Of Studies and the Grace that Turns on the Lights

I’ve never been a Math and Science (STEM) kind of chap. All of my interests and abilities have been in what has been questionably dubbed “the humanities” — you know, History, Philosophy, Theology, Literature and even Sociology. It wasn’t that I didn’t make an effort at Math and Science its just that it took me too much time to que up to a speed where I could be in the middle of the pack. Because of this reality, languages were a struggle for me as well. In Undergrad I tried Accounting and failed miserably. I also took a twirl in Economics but unfortunately my Economics classes were long on the Mathematical equations in order to come with GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and GNP (Gross Net Product) and very short on Economic theory. I only later learned that I had some proficiency at Economics as theory. However, I had precious little proficiency at Economics as Mathematics. This reality explains how I struggled to get through the required statistics class in undergrad.

It was only when I took Theology courses I began to realize that here was something that I could excel at. For whatever reason Theology just clicked and made sense. In point of fact, in short time fellow students were coming to me for help with their theology. Theology clicked faster than even politics history and philosophy — all subjects for which I finally received a BS degree. However, that was due to the fact that I was also being taught presuppositionalism (epistemology) at the same time and it took a few years before lights turned on. I remember to this day being assigned as a Freshman to read Francis Schaeffer’s “Escape From Reason.” Some of you may recall that this small book is less than one hundred pages. As I read each word and turned each page I had no idea what I was reading. It may was well have been as been written in French. Still, I was bound and determined to read it cover to cover despite not understanding a single word I was reading. I wanted at least to be able to say that I had tried. When the exam came I was ready to walk away from College. All my course work was beyond me. I was not ready for College. I told the Lord that if I failed the Schaeffer exam (and I had already failed more than a few exams and classes at this point) that I was walking away from College. So, I went in like a trooper and took the exam and fumbled my way through it the best I could and just knew I had failed miserably. I was sure that I was finished with this whole college thing.

However, as the Professor (Dr. Martin) graded his Freshman classes on a curve, the fact that the rest of my peers were even more bumfuzzled than me rescued the day. I went to look at the grade curve, posted on Martin’s door, and there I discovered that my failure in understanding was a average failure of understanding. I had not failed but had received a “C” on the exam and I said to the Lord, “apparently you don’t want me leaving here,” and so I stayed and pressed on. It took a couple years of failing more than a few classes before I began to get a grip on matters, but that grip never included math and science. (Though in biology and the pig dissection with its pure memory work, I aced.)

All of this to set up what I am learning now on the intricacies of the human body. With my surgical procedure on the horizon I have been required to learn about the human heart. I have been reading on the subjects and listening to lectures and I have to admit that I am stunned at the precision and order there is about the human body. A Presbyterian would say that “everything in the human body is decent and in order.” There is nothing about the human heart that bespeaks chaos or happenstance. I keep muttering to myself over and over again, “We are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made,” and “What is man that thou are mindful of him. Thou hast made him a little lower than the angels and crowned him with glory and honor.”

In my learning I have come away asking myself, “How can anybody who studies all this as a career and living not believe in design and a designer?” “How can any medical Doctor not be a servant of Christ?” How can they study all this and not fall on their faces before their Creator God?

Then I was reminded again that the natural man is at warfare with God (Romans 8:7). It all came forcefully upon me of the power of the fallen mind to suppress the truth in unrighteousness. Then I was reminded again what grace and privilege it has been to have been sent the Spirit of the living God so as to be able to see and interpret all of life in light of the reality of God. There is no difference between me and any genius surgeon who does not see that the human body screams DESIGN and so DESIGNER except for the fact that sovereign grace has arrested me and opened my eyes while the genius surgeon continues to suppress the truth in unrighteousness and so can only see time plus chance plus circumstance.

There are a few truths I’m pressing with this entry. The obvious one is how all of creation screams a Creator God. The second one is the necessity of gratitude that the Spirit of the living Christ has turned on lights so that the Christ believer is living in a illuminated world that is bright with the reality and glory of God. Everything proclaims the handiwork of God. Our prayer is that we would, over time, see that more and more clearly. The third truth I’m trying to push in this entry is for the person who may think that they don’t have the ability to understand theology, philosophy, history and academics in general. Don’t give up. Keep pressing on. Make it a matter of prayer. If God could turn on lights for me so that a kid who graduated High School with a 1.9 GPA and who was jagged and broken around the edges then His grace can turn the lights on for any one upon whom His grace is given. However, lets me honest, ignorance, like demons, is not cast out except by prayer and fasting. (Not to mention a stubborn refusal to allow the material to conquer you.) There has to be a willingness to be seen as stupid by your peers who are ahead of you initially. (My stories here are the stuff books are made of.) There has to be a willingness to suffer the dismissal of professors who are hinting that “you’re not college (seminary, ministry) material.” (More stories and more books.)

The mindset of people who are in the position that I was in and remain in is to take the mindset of the tortoise in his race with the hare. People like you and I just need to keep praying and plugging away morning, noon, and night in order to get to the finish line.

You may not think you have it in you and it may be the case that your talents lie elsewhere but all of God’s people are called at some level to “study to show thyself approved, a workman who needeth not to be ashamed.”

Author: jetbrane

I am a Pastor of a small Church in Mid-Michigan who delights in my family, my congregation and my calling. I am postmillennial in my eschatology. Paedo-Calvinist Covenantal in my Christianity Reformed in my Soteriology Presuppositional in my apologetics Familialist in my family theology Agrarian in my regional community social order belief Christianity creates culture and so Christendom in my national social order belief Mythic-Poetic / Grammatical Historical in my Hermeneutic Pre-modern, Medieval, & Feudal before Enlightenment, modernity, & postmodern Reconstructionist / Theonomic in my Worldview One part paleo-conservative / one part micro Libertarian in my politics Systematic and Biblical theology need one another but Systematics has pride of place Some of my favorite authors, Augustine, Turretin, Calvin, Tolkien, Chesterton, Nock, Tozer, Dabney, Bavinck, Wodehouse, Rushdoony, Bahnsen, Schaeffer, C. Van Til, H. Van Til, G. H. Clark, C. Dawson, H. Berman, R. Nash, C. G. Singer, R. Kipling, G. North, J. Edwards, S. Foote, F. Hayek, O. Guiness, J. Witte, M. Rothbard, Clyde Wilson, Mencken, Lasch, Postman, Gatto, T. Boston, Thomas Brooks, Terry Brooks, C. Hodge, J. Calhoun, Llyod-Jones, T. Sowell, A. McClaren, M. Muggeridge, C. F. H. Henry, F. Swarz, M. Henry, G. Marten, P. Schaff, T. S. Elliott, K. Van Hoozer, K. Gentry, etc. My passion is to write in such a way that the Lord Christ might be pleased. It is my hope that people will be challenged to reconsider what are considered the givens of the current culture. Your biggest help to me dear reader will be to often remind me that God is Sovereign and that all that is, is because it pleases him.

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