Jeremy Hexham’s article below evidences the international presence of bad reasoning in theology. On the positive side, it offers our readers a Canadian focus.
Your editor served for three years as Chairman of the History Department of what was then the Waterloo Lutheran University, in Kitchener-Waterloo, some sixty miles to the west of Toronto. Later, the University secularized, becoming Wilfred Laurier University. (The institution demonstrated how much of a tightwad it was by choosing a new name with the same initials, thereby facilitating the use of already printed materials headed “WLU.” During my Canadian period, I learned quite a bit about the Canadian mentality. First, the positive; then, the negative.
I applied for and received a Canada Council Post-Doctoral Research Fellowship, making possible the obtaining of my second doctorate, the Doctorate in Protestant Theology at the University of Strasbourg in France and a lifelong connection with French civilization and eventually French citizenship. When the money was running toward the end of my doctoral studies, my Canadian bank manager advance additional funds—even though I was unable to offer any collateral. If the manager had been Roman Catholic, he should have received many years off his time in Purgatory.
My career in debating religious liberals took off with my decimation of Professor Abram Stroll at the University of British Columbia, leading to the publication of my book, History and Christianity (now expanded as History, Law and Christianity).
Following my lecture on legal apologetics at another Canadian university, I came in contact with a Christian law student, Dallas Miller, who later became a distinguished provincial judge and a close friend.
Then, just last year, after the sudden death of my wife, I married Carol Gracina Maughan, a retired Canadian schoolteacher.
On the negative side, some of my Canadian students were not exactly the clearest of all thinkers. At the time of the U.S.-Cuban missile crisis, the student population was very much against the American refusal to allow a Russian military presence in the Caribbean. I had to remind them that Toronto was really not much farther from Cuba than New York City should Russian missiles ever come into use. And one of my undergraduate students, though evangelical, has since become a leading Mennonite theologian who staunchly refuses to accept the formal principle of all biblical theology, the inerrancy of Holy Writ.
In more general terms, I found that Canadians have a real problem with national identity. They certainly don’t have trouble asserting what they are not—not British and certainly not American (U.S.). But they do not seem to have been able to discover what they in fact are. Probably this is a consequence of remaining within the British Commonwealth without really experiencing English values. As for Québec, General De Gaulle had a point with his cry, “Vive le Québec libre!,” which caused a furor not just in Canada but internationally. When I was a graduate student at the University of Strasbourg, I met a Canadian post-doctoral medical student who, having been consistently shunned by the French for his (admittedly horrendous) Canadian accent, was reduced to conversing with me in English.
When later I delivered an invitational lecture in French at a national meeting of the Royal Society of Canada, an English-speaking professor said to me: “Thank heaven you are here. Your lecture was the only French one I have been able to understand during the entire conference.” So, if French is employed in heaven, it certainly will be classic Parisian French.
All of which is doubtless irrelevant to the paper comprising this issue of the Global Journal, but should have offered some light fare to our readers.
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Dr. Roland Ehlke, professor of philosophy at Concordia University Wisconsin, has had to relinquish his role as Associate Editor of the Global Journal for reasons of health. The Journal has benefitted immensely from his services and readers will join me in expressing our deep gratitude to him.
Professor Ehlke’s successor, as noted on the masthead of this issue, is Dr. Adam Francisco of Issues, Etc. and Concordia University Chicago. Welcome to another distinguished colleague and upholder of “the faith once delivered to the saints”!
John Warwick Montgomery