Monthly Archives: March 2013

Dr. Howard Hendricks

Howard G. Hendricks, longtime professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, died on February 20, 2013, at age 88. In addition to writing, classroom teaching and conference speaking, he mentored such Evangelical leaders as Tony Evans, Joseph Stowell, Chuck Swindoll, David Jeremiah and Erwin Lutzer.

Hendricks, interviewed by The Dallas Morning News in 2003, remarked, “You’re looking at a completely fulfilled human being. If I died today having produced some of the people God has given me the privilege of shaping, it will have been worth showing up on the planet.” He earned his bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College in 1946 and a master’s degree from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1950, joining its faculty a year later. Known as “Prof” to generations of students, he remained until 2011, when health issues forced him to retire.

During his years at Wheaton, Hendricks roomed with three other male students in “Peterson’s Palace,” a privately owned home near campus. He was a member of the Beltionian Society.

Howard Hendricks, top row, second from right, 1945

If Mugg Were Pope…

Evidently, no one asked Malcolm Muggeridge what he would do were he suddenly elevated to the papal throne; nonetheless, the indomitable journalist, not even Catholic at the time, offers his fantasies on the prospect. “If I Were Pope…” appeared in The National Review, June 9, 1978, the so-called “year of three popes,” during which Pope Paul VI died, Pope John Paul I was elected and reigned for one month before dying, and Pope John Paul II was elected to an influential 27-year papacy. As Pope Francis begins his pontificate after the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, perhaps it is appropriate to revive Muggeridge’s conservative ruminations on a few ecclesiastical matters.

Summarizing his points:

1) Locating a private, quiet retreat, perhaps Castel Gondolfo, Pope Malcolm would “…meditate upon the Church’s extraordinary survival through the twenty centuries of Christendom despite every sort of abomination committed by, or under the auspices of, my predecessors…”

2) Considering the ramifications of Vatican II, he would “…meditate upon the Church’s present circumstances, so full of confusion, strife and lunacy following Pope John’s Vatican Council and the amazing decision resulting therefrom to have another Reformation, just when the former one – Luther’s – seemed finally to have run into the sand.”

3) Not embracing complete isolation, he would “…have Mother Teresa and some of her Sisters of Charity with me at my retreat, her cooperation having been a precondition of my accepting the pontifical appointment in the first place…Her extraordinary influence and clarification are conveyed, not so much by words or exhortation, as by the love she radiates, shining out from her visibly, like light.”

4) Leaving the serenity of his retreat to address a troubled society, he would “…reissue Humanae Vitae in a greatly simplified form, reinforcing its essential point than any form of artificial contraception is inimical to the Christian life.”

5) Next, “…I should suspend the prohibition of the Tridentine Mass and the traditional Latin liturgy, which would henceforth be permissible whenever and wherever there was an appreciable demand for it. The disco-style vernacular worship, with its sadly banal words, which has come to take the place of the traditional liturgy would be allowed to go on, but I should secretly hope that, as fashions changed, it might wither away.”

6) Muggeridge would tighten the noose in other ways, as well. “Imagining myself sitting in the Vatican, or strolling up and down the Vatican garden, I feel sure I should be assailed by the temptation to do a bit of excommunication and anathema on my own account as and when the opportunity presented itself. Freedom-fighting prelates, liberated nuns, Marxist-dialoguing Jesuits, and other such ribald clerical phenomena of our time, along with the accompanying literature, would be, for me, tempting targets.”

7) Thus empowered, he would also “….prepare the way for an underground Church to go on functioning when the open one has been either forcibly disbanded, or so corrupted and disoriented from within that it can no longer fulfill its traditional role…What I have in mind would be a Christian maquis or clandestine Catacombs Order, whose superior and members would be chosen with the utmost care for their abiding faith, mystical insight and love for the Church and its orthodoxy.”

“That would be a papacy indeed!” he concludes. “Perhaps – who can tell? – some unexpected papabile is even now being divinely groomed to take it on.”

Muggeridge joined the Catholic Church in 1982. He died in 1990. His papers (SC-04), comprising manuscripts, correspondence, videos and memorabilia, are archived at Wheaton College Special Collections in Wheaton, IL.

Blessed are the Merciful

by Dr. Zondra Lindblade ’55

The great blue heron is perfectly camouflaged against the lakeshore pines. The green caterpillar is protectively colored on the begonia leaf. Camouflaged treasures are everywhere, but experienced northwoods eyes see beyond the pines and begonias to recognize the disguised.

In many ways, a “sociological imagination” resembles northwoods eyes and wilderness expediency. The imagination first examines obvious features of how we live together in families, corporations, and in society, and then probes beneath the surface to “see” camouflaged functions and meanings. What is camouflaged often surprises and sometimes contradicts conventional wisdom.

The sociological imagination is a filter, a directional lens that focuses on the obvious and hidden human experiences. Once awakened to the reality of groups being more than the sum of individual parts, the filter questions and educates the illusive realities that question “what everyone knows.”

