Thursday, February 14, 2008

Random Observations from the FHU Lectureship

I was able to go this year to the FHU lectureship. I got to see some friends that I haven't seen in a while, and got to visit with my grandparents. When you registered, they gave you a cool name tag and a small leather notepad holder with paper. As I heard several different speakers, rather than taking extensive notes this time, I would try to just jot down what I thought was something new or different than what I've heard before. In no order whatsoever, here are a few of the things I noticed:

Angels - Ralph Gilmore pointed out that in Scripture, though angels bring messages to humans, angels never do the preaching. Whether it be prophets, the apostles, or Christ himself, God has always preferred for men to teach men, and has entrusted us with the Gospel to spread. I thought that was empowering to know that we get to do what angels don't.

Knowing Christ - In general, Freed has a tendency to be labeled as a bunch of ultra-conservatives with closed ears and closed minds. Though there is an element of that present, that has not been my experience. Ralph Gilmore had a fantastic grace-oriented sermon on Sunday night to open the lectures. Several times during the week, I heard it affirmed how important it is that we seek to know and really love Christ, not just to get everything right. I think K.C. Moser would have been proud to see the "Man" of salvation emphasized at least as much as the "plan" of salvation.

Feet Washing - I had never thought before about how when Jesus washed his disciples feet, it was just a short amount of time before they'd be using those same clean feet to abandon him to the devices of wicked men.

Capital Punishment - In a discussion about capital punishment, it was mentioned that some pacifists will go to Exodus 20 saying, "Thou shalt not murder." But it's significant that in Exodus 21, there are 7 different circumstances given under which killing is appropriate. It reminded me of the importance of reading passages holistically rather than just as proof texts.

Is lying ever ok? - There was a prologued discussion about whether it could ever be appropriate for a Christian to lie. It was the classic old scenario about "what if you're in Germany, hiding Jews, and the Nazis come a knockin' on your door." Can you lie to protect people? Some insisted that even Rahab had not been dishonest, others insisted that sometimes there are levels of priorities where one has to be chosen as the lesser of two evils. I was not aware of the passage in I Samuel 16 where God tells Samuel to bring along a heifer with him and to say that he is going to sacrifice to God, when in reality he is planning to anoint a new king. It seems that God might have even been suggesting deception in this case.

My personal feelings are that this is a struggle between two different approaches to ethics. A deontological perspective will argue that actions are inherently wrong. A pacifist believes that violence is in and of itself wrong, and therefore cannot ever be an acceptable option. A teleological view says, "Do whatever is going to bring about the most good in the long run." People who hold these two different views will never be able to agree because their presuppositions are different, hence the discussion went on for way way way too long.

The problem with teleology is that you can end up saying, "The end justifies the means," which is terribly untrue. At the same time, I really believe that sometimes people get in situations where the only options are bad options, and if I catch someone trying to harm my family, though I'm committed to loving my neighbor, I'm just as committed to protecting my family, and would do so, feeling no remorse.

Head Coverings - This was part of the open forum where the questions came up about whether women should wear head coverings. I learned some things. (1) The Greek word used for what women should wear described a veil that covered the entire head and face. Women today who wear the little white thing on the top of their head, insisting on this continued practice, aren't actually practicing it in a way that is true to scripture. If women are to wear veils because of this passage, then we shouldn't be able to see their faces. Garland Elkins pointed out that John the Baptist was "Beheaded", not "Be-scalped." A head covering is a head covering.
(2) I got tickled at one man's comment that where in I Corinthians it says that it is sinful for a man to have his head covered, yet we have a lot of good brothers who wear toupees. :-)

General Characteristics of Bible Departments at FHU vs. HU - At Harding, I have been discouraged for some time at the low number of preaching or ministry majors that are being produced. Youth and Family ministry majors outnumber them 8 to 1. Most young people who want to be preachers seem to choose Freed. And honestly, I've met a lot of Freed graduates who have become excellent preachers and teachers. But as I've thought about the people I know from each place, it seems to me that both HU and FHU have different niches. Freed is probably turning out more people who go into preaching ministries, but I think Harding is doing a lot more producing of missionaries and church planters. I can hardly even count the number of people I know from Harding who are currently overseas, or who have moved to another part of the US to start new churches. Not that Harding doesn't produce preachers, or that Freed doesn't produce missionaries. I just think we're each doing really well in some different areas.

1 comment:

  1. Good stuff! Thanks for posting.

    I especially enjoyed the thought about the apostles' feetwashing being tarnished after they soiled their feet with their disloyalty to Jesus. There's some great poetry in there somewhere