By Keith Call | May 1, 2012
For over 200 years, from 1768 to the present, the Encyclopedia Britannica has published “the sum of knowledge,” collecting articles on a vast array of subjects written by experts. For decades the multi-volume set has graced the shelves of homes, schools and libraries the world over. In 2012 the company announced that the 2010 edition would be the final printed set. From now on Encyclopedia Britannica will be published exclusively online. Throughout the decades Britannica has engaged the talents of many capable contributors to write entries. One such was Dr. S. Richey Kamm, professor of history and political science at Wheaton College. In 1958 Kamm was asked by John V. Dodge, Managing Editor of the Encyclopedia Britannica, to revise an article about Lincoln, Illinois. Dodge instructed Kamm to not exceed 150 words and emphasize Abraham Lincoln’s role concerning the the city. The article was to completely replace the previous version, “to be written from a fresh point of view.” Dodge included a four-page, single-spaced Contributor’s Guide. “The typical reader of an Encyclopedia Britannica article is a person of average intelligence and education,” states the Guide, “not a specialist. Specialists seldom, if ever, consult Britannica articles in their own or related fields.” The Guide covers such matters as organization, length, quotations, copyright, bibliography, illustrations, captions and photographs. “There is, of course, no pat formula for a good article,” the Guide goes on. “Generally speaking, the article should proceed from the known to the unknown, from the simple to the complex. Many articles may be best organized in chronological order, but it is advisable to consider other possibilities.” Kamm continued revising this entry for several more editions.
By David Osielski | April 27, 2012
In honor of the recent homegoing of Chuck Colson, an abridged version of his address “The Corruption of Conscience” (given during the Wheaton College Graduate School commencement ceremonies on May 6, 2000) is featured below. Charles W. Colson is the author of over 15 books that have sold over 5 million copies, and his daily radio commentary, “Breakpoint,” reaches an audience of over 3 million people. Mr. Colson first achieved national notoriety as an aide to President Richard M. Nixon from 1969 to 1973, when he as known as the White House “hatchet man.” After converting to Christianity and serving seven months in prison on Watergate-related charges, he founded Prison Fellowship Ministries, now the largest prison outreach organization in the world.
More than ever before in American history, indeed in Western history, we are witnessing the near-death of conscience. By virtue of being created in His image and likeness, all men have a conscience that is sensitive to God’s Law. Paul writes:”For when the Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness, and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them” (Rom. 2:14-15, NASB). But for many years this God-given internal moral compass has been rapidly faltering. I regularly confront that brutal truth in prisons across the country. An incident in Indiana a few years ago brought it home to me dramatically. I had visited the prison several times before, but that day a young inmate responded to my proffered handshake by smacking my hand away–a first for me. In many years of visiting prisons, I had never before encountered such direct and immediate hostility from a complete stranger. For obvious reasons, prisoners are rarely cheerful, but I saw in those eyes that day a chilling hardness I had never encountered before. Since then, however, I have seen similar hardness reflected in the eyes of countless other inmates, particularly younger ones.
Click HERE for the full address.
By David Osielski | April 23, 2012
In the early 1970s during the days of Watergate and the waning years of Richard Nixon’s administration, Charles “Chuck” Wendell Colson was Special Counsel to the President and notoriously feared as the White House “hatchet man.” He was brazenly labeled as “incapable of humanitarian thought” according to the media of his day and freely admits playing political dirty tricks on behalf the President and the Republican Party. After word of Chuck Colson’s dramatic conversion to Christianity, the Boston Globe reported “if Mr. Colson can repent of his sins, there just has to be hope for everybody.” Nonetheless, justice prevailed and he was the first member of the Nixon administration to be incarcerated for Watergate-related charges in 1974. As a convicted felon Colson was sentenced to a one to three-year sentence, fined $5,000 for obstruction of justice, disbarred in the District of Columbia and prohibited from using his licenses from Virginia and Massachusetts. Colson eventually served seven months in Maxwell Correctional Facility in Alabama and was released in January 1975. Later that year his memoirs Born Again were published. On April 28, 1976 Colson was invited to address Wheaton College in Edman Chapel where he shared his testimony and urged evangelical students to engage the political process.
