Remember the Birds

Dr. Jerry R. Kirk is former pastor of the College Hill Presbyterian Church in Cincinnati, Ohio. During his twenty-one year pastorate, in 1983 he founded the National Coalition Against Pornography, an alliance of citizen-action groups, foundations, and religious denominations leading the effort against child pornography, adult obscenity, sexual exploitation and violence. During that time he also co-founded the Religious Alliance Against Pornography (RAAP) with John Cardinal O’Connor of New York and Joseph Cardinal Bernardin of Chicago in 1986. In 1988 Jerry resigned his pastoral charge to commit his full-time energies to these efforts, now called the National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families.

Dr. Kirk has worked with religious leaders representing more than 100 million Americans, from nearly every major denomination and faith group in the country, including the Jewish community, The Salvation Army, the National Council of Churches, the National Association of Evangelicals, the Roman Catholic Church, Greek Orthodox Church and Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. He has met with Presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush and three different Attorneys General (including Edwin Meese). Dr. Kirk is a frequent speaker on the problem of pornography, sexual exploitation and violence, appearing on Dr. James Dobson’s “Focus on the Family” radio program eleven times, as well as, “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” “NBC Nightly News” with Tom Brokaw, Moody Broadcasting’s “Prime Time America” and most recently on FamilyLife with Dennis Rainey.

A native of Seattle, Washington, Dr. Kirk attended the University of Washington and has earned two graduate degrees. He has written two books, The Homosexual Crisis in the Mainline Church, The Mind Polluters, and numerous articles. He and his wife, Patty currently reside in Cincinnati and have five children and twenty-two grandchildren.

[excerpted from National Coalition for the Protection of Children & Families and Leadership Magazine]


On February 16-17, 1994, Jerry Kirk spoke at Wheaton College for the Annual Staley Lecture series on the topic “The Christian Response to Pornography.” In his final chapel address on the theme ‘Knowing, Believing, Praying, and Living the Word of God,’ Kirk expounded on the love of God from Ephesians 3 and presented a powerful illustration.

I’ve tried to think how can I receive God’s love more constantly? One of my [church] members told me one day that every time she saw a cardinal she would stop and say “I love you,” putting the words in the lips of Jesus. So I started searching for cardinals…but you know I didn’t see enough cardinals, so I put up a bird feeder outside my office window and I’d see ten or fifteen cardinals every day. Then I decided I ought to do that anytime I see any bird. Everyday, every time I see a bird I thank Jesus Christ for His love. Seventy-five to one-hundred fifty times every day I receive the love of Christ. If you’ll do that for one week, you’ll never stop.

[Artwork by Matthew Cook]

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Spurgeon memorabilia acquired

Charles Haddon SpurgeonRecently the Archives & Special Collections received some interesting items relating to Charles Haddon Spurgeon.

At the age of 20 Charles Haddon Spurgeon became the pastor of The New Park Street Chapel. A Baptist congregation that had its roots to 1650s with the English non-conformists, New Park Street was a Reformed Baptist church in Southwark, London. The congregation eventually outgrew its quarters with the exceedingly popular young preacher. In 1861 The Metropolitan Tabernacle was built at the prominent intersection at Elephant and Castle. A strong and vital congregation still worships there.

The original Metropolitan Tabernacle, built on the supposed site of the burning of the Southwark Martyrs, was burned down in 1898 (excepting the front portico and basement), and rebuilt along similar lines. It was later burned down for the second time when hit by an incendiary bomb in the longest air raid of World War II (in May 1941). Once again the portico and basement survived, and in 1957 the Tabernacle was rebuilt on the original perimeter walls, but to a different design.

Spurgeon artifactsIt was in the fire of 1898 that the burned bible was rescued from Spurgeon’s church. Along with the bible came another bit of “Spurgeoniana,” a bow-tie once worn by the preacher. The bible and bow-tie were the gift of Mrs. Delores Seifert, wife of Milton Seifert ’54. The bow-tie contains the inscription, “Worn by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, presented to Mary E. Scott by Rev. Philip Gast, 1896” Gast was a Baptist pastor and a contemporary of Spurgeon serving at Spencer Place and Charles Street Baptist churches in London.

