The text that I have been asked to consider first appears in Deuteronomy 6.5 where the people of Israel are told to remember that the LORD alone was their God and that they were to “Love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength.”  It is repeated by Jesus in three of the Gospels (Matt 22.37, Mk 12.30, Lk 10.27), with Mark and Luke adding “mind” as an additional component.  John, instead of repeating the commandment from Deuteronomy, adds what he calls is a new one—“Love one another in the same way that I have loved you, then everyone will know that you are my disciples.” (Jn 13.34-35)  It is new in the sense that they have had a mentor, an example, of this love of heart, mind, soul, and strength should take place.

Loving God completely is what the verse from Deuteronomy means: As Louw and Nida (Volume 1, 1988:677) remind us, “the terms in the series… do not refer to completely different parts or aspects of human personality; rather, the four are combined to emphasize the totality of the individual…:[in some languages therefore] “to love him completely with all you feel and all you think.”

In 1962 Eerdmans published a book by Kenneth L. Pike called With heart and mind: A personal synthesis of scholarship and devotion.  In the summer of 1963 when we were taking a workshop at Norman, Oklahoma, Pike signed our copy as follows: “To Karl and Joice—with best wishes for a life of service to God—service which combines faith with action and action which combines intellect and soul.”

In the book Pike discusses how evangelicals were at one time at the forefront of scientific research and contemplates how devotion to Christianity can be combined with scholarship to emulate some of the Puritan scholars.  He does this in four parts:

  • He outlines the limits and responsibilities that arise from academic ability
  • He demonstrates how cultural views differ according to their inside or outside viewpoints
  • He discusses the nature of personal character and truth
  • He points out that the Christian life of an individual should have an outreach (and to Pike this of course includes Bible translation “among small tribal groups in the backwash of civilization” (vii)

With this backdrop and setting, I would like to do two things:

  1. Look briefly at the life of Daniel as he lived out the commandment of Deuteronomy
  2. Give some examples that I have received showing how some of our own colleagues have attempted to live out the commandment

I am not going to read through Daniel (relax), but I am going to summarize some of its salient points.  In the discussion and prayer time that follows, keep in mind one or more of these points:

1. Chosen by the King

The King was looking for a few good men but there was no shortcut to those who were chosen to serve him.  Despite his personal and positive characteristics (physical, mental, etc.), Daniel and the other Jewish young men had to be trained for 3 years before entering the King’s service (1:5).    The young men were to be trained cross-culturally, particularly in language and culture (including the literature of the Babylonians).  This was a pagan cross-cultural setting but God gave Daniel and his friends special knowledge, including understanding the cultural literature (1:17). We could say that Daniel went to a secular and largely pagan university.

  • The Lesson: Cross-cultural training of any significance cannot be done quickly
2. The internship [loving god with all their mind]

Daniel and his friends had to do a final exam (1:20) that was similar to a PhD comprehensive. (Pike refers to it in that way in one of his books.). Due to their knowledge, given by God, they passed summa cum laude.  They were so adopted into the culture that they were given Babylonian cultural names. Nevertheless, in respect to his core beliefs, Daniel did not compromise, including what he ate and drank and the manner in which he worshipped God (1:12).  The official responsible for Daniel and his friends was impressed by their commitment to their own God and beliefs—so much so that he showed them special favor and sympathy.  Daniel had suggested they prove that their method of personal diet was better and that they would do it for a specified term—10 days.  At the end of the time Daniel and his friends looked better and healthier than those who ate the royal food (1:15).  Their knowledge and understanding, their comprehension of literature and their learning came from God.  In addition, Daniel received a gift of understanding and interpreting visions and dreams. [Such gifts were more than a product of his knowledge.]

  • The Lesson: We need to determine if people are competent for the job expected of them.

God’s time for Daniel’s gift [loving god by means of the spirit]

There came a time—in God’s plan—when Daniel’s gifts were needed.  The King had a dream and wanted an interpretation, but the requirement was so great that the astrologers said, “there is not a man on earth who can do what the King asks. Besides this no great and mighty King has ever asked for such a thing from any magician, enchanter or astrologer” (2:10). [An unprecedented demand]  The King’s consultants tried to gain the upper hand: “Tell us the dream and we will interpret it (2:4,7). Again, “What the King asks is too difficult (2:11).  The King decided to get rid of all the wise men (2:13). After all, if they couldn’t provide the help he needed, of what use were they?  Daniel and his friends were also to be executed.  But Daniel knew the King well enough that he could approach him and ask for time (2:16). He went to his friends and explained the situation and urged them to plead with God for mercy to  reveal the mystery of the King’s dream (2:17). [He appealed to his friends for prayer support.  He did not attempt to answer the question alone—he requested his friends for advice and prayer]

  • The Lesson: In addition to intellectual ability some demonstration of God’s gift is important.
3. God’s revelation to Daniel [loving god with all of his heart]

During the night God revealed the vision and immediately Daniel offered a prayer of praise (2:20-23):

    1. Praise for the wisdom and power of God, eternal in nature [beyond Daniel and his friends]
    2. Praise for his way of establishing and destroying earthly powers
    3. Praise for giving wisdom to the wise, knowledge to the discerning
    4. Praise for revealing deep and hidden things
    5. Praise for personal wisdom and power
    6. Praise for answering their prayers—specifically the dream of the King

Wisdom and power, knowledge were gifts from God, allowing Daniel to understand the mystery of his ways.