Listen to the unedited audio of Colson’s Wheaton College Address (excerpted below)
It’s no time for despair…We live in America, in the most priceless freedom that man has ever known, because this country was begun by disciples of Christ. The pilgrims that came here cam to have the freedom that Jesus Christ offers every single human being, the most radical, revolutionary experiment in the history of mankind, the radical idea that “No…God doesn’t rule through a divinely ordained king, but God rules, His sovereign rule is in the ilfe of every single human being, that every single human being draws his power from God, that the individual is supreme in the eyes of the sovereign God, and that government is created to provide the needs of the aggregate collection of God endowed individuals, endowed with the power of God.” And look back upon the history of the Great Awakening in 1740, the cradle of the American Revolution. What was it? It was a spiritual revial that George Whitfield led, riding up and down the colonies from Savanna to New Hampshire and back south again, preaching a rebirth in Jesus Christ, that every American might know the human freedom of having Christ in his life…
What a priceless freedom we have, and it isn’t going to be saved for us by any human being. We can’t cop out, we can’t expect Washington to do it, we can’t expect the government to suddenly have the power of God; that was the very thing our forefathers rejected. We can’t expect one of our number of born-again believers to lead this nation on his back unless the hearts of the American people are turned to God…God’s secret plan for the nations is Christ in you, and it begins here today, this day. May the Love of the Lord Jesus be with you.
He continued to work tirelessly with Prison Fellowship, a non-profit organization devoted to prison ministry he founded in 1976. Colson was a public speaker, author, radio commentator, and founder of the Wilberforce Forum (now the Chuck Colson Center) as the teaching and advocacy arm of Prison Fellowship. Colson has received 15 honorary doctorates and in 1993 was awarded the Templeton Prize, donating the $1 million award to further the work of Prison Fellowship. In 2008, Colson was honored by President Bush with the Presidential Citizens Medal for his years of work with prisoners and their families. Chuck Colson died on April 21, 2012 at the age of 80.
The Papers of Charles Wendell Colson are located at the Billy Graham Center Archives on the campus of Wheaton College, Illinois. Additional materials pertaining to Colson and the Watergate hearings are contained in the Wesley G. Pippert Papers at the Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections.
By Keith Call | April 11, 2012
Delivering the 2010 commencement address at Wheaton College, NBC Today Show anchor Ann Curry famously flubbed when she cited several distinguished alumni: evangelist Billy Graham, filmmaker Wes Craven and Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert. The problem, as she quickly learned, is that these notables graduated from the Wheaton College in Illinois, not the one located in Norton, Massachusetts, where Curry had been invited to speak. “I am mortified by my mistake,” she wrote, “and can only hope the purity of my motive, to find a way to connect with the graduates and encourage them to a life of service, will allow you to forgive me.”
Curry’s eloquent apology was accepted. In fact, her mistake is common. Both colleges frequently field inquiries meant for the other. Though both institutions were founded by families named “Wheaton” rooted in the East, there is no known connection between their bloodlines.
Founded in 1834, Wheaton Female Seminary was designed to accommodate young women of the middle classes seeking the same education as that provided by colleges for men. Wheaton was chartered as a four-year liberal arts college in 1932, and became co-educational in 1988.
Notable alumnae from Wheaton College of Norton, Massachusetts, includes 60 Minutes correspondent Lesley Stahl, former EPA Director Christie Todd Whitman and Oscar-nominated actress Catherine Keener.
By David Osielski | March 30, 2012
Twenty years ago, the Wheaton Alumni magazine began a series of articles, titled “On My Mind”, in which Wheaton faculty told about their thinking, their research, or their favorite books and people. Professor of Kinesiology Marilyn Scribner (who taught at Wheaton from 1961-2002) was featured in the Spring 2002 issue.
As the end of the school year approaches, I am increasingly aware that this year will be like no other in my career. It will be the end of 41 years of teaching and coaching in the physical education and kinesiology department at Wheaton College. Those words bring to mind a multitude of student faces along with a rush of wonderful memories. It would be a conservative estimate to say that I have taught 4,000 students in various classes during these many years. What a privilege and a joy to be a part of their lives.
My call to teach came in 1952. I had previously attended Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland, Oregon, and intended to do missionary service in China. Upon my graduation, though, China was closed to missions because of a takeover by the communist regime. Contemplating my future one particular day while working as a receptionist, I stopped and asked the Lord, “Is this all there is?” He led me to consider teaching and coaching sports, which I loved. Four years later, I began to teach.
