Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Blessings of Asbury Part II: Classes and Professors

If you go to any school or educational institution you will hear people complain. We love to complain about the food in the cafeteria and the weird guy who lives upstairs in the dorm. We also love to complain about classes. I can join in complaining about some of the classes here. KCW and VOM were both wastes of time. But I've also had some amazingly good classes here:


Church History 1 & 2 with Dr. Steven O'Malley. I love history and these classes did more to inform me on what it means to be Christian, perhaps more than any others that I took. Dr. O'Malley is very interested in Luther and Pietism among other things and his lectures on these topics were quite good. One of our biggest problems in the church is that we don't know where we came from and many of us think that it's not important. I think if more people took classes like these two, many of our disagreements would disappear if people had the humility to admit their mistakes. I think our willingness to compromise with our decadent culture on doctrine and practice would also decrease if we were all more mindful of the holiness and sacrifice seen in so many of the Saints of the Church.

The Gospel of Matthew with Dr. David Bauer. One thing Asbury has shown me is that people can be extremely intelligent and learned and still believe the Bible. Dr. Bauer is a prime example of this. This class has helped me to catch more of what is going on in Scripture.

Old Testament with Dr. Lawson Stone. I had no idea of how little I knew about the Old Testament before I took this class. The history I learned in this course was intriguing. Dr. Stone also provided a great amount of often not-so-appropriate humor to keep the class interesting. I also like Stone because he is very critical of postmodernism and isn't embarrassed about being a conservative.

Suffering, Tragedy and the Christian Faith with Dr. Jerry Walls. This is the best class I have ever taken. The readings were great and the class discussion was very instructive. The reading included an overview of modern attempts to deal with evil from the likes of Leibniz, Rousseau, Voltaire, Kant and Nietzsche among others. I came out of that portion of the course with a better understanding of the thought of those philosophers than an undergraduate philosophy course plus a lot of my own reading could give me. We reviewed some theodicies such as Plantinga's and then read a book that has changed my life: The Doors of the Sea by Orthodox writer David Bentley Hart. This book has revolutionized the way I look at the problem of evil. I would say that this course should be required but that would probably ruin it.


Dr. Steven O'Malley: Dr. O'Malley is perhaps the kindest and most humble Christian man I know. I could learn a lot from his patience and thoughtfulness in dealing with ideas. He always tries to see the best in people and he is very optimistic when it comes to what God is doing in the world. Optimism, and I'll admit it - humility, are not my strong points so I need to be around people like Dr. O'Malley to set me right. I took Church History 1 & 2, Sacraments in History and The Theology of John Calvin with Dr. O'Malley.

Dr. Jerry Walls: Dr. Walls is a clear-thinking intellectual with a hunger for truth. He doesn't compromise with the lack of logic that is prevalent in liberalism and postmodern thought. He actually believes in the law of non-contradiction which in this day and age is a breath of fresh air. Dr. Walls' classes engage my mind fully and inspire me to use my intellect to its full potential. If I could, I would take every class he offered.

In some ways Dr. O'Malley and Dr. Walls are opposites. My natural inclinations certainly lean toward the ways in which Walls thinks and confronts the world. If there were more men like Dr. Walls in the church I would be much more optimistic about it. But I also know that I have a lot to learn from men like Dr. O'Malley. Even though things may look dark, he joyfully trusts God and believes that He is working even in the midst of those with whom we disagree.