Winter  2002
Volume 6 Number 2

President Gillespie
Dear Friends and Colleagues:

Many have asked how the campus has been affected by the terrorist acts of September 11. My impression is that a certain somberness characterizes the current academic year, not in the sense of doom and gloom but in the sense of seriousness of purpose. 

“If we do in fact believe that God reigns over this world and exercises sovereignty in and through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, then our attitude of mind will allow us to sing with assurance such hymns as: 

Our God, our help in ages past,
Our hope for years to come,
Our shelter from the stormy blast,
And our eternal home. " 

President Thomas W. Gillespie 
convocation address “Studying Theology in Apocalyptic Times.”

We live in a culture that has not valued theological education for a long time. Our society has, for the most part, dismissed differences of religious conviction as irrelevant. Popular wisdom has contended that it does not matter what you believe so long as you are sincere. Superficial comments like that are no longer plausible. For those who attacked the World Trade Center and the Pentagon and were responsible for the crash in a Pennsylvania field were not godless atheists we had feared for so long in the Cold War. They were believers convinced they were doing the will of God.

Suddenly, then, theological studies have taken on a new seriousness. We have heard the mantra "Theology matters" and remained unconvinced. Now we know that it does matter. Now we know that what someone believes about God can be a matter of life and death. Now we know that pastors must be prepared to face and interpret outrageous events that inflict evil upon our world.

Now the doctrine of God is recognized as crucial. Who is God really? Who really is God? 

So is the theodicy question. As Archibald MacLeish put it in his play JB, "Either God is God and not good or God is good and not God."

And so is the doctrine of Christ. If we believe God exercises sovereignty in this world through the cross and resurrection of Jesus, we need a Christology big enough to deal with the tragic events of September 11.

Yes, there is a seriousness of purpose on the campus just now, and I, for one, hope and pray that it will continue.

Faithfully yours,

Thomas W. Gillespie

© Copyright 2001 Princeton Theological Seminary
 last updated 12/14/01

In This Issue


Renewing a Right Spirit

For Such a Time As This: PTS Campus Community Responds to September 11

Windows on a Shattered World

"A Witness to the Truth": Martin Luther King Jr.'s Eulogy for PTS Alum James J. Reeb


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