In 1961, Harve Chrouser ’34, then chair of the physical education department and athletics director at Wheaton, contacted me in my home state of Washington. He proposed that I teach at a remote little college in the Midwest. I desired to be open to the Lord’s leading but was resistant to leaving the beautiful northwest. Nevertheless, I made the trip to visit Wheaton. The campus was bare of green foliage between winter and spring break, and the people were unfamiliar (and talked funny). I returned to Washington and wrote a letter to Coach Chrouser, turning down the position. But the Lord spoke to me through Hebrews 11:8, which tells of Abraham’s obedience to Him. Truthfully, I had an intense inner struggle. And with the recognition there would be no peace without obedience, I returned to Wheaton.
Those early years were difficult for me and for the department, for I was horribly homesick, declaring each year my intention to return to my beloved Washington. I turned again to Hebrews 11:8, thinking I might find something that would release me to go home. But Hebrews 11:9 brought conviction: “By faith, he [Abraham] continued in the land.”Though it wasn’t easy, connecting to Wheaton was the best decision I ever made, second only to accepting the Lord’s saving grace. Teaching and coaching at Wheaton has been exhilarating, challenging, and demanding. Have I been the perfect professor? Hardly. Nevertheless, not a day has gone by that I haven’t felt excitement upon entering a classroom or gymnasium. For the teacher and the student, each day is a fresh opportunity to make a difference in the life of another.
People have often told me that I would know when it was the right time to retire. But that was not necessarily true. I needed the Lord’s direction, as before. While reading in Samuel, the story of David’s later years came to my attention. After years of service, David had planned to build a house for the ark of the covenant, but God informed him that his labors were to cease, that David’s son, Solomon, was to become king. Immediately, I recognized the similarities between David’s story and the question of retirement. God had been faithful again.
Professor Marilyn Scribner has been a coach and teacher at Wheaton since 1961. She graduated from Multnomah School of the Bible in Portland, Oregon, in 1951, and then earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Western Washington University in Bellingham. Marilyn has written Free to Fight Back, a self- defense guide with a companion video and a bowling manual, Striking Out in Your Spare Time. She has spoken to groups on self-defense for women and has assisted local schools in initiating self-defense programs.
By Keith Call | March 28, 2012
One of the venerable institutions of the Windy City is the Union League Club, whose stately, 23-story clubhouse is located on Jackson Blvd. This brief description from their website encapsulates its history and mission:
Established in 1879 to uphold the sacred obligations of citizenship, promote honesty and efficiency in government, and support cultural institutions and the beautification of the city, the Club has been a contributing partner in the growth and development of Chicago. Through the efforts of its dynamic membership, the Club has been a catalyst for action in nonpartisan political, economic and social arenas – focusing its leadership and resources on important social issues.
Laying the groundwork for various philanthropic projects, the prestigious Club was instrumental in persuading the United States Congress to choose Chicago as the location for the 1893 Colombian Exposition. Honorary members included Theodore Roosevelt, Calvin Coolidge, Herbert Hoover, Douglas MacArthur and Dwight Eisenhower. Its influential resident membership played vital roles in establishing cultural landmarks such as Orchestra Hall, the Field Museum and the Harold Washington Library. Aside from its civic pursuits, the Club has significantly interacted with Wheaton College and contributed, though indirectly, to the establishment of one other evangelical institution.
Wallace Heckman, serving as the twenty-fourth president of the Union League Club in 1904, was the law partner of Cyrus Blanchard, brother of Charles Blanchard, second president of Wheaton College and son of its founder, Jonathan Blanchard. Heckman’s summer retreat on the Rock River in Oregon, Illinois, provided a hospitable attraction for the Eagle’s Nest Art Colony, consisting of Chicago writers, painters, actors and sculptors seeking refuge from the blistering city heat.
Victor F. Lawson, founder, editor and publisher of the Chicago Daily News, donated Lawson Field, where Wheaton College baseball players and other student athletes still practice. Lawson was a member and heavy financial contributor to the Club. Harold “Red” Grange and other proment football players from the 1920s were invited by the Club to a luncheon in 1953 as the “All-American Eleven.” Grange grew up in Wheaton and his papers (SC-20) are archived in the Special Collections at Wheaton College.
