Keeping Commitments

I'm committed to the Bible. I'm committed to the Gospel and saved by grace through faith plus nothing.

Scripture: 1 Timothy 2
Topics: Gospel, Commitment


Alright, thank you very much. And hello again radio friends, how in the world are you? Yes, this is your friend Bob Cook, and I’m glad to be back with you. That little greeting establishes the fact that I care how you are and that thank God you can be in the world, but you don’t have to be of it. You don’t have to be tarred with the world’s brush just because you’re living in a dirty world, you can be kept clean. Peter says, “You who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation.” God knows how to keep you, and lead you, and use you for His glory, let Him do it today.

Well many of you will be hearing this broadcast on St. Patrick’s Day, March 17. And that day not only marks the memory of a great missionary individual centuries ago, but it also was the date in 1962 when I began as president of the college. And I ran across the remarks that I made on that occasion to the faculty and the students, and I wondered if you might be interested 26 years later in knowing whether or not I still felt the same way. Would you like to spend a minute or two with me about that? Well, I’m gonna do it anyway. [chuckle]

Here’s what I said to them, March 17, 1962. I said, “Friends, I’m a committed man, I’m committed to certain things that are not negotiable. These are they: Number one, I’m committed in my theological position. I believe in the inspiration of the Bible, without error, infallible and without error in its original documents. When you begin to wobble on the Bible everything else starts to wobble as well, have you noticed that? Churches and schools and individuals go into a tailspin when they start to be uncertain as to the Word of the Living God. And so, I’m committed to a position that has as its basic pre-supposition, every scientist is allowed one and this is ours. Our basic pre-supposition is that if God gave it, it was without error in its originals, and the Bible as we have it today is inspired of God. There may be certain cosmetic changes that have been made editorially here and there throughout the centuries, but scholars tell us that we have substantially today in our Bible what was given by the Holy Spirit of God to the apostles and to the prophets centuries ago. I’m committed to the Bible. I’m committed to the Gospel, saved by grace through faith plus nothing- you must be born again.”

I believe in all sorts of the helpful techniques that medicine and science has provided us, thank God for it. I think my own mother would have been alive a great many years longer had medical people known what to do in her condition. She bled almost to death, went into shock and went into the glory as a result of surgical procedures back there when I was just a baby. They didn’t quite know what to do. Well, they do now. Thank God for surgeons, thank God for doctors, thank God for psychiatrists, dedicated people who can help you through the various mental illnesses to which we are victims now and again. Thank God for all of that.

But when you come right down to it, the bottom line in dealing with God and eternity is you must be born again. And I have found that, that experience of receiving the Lord Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior tends to solve a lot of the problems that people have been trying to deal with in other ways. I’m committed to the Gospel. There isn’t any way to detour around it.

Oh, incidentally, you can’t dignify the Gospel to the unsaved mind; people still wonder, “What’s your angle?” Well we don’t have an angle. Our only angle is we want to promote the Lord Jesus Christ. “I’m committed to the Christian life, holy living, separation from the world and unto God. And I’m committed,” I told them, “to the Christian’s mission, world evangelism. Everybody in the world deserves to hear the Gospel once, more than anybody deserves to hear it twice. The chief task of the Church is the evangelization of the world. Our Lord Jesus gave us a two-fold task; evangelism and Christian nurture. ‘Go ye into all the world, make disciples, and teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.’ The task of the Church is world evangelism and Christian nurture; I’m committed to that. My theological position you may say could be called a fundamentalist position. That doesn’t mean I’m mad at anybody or go around knocking people down or accusing them, I’m simply committed to the fundamentals of the faith.”

Second thing I told the folks back there in 1962 is, “I’m a committed man in my view of Christian liberal arts education. The manifesto of faith is the beginning- we arrive; we don’t arrive at faith but we start with faith. ‘We start with God, the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,’ said the wise man.” And I told them, “We will never impart new knowledge at the cost of faith. It is not necessary to shake a person’s faith in order to stimulate his thinking. Now a college education is supposed to stretch your mind, and college professors routinely ask questions that make people think. It’s amazing how the average college student will resist the effort to make him or her think, but then that’s how human nature is.”