For some time the issues of social welfare reform have occupied our “imagination.” These stimuli have opened my eyes and heart to a particular phrase in Micah 6:8.The call to “do justice” in this verse is resounding for sociologists who study cause and effect of social stratification, stigmatized education, or inner-city miseries. These are vacuous academic activities if there is no heart cry for justice. God’s command in Micah 6 to do justice is daunting.

In the next phrase, God requires believers to actually love mercy. A desire for justice may overlook and camouflage God’s compelling love for mercy. Mercy is assistance given to those who do not deserve help–or who think they do not. Mercy is a reflection of God’s character (Ps. 69:16) and part of His plan for repentance (Rom. 2:4).

What does it mean–to love mercy? Discussions of welfare reform usually ignore the priority God places on mercy. Do we consider mercy nalve, ill-informed, and shortsighted because mercy is offered before merit? Mercy does not consider independent responsibility as a first–order priority. Do we focus on eradicating dependency and setting the welfare mother on is both fulfilling to her and good for society? Are we occupied with making sure that sinful choices bring hard consequences? Are we slow to persevere when lessons experienced are not learned, when positive change is one step forward followed by four steps back?

Mercy may well invoke a “reckless advocacy” for the marginalized and undeserving. Mercy might offer help with no questions asked or answers expected. The example of the Savior is strong and convincing. He is a reckless advocate who “while we were yet sinners died for us.”

In my 34 years of teaching, occasionally there have been undeserving Wheaton students who have requested academic mercy from me. I have found that the students who received that mercy remember this help with greater appreciation than most of the assignments diligently pursued. And mercy remembered is often mercy later given.


Twenty years ago, the Wheaton Alumni magazine began a series of articles, titled “On My Mind”, in which Wheaton faculty told about their thinking, their research, or their favorite books and people. Former Professor of Sociology Emerita, Zondra Gale Lindblade Swanson ’55 (who taught at Wheaton from 1964-1998) was featured in the Autumn 1998 issue. Dr. Lindblade was former department chair and retired in May 1998 after serving the College for more than 34 years.

Dr. C. Everett Koop and Wheaton College

Dr. Charles Everett Koop, former Surgeon General of the United States, died on February 25, 2013, at age 96. Sporting a crisp, double-breasted military uniform, Amish beard and stern aspect, he was an instantly recognizable father-figure during the 1980s, his expert eye continually examining the health trends of the nation. President Ronald Reagan, recognizing Koop’s extraordinary accomplishments in the field of pediatric medicine, appointed him as Surgeon General in 1982. Koop was affiliated with the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

An outspoken Christian, Koop relates the circumstances of his 1948 conversion under the ministry of Dr. Donald Grey Barnhouse, pastor of Tenth Presbyterian Church of Philadelphia:

The next Sunday…I finished grand rounds early, and found my feet taking me to Tenth Presbyterian Church, just a few blocks north of the hospital. I entered a back door and quietly slipped up to the balcony. I was just going to observe. I liked what I saw, and I was fascinated by what I heard….I heard teaching from one of the most learned men I ever knew, a true scholar who also possessed a gift of illustrating the complexity – and simplicity – of Christian doctrine by remarkable and incisive stories and similes….I understood that we are all sinners, unable to satisfy God’s standard of righteousness and justice, no matter how hard we try….The preaching from the pulpit made it all clear: that the essence of Christianity was not what we did, but what Christ had done for us. I understood the meaning of the crucifixion, I understood the meaning of Christ’s sacrifice, I understood the meaning of divine forgiveness…Most of all, I understood the love of God….This spiritual awakening had a profound effect on my life and influenced everything that happened thereafter.

Interestingly, Tenth Presbyterian was later pastored by Dr. Philip Ryken, who resigned from its pulpit in 2010 to assume the presidency of Wheaton College, an institution with which Koop enjoyed friendly relations.

As a prominent evangelical engaged in societal issues, Koop, staunchly pro-life, was invited to deliver the address for the 1973 Wheaton College Commencement, during which his daughter, Betsy, graduated. He warned his audience about the disastrous consequences of Roe vs. Wade, predicting that laws will be ridiculous. Soon, he said, teens requiring permission for ear piercing would not need permission for abortions, which will become increasingly common. Also, this legislation will accelerate moral laxity; of course, unknown at the time, it paved the way for the onslaught of AIDS in the 1980s.

Returning to Edman Chapel at Wheaton College for a public forum in 1990, Koop spoke on “Ethical Issues Arising from the AIDS Epidemic.” Discussing challenges and opportunities, he asked, “What better evangelical target than the sick, the homeless, the abandoned and the despised?” As always, he advocated abstinence and monogamy. Throughout the 1990s Koop occasionally appeared on the Wheaton campus, usually in conjunction with events sponsored by the Center for Applied Christian Ethics (CACE).

