The greatest man in my life was Dr. Glenn Martin. Dr. Martin was chair of the Political Science Department at the college I attended and the college Dr. Ken Schenck now teaches at. Dr. Martin set me on the path of Presuppositionalism and Worldview thinking and introduced me to presuppositionalist authors such as Dr. C. Gregg Singer and Dr. Francis Schaeffer. Two of my majors at Marion (Political Science and History) found me sitting under almost every class that Martin offered.
Even before Cultural Marxism, Political Correctness and multiculturalism descended upon the West in full force, Dr. Martin was warning about these coming realities. Dr. Martin was pro-South, taught Austrian Economics, taught that the mainstream Media was captured by the Socialist left, exposed the leftist history of the Union movement in America, taught about the communist influence in the US Government and told the real story about Alger Hiss and Whitaker Chambers. Dr. Martin exposed the wickedness of Abraham Lincoln, Woodrow Wilson, and Franklin D. Roosevelt. Dr. Martin introduced me to Alexander Solzhenitsyn where I read Solzhenitsyn’s — to date unheeded warning to the West — in his Harvard address. From there I absorbed on my own Solzhenitsyn’s “Gulag Archipelago” and “A Day In The Life Of Ivan Denisovich,” as well as other writings by Russia’s Prophetic voice to the West. Dr. Martin introduced me to Dr. Fred Schwarz’s “You Can Trust The Communists To Be Communists.” This was a book written in 1960 that should be required reading even yet today for in that book one can learn a great deal about our current domestic enemies. From Martin I likewise learned Muggeridge, Kuhn, McLuhan, Efron, and a host of other authors.
At 18-22 I hardly understood these authors and their greatness as well as I one day would when I would circle back and re-read them as I aged. Likewise, at 18-22 I never appreciated Dr. Martin as much as I do now. I now realize I missed the bullet that most university students, who receive majors in the fields I received them in, take right between the eyes as their education is conditioned w/ Marxist poison of different varieties. Dr. Martin’s teaching was so exhaustive and so demanding that he always insisted that if you could earn an “A” in his class you could earn an “A” in any university in the country. The difference in those “A’s” though, was that most Universities in America were teaching history, political science, government, media, philosophy, from a pagan worldview while Martin was the Wesleyan version of R. J. Rushdoony.
Dr. Martin taught us the distinctions between different kinds of socialism (Fabianism, German National Socialism, Italian Fascism, etc.) and how it was, in most varieties, a political precursor to the same Utopian state that Communism was pursuing. Dr. Martin hated collectivistic and tyrannical government with every inch of his being. He hated them so much he loved telling a story about how he would speak in Churches and little old ladies would come up to him following his lecture and say, “What we need is a Christian dictator.” Dr. Martin would tell us in class that the very last thing we needed was a Christian dictator if only because such a thing is not possible. Dr. Martin believed in and taught Biblical government. Everything that Gary DeMar teaches in his “God and Government” book, Dr. Glenn Martin was teaching me in his 101 courses in 1977 at Marion College.
Further, as with all good presuppositionalists he taught the intellectual history of the philosophy of the West that was driving much of the cultural bankruptcy of the West. This included his course titled. “Western Intellectual and Social History.” In this course Dr. Martin traced the degradation of the Philosophy of the West starting w/ the attempt to synthesize Augustinianism w/ rationalism through Aquinas and the Scholastics. Martin’s premise was as long as the West kept trying to mix Biblical Christianity w/ pagan philosophy it would never have the strength to resist defeat. Martin spent a good deal of time covering existentialism covering Kierkegaard, Sartre, Camus, Nietzsche, Heidegger, and others. This training put me in good stead to understand postmodernism for what it was when it showed up on the scene.
As I grew older, I discovered other presuppositionalists (Bahnsen, Rushdoony, Clark, Os Guiness, Van Til, etc.) and by learning them I learned at the same time that Dr. Martin would have been well served if had been a little more conversant in Reformed Theology. Dr. Martin tried to avoid the Reformed vs. Arminian conflict his whole teaching career. I think his teaching would have been even more powerful if he had had some background in Reformed systematic and historical theology. As it was, since he taught at a Arminian college, he was forever trying to avoid the Arminian vs. Reformed debate, choosing to always only refer to himself as a “Biblical Christian.” As I became more conversant in Reformed Theology and later re-read his works I noticed some glaring inconsistencies in some of his lectures. I think though I can say that Dr. Glenn Martin, though he may have never intended to, planted some Reformed seeds in me that years later came to maturation. (I was still quite the rabid Arminian when I graduated Marion College.)
