The Two Tasks

Just finished a great book called The Two Tasks by Charles Malik. Quick read…only 36 pages. It is actually the speech that Ambassador Malik, former President of the United Nations, gave at the opening of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College in 1980.

Here are some takeaways…

• Harvard College was founded in 1646 with this chartered purpose: “Every one shall consider the main end of his life and studies to know God and Jesus Christ, which is eternal life.”

• The task of evangelism contributes an eternal significance to the task of education. The task of education gives immediate significance to the task of evangelism.

• Three reasons that students and teachers “reject Christianity”
1. Many are reacting against an unsatisfying encounter with something that passes for Christianity in their thinking.
2. Many self-styled intellectuals are agnostic when it comes to religion, even though they may be very trusting in other areas of knowledge.
3. Far too many of our brightest young men and women today have lost hope.

• What together, not separately but together, and in sincere cooperation with other Christians, the Protestants of America can do today for the promotion of the highest interests of man and the spirit, in the media, in the schools and universities, in the churches themselves, in the seminaries, in individual personal character, in popular literature, in the conduct of business, in the councils of the state, in international relations, and in the general quality of life of a whole epoch, is more, by far, than any other group of Christians can effect.

• All the preaching in the world, and all the loving care of even the best parents between whom there are no problems whatever, will amount to little, if not to nothing, so long as what the children are exposed to day in and day out for fifteen to twenty years in the school and university virtually cancels out, morally and spiritually, what they hear and see and learn at home and in the church.

• The greatest danger besetting American Evangelical Christianity is the danger of anti-intellectualism.

• Who among Evangelicals can stand up to the great secular or naturalistic or atheistic scholars on their own terms of scholarship and research?

• Who among the Evangelical scholars is quoted as a normative source by the greatest secular authorities on history or philosophy or psychology or sociology or politics?

• Evangelism must first intellectualize itself to be able to speak to the university and therefore to be able to evangelize the university and therefore to save the world.

• The problem is not only to win souls but to save minds. If you win the whole world and lose the mind of the world, you will soon discover you have not won the world. Indeed it may turn out that you have actually lost the world.

• Together with all believers in Christ, we serve under a mandate to preach the Gospel to every creature, to evangelize the world. Beyond that, as our special calling by the Lord, we instruct and discipline young Christian minds to interpret and apply God’s Word of truth to every aspect of life, personal and social.

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