David Aikman’s book on Graham in paperback

Billy Graham: His Life and Influence (Thomas Nelson, June 2010) examines Graham’s impact on the worldwide development of Christianity, international affairs and the fall of Communism. Author and former TIME Magazine senior correspondent David Aikman integrates his Christian faith and understanding of world affairs into this careful analysis of Graham’s ministry. Aikman examines critical episodes of Graham’s life that explain his impact on American public life and the private lives of world leaders.

David Barrington Thomson Aikman was born on June 6, 1944, the same night as the Normandy invasion, in Cobham, Surrey, England. Dr. Aikman received his early education at Stowe School in Bucks, England. He was graduated with honors in Russian and French from Worcester College, Oxford, received his M.A. in Far Eastern Languages and Literature (Mongolian and Turkish) from the Far Eastern and Russian Institute of the University of Washington, Seattle and also received his Ph.D. in Russian and Chinese history from the University of Washington.

He began his twenty-three year career with TIME magazine in 1971, reporting from five continents and more than 55 countries. As foreign and Senior Correspondent he interviewed major world figures like Mother Teresa, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Boris Yeltsin and Billy Graham. He was bureau chief in Berlin, Jerusalem and Beijing aided by his skill in speaking Russian, Chinese, French, and German. He is an expert on China, Eastern Asia, and the former Soviet Union. From 1998 to 2002 Aikman was a Senior Fellow at the Washington-based Ethics and Public Policy Center. Additionally, he served as editor-at-large of Newsroom, an Internet-based news organization reporting on the religious aspect of news events around the world.

David Aikman has been an eyewitness to the rise and fall of nations and regimes. Based in Hong Kong in the early 1970s, he saw first-hand the fall of Indo-china to Communist rule. He was the last correspondent to leave Phnom Penh before the Khmer Rouge invaded in 1975. While Eastern European Bureau Chief, Aikman also covered the emergence of dissident groups in Poland. Aikman was familiar with many of the people who became advisers to Polish President Lech Walesa. Dr. Aikman has also been Bureau Chief in Jerusalem, during the invasion of Lebanon by Israel; Beijing, during the reforms of Deng Xiaoping and the last days of the pro-democracy movement in Tiananmen Square; and in Moscow, during the Chernobyl disaster and the beginning of Yeltsin’s loyal opposition movement in 1989.

David Aikman is also an accomplished public speaker, appearing regularly on major C-SPAN, CNN, NBC and others. His speaking has focused on the Middle East, China and on religious persecution around the world. The David Aikman Papers are housed in the Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections.

[excerpted from David and David Aikman Papers]

S.S. Victory Wheaton

S.S. Wheaton Victory

painting by DeWitt Whistler Jayne ’36

Constructed by the California Shipbuilding Corporation yard on Terminal Island, California, the S.S Victory Wheaton set sail on March 22, 1945. Chosen by the U.S. Maritime Commission, it was one of a series of Victory ships named after America’s oldest educational institutions with student enrollment over 500. As with all ships of it class (officially VC2), the S.S. Victory Wheaton was 455 feet long and 62 feet wide. Her cross-compound steam turbine with double reduction gears developed 6,000 (AP2 type) or 8,500 (AP3s type) horsepower, allowing it great advantage in speed over its predecessor, the Liberty ship. Mrs. Kenneth Godwin, wife of the Executive Office of the Bureau of Yards and Docks of San Francisco, christened the vessel. Wheaton was represented at the ceremony by the Reverend John Shearer, ’39, pastor of North Hollywood Presbyterian Church and Chaplain L.J. Soerhide, U.S.N.R., ’39. A new Victory Ship memorial has been developed in Florida. Wheaton will have a plaque recognizing it along with the other schools for which Victory ships were named.

“Red” Grange documentary receives Emmy nomination

Larger Than Life: The Red Grange Story, a documentary produced, in part, from resources housed in the Archives & Special Collections, has received an Emmy nomination from the Mid-America Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for Best Historical Documentary. The winners will be announced on Oct. 9, 2010.

the Red Grange story

The documentary is on the life of Harold “Red” Grange interwoven with the story of the creation of a new Grange statue commissioned by the University of Illinois. Originally broadcast on the Big Ten Network, Larger Than Life presents Grange as the sports superstar that transformed professional football and helped firmly establish the National Football league. The 45-minute long documentary is available for viewing online and is full of primary source materials and interviews with sports historians and other noted individuals. One of the historians interviewed is Gary Andrew Poole, author of The Galloping Ghost: Red Grange, an American football legend. As with Poole’s book, the University of Illinois utilized several images from the Grange collection that are unique to our holdings in its production.