Brothers Herman and Raymond Fischer, longtime trustees and graduates of Wheaton College, were members of the Union League Club, as was alumn and publisher Robert Van Kampen. War hero W. Wyeth Willard, chaplain and assistant to president Dr. V. Raymond Edman, was a member. Edman’s brother, Elner, was also a member. Charles Blanchard Weaver, vice-president of the Northern Trust Company, college trustee and great-grandson of Jonathan Blanchard, served as president of the Union League Club from 1962-3. In 1983, Dr. Richard Chase, the sixth president of Wheaton College, was asked by Jerry Rose, president of Chanel 38, to deliver a lecture to the Club, speaking on any topic. Chase chose, “The Marks of an Influential Man.”
William Akin of Evanston, chairman of the library committee and librarian for the Union League Club, wrote book reviews for the Club’s magazine, Union League Men and Events. He dedicates one page in the March, 1950, issue to Wheaton College authors, discussing The Soil Runs Red by Matthew S. Evans, Uninterrupted Sky by Paul Hutchens and Never Dies the Dream by Margaret Landon. “Wheaton scores again,” writes Akin, “literally and spiritually…” Reviewing in the October, 1950, issue, Akin praises W. Wyeth Willard’s Fire on the Prairie, writing, “…When I reread certain passages I blush with shame for the plush manner in which I secured what education I did and I am certain some professors and instructors in many of our present-day colleges, if they would only read this history of Wheaton College, would regard their efforts a sham.” Akin is supremely complimentary about Willard: “He is closer to seven feet tall than six feet…Personally, I would hate to tangle with him but having met him I hate to be away from him.” William Akin, avid collector of rare books, donated his personal collection (SC-01) to Wheaton College as a memorial to Dr. Edman after the beloved president died in 1967.
The Club intersects with the development of another Christian school – not west of Chicago like Wheaton, but located on the West Coast. During the mid-1940s, radio evangelist Charles E. Fuller, host of The Old Fashioned Revival Hour, purchased land near Pasadena, California, realizing his dream of establishing a Christian college. Searching for capable faculty, Fuller invited Wilbur Smith, professor of English Bible at Moody Bible Institute, who donated thousands of volumes, providing the nucleus for Fuller’s library; and Harold Ockenga, president of the National Association of Evangelicals (SC-113), to serve as head the school. According to Fuller’s biography, Give the Winds a Mighty Voice, Ockenga, returning to Boston from an NAE meeting in Omaha, convened with Fuller and Smith in Chicago:
The historic meeting was held in a private room at the Union League Club of Chicago. Wilbur Smith wanted to know what position Harold Ockenga would occupy in the seminary. He would be president in absentia for the time being, Harold Ockenga replied. He would work to recruit the charter faculty and map out the curriculum. Then they agreed that if three faculty members, besides Wilbur Smith, would be willing to start teaching by that next September, they would then go ahead with this earlier date. They also agreed to meet again a month hence in Chicago in the offices of Herbert J. Taylor’s Christian Workers’ Foundation in the Civic Opera Building.
Thus began Fuller Theological Seminary, organized in the private, luxurious confines of the Club.
And so the Union League Club, rigorously elitist, joins hands with Wheaton and Fuller, proponents of the faith described as “the most exclusive club in the world of which anyone can be a member.”
By David Osielski | March 26, 2012
The following article describing how DeWitt Whistler Jayne ’36 shaped the development of the Wheaton College art department in its formative years was featured in the Wheaton College Alumni Magazine in Spring 1994 and is transcribed below.
A Brush with Reality
by Lynette Hoppe M.A. ’90
Art has almost always been included in the curriculum of Wheaton College. In 1862, the list of college faculty included Miss Emma Strong, teacher of French and drawing. The catalogue of 1866 offered “Drawing and Gymnastics at a moderate charge” to young women enrolled in the Ladies Department. These early efforts at teaching art look suspiciously like something from a Jane Austin novel, where art is seen as a necessary component in “finishing” young ladies properly. Nonetheless, as Wheaton College grew from a fledgling institute to a more established college, courses in art began to find a regular place in the academic program.
One of the persons who helped shape the future of art at Wheaton was alumnus DeWitt Whistler Jayne. Immediately after graduating in 1936, Jayne began as an art instructor at the College, and served in that capacity until 1946. During his tenure, Jayne developed a full art curriculum, helped to formulate the College’s philosophy of art, and in himself brought to the department outstanding abilities in painting and drawing.
