Justice On the American Campus: Gospel Reflections from the Prophet Micah

by Robert B. Gregory, Esq.

Rights or Right?

Beginning in the fall of the 2015, the Christian Fellowship at Bowdoin College took up the study of justice as pronounced by the prophet Micah, and we have been guided in part by the writings and teachings of the Christian theologian and ethicist Oliver O’Donovan, professor emeritus at the University of Edinburgh and a fellow of the British Academy, whose works will be referred to frequently in this essay.

The argument made here is that campus ministries must be encouraged to renew their faith that the gospel of Jesus Christ alone, both in its Old Testament pronouncements and promises and in its New Testament fulfillment, is the necessary and sufficient protest against injustice that would be proper for a Christian student. This protest includes the hope for some modest social achievements now in the common good, and for some possible correction to systemic injustice wherever it is found. Alone means that no secondary movement or formula for protest without a redemptive context needs to be added to the gospel to clarify, strengthen or improve on the protest it contains in itself and by its own nature. That redemptive context is one that is bracketed at the beginning by the creation and the order of the good which God pronounces upon it. It is bracketed at the end by a new creation with a new pronouncement based on the sacrifice of the Lamb. And in the middle, that context is characterized by dissatisfactions with justice where the arbitration of competing claims and demands of human life is marked mostly by failure. According to the Biblical narrative, this failure of justice awaits a more perfect justice in a future to which the believer in Jesus Christ is to orient himself or herself by hope, by faith and with love for the world which is God's communication of himself to mankind.

The emphasis in this essay is particularly on the starting points for reasoning about justice which we find in the character and attributes of God who is just – and from what he has created in the world which is good. We will look at the prophetic oracles of Micah as a kind of “model protest,” and identify his point of departure for a pronouncement against the political, juridical and economic power centers of the nation Israel. As campus ministers of the gospel, we are looking for the arguments for justice within the gospel. These arguments presuppose certain things about the world, about ourselves as actors within the world, and about our available future.  The presuppositions we hold to make those arguments are those formed from the way we understand the order of creation which God called “good,” and how practical reason might argue from those descriptions of the world as we find it, toward the ideals and prescriptions about the world as it ought to be, and what ought to be done by us as moral agents.  Christian ethics is rooted in Christian metaphysics. The entire body of work by Oliver O’Donovan helped us to think about the path of practical reasoning that he refers to as a journey from the is to the ought, from observation to obligation, from good of creation to the right of justice and the ethical life.[i]

In the course of my professional career I have had the privilege of representing asylum seekers in federal court. In every asylum case, the asylum seeker’s entitlement to the protection of US laws begins only where the laws of their own country were unavailing to protect them from torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment as guaranteed by federal laws. These laws originate in the commitments made in international treaties grounded in Article 5 of Universal Declaration of Human Rights adopted by the General Assembly of the United Nations in 1948.  In other words, the starting point for legal reasoning for a refugee is the failure of justice to protect those ideals contained within the dignity-based documents of domestic and international law. These protections are evaluated judgments that rely on some notion of the right that failed in protecting the rights of persons in another country and rest on some international, shared conception of the good.

Writing in the Villanova Law Review in 2009, Nicholas Wolterstorff suggests that “[t]he biggest challenge facing anyone who wants to develop a theory of rights is to explain why it is that in certain cases one has a right to the good of being treated a certain way, whereas in other cases one has no such right-no such morally legitimate claim.”[ii] He notes that paradoxically, in the case of the U.N. Declaration of Human Rights, no attempt was made by the drafters to specify what it is about human beings that gives them the dignity upon which “rights” would be founded.  “The original authors discussed the basics of human dignity. Nonetheless, they found themselves disagreeing on the matter and decided to remain silent.”[iii]  As campus ministers, we should be neither unclear nor silent about our Biblical starting point in thinking about justice: man created very good in the image of God.

The case of the asylum seeker is of interest for another reason. Many asylum seekers are seeking protection precisely because of their own protest against injustice in their country of origin.  The Old Testament prophet Micah was also a protester against injustice. Jeremiah records that Micah, like Jeremiah himself, was at the risk of death in pronouncing a prophecy of judgment on Israel. But King Hezekiah spared Micah’s life because he feared the Lord and perceived a connection between how the king treated the protestor against injustice, and how the Lord himself might relent in bringing the disaster pronounced against Israel’s “systemic injustice.”[iv]  Hezekiah took the time to reason from the good (his own life, the life of Micah the protestor and the nation Israel) to the right (sparing his life, Micah’s life and the Nation of Israel) and saw the international implications of reasoning about justice that way.  These are the types of connections between individual ethics, social justice and global ills that we sought to highlight together this year.

