Letter from W. Mark Tew
“In the little book of Jude, I find great insight into the ugliness of humanity but also encouragement for the people of God.
Looking to the “last days,” which should be understood as beginning the moment of Jesus’ ascension and the subsequent expectation of His return, Jude said, “There will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions. It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit” (Jude 18-19 ESV).
Reading this passage, no one should be surprised when ungodly people do ungodly things. No one should be surprised when worldly people who are devoid of the Holy Spirit act in divisive ways. And sadly, no one should even be surprised when these realities are evidenced in racism demonstrated by persons of authority or when acts of non sequitur violence occur as a result.
But, neither should anyone who bears the name of Christ be content to say, “That is just the way things are.”
After his insight into the reality of fallen humanity, Jude continued by saying, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life” (Jude 20-21 ESV).
Simply stated, Jude’s command is “Keep yourselves in the love of God.” The imperative verb Jude used means to guard closely or watch over something in a protective manner. It would have been used of a person who was carefully guarding his or her most precious possession, keeping it safe from harm by neither trivializing its value nor its usefulness. What we are to keep is ourselves in the love of God, especially as we encounter a loveless, godless world. Three important phrases tell us exactly how we are to keep ourselves in the love of God. We are to build up the faith, pray in the Spirit, and wait for the mercy of God.
This text informs us of the spiritual deadness of humanity, instructs us as to our primary responsibility, and even illustrates how to proceed. This passage also speaks volumes to the necessity of Christian higher education. More so now than perhaps ever before, society needs exactly what Judson College and other institutions dedicated to educating students through a biblically-informed Christian worldview are positioned to offer. By anchoring everything we do in the truthfulness of scripture, by leading every student to understand her career is a calling to serve God, Judson has, and will continue, to prepare young women to be in places of influence that God can use to shape the world.
Finally, this passage tells us as Christians how we are to address systematized evils such as racism and wanton violence. “And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh” (Jude 22-23 ESV).
In confronting what is wrong in this world, the Christian must recognize that the lost are in fact lost. The propagation of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is the only answer to the sin problem of the world. Therefore, we share the love of God with mercy and with urgency, never compromising with sin or condoning its manifestation by “calling good evil and evil good” (Isaiah 5:20 ESV).
Accordingly, as president of Judson College,
- I will seek to work with the Board of Trustees to govern the College with integrity and transparency as to sustain Judson as a Christian institution of higher learning.
- I will employ on behalf of the Board of Trustees faculty and personnel who understand the Christian identity of the College and who are committed to teaching and leading students to develop and use their God-given talents and abilities in ways that bear witness to the life-changing power of Christ through their careers and areas of influence.
- And I will personally seek to make sure every student at Judson College understands that salvation is a gift of grace offered by our loving God and that from a relationship with Christ grows a deeper understanding of all that life in this world has to offer.
Finally, and as an expression of everything stated above, if any student, staff, faculty or alumna of color has been the recipient of racism by any of Judson’s educational programs or administrative procedures, I ask you to accept on Judson’s behalf my sincere apology. Together we make Judson a great institution – together we move forward to accomplish even more for the cause of Christ.”
W. Mark Tew, Th. D.