Born in Boston on September 18, 1911, to DeWitt Clinton and Ruth Whistler Jayne (Yes, he is a first cousin thrice removed of James McNeill Whistler), DeWitt Jayne grew up with a love for drawing and painting. His love of the sea began early as well, and while still a youth, he began to assemble what became one of this country’s most comprehensive resource files on old sailing ships. He also spent many years studying ships under sail and visiting the world’s great historical ports and harbors.
Jayne began his formal art education at the Philadelphia Museum’s School of Art, where he studied under the first-generation students of the great American illustrator, Howard Pyle. Here Jayne encountered an intense attention to correct detail and a passion to put drawing before all else. This shaped Jayne’s impressive ability to accurately capture a scene and its crucial elements. Such visual mastery combined with DeWitt’s love of the sea made him “one of those rare artists who can accurately depict the rigging of great sailing ships.”
From the School of Art, DeWitt Jayne went to Wheaton College, where he received a bachelor of science degree. Post-graduate studies were conducted at the University of Chicago and at the University of Pennsylvania, where he received his master of arts in 1962. He also spent two years studying in the studio of Allen Lewis, National Academician, the majority of whose works are now housed in the Wheaton College Special Collections, thanks to a generous donation from Jayne himself, who is a nephew of this master.
After leaving Wheaton, Jayne became studio manager and art director for various advertising and design firms. In 1962 he joined the faculty of California State University, Sacramento, teaching for 15 years before retiring as professor emeritus in humanities.
Among Jayne’s many achievements are commissioned portraits of John F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Harry Byrd, Fulton Lewis, Jr., and Norman Tallmedge. He also painted numerous faculty portraits for Westminster, Covenant, and Fuller Seminaries including that of Carl F.H. Henry ’38. In addition, he painted portraits of several of the Wheaton College’s own presidents — James Oliver Buswell, Jr., whose portrait hangs in the Heritage Room, Edman East Wing; and Hudson T. Armerding, whose portrait is in the building named in his honor, Armerding Hall.
DeWitt Jayne also spent many years as a freelance book and magazine illustrator and was extensively involved in national advertising through various agencies.
After 50 years of rigorous and continual painting and drawing, Jayne has become an acknowledged master of realistic works of the sea, sailing ships, and genre. In the 1970s he began a new phase of his artistic career by turning to easel painting and the production of finished pastels. He continues this activity today at his home and studio in Santa Barbara. Jayne and his wife, Dorothy ’38, have traveled extensively to find subject material for his paintings and pastels.
At present, various pieces by DeWitt Jayne are on exhibit at the New Masters Gallery in Carmel, California, where he has been represented for 20 years. Works are privately owned by various individuals, including Billy Graham, Mrs. Harry Byrd, and the Honorable Herman Talmadge; and institutions, including Wheaton College, Westmont College, Covenant Seminary, Fuller Seminary, Westminster, and California State University, Sacramento.
“As a painter I think of myself as an illustrator who in my visual statement is concerned with what may be only a momentary glimpse of external reality in space and time,” says Jayne. “I love the play of light on figures and take a keen delight in the shimmer of light on water — a further reflection of the beauty of God’s creation.”
“To this end I have employed the concept of the ultimate biblical statement that ‘God is my light’ in my recent work, an illustration of the text from the Gospel of Mark describing the Transfiguration of our Lord. I think this painting may be unique in its subject matter, and it well may be true that fools rush in where angels fear to tread.”
By David Osielski | March 23, 2012
Twenty years ago, the Wheaton Alumni magazine began a series of articles in which Wheaton faculty told about their thinking, their research, or their favorite books and people. Professor Emerita of Communications Eleanor Paulson ’47 (who taught at Wheaton from 1952-1991) was featured in the Fall1992 issue.
Cicero described it as “the treasury and guardian of all things.” Shakespeare called it “The warder of the brain.” Charlotte Bronte wrote, “I prize her as my best friend.” The words of Mark Van Doren were, “It holds together past and present, gives continuity and dignity to human life. It is the companion, tutor, poet, library with which we travel.” These authors were referring to “Memory,” which serves to remind us of people, places and experiences we have encountered, and their significance in our lives.
Recently I attended my Wheaton College class reunion. We renewed friendships and shared memories of our college days: of first impressions of Wheaton, orientation and initiation by sophomores who required us to wear “dinks,” carry their hooks, and obey other commands. We remembered classes and special professors who challenged us with the excitement of learning. Beginning classes with devotions made a special impression on many of us.