My concern in this essay is whether campus ministers have an adequate grasp of the resources[v] available to us in the gospel for rational discourse about justice, and how we can train ourselves and our students to think better about practical reasoning in this contentious matter of public justice. I am not arguing here that propositions about justice can be derived from facts alone.  C.S. Lewis argues convincingly that “[f]rom propositions about fact alone no practical conclusion can ever be drawn” since we cannot “get a conclusion in the imperative mood out of a premise in the indicative mood.”[vi] Rather, I am arguing in line with O’Donovan and others that practical reason in matters of justice proceeds from the order of the nature of things, the order of creation, or from the “Tao” of C.S. Lewis essay, which Lewis calls “rationality itself.”  We were looking to find that rationality for reasoning about justice which the United Nations could not identify in forming the Declaration of Rights.[vii] Oliver O’Donovan describes this starting place as analogous to the discovery of a path, or an archeological relic, both objects in the world which are “not capable in themselves of forming conscious ends of their own… [but which] can still be bearers of ends.” The rights that might be developed in the course of such practical reason emerge from the right of the creation order and are thus derivative and not original. [viii]  

We should be committed to that creation order as the carrier of that rationality and the communicator of those achievable ends of justice. Any competing non-redemptive framework for justice which denies the priority of the good over the right is a rival to the Biblical justice as we are given to understand it.  We should also be aware of the practices of the church that already serve as the public protest against the false orders of the world that deny the accomplishments of reconciliation in Christ proven in the bodily resurrection of Jesus.

Justice Now

What do we want? Justice!

When do we want it? Now!

This familiar street chant presupposes at least four possibilities:

1.     That justice in some form can be conceived of and shared within a community.

2.     That justice is a pronouncement capable of making demands on other persons.

3.     That justice can be produced without the lapse of time.

4.     That justice is really a matter of personal desire and is otherwise disconnected from any other order.

It is the third and fourth presuppositions that are most troubling to this campus minister today. Time to carefully consider the world which each individual student inhabits, the time available to them, the uniqueness of each student (the coordinates of the world, self and time developed in several contexts by O’Donovan) was part of our study this year. 

George Parkin Grant warns that the concept of justice in modern liberalism until now has been able to live on the borrowed capital of a shared consensus about self-evident goodness of the order of creation which serves as its “moral cement.” Grant’s short treatise addresses the same “impoverishment of thought” about the theological foundations of justice we are lamenting here. Traditional notions of justice were grounded in the idea of goodness based on a fitness for purpose – justice is what we are fitted for.   “We come to know that through the practice of philosophy, which gives us knowledge of the nature of things, of what we are fitted for and what the consequences are for our actions in being so fitted.”[ix]  He writes further about the reasons for the decline of thought about matters of justice, that in the past,

"the principles of our political and legal institutions did not need to be justified in thought, because they were justified in life. . . . Anyone who wished to act outside these parameters had rightly to feel or assume shame . . . liberalism could simply be lived in without contemplation. . ..The story has been told many times of how most intellectuals in our societies scorned the fundamental beliefs of the public religion, and yet counted on the continuance of its moral affirmations to serve as the convenient public basis of justice. Clever people generally believed that the foundational principles of justice were chosen conveniences. . .. Nevertheless, they could not turn away from a noble content to that justice, because they were enfolded more than they knew in long memories and hopes. They were so unfolded even as they ridiculed the beliefs that kept those memories alive among the less articulate." [x]

Does the order of creation carry with it guidance about how we ought to live? How do we help the student living within the contemporary campus culture, which demands “justice now,” recover a trust in the reflective judgments that must be made in time in order to achieve the goals of justice? What is the answer to the question “what shall we do?” posed both to John the Baptist by Roman soldiers (Luke 3.14) and those who heard Peter’s first sermon in the book of Acts (Acts 2.37)?  These are the questions that occupied our study of Micah this semester as we considered the passion for justice on the American campus.

