Playful, Pius or Remembered Stuff

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Friday, December 4, 2009

Remembering the good guys

I was only partially aware of my great privilege, sitting at the feet of the professors I experienced at Westminster Theological Seminary. Some young bucks are awestruck when they learn that I had Van Til, Murray, Young and Stonehouse as professors. They are the men who wrote the books! They taught the professors who are now teaching at other reformed seminaries. Stories about these men circulate in our small reformed circle of aged friends.

Today I want to remember a story or two about Professor John Murray. He was held in awesome esteem by his students because he had a stern glare to aim at anyone who made unnecessary noise in class. Once he snatched from my quaking hands a note that had only recently been passed from one of my classmates. It read "Why haven't we heard any of this good stuff in our churches back home?" or something reasonably close to that. He didn't allow questions until the end of the class hour. And it was common knowledge that a man's grade was higher or lower in direct correlation to just how accurately he quoted Mr. Murray's lectures during exams.

Carl Erickson tells of the day they were moving earth in preparation for the foundation of the Van Til memorial library. The room was a bit "close" and so the window was open. But the machinery competed with Mr. Murray's voice for the dominant decibels in the room. One of the boys raised his hand and said, "Mr. Murray could you repeat your last sentence, please? I couldn't hear it because of the Caterpillar." However Mr. Murray was not conversant with the brand names of earth moving equipment. He responded with incredulity in his voice, "The caterpillar?"

Jack Peterson tells how he was chosen to transport Mr. Murray from San Francisco to Los Angeles during his lecture tour. He asked Mr. Murray if there was anything he wished to see along their travels. Mr. Murray asked if they could stop to see the giant Sequoias. Jack said that while they were driving through Sequoia National Park Mr. Murray suddenly ordered Jack to "Stop the car!" He stepped out of the car and wandered over to one particularly large tree and just stood there, looking up. When Jack approached him, Mr. Murray simply said, "Isn't it grand, Jack. Isn't it grand."

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