In addition to classes and hours spent in the library there were trips to the Stupe, friendships to form, athletic events, dorm parties, Washington Banquets, and a Sneak” when we were seniors. We wore our Sunday best for dinner Friday evenings, and afterward attended Literary Society meetings. There were opportunities to be members of the many organizations on campus. Occasionally we took the “Aurora and Elgin” to Chicago, and Mrs. Smith, dean of women, reminded us that “Wheaton women wore hats and gloves.” A special time each day was the chapel service in Pierce. Dr. Edman, “Prexy,” spoke to us on such subjects as: “It’s Always Too Soon to Quit,” “Not Somehow, But Triumphantly,” “Don’t Doubt in the Dark What God Told You in the Light,” and the importance of living “For Christ and His Kingdom.”
Since graduation there have been additional memories added to my storehouse: teaching literature and speech to high school students in Almont, Michigan; teaching evening school at the Detroit Bible College; graduate work at Northwestern University, and then my return to Wheaton to teach. I shall never forget the beautiful spring day when I received a letter from Dr. Nystrom, chair of the speech department, inviting me to come to Wheaton to teach. That was a dream that came true!
For 39 years, I had the wonderful privilege of teaching Oral Interpretation of Literature, Speech for Teachers, Private Lessons, Public Speaking, and directing reading hours, recitals, and readers’ theater programs. I greatly enjoyed working with students in classes and programs, sharing their joys, their concerns, and their interests. They enriched my life in so many ways. In remembering the many students I had the privilege of knowing, I am reminded also of the many selections of literature we shared.
We experienced a sense of wonder as we read CS. Lewis’ “Creation of Narnia.”
We witnessed the transformation and joy of Scrooge as he discovered Christmas.
We shared the friendship between a little prince and a fox in the story by Saint-Exupery.
We shared in the adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh, Charlie Brown and his friends, the children in Narnia, Bilbo Baggins, and others.
We became immersed in discussions between the Karamazov brothers on the existence of God and immortality, Christ-like love, suffering, and forgiveness.
We accompanied Christian on his journey to the “Celestial City” in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.
We enjoyed the poetic expressions of Shakespeare, T.S. Eliot, Frost, Hopkins, e.e. cummings, Madeleine L’Engle, Luci Shaw, and many others.
We empathized with the experiences of a vast array of characters.
When we read of Sydney Carton’s death for his friend, Charles Darnay, in Dickens’ A Tale of Two Cities, we were reminded of another death–for us–and of the words of Jesus, “I am the resurrection and the life. He that believes in me shall never die.”
We shared the oral reading of God’s Word, realizing the importance of reading it well, and the need for careful preparation to understand meanings and communicate effectively literary genres, guidelines for living, promises, the majesty of God, and his great love for us.
As I remembered shared literary experiences, I was reminded of Fairlight Spencer’s words in Catherine Marshall’s Christy, “It’s today I must be livin”; and of Psalm 118:24, “This is the day which the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and he glad in it.” Memories “hold past and present together,” but each new day is a gift to be lived to the fullest. With retirement, I have opened a new chapter in my life, with many new opportunities and joys to he experienced. There is a time for remembering, and there is a time to enjoy new experiences.
For 39 years Professor Emerita Eleanor Paulson taught Oral Interpretation in Literature and other communications courses, and directed reading hours, recitals, and readers’ theater programs at Wheaton College. In 1985, she was honored as Alumna of the Year for “Distinguished Service to Alma Mater.” She retired last spring (1991) and is now occupied with many new activities travel, volunteer work, Bible study, church work, speaking engagements and other opportunities for service, enrichment, and spiritual growth.
By Keith Call | March 19, 2012
This interview with Dr. Billy Graham was conducted by Wheaton College student Steve Gieser in Houston, Texas. The interview was edited from two sessions and published in the February 5, 1982, edition of The Record, the campus newspaper.
What impressed you most about your academic experience at Wheaton?
Wheaton was a tremendous time of intellectual expansion for me. I had always failed pretty miserably in my studies during high school. I was academically unprepared for Wheaton, but I soon caught on and became absolutely fascinated with some of my courses. I don’t think there was a single course that I took at Wheaton that I didn’t like.
What were your favorite courses?
