Saturday, November 6, 2010

A hero of mine...

The concept of heroism for Christians is different than the world. We have one genuine hero- Christ. There has never been a more heroic figure than Christ. Christ, who is God, took on flesh, lived a life of perfect obedience, went to the cross bearing the sins of God's people making perfect payment for them. He died and rose again for our justification. He ascended in to heaven and now sits at God's right hand ruling in total power and will some day return to judge. He is THE hero.

So, can Christians have hero's other than Jesus? I think they can, but they are rightfully relegated to the place of "under hero". They are hero's in so far as they follow and model Christ.

I have a few hero's who are like Christ. At the top of the list is David Calhoun (pictured above with Nathan and I). David Calhoun is the long time Church History teacher at Covenant Seminary. There's so much I could tell you about Dr. Calhoun to justify why he is a hero of mine. He is a gentle, meek, humble man with a wealth of knowledge only a few people have. Beyond his knowledge he is exceedingly wise. He is a peaceful person. He has weathered many divisive issues between various colleagues and churches, yet different sides of a given debate or schism always have high regard for David Calhoun.

Dr. Calhoun has written many excellent histories. He authored a scholarly overview of the history of Princeton Seminary back in her golden era with the esteemed Reformed faculty of the late 1800's and early 1900's. He has a way of telling a story that is very detailed yet easy to listen to and follow. Listening to Dr. Calhoun lecture is almost hypnotic, and not in a thoughtless sleepy way. I mean to say he draws you in and 45 minutes go by in an instant. No matter what part of Christian History he relays, Christ is the hero. When he tells the stories of faithful saints of old, he ends by quoting Hebrews 12- "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith." When he tells stories of unfaithful characters in the history of the Church, he ends the lecture quoting Isaiah-"the grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever."

Dr. Calhoun has battled cancer for the better part of the last 20 years. He has endured repeated periods of radiation and chemotherapy that have rendered him bed-ridden for long periods of time. Most recently he had heart surgery. There's not a day that has gone by since he was 50 without pain or discomfort. He has had 38 colonoscopies at St. John's in St. Louis, the current hospital record. Yet, he complains not a bit. With every ounce of energy and strength he can muster, he goes on teaching and preaching Christ. He teaches Christ from the bible and Church History, weaving the two beautifully in lectures and sermons. Anyone can listen to the whole of Dr. Calhoun's Church History lectures online, for free. I cannot recommend them more highly. The audio you will listen to comes from the very lectures I heard in class in 1997 and 1998. You can find them here.

Health permitting Dr. Calhoun makes the trek from St. Louis to Kansas City via the train to preach and teach at Redeemer every Reformation Sunday. As long as God gives him strength he will return and we will receive him with joy.

My hero is Christ. A very worthy under hero I have also- David Calhoun.


Rick Calohan said...

Thank you, Dr. Calhoun for teaching and mentoring Tony and Nathan into being the great Teaching Elders and under-shepherds that they are for Redeemer and for the four classes (Reformation and Modern Church History, Ancient and Medieval Church History, New Testament History, and Calvin’s Institutes) via ACCESS through Covenant Seminary. I am eternally grateful for what I have learned from him in those classes and in the books and articles, he has written. I am also grateful to have him lead us in worship on Reformation Day this year and in years past.

Malcolm said...

A copy of my facebook posting last immediately after last Sunday's service...
I was blessed today by hearing a wise and articulate expositor of The Word, Dr. David Calhoun. This was followed by his teaching in Sunday shcool on the Scot's Confession which was co-authored by John Knox. Dr. Calhoun is a rare breed. Every seminary student who took a class under him should be eternally thankful.

Woody Woodward said...

You know, as I grow in the Lord, there is no great joy that to sit under such great men of God like Dr Calhoun. I lavishly drink in in every profound thought he rightly exhorts. This is the third time Cheri and I have had the honor to hear him preach the Word and he does so with compelling, spell-binding passion. Like you shared Tony, such grace, such a humble continence, such amazing depth of his vast knowledge, yet all without any fanfare. I know that when the Lord calls him home, there will be a mighty mansion of glory well prepared in advance for him.

John D. Chitty said...

I've enjoyed those online courses in the past; how interesting to learn that you were among the students in attendance, and what a great way to observe Reformation Sunday every year! Now I'll have to wrestle every year with the desire to drive from Texas to your church for Reformation Sunday service, to hear and meet such a model minister and historian.