Minister Abroad: Dusting Off Seminary Notes

by Rev Robert A Wendel

I feel fortunate to have earned my M.Div. degree from Princeton Theological Seminary after completing three years of on-campus studies and being taught by a world renowned facility which included Bruce Metzger, Bernhard Anderson, Seward Halter and Seminary President James McCord.  On June 4th as we celebrate another Pentecost, here are some of my notes from Dr. McCord’s sermon-like classroom lecture: Easter Hope, given in Stuart Hall during the Spring of 1979.

“The meaning of biblical history is justification by faith and forgiveness of sins.  Is this not true of our lives as persons?  Being a Christian means that our past, with all its burdens, is canceled when our sin is forgiven, and that God opens up a new future filled with fresh possibilities for us when he justifies us by faith.  We know the experience of being freed through God’s redeeming grace.  It happens to us again and again when we confess and are forgiven.

God is able to overcome our mistakes and create new opportunities for building a world that is just humane and more in accord with his intention for his people.  Easter is a guarantee of all this.  The Easter event began when the Word became flesh, when God and (humanity) were united forever in Jesus of Nazareth.  In this act God took our future upon himself and at Easter life triumphed over death for all eternity.

Easter represents the triumph of light over darkness, freedom over bondage, hope over despair and life over death.  It is the miracle of grace that enables us to rise above the perils of today and to become witnesses and partners in God’s work of making all things new (Acts 2:37-42).

St. Pauls’ great statement on the resurrection includes a doxology: “But, thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  However, he did not stop there.  In the light of the resurrection every human being is set free to serve the living God.  So, Paul concluded “Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, for your labor is not in vain in the Lord (I Corinthians 15:17.)”

As President McCord told us students many times, “I cannot think of a better definition of Christianity than that ”give, give, give.”