Torrance's Convocation speech

In an earlier post, I gave a brief summary of the opening convocation address given by President Iain Torrance. If anyone is interested in reading it in its entirety, you will find it here.


MarkC said…

That's an excellent speech. Thanks for sharing it. This hit home with me:

I hope that in a church, if anywhere, we can learn not to be so afraid [of contradictory ideas] that we insist on a shoot-to-kill policy. I cannot believe that that kind of fear is what God wishes for us.

In America at least, and probably in more places than that, the culture at large tends to have a "shoot-to-kill" policy with regards to opposing viewpoints on everything from religion to politics to whether Ford or Chevy has better trucks. It is a dangerous state that is tearing us apart as a country, and as communities.

A few years back I was struggling deeply with my faith, particularly with the Bible. I was grappling with the areas where I had always assumed I knew the answers, but where it appeared the Bible gave only questions and contradictions. I went to a men's retreat, and we had an open sharing time in our cabin the first night. I shared my fear and uncertainty about the Bible. About half the cabin responded well, doing a good job of listening, not doing the shoot-to-kill. The other half seemed intent on either fixing me on the spot, or marginalizing me so they wouldn't have to deal with my ideas. It was a painful weekend.

Thanks for sharing... the "shoot-to-kill" metaphor is helpful for me.

I'm glad you liked it, Mark. I found out from another professor at the seminary that Pres. Torrance specifically had seminary professors in mind when he spoke about the "shoot-to-kill policy." Apparently, he is discouraged by the desire among academics, especially those in the church, to "shoot down" the theological views of others for the sake of building up their own. I hope someone makes this implication explicit, since I heartily agree -- while at the same feel guilty for falling into such a shoot-to-kill mentality. It's both insightful and profound.
MarkC said…
Wow... I read this comment after writing my long response on the "Truth and Falsehood" post. His "for the sake of building up their own" comment is exactly what I was driving at in that post, though I used a lot more words and didn't explain it nearly as well. Thanks! :)