I really enjoyed anthropology courses. That was my major. The professor, Dr. Alexander Grigolia, was a Russian immigrant to Germany and had two Ph.Ds and an M.D. degree. He was probably one of the most brilliant professors in anthropology in the United States at that time. He was so absorbed in his subject that many times we would label him “the absent-minded professor.” These courses helped me in my world travels. I had no idea that the Lord was preparing me through these classes to learn to adapt to different tribal situations, different cultures, and different parts of the world that I was to preach to in the years to come.
What did you do besides study?
During my second year, on the recommendation of Dr. Edman, I became pastor of the Gospel Tabernacle. About 300 students and professors came every Sunday morning and evening. Dr. Edman had been the pastor. When he became the president of Wheaton College, he asked me to take over the pastorate. They paid me $15 a week, which was a big help to me in my schooling. I was also invited to preach here and there around the Chicago area. I even tried out for the wrestling team, but I failed. I was too busy. In addition to everything else, I worked on a truck for 50 cents an hour hauling furniture.
What advice would you give students who feel God is leading them into the ministry?
I think a solid grounding in Bible is very important. If you’re going to be a pastor, you need to know your tools. Most students who plan on being pastors go to seminary. And I would encourage them to do that.
Did you go to seminary?
No. That’s the reason I advise them to do that!
Looking back, do you wish you had gone?
Well, I think the Lord planned my life. If I had gone to seminary, I might have been put in a mold. Evangelists should have a little more flexibility. But, if I had done the choosing rather than the Lord, I would have gone to seminary. I think I did miss a great deal by not going. But I try to make it up in constant study and reading.
People often criticize Wheaton students for being “sheltered from the real world.” What do you think?
I would not categorically say that they’re too sheltered. It’s an individual thing. Wheaton, for many young people, is a transition period from what might have been a sheltered home to the real world. For others, the college is too sheltered. I think especially during the freshman and sophomore years there needs to be this transition period, because we’re really not yet adults in a sense, intellectually or emotionally, and I think this is where there needs to be guidance. In the Grecian days, one man would sit and teach with his pupils around him. It was the way that the teacher lived as much as what he taught his students. They were followers of a model. One of the things missing in modern education is this model of professors. Whether or not we are sheltered depends on the model that the faculty give the student. The responsibilty of a faculty member at a school like Wheaton goes far beyond just his ability to teach or his academic background, because the student is also watching how he lives. This makes a great impression on a student.
What are some of the most significant changes you have observed since your time here as a student?
Back in the forties, when I went to school at Wheaton, the mood of the day was that science was going to solve all of the problems of the world. The secular world almost worshiped at the shrine of science. Science has proven, on the one hand, to be a great and wonderful thing. On the other hand, because of man’s heart, it has proven to be a disaster. The age of technology has burst upon us with the blast of the atomic bomb. We can now destroy the world in just a couple of hours. We have the technological breakthrough just over the horizon that could bring paradise to earth. On the other hand, that same technology could bring hell to earth. Well, those thoughts were never in our minds when I was a student. We could get glimpses, but they were only glimpses. Today they are realities. I think we should be concerned about the arms race. I am glad to see President Reagan attempting to reduce arms with the Soviet Union. I think the people on this globe live in constant fear of nuclear war, especially in Europe. And I don’t blame them.
Do you think Christians should get involved in the prevention of nuclear arms?
Yes, I think we must speak out and make our voices heard. I’m not a pacifist, and I’m not for unilateral disarmament. I don’t believe America should tear up all of its arms. But I think we should talk with the Soviets on the destruction of nuclear arms. I don’t have too much hope that they’re going to reduce arms on either side. I think there must be a total destruction. But the possibilities of that are rather slim. The only person that is really going to answer this problem is the Prince of Peace. Still, in the meantime, we as Christians ought to pursue peace.
How should we do this? Should Christians try to influence politics?
Many religious groups have been active in politics for years. I think the Moral Majority has received a lot of publicity because it was really the first time conservatives became politically active.
Do you agree with the Moral Majority?
I don’t fault the Moral Majority for being political, but I don’t agree with the fact that I, as a Christian clergyman, ought to become involved in all these areas. We in the church should set moral guidelines for our leaders, and then let these situations be worked out in guidelines that are biblically based.
Did Wheaton shape any of your views of social action?
