| In God Alone
Theologian Miroslav Volf Challenges Graduates to Lives
and Loving God
On June 7, the Seattle Pacific University Class
of 2003, and nearly 5,000 family members and well-wishers, converged
on the Washington State Convention and Trade Center to celebrate
a great achievement. They also gathered to hear a Commencement
challenge by Miroslav Volf, author and professor of systematic
theology at Yale Divinity School.
Considered one of the world's most insightful theologians, Volf
spoke to the graduates on "Crisis of Faith Crisis of Love." He
said that at the heart of our many cultural problems lies a crisis
of misplaced faith and misplaced love. "The core content of the Christian
calling," explained Volf, "is to make God the object of our faith
and love" and "to order our lives around trusting and loving God,
rather than power and possessions," He urged the graduates to find
"the motivation and strength to prefer losing power by doing what
is right to possessing power by doing wrong."
|"We were made to trust,
and we were made to love, but our trust and our love must
find the proper object. Our true hope comes from placing
our faith and love where they belong, in God alone." Miroslav
Volf, SPU Commencement, June 7, 2003
Volf was born in Croatia and came of age in communist Yugoslavia.
After the 1991 fall of communism in Eastern Europe, he witnessed
ethnic tensions between Croats and Serbs escalate into a bloody
war. His entire seminary had to escape and live in exile, crammed
together as many as seven to a room. "We could see on TV the destruction
of our own homes in a war that was raging some 100 miles away,"
he remembers. When asked whether he could embrace a cetnik, one
of the notorious Serbian fighters who were destroying his country
and his people, he responded, "No, I cannot but as a follower
of Christ I think I should be able to."
Though he went on to earn a master's degree from Fuller Theological
Seminary and two doctorates with highest honors from Germany's
University of Turbigen, Volf continues a commitment to his homeland
by lecturing for several months of every year at the Evangelical
Theological Seminary in Osijek, Croatia. He writes extensively
on church in the world and its relationship to culture, economics,
democratization, totalitarianism, human enmity, justice and liberation
—PHOTOS BY DANIEL SHEEHAN
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