Daily Archives

March 4, 2018

Gandalf on the Quad

What The Lord of the Rings can teach Christian leaders in higher education (and elsewhere). I have the privilege of serving as an English professor at Houston Baptist University (HBU) under the inspired Christian leadership of Robert Sloan. As president of HBU, Sloan has made it his vision and his goal to conform all that we do and all that we are to the simple but profound confession: Jesus is Lord. The Lordship of Christ is not just a catchy slogan for us; it undergirds every facet of our teaching, scholarship, administration, student affairs, finances, and community life. Wheaton College, located in a suburb of Chicago, is privileged to be led by a man who shares this integrated vision for Christian higher education: Philip Ryken, former senior pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia. Ryken has brought to his presidency not only top-notch scholarship—he has a degree from Oxford and has written or edited over 40 books—but the heart of a pastor, the mind of a philosopher, and the soul of a poet. Like Sloan, Ryken views his calling as working on multiple levels: guide, intercessor, shepherd, encourager, advocate, judge, and leader. But where can men like Sloan and Ryken…

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Behaving Like Children or Chimps?

Psychology study offers insight on why Jesus calls us to be like children. Throughout childhood and adolescent years, children spend hours role-playing their dream careers, observing the lives of their older siblings, and longing to grow up. As they venture through their suspended reality, waiting for “real life” to begin, so many of their sentences are prefaced with “When I grow up …” But in Scripture, Jesus presents a retrograde picture of age. Rather than calling children to become more like adults, he makes the sobering and puzzling claim that “anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it” (Mark 10:14–15). What about a child’s attitude is so precious to our Savior? There are certainly multiple facets to what Jesus meant when he called us to be like little children. But one implication could be that we should imitate the way that children learn by imitating. Perhaps a psychology study on children and chimps—also expert imitators—can give us more insight. How chimps and children imitate The study begins with a puzzle box and the knowledge that both chimps and children love sweet treats. In the first part of the experiment, researchers Victoria…

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How Evangelical Biblical Scholars Treat Scripture

We agree on the “divine inspiration, integrity, and authority of the Bible.” But there's much more to our hermeneutic. Wheaton College hosted a colloquium on the book of Deuteronomy in 2015, and we recently published those papers as a book. As we put it together, we hit a problem that has come up in other contexts: Do we call the contributors evangelicals? Continental Europeans (of which we had several) distinguish evangelisch, which means “Protestant,” from evangelical, which connotes hard-right fundamentalist. The latter may correlate with the way the North American media and politicos view “evangelicals,” but few, if any, at the table, are comfortable with that position—including the North Americans. The contributors reflect a broad spectrum of theological and hermeneutical perspectives within evangelicalism, and all subscribe to the statement on Scripture that unites the fellows of the Institute for Biblical Research: belief in “the unique divine inspiration, integrity, and authority of the Bible.” But this statement is very general, neither declaring this to be a distinctly evangelical stance, nor prescribing or delimiting what sorts of hermeneutical approaches are deemed to fall within the label. The search for a new label to replace evangelical is difficult. So we contented ourselves with…

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