Family & Friends,
A pastor visiting Kigali asked me about Dr. Charles C. Ryrie of Dallas Seminary. That brought back two memories: one painful & one wonderful. Ryrie taught the theology of the Holy Spirit. One class he explained “types”. Oil and wind are two types of the Spirit. He then asked a hard question. “Can you think of a type spoken in the N.T. that is fulfilled in the N.T.?” My hand went up slowly. “How about Christ cursing the fig tree? It happens in the Gospels and is a ‘type’ of the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 AD.” Ryrie paused, then asked, “Did you think of that yourself?” I quickly responded, “No, the Holy Spirit told me.” The class started to explode in laughter until they looked at the stern face of Prof. Ryrie. He, like queen Victoria, “was not amused”. Everything went tomb quiet. After an intermitable pause, he finally said, “The Spirit gets blamed for more things around here.” Whew, I was not kicked out of seminary.
Ryrie was a scholar who fought the academic current. He knew that in academe it was “publish or perish” – and “publish” meant only scholarly journals. He pushed back. Theologians should be writing for the church not just each other! He forced us to write short clear theological definitions in words anyone could understand. His book, Dispensationalism Today, is brilliant, but accessible for any student. His model motivated me as academic dean to adopt “pedagogy and prosper” rather than “publish or perish”. I will never forget Dr. Ryrie—but, I’m hoping that he does forget my Holy Spirit comment!