Taking Passion for Justice Seriously as a Quest for the Limitless

We take this cultural passion for justice seriously, for even the passion that denies these necessities of time may reflect the impatient dissatisfactions of persons struggling with the limits of the created order and with the need for answers to the questions in the preceding paragraph. These dissatisfactions and their related anxieties about justice express that yearning for the limitless which is the very paradox described by the French Theologian Henri Blocher:

The individual man or woman will indeed never be satisfied on this side of that limit. We are made for the limitless God who is revealed in the Bible – but only in a communion which respects order and not confusion. So we finally arrive at the tragic paradox: fury against God’s order feeds on the desire for God. Once the knowledge of God is lost, the sense of God wanders among created things, and not finding him, seeks for his substitute in their dissolution. Once the knowledge of God is lost, mankind accuses finitude of causing his disorder, whereas that disorder is the fruit of disobedience. Once the communion is lost, mankind wants to replace it with confusion.[xi]

Perhaps Professor Blocher’s observations pointing to idolatry help us understand how a campus culture and community can be so passionate about justice (Hebrew: mishpat) and yet be so intolerant of the judgments (Hebrew: mishpat) necessary to its achievement. What is demanded “now” is unavailable on the terms that it is demanded: justice without judgment, justice without deliberation, rights of justice without the order of rightness from which they are derived, and the redemption of disordered systems of injustice from a non-redemptive context.

Where do we go from here?

First, we must admit that non-redemptive protest movements are too freely borrowing the words that frame Biblical justice without accepting the Biblical narrative which gives to Israel and the nations who flow to her their identity and social structures, tied to the covenant commitments and grounded in the order of creation.  “An Outline for Evangelical Ethics” can be found in the story of the “Resurrection and Moral Order,” as we learned from the subtitle and the title respectively of Oliver O’Donovan’s seminal treatise. [xii]

Secondly, we must be cautious about creating without qualification partnerships in justice between Christian campus ministries and any form of protest that shares some points of intersection largely in the vocabulary borrowed to accomplish its goals, but which then denies the creation order that defines the good without which that that vocabulary of justice is unintelligible. This concern is the one Carl F. H. Henry raises in his classic work The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism in which he outlines “The Evangelical Formula of Protest.”[xiii]  Henry was speaking about partnerships in social justice and betterment which denied a “redemptive reference.” I mean that and more. I am speaking about partners in justice who deny the demands of the creation order about unborn life, the human family, the ends and purposes for human sexuality and the structures of civil government that belong to a proper consideration of the goods of creation. Henry may also have been pointing toward a just civilization grounded on this kind of creation order when he wrote:

In whatever sense the later Christian message did away with the law, it did not set aside any ultimate truths. Both in Old Tes­tament and New Testament thought there is but one sure foun­dation for a lasting civilization, and its cornerstone is a vital knowledge of the redemptive God. In both eras it is wrong to worship false gods, to murder, to commit adultery, and for a reason more ultimate than that the prophet Moses said so. These deeds were wrong before Moses, yes even before Adam; they have been wrong always, and will be wrong always, be­cause they are antagonistic to the character and will of the sov­ereign God of the universe. They are wrong for all creatures anywhere anytime. The universe is put together on moral lines; any attempt to build a civilization on other lines, whether before or after the coming of Jesus Christ into the world, foredooms itself. The ten commandments disclose the only secure foundation for a society without the seeds of dis­solution; all cultures, cut loose from these principles, have in them the vitiating leaven of decay. And no culture can hope to fulfill such high prerequisites, minus a relationship with that God, holy and redemptive, who is the precondition for their very disclosure to man.[xiv]

Thirdly, the creation-order limits of the moral agent acting within the moral field are the self, the world and time.[xv]  What can be accomplished by a particular college student, acting within the world, within each one’s available time, is unduly pressed within all of those horizons by the thought of “justice now.” O’Donovan expresses this concern about the idealists’ demands hoped for beyond these limits:

I may, of course, hope for things I cannot pursue. Deep changes in the world can and as Christians believe, will come about; the lion will lie down with the lamb. The horizon of hope makes possible our practical search for less far-reaching reconciliations. It is important to distinguish an object of hope from a practical ideal. Loose theologians’ talk about “bringing in the Kingdom of God” is a foolish effervescence, combining the highest possible tension of impatience with the vaguest possible sense of direction. There are, as we have seen, two types of question a moral doctrine may answer: what are the goods we may know within the world? And, what goods are appropriate to forming the right ends-of-action here and now? The kingdom of God is among the answers to the first of these questions. God has shown us his ultimate purpose in Jesus Christ, and will bring in the Kingdom of his Son. But what I have to discern is the concrete thing that is given to me to do in the light of that hope. And when somebody invites me to join in creating a new world free of misunderstanding and suspicion - just sign the petition here! - I know that he or she is bleary-eyed with moral hyperventilation.

