I read “Five Ways to Make God Known at Work” on the Desiring God blog after I posted yesterday about the gap between what is being discussed in the university and what is being read in our churches. I was helped by the spirit of that blog posting for three different audiences:
- Faithful, Bible-saturated men and women who teach and administer in our universities
These faithful men and women who teach and administer in our universities have an impact beyond their intellectual engagement with ideas. I worked at a small college for several years, and those who comported themselves with integrity and kindness had far greater influence on the students and staff than those who were the ‘best’ in their fields.
- Pastors who faithfully point people to God
The pastors who attended the seminar last week will never have the time to engage every bad idea out there. And I don’t think we should add an additional burden by expecting them to do so. A pastor’s charge is to preach the word and shepherd his people. Pastor John frequently works in references to disability into his sermons, but only when it is appropriate.
The one thing he always does is point me to God. And I need that far more than I need him unpacking an argument about personhood from the pulpit.
- The people living in the reality of the ideas being discussed in our universities and in scholarly journals, usually without the credentials to participate in the academic discussion
I doubt I would have much interest in the philosophical discussion of what makes up a person if I didn’t have my son – and discovered there are people defining personhood in ways that would not include him. I don’t have the academic credentials to be taken seriously, but I do have the credibility of being his dad.
So, I think at least one of the ways the church/university gap is addressed is when all three groups work together:
- Pastors, preach the word and point people to God.
- University faculty and administrators, behave in ways that make God look glorious, including when you are addressing evil prettied up in academic language.
- Lay people, point out the consequences of evil ideas. We don’t need academic credentials to point out when the emperor has no clothes. Aborting unborn babies with disabilities and defining some human beings as non-persons are two areas that demand response.
It also raises up praises to God for the incredible gift of Bethlehem College and Seminary. The coursework is rigorous and we should expect nothing less. The seminarians are being entrusted with God’s word! Someday some of them may be pastors of college or university faculty who work in hostile environments where extraordinarily evil ideas are being discussed as having merit, like abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. They need to know that God is glorious and will help them when their reputations and livelihoods are at stake.
May God be pleased to use those pastors, faculty and lay people to finally put an end to such evil.