Dr. Groothuis speaks at the Christian Thought Colloquium
- Jessica Henthorne
- Nov 18, 2011
On Tuesday, November 15, 2011 Dr. Doug Groothuis spoke at the Christian Thought Colloquium on the topic “Roots and Fruits: The Intellectual Influences that Shaped my Christian Calling.” This lecture series is sponsored by the Division of Christian Thought, which includes the departments of Theology, Philosophy of Religion, and Church History.
Dr. Groothuis first shared three aspects about the Christian calling and recommended Os Guinness's book, The Call. The first aspect of discovering one's calling is the need to evaluate what ought to be done for the Mission of God, asking the question, "What are the needs of the world?" The second aspect of discovering one's calling is knowing what they do well. There are many things that need to be done, but that doesn't mean you should be the one to do them. The final aspect of calling is doing something that gives one deep joy. At the end of a day of work, there is a great sense of accomplishment. Dr. Groothuis has discovered his own calling is to defend and apply Christianity as objectively true, rationally compelling, and pertinent to all of life. He does this through his gifts of teaching, preaching, and writing.
Dr. Groothuis shared about five people who have influenced his own calling. The first person was Sören Kierkegaard. He first read Kierkegaard in college, during a time in his life when he was very hostile to Christianity. Kierkegaard's book, The Sickness Unto Death, was an exegesis of sin and despair and caused him to examine his own soul. The other book of Kierkegaard’s, Purity of Heart is to Will One Thing, he read as a young Christian. This book solidified his calling as a Christian thinker and challenged him to dedicate himself fully to Christ. Although, Dr. Groothuis does not agree with all of Kierkegaard’s writings, he finds them to be masterful in psychological apologetics.
The second person that influenced Dr. Groothuis was Francis A. Schaeffer and his book The God Who is There. He discovered this book a few months after he became a Christian and it opened up the world of thought, culture, and history to him as a Christian. It helped him understand how to live the Christian life as an intellectual and challenged him to explore his intellectual curiosity without fear.
The third person who influenced Dr. Groothuis is Blaise Pascal's Pensées. He found Pascal to be a brilliant analyst and insightful about the foibles of the human condition. Pascal's view, that humanity is great by virtue of being made in God's image, yet terrible because of the fall, has been something Dr. Groothuis has utilized in many of his writings and ministry. Groothuis has also found Pascal’s understanding of diversion profound. Human beings by themselves cannot cure their mortality, cannot satisfy themselves, yet we try to deny that through diversion tactics. He refers to this viewpoint of Pascal in his book, The Soul in Cyberspace.
The fourth person that influenced him was Os Guinness and his books, The Dust of Death, The American Hour and The Case for Civility. He found that Os Guinness is a matchless orator and statesman for Christ. He began reading Guinness years ago, the first one being Dust of Death. Guinness wrote about similar topics as Schaeffer did took the topics to a deeper, more philosophical level.
The final person of influence and most important in Dr. Groothuis's life is his wife, Rebecca Merril Groothuis. Rebecca has prodded him to write Unmasking the New Age, and helped him to edit that book and many others. She is a great contributor to his writing and is a gifted editor, with an eye for truth, logic, and style. She also challenged him, over a period of time, to develop his views of women in the Kingdom of God. Rebecca wrote two books on this topic, Women Caught in the Conflict and Good News for Women.
You can listen to the whole talk here.