The Rev. James Hunt, this year’s moderator of the General Synod of the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church, spoke to Erskine faculty, staff, and students at the first convocation of the Spring 2016 semester Feb. 2. Directing his remarks especially toward students, he spoke on the topic “A Worthy Worldview,” taking as his text portions of the 16th chapter of the Gospel of John, focusing on verses 25-33.
Hunt said that in order to develop “a worthy, useful worldview,” which includes “a healthy view of yourself” and “a strong understanding of the world,” students might consider four elements stressed in what is often described as Jesus’ valedictory address: time, the world, the love of God, and peace.
“Time has certain demands,” Hunt said. The repeated phrase “a little while” in John’s gospel shows the pattern of life and must be seen in the context of Jesus’ coming betrayal and crucifixion—his disciples were about to scatter, but then their master would rise from the dead. “There will be times of disappointment, and you need to know that Jesus is Lord of time and eternity,” he said. “Make friends with time, make friends with the Lord of time and eternity.”
Concerning the world, Hunt told students, “A worthy worldview understands the nature of the world.” The world “is not a geographical place, it is an ethical place.” Demonstrating that there are “two kinds of world,” Jesus tells his disciples that while they will weep and lament, the world will rejoice—the two worlds do not share the same values. But, Jesus goes on to say, the disciples’ sorrow will be turned to joy. “The kingdom of Christ offers wonderful, useful, satisfying life, ministry and service,” Hunt said.
Turning to the subject of God’s love, Hunt stressed that the context of Jesus’ farewell address is his imminent crucifixion. “You need an awareness of the Father’s love and the cost of that love,” Hunt said. A worthy worldview must be “bound up with understanding of the love of God,” which is not merely affection, and must take into account “the severe cost of that love, the reconciling of justice and mercy.” Jesus is “the lamb slain for those whom God loves.” If we do not know Christ, Hunt said, “our worldview is empty.”
Finally, Hunt said, “A worthy worldview includes an awareness of peace,” and added, “With maturity comes a desire for peace.” The disciples receive Jesus’ assurance of the Father’s love for them, and they at last express confidence in Jesus, saying, “We are sure that you know all things.” Jesus warns his disciples that they will be scattered, but says they can have peace in him because he has “overcome the world.” Hunt concluded with an emphasis on faith as “the essence of a worthy Christian worldview.”
The Rev. James Hunt is a 1968 graduate of Erskine College and is married to Cathy Alston Hunt ’69. Two of their three children are Erskine graduates. He also completed studies at Reformed Theological Seminary and the University of Aberdeen. He retired in 2014 after a 33-year tenure at Coddle Creek ARP Church in Mooresville, N.C., preceded by eight years as a pastor in Tennessee.
Worship in the Due West ARP Church was led by the Rev. Paul Patrick, chaplain. Freshman Anna McIlwain served as organist, and the Erskine Choraleers, led by Dr. Keith Timms and accompanied by the Rev. Robert Glick and senior Jennifer Karel, offered a choral anthem. Erskine President Dr. Paul Kooistra introduced the moderator.