“Not everything that should be done, should by us be done… .”[xvi]

Lastly, this is not a plea for indifference about matters of social justice or in any way to silence the protest that is the voice of the gospel. To the contrary, Micah was enjoined to cease from speaking about such matters, and by all means to stop preaching:

6 “Do not preach”—thus they preach—
    “one should not preach of such things;
    disgrace will not overtake us.”
7 Should this be said, O house of Jacob?
    Has the Lord grown impatient? Micah 2.6-7

As if on cue, events unfolded this fall at Yale University, Amherst College and University of Missouri while similar incidents occurred at Bowdoin College that engendered weeks of interest about cultural appropriation as an act of injustice, “micro-agressions” and violence.[xvii] Against these events, Christian students and others are told, “Do not preach” merely Christianity to protest injustice. But occasions like these afford Christian students the opportunity to consider limits of practical cooperation with these other justice movements and protests. This is not to say that protest is never the posture of the Christian community, for protest and criticism are the way the cross confronts the culture. The gospel neither commands indifference nor authorizes a challenge to structures of authority ordained to accomplish justice – as far as that can be achieved this side of ultimate justice. Again from O’Donovan:

. . .  there has to be an alternative way of engaging with public affairs which does something better than simply cooperate on the one hand and avert the eyes on the other. Criticism is the form of political engagement which emerges as normative within the apocalyptic perspective. Criticism has the advantage, as its proponents see it, of illuminating the course of history by the word of God, yet without pretending to master history or even exploit its supposed neutrality, but pointing to the mystery of the ultimate triumph of the divine word as the object of its hope.[xviii]

The Gospel is the only adequate protest against injustice.

I owe this insight to an African pastor and friend, Agabus Lartey from Boston, Massachusetts who has preached to our Christian Fellowship at Bowdoin.  God alone holds the protest for injustice.  Pastor Lartey directed me to Isaiah 40.14 for that, a text he said he had meditated upon at length:

13 Who has measured the Spirit of the Lord,
    or what man shows him his counsel?
14 Whom did he consult,
    and who made him understand?
Who taught him the path of justice,
    and taught him knowledge,
    and showed him the way of understanding?

Pastor Lartey’s daughter Kristin was gunned down in urban violence at the age of 22. I received his permission and encouragement to share his story of anguish here. On August 12, 2012, Pastor Lartey learned that his daughter was killed in a parked car with three high school friends on Harlem Street in Dorchester. Pastor Lartey shared with me that ten years before this tragedy, God had prepared him for such a possibility.  Ministering in an area known for urban violence, he asked himself “What would I do if one of my own were to be killed in act of random violence?”  His answer, “I would seek revenge at my own hands.”  But when this day came, there was "no search for revenge." This is how it is reported in the Boston Globe:

Lartey, a deeply religious man who was born in Ghana, said he prays for police to make an arrest, but not out of bitterness or spite: God is good, he said. God has given him grace.

“For the safety of the people in the Boston community, I would want them to be arrested,” said Lartey. “When people feel they can do something with impunity, and they feel invisible, then they might be inclined to repeat that thing again.”

He prays, as well, for his daughter.

“God, help me see my daughter again,” he said, over and over, as he walks, and thinks about her, tears streaming down his face. When she was alive, he prayed for his daughter every morning, but he never asked God to protect her from the wicked. He did not think he needed to.

“Who is expecting their child to be killed like that?” he asked. . . .

“It is with me all the time,” he said. “I don’t have a switch to turn on and off.”

But the peace he has found in God is constant, too. He said he harbors no hatred for his daughter’s killer or killers.

“I love them, just as God loves them, although I hated what they did to my family,” he said. “If you could put that in bold letters: I love them.”[xix]

God admits of no innovators in the field of justice.  Those who speak about justice in words borrowed from divine counsel are late to the conversation. Justice is God’s topic. Who taught him the path of justice?  God’s discourse about justice and judgment and the community of faith who pronounce those words are mutually defining.  The words spoken in the prayers and preaching of the community define the community. At the same time, it is the community of the faithful that has been entrusted with these words: and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men who will be able to teach others also.