  • The Lesson: We praise God for who he is and the wisdom and knowledge He gives us—no arrogance or pride is acceptable.
4. The interpretation and its consequence [loving god despite the consequences]

The dream was interpreted by Daniel with a testimony that only God could reveal the mystery (2:27,28).  Daniel did not want to be exalted; rather, that the King should understand that God has been gracious and shown the King what would happen in the future (2:27).  Daniel revealed the dream with confidence because he knew that the revelation came from God.  The King praised Daniel’s God and placed Daniel in a high position, giving him many gifts as well. Daniel was careful to remember his friends who were also awarded.  However, it wasn’t long before the King forgot about the God of Daniel and built an image that the people were commanded to worship at a given signal (3:4). Those who didn’t would be killed in a blazing furnace.

  • The Lesson: Part of Daniel’s nature and implicit in his training was a conviction that God would do what was right.
5. Standing firm and the consequences [loving god during trials]

As we know, Daniel and his friends did not worship the pagan image and were reported to the King. He had them brought to him and gave them another chance. Their answer: [The] God we serve is able to save us, but even if he doesn’t we want you to know that we will not serve your gods or worship your image (3:17,18) [A similar choice is given to millions of Christians in countries around the world.]  They are thrown into a fire that is heated 7 times the intensity as normal. The King somehow peers into the furnace and sees that they are not in the fire alone. They are brought out unharmed (3:27).  The King praised their god and decreed that no one, regardless of nation or language, could say anything against their God (3:29). And he promoted them. [Their knowledge of God spread to other pagan nations, so that even among pagans the godliness of Daniel was recognized.]

  • The Lesson: Persevere despite difficulties and danger.
6. Another dream and its interpretation [loving god by telling the truth]

Nebuchadnezzar had a second dream, one he attributed to the “Supreme God”, and one at the time when he “was living comfortable in [his] palace enjoying great prosperity” (4:1).  But in this frightening dream he again appealed to advisors, fortunetellers, magicians, wizards and astrologers.  Finally he appealed to Daniel as the “chief of fortunetellers” [a cultural perspective], but mixed in the Jewish God as well—“I know that the spirit of the Holy God is in you…” (4:9).  Nebbie’s dream was about a tree that grows and grows “reaching the sky” and was seen by everyone, laden with leaves and fruit, a haven for birds and animals.  But an angel “alert and watchful” (4:13) declared that the tree will be cut down with only a stump left to show its former existence. Then the angel changes focus—we learn this later when Daniel interprets the dream—that the King will be insane for 7 years, living like an animal.  The purpose for this, the angel declares, is so that “all people everywhere [will] know that the Supreme God has power over human Kingdoms and that he can give them to anyone he chooses” (4:17).  Apparently the King didn’t believe this because Daniel has to reiterate it (4:25) and tell the King to “stop sinning and do what is right, and be merciful to the poor. Then you will continue to be prosperous.”

The Lesson: God’s gifts and His protection take people to unexpected opportunities and leaders

7. Sanity returns [someone else learns to love god]

Seven years later when the King regains his sanity he praises God for (4:34-35):

  • His everlasting rule
  • His control of all people and circumstances
  • His purpose

The Final Lesson: God is in control and achieves his purposes in mysterious ways

Karl Franklin, December 13, 2005

[Given at an Academic Affairs Retreat, Mt. Lebanon Conference Grounds, Cedar Hill, Texas]

Addendum A: Parallels of some members

Some months ago I got the idea that it would be interesting, instructive and even fun to invite some of our scholars to contribute to a volume that would show how they had integrated their faith and learning.  This is not a new theme or concept, of course, but it would hopefully challenge some of our new and younger scholars to see how God has used academics in SIL.  I wanted them to show how God had used their intellects, their hearts and minds to contribute to His Kingdom.  I sent out an invitation to various members. Here are some responses:

  1. Until I found myself in the environment of SIL, the idea that faith and scholarship could function in a mutually complementary and non-threatening way was quite foreign to me. The fundamentalist environment in which I had grown up was one in which ‘scholarship’ wore a black hat, being responsible for the theological liberalism that questioned everything we held dear.