Yes. Going to Wheaton was a big turning point in my view on racism. Because when I studied the history of Wheaton, I began to realize that it was really started as an anti-slavery school. Jonathan Blanchard was very closely identified with the early American evangelist Charles Finney and the Beecher family in Boston. Harriet Beecher Stowe (author of Uncle Tom’s Cabin) had a brother that was a member of the first graduating class at Wheaton. The first time I’d ever gone to school with blacks was at Wheaton. This opened my eye to the fact that we are all equal. So from the beginning of my ministry, I began to take a stand against racism which was very, very unpopular. In the early 1950s in the south, I came under severe criticism.
What would you like to see changed about Wheaton?
Well, I don’t know that much about Wheaton, and this is a terrible thing for a board member to say. First of all, I’m not very comfortable being on the board at Wheaton. I was asked by Dr. Edman. I loved and respected him so much that I accepted, with the understanding that I could rarely attend board meetings, and could not keep up with everything going on. And this has proven to be true. I feel that a board member at Wheaton ought to become involved far more than board members are involved now. I think we ought to note student feelings, and have discussions with students, have discussions with faculty members, and get the whole sense of Wheaton before we sit in a board meeting.
The press seems eager to find fault with you. What’s it like to be in the public eye?
I have to meet the press wherever I go. They’re coming to my home all the time. For instance, the other week, both CBS and ABC spent full days at my home filming. From the very beginning I’ve been in the press. And I’ve run scared. I’ve never lost my fears that I would say something wrong or do something that would bring discredit on the name of Christ. So many people that are in the public eye have what is called “foot-in-the-mouth disease.” It’s very easy to catch. The problem is that the press often misquotes what I say. I have to constantly think, how is this going to sound out of context? When I talk to a reporter, I have to keep in mind that I can never say anything “off the record.”
Over the years, you have been close friends with several of the presidents. What kind of relationship do you have with President Reagan?
We’ve been friends for over thirty years. I met him through his mother-in-law, Mrs. Davis. We were in Phoenix, and I was playing golf. Mrs. David came out on the course and asked if she could see me. So after the game, I went inside and she said she wanted me to meet her new son-in-law, who had just been married for about a year. I said, “Who is your son-in-law?” And she answered, “Ronald Reagan.” “Oh, you mean the film star?” She said, “Yes,” and introduced me to him. That fall in Dallas, Texas, he and I were co-speakers. We became friends then. Ruth and I have visited the Reagans many times at his home over the years. Of the presidents that I have known, like Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Reagan, I was friendly with all of them before they became presidents. I met Nixon through his family. They came to nearly every evangelistic meeting held in southern California. One day I was eating with Senator Clyde Huey of North Carolina., and Senator Huey said, “There goes young Nixon from California.” I said, “Oh, I know his parents,” so he called Nixon over to our table. Nixon was very friendly and said, “I’m going to play golf and we need another partner.” So, that’s how I met him.
What do you do for relaxation?
I jog about two miles every day, even during crusades. At sixty-three, I think I’m in the best health that I’ve been in in my whole life. There’s nothing wrong with me anywhere, so far as I can tell. Except that I don’t have enough hours in the day!
In closing, what advice would you give us as students?
Well, I think the most important thing a person can get out of Wheaton is to develop habits of a devotional life of Bible study and prayer, because that will be your strength through all of your life.
By David Osielski | March 16, 2012
Recently a small leaflet was unearthed in the faculty papers of former Professor of Theology, G. Henry Waterman. Dr. Waterman received his M.A. (1948) and B.D. (1953) from Wheaton College and Ph.D. from New York University (1966). His professional career began and ended at Wheaton. He taught Greek as a newly minted graduate from 1948-51 and later New Testament Interpretation from 1966 to his death in 1977. In the intervening years, he was a pastor in upstate New York. He taught overseas in the Philippines and was a China missionary with the C&MA church. He worked with the American Bible Society as a translation consultant and was a member of the Chicago Society of Biblical Research, Evangelical Theological Society, and a translator for the New International Version of the Bible. During his tenure at Wheaton, he taught in the shadow of notable biblical scholars and theologians such as, Merrill Tenney, Kenneth Kantzer, Carl Armerding, Millard Erickson, and Gordon Fee.
Although a small hand-written annotation ascribes the leaflet’s orgins to the Biblical, Religious, and Archaeological Studies department, the veracity of its contents titled, “A complete compilation and exposition of all the New Testament passages that support the Pre-Tribulation Rapture Theory” can neither be confirmed nor denied…
The Papers of G. Henry Waterman are housed in the Wheaton College Archives & Special Collections and are available for research.
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