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Standing on the Rock

Standing on the Rock

A Message from President Haye

There have been several times over the past year when I have felt like I was standing on a rock in a fast-moving stream with everything rushing by at a pace that didn’t allow for serious contemplation, only gut-level reactions. Where things were turned upside down, given names that didn’t really correspond to what they were and where my ability to ask questions in order to get my bearings was stifled.

A bad dream, right? Certainly not a world I would volunteer to move to.

Yet, as we begin 2021 many no doubt feel they have been standing in the same stream. I am grateful to know that the Rock on which we stand is not surprised by any of the events of the past year. He reminds us just like He did the disciples caught in a storm on the Sea of Galilee “Don’t be afraid. I’m here.” Their storms were opportunities for their faith to grow as they witnessed God’s power – either calming the storm or calming them as the storm raged on unabated.

Could it be that our current storm is a God-ordained time when we are being pulled from our complacent middle ground into realities that are probably not of our own making and certainly not to our own liking?

Times when we are challenged to take a serious look at ourselves and in what (or in whom) we are placing our hopes, our trust and our faith.

Over the past few months, we have seen a time of upheaval unlike anything that I have experienced in my lifetime. Certainly, there have been major economic downturns, wars, civil unrest and even major cultural shifts in the past.

But underneath, the basic foundations of our institutions (including our churches) provided the stability needed to work through the problems. We could trust that we would get through it because we always had.

After a time of debate and obligatory finger pointing, we would find our way to workable solutions, usually somewhere in the middle.

This season has presented new challenges, however, as debate has been replaced with displays of violence and disregard for the rule of law. We are a divided people whose frustrations and anger are amplified daily through echo chambers created by social media and the 24/7 news cycle. As a result, the legitimacy of our most basic institutions has been brought into question. Can our system of government survive the test? At Patrick Henry College (PHC), we believe the answer to that question is a resounding “Yes, by the grace of God!”

team greece athens mission trip 2018 jack haye president garrett yoder student-457996-edited

Hard work lies ahead that will require wisdom, courage, humility and boldness. Violence and lawlessness are not solutions to the problems we are facing, however. As followers of Christ, we need to remember that He is the ultimate source of our Hope.

It is also a time when the Body of Christ must take a serious inventory to determine which gospel it is proclaiming.

A Gospel rooted in the life, death, burial and resurrection of Christ and in God’s Word – even the parts that seem offensive to us. God’s revelation of Himself to mankind, most clearly seen in Christ. Words breathed by His Spirit, “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness” (2 Timothy 3:16) – providing standards that reside outside of each of us. Standards which underscore our need for a Savior.

OR

A new gospel that acknowledges many truths and encourages as its highest values acceptance and self-discovery whereby adherents determine which teachings of the Bible best fit their individual life goals and personal choices. This is not a new temptation, however. As Scottish minister and hymnwriter Horatio Bonar wrote in the mid-19th century “Man is now thinking out a Bible for himself, framing a religion in harmony with the development of liberal thought; constructing worship on the principles of taste and culture; shaping a God to suit the expanding aspirations of the age.”

At PHC, we placed our flag in the ground 20 years ago. Our statement of faith is clear. Our commitment to the principles of that Statement of Faith and the principles of God’s Word is not shaken by political upheavals or cultural changes.

We are committed to remain true to the principles of God’s Word in our classrooms and in the way we live together in community. To test each other as iron sharpening iron through civil, robust discourse in ways that shed light, not heat and to remind each other that Godly character matters

I realize that puts us at odds with much of the world. But that is okay. God in His Sovereignty has placed us in this specific cultural and historic context as “patches of God light” as Os Guinness wrote. To stand at this intersection of Hope, Trust and Faith with both humility and boldness.

To faithfully pursue our calling of training up the next generation of leaders – a remnant – who can think deeply, write persuasively and speak with great clarity about the things that matter most. Leaders who have learned to love the LORD with all their heart, soul and mind and are committed to living out the Gospel in their homes, communities and vocations with intentionality. Men and women who will say “Yes” to living a life of trust, hope and faith regardless of the personal cost.

Several years ago, I had the privilege of meeting with a group of fellow believers in the Middle East. Not long after my time there, there was a great political upheaval that placed followers of Christ in the cross hairs of the new government. Many were taken to jail on false charges and others were placed under house arrest where even trips out for food had to be undertaken with great care.

I remember calling and talking to one of the families that I had met to see how they were faring. At the end of the conversation I told my friend that I would be praying for his safety and the safety of his family. He pulled me up short and told me “Brother, don’t pray for our safety. Pray for our boldness. Perhaps this is the very moment that God will use to bring glory to Himself. We don’t want to miss it by being afraid.”

I have thought of that conversation many times over the past few weeks as I have prayed for our country. His words still ring in my ears: “Pray for our boldness. Perhaps this is the very moment that God will use to bring glory to Himself. We don’t want to miss it by being afraid.”

That is a great reminder for us today. God has not given us a spirit of fear but one of power, love and a sound judgement (2 Timothy 1:7).

Worldly wisdom is as fleeting as the current that rushes by the rocks in the stream. At PHC, we remain committed to challenging the status quo in higher education for the glory of God – not for the glory of man.

Our foundation is the Solid Rock who is untroubled by the swift moving stream. Not a bad place to be. He has called us to train up a remnant with boldness and humility. That calling hasn’t changed. He will provide all that we need to accomplish all He has called us to do for His glory. He will renew our strength as we turn to Him.

He alone is the source of our Hope, the assurance of our Trust and the object of our Faith.

To Him alone be the glory!

Isaiah 40:31

but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength;
    they shall mount up with wings like eagles;
they shall run and not be weary;
    they shall walk and not faint.

Standing on the Rock,

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Jack Haye