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Memory #2: The Greatest School on the Face of the Earth

From left: Glen Kaiser, Roy Crowne,
Wendy Kaiser and me at JPUSA in
It is not that I have always thought that Moody Bible Institute is the greatest school on the face of the earth. Quite the contrary. In 1995 my good friend, Roy Crowne, and I visited Chicago to spend some time with evangelist Luis Palau during his "Say Yes Chicago" campaign. We stayed at Friendly Towers, the home of Jesus People USA (JPUSA), and visited a number of ministries in the city. One such ministry was Moody Bible Institute. I was not a fan. As we were leaving, I told Roy that I would not go to Moody if it was the last place on earth.

In 2007 I went to Moody to get a degree. Now, if I had to choose one place on earth to be, it might just be Moody Bible Institute.

Moody is a unique place. It belongs, perhaps, to a former era of Bible Institutes - independent, theologically conservative schools that opted out of the liberal arts model of college education. It is a place in which theology is primary. Proffessors at Moody don't get tenure. Instead, to remain, they must, year by year, affirm a doctrinal statement. Teachers teach because they love it and believe it. No one is there because it is a job, but because it is their passion. And it shows.

Moody remains theologically conservative. Too rigid? Not really if what one means by rigid is a commitment to the authority of scripture. And if God is God and he has spoken it is not rigid to adhere to every word he says, it is just plain right. Still, some might wonder if debate is squashed in such an environment. No, I didn't find this. Perhaps, for some, but for me, having the Bible as the authority rather than my opinion was the least hemming in I could ask for. The truth does set people free. It set me free. Brain washed? Yes. Not all clean yet, but give it time.

Greek study group
from left: Luke, Kameron, me, Ron
At thirty-four some might think I was a bit old to be going to college. After all, the majority of my class mates were just shy of twenty. I wasn't quite old enough to be their father, but almost. However, there are substantial benefits to being a "mature student." To begin with I had no trouble in choosing my major and then my classes. I knew my interests and pursued them. Furthermore, for me, there was absolutely no shame in being a teacher's pet. And believe me, as a teacher's pet, I was A grade material. As for my classmates, they were some of the most mature, insightful, caring people I have ever met.

Taking notes in class
The other thing about Moody is that it is more than a school; it is a ministry. And its aim in education is ministry. Consequently, the teaching is geared to those who want to devote their time to missions, the pastorate, evangelism or the academy. Most graduates of Moody work for churches, mission agencies or other paid ministries.

Commuting "Moodies" at the train station.
From left: Micah, Dave, me, Jeff and Andy (I am
the only student. The rest were employees of Moody)

For me, going to college in my thirties was somewhat of a do-over. My last encounter with full time school had not gone so well. I finished my A-Levels with one E in design and technology and that, for my American friends, is not good. In fact, I was a flunk. Once, upon examining a welding job I had done for Design and Technology class, my teacher told me that his horse had put more thought into defecating than I had into my entire project. Fortunately Moody did not mind that I cannot use a mig-welder. They were prepared to give me a shot. More importantly, God gave me another chance to put my mind to use in his service.

BA (magna cum laude) in Apologetics
and Philosophical Theology