Pierre Maury: God, God, God! – nothing other than God!

In Howard Schomer’s [1] inaugural address as incoming president of Chicago Theological Seminary in January 1959 over 60 years ago entitled A UNITED MINISTRY TO A DIVIDED WORLD [2], he asked two ever pertinent questions that any seminary should be asking: “How can The Chicago Theological Seminary, in a time when human history seems to be approaching its climax, serve the Lord faithfully, humbly, and therefore creatively where He has called it into life? How can teachers and students here on the Quadrangles really join with the churches to bring to this dangerously divided world a united Christian ministry”?

He went on to speak of a Theological School’s Great Love.

He said that “The very form of the two questions which dominate my mind in this hour, questions to which no one will expect this address to bring more than the fragments of an answer – reminds us that the Seminary, like all theological schools, is not self-employed, autonomous. It is a community of men and women in sworn service of truth – truth that bears a name. God, God, God! – nothing other than God! were the opening words of an unforgettable lecture at the Paris Faculty of Protestant Theology, given by the late and very great French pastor, Pierre Maury, Doctor honoris causa [3]of our own Seminary here. Yes, the great love of a true theological school, always and forever, is the eternal Lord whose glorious Being it contemplates, and whose wondrous Will it searches out. “Thou, O Lord, hast said, Seek ye my face. My heart saith to Thee ‘Thy face, Lord, do I seek’ (Ps. 27:8). To contemplate in our worship nothing other than God, to look for nothing besides God at the end of painstaking research projects that take long months or even years, truly to study divinity in every field of the curriculum for the Bachelor of Divinity degree – – does not by any means signify a lack of concern for general culture or an irresponsible attitude towards society. It is the distinctive characteristic of theological study to examine all things in their relationships not only to each other but to their Source, their Creator. This is the sense in which, with Pierre Maury, we affirm that the proper study of theologians is “none other than God”. Even when they devote their minds to the most exacting technical subjects – linguistic, historical, aesthetic, psychological, political or administrative, all Christian scholars surely hope for the grace so to do in the spirit of perpetual adoration”.

Pierre Maury receiving an Honorary Doctorate at the University of Chicago 1954

[1] Howard Schomer (June 9, 1915 – June 28, 2001) was a United Nations Commission on Human Rights aide, Civil Rights activist, scholar, drafter of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and editor-at-large for Christian Century. He received a B.S. from Harvard College in 1937; a D.D. from the Chicago Theological Seminary in 1954, and was ordained as a minister in the United Church of Christ in 1941. He was assigned to Civilian Public Service for refusing his ministerial exemption from the draft in World War II as a conscientious objector. Schomer was a close associate of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and remained a Civil Rights activist for his entire life. He served as the Chicago Theological Seminary president from (1959–1966). https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Howard_Schomer

The photo below is of Howard Schomer in 1957 (a WCC photo)

B4784-31

[2] http://ctslibrary.org/omeka/files/original/90fb44694db0dfd0fccac18de45ed406.pdf

[3] This was awarded in 1954 two years prior to his death. Pierre is third from the right in the photo above. Daniel Thambyrajah Niles (4 May 1908—17 July 1970), the Ceylonese/Sri Lankan pastor, evangelist and president of the Ceylon Methodist Conference, who was greatly influenced by Maury, can also be seen in the photo (fifth from the right).

 

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