Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University College, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 20, No. 11. August 1, 1957
Closed, but Open
Closed, but Open
Until now it has been the practice for the Exec. to go into committee to discuss the confidential report of the student Representative on the College Council. But at the last meeting at which the retiring Representative gave his report. Mr. O'Brien was present in person and agreed to allow visitors to remain, as long as they treated his remarks as confidential. We hope that this is the beginning of a new era, and that Mr. Marchant the new Representative, will continue this sensible arrangement. We do not feel that students who are not on the Exec. are less discreet than students who are. Indeed, surely, what is fit for the ears of the Exec. is fit for the ears of those who elected them.
The current three-cornered discussion between H.. B.D., and J.H.C.. and "Observer", who find the essence of the Christian faith in Socialism, in salvation, and in ethical progress respectively, is both fruitless and unnecessary. They have all grasped some important and valuable part of the Christian gospel, but their attempts to allocate priorities all fail because Christians are people who claim it is necessary to deal first not with starvation, nor with one's own destiny, nor with H-bombs, desperately important though all these no doubt are, but with one's duty to God, with the kind of God who is found in Jesus Christ.
When Christians turn their attention fully to the God they worship, they will avoid the errors of confining their religion either to this world or to the next—most recent discussion in "Salient" has hinged on whether well have our religion one or other side of the grave, instead of recognising that we should have it on both.
The first and most important duty of a Christian is to glorify God—to love Him with all his heart, his mind, his soul, and his strength. And this glorifying of God is incompatible with [unclear: ck] of concern for the well being, material or otherwise, of his fellows, who are made in God's image. A well-known passage in Matthew's gospel is to the point: "I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat. I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink. I was a stranger and ye took me in. I was naked and ye clothed me, I was sick and ye visited me. I was in prison and ye came unto me. Inasmuch as ye have done it unto the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me."
It follows that part of what a Christian should be doing is to concern himself with his neighbour's spiritual and material well-being. Christianity does involve political action. We can find nothing whatever in the Christian faith which would suggest we can fulfil our duty to God with our coats on; but we do insist that it is because of the God we are dealing with that we ought to take them off. We share our critics' rejection of the theory, [unclear: tioned] by the Rev. D. W. Robinson. unfortunately widely held as a hangover from the individualistic tent mission Christianity of last century, that Christians need not or should not, dirty their fingers in politics. Indeed B. has caught Christians in the University with their coals on and their pants down. Whenever Christian students form religious clubs instead of, rather than as well as, political clubs, they are refusing to face all the implications of the faith they profess.
Christianity also involves people's destiny, and the adequate treatment of the pressing moral issues of the present day, in theoretical, practical, or any other form you like, but it involves these things, not because that is what Christianity is primarily about, but because of the God Christians worship.
On another tack. "Thomas" has accused Varsity Christians of perpetrating a mass retreat from reason with regard to their religion. We are ashamed to admit that far too many Christians refuse to meet the implications of a University education on their faith. At the moment apologetics takes very much too small a part in the activities of religious societies. There is room here for both apology and apologetic.
|(1)||"Christians" for census purposes, who come to church to be spiritually hatched, matched, and despatched, or to hear the Governor General read the First Lesson.|
|(2)||The Sunday School believers, sincere persons who do not gain fresh insight into the Christian faith through their study, either because they fear the loss of emotional security their belief provides, or because they are unwilling or unable to accord thought its proper place in the Christian life.|
|(3)||The super-liberals who are unwilling or unable to accord anything but reason its proper place in the Christian life—those who act as though propositions, and not Christ, were, the light of the world.|
|(4)||Those who reduce Christianity to vaguely humanistic ethics or politics, and regard the Sermon on the Mount rather than Calvary as the greatest achievement of Christ's life, and hence reduce his followers from sharers in the redemptive life of Christ to complicated mechanisms tor getting on in the cosmos, or to enthusiastic manpower for their own political bandwagon.|
We do not think that any of these groups is doing its job in the College, there should be a fifth group who are prepared to welcome the opportunity the University affords of grasping a fuller understanding of the Christian faith, to lay claim to the great Christian tradition which regards knowledge as a positive good, and to discuss any of the unpopular concepts of Christianity on a [unclear: ratuf] level, with the aid of the new intellectual equipment they are, we hope, acquiring.
|(a)||Study-becoming as good an historian, physicist, critic, philosopher, what have you, as he can.|
|(b)||Holiness—of course the first duty of the Christian as a student should not obscure the first duty of the student as a Christian, the achievement of Christlikeness of life.|
|(c)||Evangelism—the moral guts to avow his allegiance in all circumstances and give a reason, for the faith that is in him, and to insist on the relevance of Christian principles in discussions and activities. Most of all, by showing forth in his life the fruit of Christ's grace.|
|(d)||Taking an active part in, in order of preference, religious, political and cultural clubs.|
It just won't do to write the atheist off as dumb, or perverse, or unusually and mysteriously wicked, or to respect the man who follows his conscience out of the church less than the man who stays in its despite his conscience. As soon as Christians an masse take no interest in rational theology or apologetics, they cease to be able to make any legitimate contribution as Christians to University life.
The honesty of the Press was in evidence in its handling of the recent Stud. Ass. statement on Accommodation. 'The A.G.M.'s decision to only accept accommodation without racial discrimination was fully reported. But both papers cut out the clause: "While newspaper reports often exaggerated the situation. . . ."
Mr. Don Jamieson of V.U.C. has been asked to write a history of N.Z.U.S.A., and discussed the proposal With Resident Executive. Resident Executive felt that the time was not far distant now when those with first-hand knowledge of the early days of the association would not be available, and if a history was to be compiled it should not be delayed. No final decision has as yet been made as to the form of the work, and Mr. Jamieson is still considering the matter.
The V.U.S.C.A. Secretary informs its that students who wish to join the Thespians Inc. are now eligible for a concession in the annual subscriptions from £2. 7. to £l. 10. 0. Those interested should apply to the Secretary. P.O. Box 2260.