A Monument To Stupidity!


            I was sitting at a large table in a conference room at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. It was a meeting of the Fundamental Wesleyan Society. Things were at a lull and my mind was drifting. For some reason, as I looked around this room in this institute of higher learning, I was reminded of the statement attributed to Gen. George Patton in the movie Patton: “Fixed fortifications are monuments to the stupidity of man.”

            I had attended school across the street at Asbury College. I recall chapel services and the way the speakers were introduced. The intros were never short and sweet but usually included all the academic achievements of the speaker, such as, where he attended school, what degrees he had attained from what universities, and then what groups and organizations he was the head of etc. etc. All this was done to convince us that the speaker had earned our respect and attention.

            One problem!

            I also recall a speaker who was introduced without all these accolades. Oh they told of his accomplishments as a missionary in a virgin territory in South America (I wish I could recall just what country it was). But there was no mention of degrees of higher learning. Why? Because he hadn’t earned any. He had attended Asbury College but left before earning a degree and took off on his own and started and established a great work in the southern hemisphere. Of course, there was no mention of his having dropped out of school. Heaven forbid that one could leave there without their sanction and do anything worthwhile. It seems as though he managed to however.

            Asbury College and Asbury Theological Seminary were named for Francis Asbury who established Methodism in America. He came to America when he was still in his twenties, having been sent here by John Wesley for that work. It is said that when he attended the Bristol Conference, when he was twenty-six that he responded, “Here am I, send me,” when John Wesley declared. “Our brethren in America call aloud for help.” His formal schooling had ended when he was thirteen years old, yet it is reported that he could read the Bible when he was just six or seven. Oh yes, he taught himself New Testament Greek while riding horseback from one preaching appointment to another. He ended up with about a quarter of a million such miles. God called him home in 1816 after nearly fifty years of labor as a circuit rider and Bishop of the Methodist Episcopal Church in America.

            And now I am sitting here in this school named in his honor, and this statement of Patton comes to my mind: “Fixed fortifications are monuments to the stupidity of man.” How could fortifications planned and built by military generals and leaders be “stupidity”? Well you will have to ask Patton. But now, as I sit here in this “monument to the stupidity of Christianity” I wonder, how could Christian leaders build such a thing?