Monday, July 12, 2010

My Thoughts on David Norman's Thornwell Lecture

I have now had time to read and re-read Dr. David Norman's Thornwell Lecture he gave on the 4th at First Presbyterian Church of Columbia, SC. Let me summarize my comments in this way: Dr. Norman has been President of Erskine for 12 days. I believe we can neither overly praise nor condemn him based on one speech. Dr. Norman has my full support and I hope he has yours as well.

Now, for specifics. There were many things to be pleased with in Dr. Norman's lecture. First, I greatly appreciated the kind words he had to say about Dr. DeWitt:
I do not know Dr. de Witt very well. But I do know him to be a man of the Gospel, and as such I will not sit quietly if his reputation is truly in jeopardy.
Knowing the vitriol that is spewed out against Dr. de Witt by some, this statement by Dr. Norman took a great deal of courage. Well done, Dr. Norman!

I also agree that the phrase "integration of faith and learning" needs to be better defined. Dr. Norman said:
I don’t particularly like the phrase because in many circles it has become an empty slogan of dead liturgy, and what the phrase means is way too important to abandon to the mindless mortuary of recitation and sloganeering.
Anytime a phrase becomes mindless recitation, it can no longer have any force. If we do not clarify what we mean by "integration of faith and learning" and if, after clarifying, we do not enforce what we mean by the phrase, then we have become a "sounding brass or a clanging cymbal," but do no one any good.

Certainly, there are other issues that I wish Dr. Norman would have addressed, but he only had a certain amount of time and I think he did a good job of touching on the major issues.

Again, I state: Dr. Norman has my full support, and I hope he has yours as well. Continue to pray for him!

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