When I began college I was a personal mess. To this day I can’t believe I made it through my first year. (I even actually “quit” for a week, but went back because I had nowhere else to go.) I was failing exams and courses left and right. I finally made my failures a matter of prayer and told the Lord Christ that, “if in the exam I was taking on the morrow, in Dr. Martin’s class, I failed that really would be the end.” I took the exam and the next week received the exam back. I think I had scored something like a “45%.” I thought to myself … “Well, Lord I guess that does it — I’m finished.” However, I thought I would check on Dr. Martin’s door to correlate the score to the grade and found out, that because Martin graded on a curve, and because the rest of the Freshman class was as stupid as I was that a “45%” was a “C.” I stuck with it and the rest is, as they say, History.
Dr. Martin was also my adviser through college and we became as much friends as a bumpkin and a genius can become. I’ll never forget that he went out of his way to attend the first sermon I ever preached. (Which must have been quite painful for him to sit through.) I also remember him attending a meal in my honor at my graduation w/ my family and friends. I also was privileged to be invited to his home to watch the Republicans in 1980 nominate Ronald Reagan for President. Reagan was a man for which Dr. Martin had great hopes.
Dr. Martin was always viewed with suspicion at his place of employment. In reflection I would say that that was one part envy and one part ideological conflict. The suspicion became so deep while I was there that one professor each from the Sociology and the Psychology departments actually enrolled to take classes from Dr. Martin because they just couldn’t believe what Martin students were bringing to and saying in the classes in sociology and psychology they were teaching. It was clear that Worldview conflict between departments at Marion College was intense. Dr. Martin seemed not to be phased by this as he understood and taught the whole Reformed idea of the antithesis, though he never called it “Reformed.”
Dr. Martin’s influence was so great at Marion College while I was there that when an attempt was made to start a “Young Democrats Club” nobody showed up to become a member. Largely because of Dr. Martin Marion College was a conservative (I would even say paleo-conservative) campus.
I left in 1982 and occasionally I would hear through the grapevine that Indiana Wesleyan University (the new name of my Marion College) was going liberal. When I attended Marion College there was always a professor here or there who was loopy that way, but on the whole the religion and theology department (one of my degrees was from this department as well) was as solid as Arminians can be in that regard. I mean, in hindsight their theology sucked, but they weren’t teaching the historical-critical method of hermeneutics or singing the praises of Bultmann or Tillich, or Barth. They were basically “come to Jesus” (revivalist) people in their theology and while the damage in such theology is bad enough it was nowhere near the muck and mire that is being taught at Indiana Wesleyan University now.
And this brings us back to Dr. Schenck. Somehow (and I honestly quite forget how) I learned that Schenck and the Religion department was running down Dr. Martin. Then as I interacted w/ Dr. Ken Schenck I leanred for myself the incredible public disrespect Schenck exhibited for Dr. Martin.
Now, I have many faults. Legion is their name. However, one of them isn’t a lack of loyalty. I owe a debt that I will never be able to repay to Dr. Glen Martin and I didn’t and don’t take to kindly to these fool Ph.D’s in the religion department at IWU running down the greatest teacher that University will probably ever know. Further then that this becomes a, “Who is on the King’s side,” kind of tale because in the attacks the religion department made on Martin while he was alive and now makes on him now that he is dead they are attacking, as far as I am concerned, King Jesus. Not because Dr. Martin = Jesus but because many of the positions that Martin took were just your basic Christianity 101.
The theology of these people isn’t merely your garden variety Arminianism (which would be bad enough) but rather IWU has gone over the edge w/ a Barthian-post-modernist strain in their thinking. Schenck himself has told me that there is no way that one can ever find an objective. For Schenck all there is, is particulars. There are no Universals. This descends into pure subjectivism in theology and in matters of truth. Schenck insists that he prefers to play “small ball” when it comes to these issues but if there are no Universals then how can he know what small ball is?
I will always … always have a soft spot in my heart for the Wesleyans. When I was a child and a young adult they were the love of Christ to me when I was living in a pretty messed up family life. It may seem a severe mercy with the slapping around of Dr. Ken Schenck that I am returning to them for all their past kindnesses but if I could write anything to shake these people up and get them to return to John Wesley Arminiansim as opposed to Ken Schenck post-modern Arminianism I would be ecstatic.
And besides, I’m not a guy with a lot of heroes in my life and the handful I have I am going to defend against the attacks of little men like Dr. Ken Schenck who look big in our even smaller culture and church.