Monday, May 18, 2009

What will they remember?

Recognize your students don't learn everything you teach them. My students certainly do not learn all I teach them. So I have to ask myself, "What do they learn?" They learn quite a lot that I teach them to pass the exam. But in terms of life long commitment, what do they really learn? Let me tell you what they learn. They learn what I am excited about. They learn what I act as if it is central. That's what they learn.

So if the gospel becomes that which is assumed--never denied--but that which is assumed, but not what you are excited about, then you will teach your students that the gospel isn't very important. Now, you don't mean to say that. You don't mean to say that. And if I went to you and challenged you and said, "You know, I haven't heard how you tie that to Christ's vicarious substitutionary death on the cross. I don't see how you're doing that, and Paul says it's a matter of first importance. How do you put that together?"

[Defensive Tone:] "I believe that too! What are you doing challenging me? I believe that with all my heart. I've always believed that. I haven't denied that. Don't you see, on my third book, on page 362 on a footnote, I actually mention it!" [/Defensive Tone]

But your students will learn what you are excited about. So that unless you train yourself, I don't care what your discipline is, to major on the majors, to work toward the center and be excited about that which is of most fundamental importance, according to the revelation of God, you are in fact teaching people to marginalize that which God declares to be a matter of first importance! And then you are only another generation away from denying the gospel.

The first generation begins to assume the gospel.

The next generation marginalizes it.

The third generation denies it.

You can't do that!

--From D.A. Carson, during his "Scholar as Pastor" lecture.

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