This remnant minority community that identifies itself by the life, the crucifixion, the resurrection and the ascension of the risen Jesus, like Pastor Lartey, must be a reflective people. It must resist the temptation to eliminate the need for time to reflect, and to ignore the sense of place which locate us within the creation order God has called “good.”  These are the horizons of the world, the self and time referred to extensively in professor O’Donovan's writing. Biblical vocabulary for justice is, as he has suggested, a vocabulary which becomes the dominant language of the gospel of redemption in the New Testament. It carries with it a political “pre-history.” “Almost the whole vocabulary of salvation in the New Testament has a political pre-history of some kind” including the words salvation, justification, peace, faithfulness, faith, and the Kingdom of God. [xx] This pre-history includes Micah’s oracles of judgment, mixed with hope, by which he denounced the injustice of Israel 700 years before the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem.

Professor O’Donovan has pointed to the smallness of Israel in the midst of stronger more powerful neighbors (Assyria, Egypt, Babylon) that created within Israel, in its structures and practices of justice, a culture of awareness for those who were too small, weak and vulnerable to provide for and protect themselves.  Micah acknowledges that paradox in anticipating the future emergence of the Messiah out a town too small and insignificant to be located by the cartographers of his day:

2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,
    who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me
    one who is to be ruler in Israel,
whose coming forth is from of old,
    from ancient days.
3 Therefore he shall give them up until the time
    when she who is in labor has given birth;
then the rest of his brothers shall return
    to the people of Israel.
4 And he shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord,
    in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God.
And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great
    to the ends of the earth.
5 And he shall be their peace. Micah 5.2-5

The gospel anticipates a ruler in Israel.  He will note merely give the peace. He will not merely broker the peace. He will be their peace.  This ruler will make all other rulers unnecessary - eventually.  Reducing our expectations of our provisional and imperfectible structures of justice is in keeping with enlarging our expectations of what the Ruler from Bethlehem will bring when his greatness extends to the ends of the earth, when all of the nations will flow back to Israel for counsel, judgment and the justice that leads to peace.

1 It shall come to pass in the latter days
    that the mountain of the house of the Lord
shall be established as the highest of the mountains,
    and it shall be lifted up above the hills;
and peoples shall flow to it,
2     and many nations shall come, and say:
“Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may teach us his ways
    and that we may walk in his paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
    and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
3 He shall judge between many peoples,
    and shall decide for strong nations far away;
and they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
    and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
    neither shall they learn war anymore;
4 but they shall sit every man under his vine and under his fig tree,
    and no one shall make them afraid,
    for the mouth of the Lord of hosts has spoken.
5 For all the peoples walk
    each in the name of its god,
but we will walk in the name of the Lord our God
    forever and ever. Micah 4.1-5

[i] In the 1994 preface to Resurrection and Moral Order, An Outline of Evangelical Ethics, Oliver O’Donovan makes it clear that he is not arguing for the “self-evidence” of the creation order.  The order of creation is the starting point “because in Jesus’ resurrection God has given back the created world.”  p xv and xvii. He continues: “Yet when we think quite specifically about Christian action we have to single out the resurrection moment which vindicates the creation into which our actions can be ventured with intelligibility.”  It is in the resurrection God “has stood by the life he made.”  Oliver O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, An Outline of Evangelical Ethics, William B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids Michigan (1994) p xvii.

[ii] Nicholas Wolterstorff, Can Human Rights Survive Secularization, Villanova Law Review Vol. 54, No. 3 (2009) p 412.

[iii] Ibid, p 413.

[iv]  Jeremiah 26.16 ff.

16 Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, “This man does not deserve the sentence of death, for he has spoken to us in the name of the Lord our God.” 17 And certain of the elders of the land arose and spoke to all the assembled people, saying,
18 “Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah, and said to all the people of Judah: ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts,
“‘Zion shall be plowed as a field;
    Jerusalem shall become a heap of ruins,
    and the mountain of the house a wooded height.’
19 Did Hezekiah king of Judah and all Judah put him to death? Did he not fear the Lord and entreat the favor of the Lord, and did not the Lord relent of the disaster that he had pronounced against them? But we are about to bring great disaster upon ourselves.”