The surprise that awaited me at the Oklahoma SIL in 1958 and 1959, therefore, was something of a spiritual challenge, precipitating my having to re-evaluate those ideas.

I began to tell myself that I would like to become part of that group of believing scholars (or scholarly believers); that I would like to be able to show those I knew who still held to an essentially anti-intellectual viewpoint that as long as it did not become an idol, scholarship was not intrinsically hostile to our faith.

  1. The question for me has become not so much how to integrate faith and learning but rather whether they should be considered separately (and used in isolation from each other) in the first place. My education taught me that empirical knowledge always trumps “heart knowledge”. Whenever there is a conflict between the conclusions that the two modes of “knowing” might lead us to, scientific knowledge is more trustworthy. This view of the world places a greater faith in science or, at least, a diminished faith in faith. That basic distrust of trusting God, a refusal to acknowledge Him and His sovereignty, is of course at its root sin and can only be corrected by an ongoing spiritual transformation. Often the Spirit uses processes of the mind (thoughts and feelings) to bring about heart changes.
  1. The conflict between faith and science is one in which both sides of the argument seem to be missing the point. The errors are two: one side discounts the spiritual dimension; the other side discounts the physical dimension. It isn’t an either/or choice, however. We must embrace and explore both. We aren’t constrained by a single set of eyes. God has given us two (at least) ways of knowing and learning and growing. We miss out when we fail to use them both. Like an old-fashioned stereopticon, you can close one eye and see the picture or you can close the other eye and see the picture, but you only see the picture in three-dimensions when you keep both eyes open.

While the view is different from each eye, the process of seeing isn’t. I’ve come to believe that while scientific “knowing” and “living by faith” are often portrayed as radically different, in fact, there are some basic characteristics that they share.

  1. It’s tempting to speculate that God’s major purpose in the two technical developments [Chomsky on syntax and Townsend on BT] was to benefit Bible translation. That kind of speculation may be a bit presumptuous, but their impact on the Bible translation movement has been dramatic. While Christians have contributed significantly in both of these technical areas, a major part of the work has been done and is still being done by non-Christians. God not only gives knowledge and understanding to all, but he orders things so that his purposes are accomplished through people who may not see the eternal implications of what they do. Long ago it was written, “This is what the LORD says to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I take hold of to subdue nations before him and to strip kings of their armor, to open doors before him so that gates will not be shut: I will go before you and will level the mountains; I will break down gates of bronze and cut through bars of iron … I summon you by name and bestow on you a title of honor, though you do not acknowledge me” (Isaiah 45:1, 2, 4). I believe that there are many modern-day Cyruses as well.
  1. My SIL academic journey as a student began in 1965 at the U of WA where I did both summer courses. The benefit was living in community with fellow students, staff, and faculty. This initial experience with SIL scholarship made a lasting impression on my mind as I observed scholarly academics inside the classroom and practical faith outside the classroom—how volleyball was played, food was prepared, children were nurtured, homework help was provided, etc. I saw people who were successful in their academic work as well as in their faith. I equated their success with doing what God wanted them to do—fulfilling the goal of the organization.
  1. My first introduction to linguistics came about because of the general education requirements at the university. My second year there, I was looking for some course outside my major field of study that met at a suitable time, and found one entitled “Introduction to cultural anthropology and linguistics.” In a huge classroom with some 500 students, I ‘happened’ to sit down next to another Christian the first day. We eventually got to know each other, and I found out he was a Wycliffe MK from South America. Through him, I first heard about the great number of language groups in the world which still don’t have their own translation of the Bible. Since reading the Bible in my mother tongue had been very instrumental in my own conversion, I was immediately challenged by the ministry of Wycliffe. From that time onwards, a recurring thought was, “The Bible in your mother tongue was a blessing to you. Shouldn’t you pass that blessing on to some other group of people?”

I greatly enjoyed the linguistics portion of the course, so in subsequent semesters I took several more linguistics courses. My teachers in linguistics were all familiar with the work of SIL and spoke highly of the diligence of SIL linguists and the valuable contribution they were making to linguistic research.

  1. An event that happened while we were at ANU long ago has always stuck in my mind. We were taking turns to drink coffee with fellow scholars in a neighbour’s flat while the other looked after the children in ours. It was my turn to drink coffee while the talk went on.  One scholar in the group, a geographer, admitted that he had fiddled his data to make a more impressive picture.  I was struck dumb, but somebody else asked why.  He said that getting a job in his university back home was more important to him than truth.  We all ‘stand on the shoulders’ of those who have gone before us.  What would have happened if some researcher following him had depended on his data?  I’m glad we were taught in SIL to keep to the truth, to admit to our limitations of time and opportunity, and acknowledge the holes in our data.  Anyway, there’s one thing that is certainly as true in studying language, even one’s own, as in other kinds of research—you never come to an end.  There’s always more.