Hickory Presbyterians

Kenneth and Margaret LandonNot only was Kenneth Landon ’24 involved in the incipient efforts by the U.S. government to organize its foreign intelligence during and after the Second World War (as reported here), he was also a remarkably well-educated man, with impressive institutional credentials to match his wide-ranging intellectual, and especially linguistic, gifts.

More than a decade before he received his doctorate from The University of Chicago in 1938, he attended Princeton Seminary after being graduated from Wheaton College with a philosophy degree. Princeton had by that time become embroiled in the fundamentalist-modernist controversy that marked the era.

The dramatis personae of these tragic events at Princeton pit, on one side, the president, J. Ross Stevenson, whose tenure as president began in 1914, and Charles Erdman, long-time student advisor and professor of homiletics, against Robert Dick Wilson, a talented Semitic philologist, and J. Gresham Machen, to whom students referred, with gibing affection, as “Das”. Despite the opposition and with the approval of the faculty, Erdman’s ouster took place in 1926.

The seminary class of 1927–Landon’s class–was, in his generous judgment, the most brilliant and talent-laden that the seminary had had for fifty years. More certainly they among the last classes ever to walk the halls of Old Princeton. In 1929, Machen was to lead a number of Princeton faculty in the founding of an alternative Presbyterian seminary, Westminster Theological in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

In the 90-plus-hour “Landon Chronicles” oral histories, Kenneth and his wife, Margaret ’25 (of Anna and the King of Siam fame), tell about the controversy as they knew it from within and give their judgments on the falling out. According to them, Stevenson had a habit of splitting every institution he touched, not unlike the habit, Margaret mentions in passing, of a more local Presbyterian controversialist, Wheaton College’s third president, J. Oliver Buswell. He had his share in splitting institutions too, thus proving the byword, attributed to the ousted Charlie Erdman, that Presbyterians are like hickory: split easily.

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Love the Lord Your God

Dr. J. Richard Chase, sixth president of Wheaton College, recently passed away at age 79. He was a college president for nearly a quarter century at Biola University & Wheaton College combined. Two years after his retirement, the President Emeritus returned to Wheaton and gave the 136th Undergraduate Commencement address on May 7, 1995. His message (excerpted below) was entitled “Love the Lord Your God.” He is introduced by his successor, Duane Litfin.


Graduates, the upheavals of change-experienced by people throughout time–are sure to swirl about you for as long as you live on the earth. The challenge to think and act Christianly today is tough, It is tough here in Wheaton, and, I suspect, far tougher in Burundi, Bosnia, and the barrios of the world. Society has never been an ideal cocoon for moral living: righteous living has never been the art of riding on society’s coattails. It has ever required a commitment to a guiding principle or foundation and the resolve to act responsibly. You may pick a time in ages past when you could travel with a “supportive” crowd in a “supportive” society, but true, righteous living is a matter of the heart, not a herd instinct.

A Pharisee, a teacher of the Law, asked Jesus, “Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” (Matthew 22:36). The Pharisee’s predicament was not much different from that of modern man. He was caught in the turmoil of both his foundation for life and his career. In a matter of months, Jesus had turned this Pharisee’s world upside down. His conversation with Jesus and our Lord’s response, “You are not far from the kingdom of God” (Mark 12:34), suggest that he was agonizing in mind and soul. There he was, caught between his past occupation and pattern of life and a new, revolutionary way of trust, faith, and commitment. And this is to say nothing of the oppressive Roman rule under which he lived, and, as a religious leader, of the accommodations he had to make with the ruling officials to hold his position. He approached Jesus with a question to test him. Although this Pharisee wanted to put Jesus on the spot, he was curious. I suspect he wondered, Could this man Jesus, who answered the Herodians and Sadducees so powerfully, help me? He asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?” (v. 28).

And Jesus responded, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself” (vv. 30-31).

Living effectively and righteously is never easy. But our Lord’s brief response gives us a place to stand. Here is a foundation that helped Daniel in Babylon, Deborah the prophetess as she led Israel against the Canaanites, Wilberforce as he stood against the slave traders, and countless numbers of God’s people in every age. This commandment tells us to love the Lord and our neighbors with such passion that it can invigorate our minds, direct our actions, and enrich our souls. It provides an overpowering focus for lives cluttered with competing goals and distracting desires. Further, it is as valid and all encompassing today as it was twenty centuries ago.