[v] The word “resources” is used by William T. Cavanaugh, Theopolitical Imagination, Discovering the Liturgy as a Political Act in an Age of Global Consumerism, in his insightful historical proposal of how the western concepts of “state” and “religion” emerge out of the settlement of the so-called Wars of Religion. Cavanaugh’s discussion of the liturgy of the church, in particular the Eucharist, as a “resource for resistance” (p 22 and 52) may be the most helpful way for us to think about the practices of the church that shape our beliefs. Practices like the Eucharist are the public witness of the “Church as Body of Christ” which “transgresses both the lines which separate public from private and the borders of nation-states, thus created spaces for a different kind of political practice, one which is incapable of being pressed into the service [of the State].” P 90. In the context of the argument made in this paper, the Eucharist has two significant implications: first, it is the public protest that refuses to silence the prophetic message of the church “Do not preach” of Micah 2.6, and second, it is the proclamation of the entire church catholic in each administration of that practice. “By the same liturgical action, not part but the whole Body of Christ is present in each Eucharistic assembly.”  This would be a fruitful avenue for further thought about the Christian student’s public protest against injustice. William T. Cavanaugh, Theopolitical Imagination, Discovering the Liturgy as a Political Act in an Age of Global Consumerism, T&T Clark, London, England (2002) p 114.

[vi] C. S. Lewis, Abolition of Man, Part 3, The Way p 2.

[vii] See, Oliver O’Donovan, The Language of Rights and Conceptual History, JRE:32.2:193-197 (2009). In his critical review of the work of Nicholas Wolterstorff he writes (quoting Wolterstorff) “either “rights” are ‘foundational to human community’ so that “justice is ultimately grounded on inherent rights,” or “right” is foundational, and rights derived from it.” [citations omitted], p 195.

[viii] Oliver O’Donovan, 2001 Natural Law Lecture: The Path, American Journal of Jurisprudence Vol. 56, Issue 1, p 2011.

[ix] George Parkin Grant, English-Speaking Justice, University of Note Dame Press, Notre Dame, Indiana (1974) pp 44-45.

[x] Ibid 66-67. Grant also writes: “The view of traditional philosophy and religion is that justice is the overriding order which we do not measure and define, but in terms of which we are measured and defined. The view of modern thought is that justice is a way which we choose in freedom, both individually and publicly once we have undertaken our fate into our own hands, and know that we are responsible for what happens.” p 74.

[xi] Henri Blocher, In the Beginning: The Opening Chapters of Genesis, InterVarsity Press, 1984, p 72-73.

[xii] Oliver O’Donovan, Resurrection and Moral Order, An Outline of Evangelical Ethics, William B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids Michigan (1994).

[xiii] Carl F. H. Henry, The Uneasy Conscience of Modern Fundamentalism, William B. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, Michigan (1947) especially chapter 7. 

[xiv] Ibid, at 31-32.

[xv] Oliver O’Donovan, Self, World and Time, Ethics and Theology Volume 1, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids Michigan, (2013).

[xvi] Oliver O’Donovan New College Lecture Series 2007 Morally Awake?, Lecture 3

[xvii] Bowdoin Orient Editorial, Cultural appropriation: why they're not 'just clothes' http://bowdoinorient.com/article/10602 (accessed January 2, 2016.)

[xviii] The Political Thought of the Book of Revelation, Oliver O’Donovan, Tyndale Bulletin 37 (1986) 61-84 at p 67.

[xix] Boston Globe, August 12, 2014 https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2014/08/11/two-years-later-questions-fears-remain-over-harlem-street-triple-murder/8LZZalokt2OU0GMZvFwd2J/story.html (accessed January 1, 2016)

[xx] Oliver O’Donovan, The Desire of the Nations: Rediscovering the Roots of Political Theology, Cambridge University Press, (1999) p 22-23.




The College and the Cross by Owen Strachan

The College and the Cross by Owen Strachan

Some years ago, in his iconoclastic 1978 Harvard College commencement address, novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn offered the following diagnosis of the world:

If the world has not come to its end, it has approached a major turn in history, equal in importance to the turn from the Middle Ages to the Renaissance. It will exact from us a spiritual upsurge: We shall have to rise to a new height of vision, to a new level of life where our physical nature will not be cursed as in the Middle Ages, but, even more importantly, our spiritual being will not be trampled upon as in the Modern era.

Opening Remarks by Robert B. Gregory

Opening Remarks by Robert B. Gregory

The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone-- this is the LORD's doing it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118.22,23

These are suitable words for us to consider as we lay the cornerstone of sorts for the Joseph and knowledge McKeen Christian Study Center.  They come from the pen of David,  King of Israel, and are either quoted or mentioned by Isaiah, by Jesus in all of the synoptic gospels, by Peter and his sermon in the fourth chapter of Acts, again by Peter in his letter to the Asian church, and by the Apostle Paul in his letter to the Ephesians.