that year of doubt and confusion. Yes, in my mind, that would have been easier—but not as refining. I’m grateful to now have that opportunity. I’ve been encouraged by the questions raised by the other students in class and that our teachers point to God’s Word for the answers. Jesus states in John 8:31-32: “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” This semester, I’ve learned the unmatched value of abiding, believing, and obeying God’s Word. In so doing, we are truly set free from the lies of this world. Praise be to God.
Allie Westerbur, AFLBS student, is the wife of seminarian Brian Westerbur. They lead the young adults at Emmaus Lutheran, Bloomington, Minn.
This article first appeared in Kinship Magazine, Winter 2018 Edition.