My gift to you on this commencement day is but a reminder that Wheaton has brought you in contact with faculty who have informed, badgered, prodded, encouraged, guided, and yes, even graded you, in an attempt to equip you for a life of thinking. Think as you paint, play, perform, and counsel; think as you assist, reach, pray, relate, react, grieve; and think as you play and as you rejoice. Think within the context of an all-consuming love for our God and our world of neighbors.

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An Honorary Wheatonite

William BiederwolfAn article from the September 28, 1932, Record testifies to the effective ministry of William Edward Biederwolf (1867-1939), Presbyterian evangelist and author, to Wheaton College students and faculty…and reciprocally, their affection for him:

With all aisles packed with new and renewed Christians, the Fall Evangelistic services were brought to a powerful close. Dr. W. E. Biederwolf’s calvinistic clarity produced a profound effect upon the packed chapel. Some were in tears, some were radiant and some were struggling visibly, manifesting the power of God at work. While Mr. Hammontree and the congregation were singing “Softly and Tenderly Jesus is Calling,” a number took up the banner for Christ and walked down the aisle. Each one who moved to a decision made Dr. Biederwolf’s face to shine, especially those who gave their youth to the Savior as a love token, “a fresh bouquet” instead of a “wilted one.” In results the evangelistic meetings, which have just past, have never been equaled in College history. President Buswell proposed the names of Dr. Biederwolf, Mr. Hammontree and Mr. Paul Beck with full membership in the “Wheaton Family,” and without one dissenting vote they were accepted.

In October of that year Biederwolf donated a collection of his books, mostly sermons transcribed from his itinerant ministry, to the college library. These titles dealt with Christian Science, Mormonism, Spiritualism, prophetic and other doctrinal issues.

Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye

Sue Thomas was born in 1950. At the age of 18 months she experienced an instant and total hearing loss. With the support of her parents she spent years with therapists learning to communicate and read lips despite being profoundly deaf. Instead of being relegated to an institution her parents were determined to help their only daughter become a success among the hearing. Although having academic challenges as the only deaf child in her public school district near Boardman, Ohio, she focused her energies on skating and became the youngest Ohio State Champion free-style skater.

She persevered through her schooling and finally graduated from Springfield College in Massachusetts with a degree in Political Science and International Affairs. She was hired by the Federal Bureau of Investigation as a fingerprint examiner and then as an undercover investigator doing surveillance work reading lips for the FBI agents in Washington D.C.

In 2002 her inspiring story was adapted for television and aired as a weekly drama. At its peak, “Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye” was watched by more than 2.5 million viewers in the United States and was syndicated in 60 countries. It has since generated a loyal fansite, Facebook, and Twitter pages.

Prior to her international acclaim, Sue Thomas spoke in Edman Chapel in December 1991 to the Wheaton College family and shared her Christian testimony. She had recently written her autobiography “Silent Night” which has since been updated for it’s 20th anniversary edition.

[excerpted from Wikipedia and Sue Thomas Productions]

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Und, Chakup wowed a wow!

Carl F. H. HenryIn 1937 Wheaton College founded the John Dickey Memorial Graduate School of Theology. To augment the faculty President J. Oliver Buswell remembered a retired Methodist minister with an earned doctorate. He asked Dr. Jacob Hoffmann to join the faculty to teach Hebrew and Old Testament. Hoffmann spoke with a heavy German accent and in his autobiography Carl F. H. Henry recalled a very funny situation where this accent lighted the mood. Henry was part of early classes of the graduate school and remembered Hoffmann exegeting a portion of Genesis. In his distinctive, and emphatic, German Hoffmann read Genesis 28:20 “Und Chakup wowed a wow” (more clearly, “and Jacob vowed a vow”). Henry and his classmates chuckled a bit. Hoffmann not sure if he misread the verse restated, with more emphasis, “Und Chakup wowed a wow!” Chuckles turned to unhindered laughter. Not used to the classroom, Hoffmann gathered his composure and, for a third time, recited the beginning of the verse, but more slowly: “Und… Chakup… wowed… a… wow….” The small class of five or six students exploded. Henry, the son of German immigrants, recounted Hoffmann’s response, “Ah, chentelmen, I know vy you are laffink; you know vat sort of scountrel diss man Chakup vass, don’t you?” As a former pastor, Hoffmann likely knew a scoundrel or two when he saw one.