Tools

I am a hardware store owner, passing out tools.

Tools-Hardware Store

I teach how to think, not what to think.

It IS true that I will tell you what I think but my comment will be followed immediately by the caveat (exception) “But you don’t have to believe anything I tell you.  Go do the research for yourself.  See if I’m right or not.”

“Being right” is not as important as doing the hard work of finding true Truth.  As a Christian professor (one who professes Christian belief) I search for true Truth; I want the same for my students.  I dedicate myself to a 5-fold Truth-search plan:

(1) assimilate true truth, explaining intentional doctrinal instruction (Psalm 119:160);

(2) discover truth, demonstrating ownership through self-study of Scripture (Acts 17:11);

(3) discern truth from untruth, exposing non-Christian beliefs (1 John 4:1-6);

(4) speak truth in love, practicing persuasion over confrontation (Colossians 4:5-6);

(5) apply truth in life, synthesizing biblical principles with all things (Romans 15:4)

As consumed as I am for true Truth, I am also consumed by training students to find true Truth for themselves.  My concern as a Christian educator is to help students become competent in what I call “the 5 ‘I’ words”:

 (1) identification of erroneous powers, premises, and practices;

(2) interpretation of pagan belief from a Christian perspective;

(3) inductive study of Scripture as a basis for assessment;

(4) interaction with current issues and icons, and

(5) investment in the tools necessary for students to make the search for true Truth a lifelong practice.

S. M. Hutchens identifies one of the frustrations about being a Christian in search of true Truth:

We are not allowed to fight the devil with his own tools.  We cannot lie and cheat when we’re up against liars and cheaters.  We’re obliged to give the devil his due, and go about the slow and so often apparently fruitless task of undoing the destruction his vandals have done so quickly and easily: analyzing, explaining, and placing the truth against lies in appeals to ears that so often are deaf–ears we at first thought wanted the truth, but in the end do not.  No shortcuts, quick fixes, or sleights or hand are allowed here, no rhetorical tricks or playing to the gallery.  this work requires patience and is a trial of faith, but it has a great temporal reward in the enjoyment of a conscience clear of the accusation that we have become what we hate. [1]

When one uses a tool, there are no short-cuts, no quick-fixes, no tricks to use which make construction easier.  So I teach my students that study is hard work.  One must read, research, reflect, then write, speak, teach, and preach.  

To all my students, past and present, I hope you are using tools which will uncover true Truth to live life, remembering that we live this life for The Life to come.

Mark handed out these tools to high school students for 17 years, undergraduate and graduate students for 14 more.  

[1] S.M. Hutchens, July/August 2013, Touchstone, p. 5.

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