A Buswell Bite on “Unbalanced Development”

[This is the first in a series of short “Buswell Bites” I hope to post in time. This first “bite” comes from J. Oliver Buswell’s 1926 address to Wheaton College upon his inauguration as president there. Comments very welcome.]

“In the lives of many individuals, the process of maturing in Christian thinking ceases when the young person goes away to college. Many a man or woman is wonderfully matured in other respects to the neglect of intelligent study of Christian truths. The persons in question have not come to the point of breaking with their historical faith until years after they ceased to grow spiritually. Through neglect their spiritual life does not keep pace with their intellectual life in other fields. Gradually they find that they are out of sympathy with what they once believed. Their childhood notions of the content of the Christian faith are no more suited to their state of maturity than would be their childhood notions of physics or astronomy. They then begin to feel that historical Christianity is tolerably suited to persons who live the life of by-gone generations, but not at all necessary for the life of educated persons today. The result of this process is that many men, learned and competent in their own fields of knowledge are hostile to what they think conservative Christian people believe. I have talked intimately with such men, read their books, listened to their lectures. I stand to testify that many of them do not really attack the mature thoughts of such leading conservative thinkers as Orr, Warfield, Machen, Gray, Torrey, and the late president of this college. They set up their inadequate boyhood notions of Christian doctrine as men of straw, and then procede [sic] to knock them down.”