During a 1989 interview, Christianity Today asked Koop about his famous beard. He replied: “…I grew the beard as a lark when I went with my son Norman to Israel for two weeks. The night before we came home he shaved off his beard and kept his moustache; I shaved off my moustache and kept my beard. We did it just to shock our families. A few days later, when I looked at a picture of myself taken…before I started growing a beard, I realized I had three chins! And I didn’t have them with a beard.”

In 2002 he visited campus for “An Evening with C. Everett Koop,” conducted by Wendy Murray Zoba, heard here.

The papers of Dr. C. Everett Koop (SC-58), comprising manuscripts and correspondence, are housed at Wheaton College Special Collections, available to researchers.

The Faith That Informs Learning

by Dr. Carl F.H. Henry ’38, M.A. ’41, Litt.D.’68

What earlier generations considered a noble evangelical endeavor–the integration of faith and learning–now easily deteriorates into an academic cliche that obscures essentials of the Christian view. Faith becomes a rubber word. It accommodates so many options that it readily invites the notion of faith in faith. It can embrace faith in Allah, faith in Buddha, or even faith in New Age, no less faith in Christ.

For some of its champions, integration need not involve an indispensably unique cognitive content but rather only an openness to reality that escapes rational exposition of the self- revealing God of the Bible. The emphasis on faith instead implies only the challenge of the transcendent, the necessity of religion, the advocacy of the nonrational, the priority of the paradoxical.

If faith is essentially a term of infinite nuances (and not necessarily of a fixed inherent meaning), the term “learning” similarly is laden with ambiguity. It is hardly a summary term for an unchanging body of knowledge, nor need Christians applaud it as the timeless wisdom of the ages. Moses was familiar with the learning of the Egyptians and Daniel with that of the Babylonians, but these biblical spokesmen hardly exalted this into universal truth to be “integrated” with the revelation of Yahweh.

Human learning is subject to ongoing revision and displacement. A science textbook only a decade old is now usually considered outdated, whereas the word of the Lord–so the inspired biblical writers insist–is fixed and final, and Jesus Christ is “the same yesterday, today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8).

Yet some contemporary religionists correlated Jesus Christ the God-man with faith and not with learning, and they internalize rather than objectify all specific religious claims.

The term “integration” raises an additional network of questions. Does it mean a correlation of data that is testable for logical consistency and validity, or simply an open-ended presentation of claims that can be reconciled only in some respects? Are logic and systematic consistency something alien to the Christian revelation? In recent years not a few professedly evangelical theologians have argued that one rationalizes and falsifies Christian truth if one aims to present it as a logically consistent world-life view.

Some mediating scholars emphasize that the Christian revelation must not be confused with the “eternal truths” affirmed by pantheistic and idealistic philosophers. That is assuredly the case. But when this is made to imply that Christian truth is not eternally true, one falls into costly error.

Even the fact that the gospel was temporally and historically revealed and was conveyed in a particular language does not imply that it is not eternally true. It is in fact true yesterday, today, and forever–eternally true–that Jesus’s crucifixion and third-day resurrection are integral to the divine redemption of sinners.

Some confusion over integration of faith and learning seems to have found its way even into Christian colleges and universities. As a consequence the very epistemological foundations of the Christian revelation are misstated or ignored. The unbroken authority of Scripture, that is, the inerrancy of the divinely inspired writings, is minimized or obscured.

Another example of this is the growing tendency to view the insistence of scriptural inerrancy as merely an evangelical distinctive instead of the bedrock of evangelical doctrine. Yet if the canon of Scripture includes erroneous teaching, the process of integration is frustrated since problematically unreliable Scripture cannot be logically correlated either with faith or learning.

Another consequence of affirming biblical errancy is that evangelical campuses are tempted to neglect, or even to avoid, formation of the Christian worldview; on the mistaken premise that this would involve an unjustifiable rationalization of the biblical revelation.

As a result Christian truth is formulated not alone in opposition to speculative philosophies, as is necessary, but regrettably also in opposition to an explicit evangelical world-life view predicated consistently on the teaching of Scripture. Sometimes this maneuver involves a substitution of natural law speculation for an explicitly biblical theology, the minimization of which has implications for the entirety of a revelatory system.

In any event, the epistemological foundations of Christian faith are endangered when Scripture teaching is neglected or considered problematical. In the biblical view; only if one begins with the knowledge of the self-revealing God does one become wise in the knowledge of life.

“The beginning of wisdom is connected with the fear of the Lord” (Prov. 9:10).


The following statement was included at the time of publication in the Alumni Magazine (Autumn 1999):

Dr. Carl F.H. Henry was a Long Island newspaperman when he became a Christian in 1933. He is recognized as a foremost author, educator, lecturer, and theologian. He taught or lectured on college campuses throughout the United States and in countries on every continent. He has written 43 books, some translated into Japanese, Korean, Mandarin, Romanian, and Russian.