In a new series…

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Dr. Gary Burge has written a very nice overview of the issues at the heart of the Da Vinci discussions. He ends:

“Thanks to a blockbuster novel with absurd claims, and a big-budget summer movie, this academic debate has moved from the ivory tower to the public arena. The intellectual battle has been joined. Are we ready?”

I note this both because it is a good article and because of my new, limited, series of posting articles about the Da Vinci Code by my old Wheaton professors. I don’t have a catchy story about the confluence of culture and theology, or the interplay of reality within the ivory tower as my last post in this series. However, I do note this article with especial interest because these are the precise things Dr. Burge taught us in his class. He did not teach us to run and hide, but instead to engage, to debate, to pick up one’s lance and have at it on the field of battle. So often, I think, people think of Christian Colleges as being these limited places where inquiry is stifled. Not so in my experience. Dr. Burge pushed and prodded, getting us into the fight. He would provoke a question in class, such as why Jesus needed to be crucified and argue against the premise with twelve highly educated Wheaton College seniors, at the end of their Bible and Theology major, flummoxing the lot of us in the process while teaching us how to enter the lists.

I remember he told us this great story about his time as a Navy chaplain. He wanted to go out on the helicopters which required him to first go through the requisite training in a simulator which mimicked a helicopter crashing into the ocean and overturning (and also capsizing). They were first shown how to use their safety equipment, trained how to react, drilled so it would become natural even in the worst circumstances. Then they were put in the simulator, where if they did not get out of their restraints while underwater a Navy Seal would dive in to free them just before they drowned.

The point of the story was that to survive in a helicopter crash a person had to know their tools and then trust their training. In doing this, and in drilling in the simulator, they could survive what would otherwise kill them. And with this he taught us the science of New Testament Interpretation.

Hey, it turned out I did have a story after all. How about that.

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