“Be that as it may, a college education should stretch your mind, but it need not in the process of stretching your mind, it need not shake your faith in almighty God and in His inspired, infallible Word, the Bible.” I was a little rough on them when I came there in 1962. I said I remembered the faculty on March 19. They had a faculty meeting later on, my first faculty meeting. [chuckle] I said to them something like this, I said “It’s not necessary to shake a person’s faith in order to stretch his mind.” And I said, “If I find any of you destroying people’s faith in your effort to educate them, I will fire you on the spot.” Oh, that was rough, wasn’t it? [chuckle] Some of them who were are still around, old-timers, they remind me of that with a little bit of gravel in their tone I think. [chuckle]

Well, alright I’m sorry but maybe not too sorry. I think you have to take your stand, don’t you? You have to stand for something on these matters, and I feel very deeply that in a college and university setting, we’re in the business, yes of stretching people’s minds, yes of making them think, yes of leading them to their own conclusions about matters in their search for truth. I agree with all that, whole heartedly. But at the same time a Christian higher education ought never to damage the beautiful faith between an individual and his God. I’m a committed man in my view of Christian liberal arts education in that I think we ought to have the highest and the finest and the latest and the best in liberal arts training and in the natural sciences. We’ve always striven to do that.

My first job in 1962 was immediately to start to buck for regional accreditation. The college in those days wasn’t regionally accredited, so that was my first task and I went at it with a will. We ought to have the highest and the finest and the latest and the best. You don’t have to be second class because you’re a Christian. There’s nothing sinful about having the best equipment and the best training and all that you can achieve in this matter of education. Our graduates are able to compete and to excel in any field in the world, and that’s as it ought to be.

Then I’m a committed man in this matter of education, I’m committed to the disciplines that build character. Rules and we have them at the college, just a few, “house rules” I called them. They don’t save you, they may reveal what kind of a person you are, but there isn’t any saving value in them, “house rules.” But they are not just rules to be kept, they are to build people that can lead. You’ll never be able to lead others unless you’ve learned to be a good follower. I believe in the protestant work ethic. I believe in the biblical concept of wholesome discipline. Not discipline for its own sake, but wholesome discipline that builds character.

And that’s part of the viewpoint that I brought with me in 1962; Christian higher education always has to have the evangelistic passion that sparks every Christian grace and makes it meaningful. The reason we’re together is not just to be together. Christian fellowship is great and you make lasting friendships in your college days that last a lifetime, I know that and so do you. But the real meaning of being together is that we may serve together to get the Gospel out across the world.

1I told them also back there on March 17, 1962 that I’m a committed man in my view of management. I believe in a clear job definition: What’s to be done? Who’s to do it? How is the job to be done? How much will it cost? When will it be done? And how well was it done? These are the six questions that help you organize anything. Clear job definition, what is it that you want the person to do?

Oh, incidentally every person deserves to have only one boss; dual authority is always disastrous. And then second, I believe in freedom for the individual within your area of responsibility. Define the job and let the person do it himself. Then I also believe in holding them absolutely responsible, no passing of the buck. If it’s your responsibly you gotta face it. I also told them, “When you make your first mistake, I’ll stand with you and take the blame with you. If you repeat it, you’re on your own.” Pretty good idea, isn’t it?

Management, a clear job definition, freedom for the individual to do his or her job within the parameters of his responsibility and authority, and then absolute responsibility for the job; don’t pass the buck. Face up to it and do your job well. We have to produce I told them; we have to or somebody else will. And that means every one of us, trustees, and faculty, and students, and staff need to live everyday as unto the Lord. Whatsoever you do, do it heartily as for the Lord and not just for people.

Well, [chuckle] there’s a little nostalgia, that goes back 26 years to what I told the people when I came to the college on St. Patrick’s Day, 1962.

Dear Father today, help us to be true to Thy Word and to the Lord Jesus Christ. In His Name I pray, Amen.

Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!

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