Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Death of a Mentor

I just learned about the death this past Saturday of my Old Testament professor, academic advisor, and mentor Brevard Childs.

"I can think of no person who made a greater contribution to the work of unifying the Bible, theology and church life together in a very serious way," said Christopher Seitz, a Biblical scholar at the University of Toronto who was Childs's student, colleague and friend. "I think of him as a sort of Isaiah figure who was given a very hard job to preach and teach but never complained. He just went about his business in a hopeful way."

Studying with Dr. Childs (along with his colleague Henri Nouwen) was a highlight of my experience at Yale Divinity School. Dr. Childs' lectures were always inspiring, and the prayers with which he began each class were meaningful and moving. As a student I would sit in the front row of the lecture hall, taping Dr. Child's lectures with a Radio Shack cassette recorder. I still have the tapes and I still listen to them from time to time. I learned to know and to love the Old Testament through Dr. Childs' teaching and I thank God that I had the opportunity to study with a man of such profound faith and intellect.

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart." (Hebrews 12.1-3)

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