Here’s something I’ve learned about God.  When he’s handing out personalities to people, he gives them the one that best fits what he wants them to be and do.  But he has a problem.  We all have in us the inherited imperfections of our fallen humanity.  Only Jesus was perfect in his humanity.  So God is taking a great risk with each of us.  Unless we are depending on him, our direction is down rather than up.

  1. In attempting to provide a framework for this discussion, it might be helpful to think in terms of some basic questions. These are not to be seen as exhaustive, but rather possible starting points to stimulate your thinking and creativity. The idea here is not to attempt to persuade anyone of the correctness of your own position, but rather to express to others something of your heart.  Some thought-provoking questions might include:
  • What really motivates me to do what I do?
  • Is there anything different about the way I work in the SIL/WBT/GIAL context that is different from the way I would do the same task in a secular context? If so, what is different?
  • Are there special issues I must face as a Christian scholar/educator as I relate to secular peers?
  • What effect has my Christian motivation had on what I do & how I relate to people? Give specific examples
  • How would I describe what I do and why I do it to a secular, but genuinely interested, peer?
  • How has history (personal, corporate and world-wide) affected what I do?
  • If I could look ahead (say) five or ten years, what would I like people to say about the way I have integrated my faith and academic service in the meantime? Is there anything I could/should change now to help bring this about?

Our colleagues comment on their preparation, calling, interatctions with teachers, mentors, colleagues and others, as well as their training.  These themes reoccur and should give us something to think seriously about.

Some References

Anderson, Paul M., ed. 1998. Professors who believe: The spiritual journeys of Christian faculty. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press.

[Contributions from 22 scholars from variouis disciplines: hard sciences such as biochemistry, astronomy, engineering, and mathematics ass well social sciences like political science, education, journalism, history and philosophy.]

Clark, Kelly James, ed. 1993. Philosophers who believe: The spiritual journeys of 11 leading thinkers. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press. [Reflections by Protestant and Catholic professors at universities and colleges around the world: Oxford, Notre Dame, Toronto, Claremont McKenna, Pittsburgh, Maryland, Calgary, Loyola, and Yale.]


Addendum B: Dorothy Sayers (1893-1967) on “The lost tools of learning” (1947)

Although we are not all teachers, we have all taught at sometime and have learned things about the activities and the students involved.  Sayers says that we must “turn back the wheel of progress some four or five hundred years” to when education began to lose sight of what its goal was.  Children today are taught more subjects but they seem to know less  because as they are educated they do not learn how to tackle new subjects by themselves—the student “remembers what he has learnt, but forgets altogether how he learned it.”

The mediaeval scheme of education was divided into the Tivium and the Quadrivium.  The Trivium occurred firs and was divided into three parts: grammar, dialectic and rhetoric.  It was to teach the pupil the proper use of the tools of learning before he began to apply them to any subjects.  He first learned how language worked, to define terms and make accurate statements, how to construct an argument and how to express himself in the language.  The subjects were not divorced from each other but were drawn together by the construction and debating of a thesis.  Today, Sayers says, students “are a prey to words in their emotions instead of being masters of them in their intellects.”  She therefore sketches out a syllabus, one that starts the child at an early age, which she calls the Poli-Parrot.  The only requirement for the student starting out is that they can read, write, and cipher (do arithmetic). The first stage is represented by grammar, where rote memory is given full practice, with recitation individually or by group.  This is laying the groundwork for the two stages that follow.  Grammar consists of history (dates, events, anecdotes and personalities), geography (maps, natural features, customs, flora, fauna and so on), science (identifying and naming specimens), mathematics (tables, shapes, grouping of numbers), theology (God and man in outline—the Old and New Testaments).

The second stage is when the student is deposed to pertness and argument, with observation and discursive reason prominent in the education.  Logic, the art of arguing correctly, is included and the Dialectic is related to each of the above: grammar, with reading from narrative, lyric, essays, argument and criticism.  Mathematics includes advanced kinds, history includes ethics derived from theology.  Sayer’s real concern is that students learn to recognize “fallacious reasoning and muddleheaded arguments.”  On the concern that elders will browbeat young persons at the Pert age, she says “that children of that age are intolerable anyhow.”  The imagination is usually dormant during the Pert age so that it needs to be reawakened.  A certain freedom is needed in the syllabus of the Rhetoric such that it is difficult to keep “subjects” apart.

The final synthesis of the Trivium is fairly specialized, for children over 14 to 16 years of age.  In the Dialectic stage the student would “have learnt and remembered the art of learning” so that he can “approach … every subject [as] an open door.”  At present, according to Sayers, our world is living on an educational capital that cannot last forever.  This is because most people managing our affairs today do not bring any of the learning tradition with them. They have lost the tools of learning.

[AA Retreat, Mt. Lebanon
December 13, 2005]