Virtuous Reasoning

Date Published

July 1, 2024

Home / Blog / Virtuous Reasoning

Published by Gabriela Tijerina-Pike

“Do you have a closet of useless things at home?”—this is what I ask candidates interested in enrolling in the Master of Arts in Leadership Formation (MALF). This new Latino Ministries program focuses on developing skills for Christian leadership amid today’s cultural challenges. “Has the number of items in it increased in the last year? Do you remember everything stored there?” The response is a loud laugh, confirming that they, too, often store useless things. I use this simple example with Hispanic candidates to introduce them to the relevance of the MALF program in the era of information. As Christian leaders in a world overloaded with information, MALF students need to develop skills in discernment and virtuous reasoning to be capable of discarding useless thoughts and converting useful information into knowledge and wisdom.

Our MALF students are challenged to master virtuous reasoning—not simply for themselves, but to teach it to their congregations. The importance of this cannot be overstated, especially given that congregants’ cell phone and internet use exposes them to vast amounts of unfiltered information. When congregants listen to a sermon, join a Bible study, experience difficulties, or seek advice, they already have a virtual warehouse full of disordered and useless information. This situation is, of course, not exclusive to Hispanic communities or Latin American countries. However, these communities also have additional challenges stemming from Latin American behavioral and educational systems that rarely encourage criticism of arguments’ soundness or validity. This context makes it all the more important for Hispanic church leaders to be able to teach their congregations how to engage in virtuous reasoning and discernment related to questions of truth.

The inspiration for the MALF program comes from Acts 17:11 (NIV): “Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” The Bereans’ example has been followed by people throughout church history: godly people have reasoned through the Scriptures, articulated confessions of faith (e.g., the Belgic Confession and Canons of Dort), and set the standards of orthodoxy that inform our reasoning today. The exhortation and example of our predecessors teach us how to apply virtuous reasoning to understand biblical truths. In the same way, the primary goal of the MALF program is to form modern-day leaders who possess Berean attitudes and skills—leaders who excel in Scripture-based reasoning and discernment.

As Hispanic Christians are exposed to new ways of thinking within the North American multicultural tapestry and the global context, they can benefit from developing the Bereans’ way of reasoning. That is why the MALF program places such a strong emphasis on reasoning and discernment. At Calvin Theological Seminary, our call is to instill students with an eager attitude toward Scripture. We follow this call by equipping them with the skills and tools that will enable them to discard useless things from their intellectual closet and discern how information and ideas align with Scripture. As we pursue this call, we pray that our Hispanic students will continue to enrich their reasoning and be identified as people of wise and noble character.


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