During some reading earlier today, I cam across this incredibly sobering remark by the infamous Albert Schweitzer, who, at the end of the 1800s and beginning of the 1900s, rocked the world with his teachings, publications, and decision to leave a laudable European teaching post for the mission field in Africa. Though written hundreds of years ago, these words are still fresh and timely. In fact, I think every single aspiring Bible scholar and every single aspiring theologian, and every professor who may already be holding a post, need to take these words to heart and mind. This comes from a letter Schweitzer wrote to a friend, whom he was telling about his decision to leave the academy for the hospital (in Gabon):
"I hope you will give me the pleasure of showing a deeper insight into my reasons for going to Africa than most people do...For me, the whole essence of religion is at stake...In the [African colonies I had visited years ago] things were pretty hopeless and comfortless. We--the 'Christian' nations--send out the mere dregs of our society...If this wrong is in some measure to be atoned for, we must send out there men who will do good in the name of Jesus...Now we just sit here and study theology and then compete for the best ecclesiastical posts, write thick learned books in order to become professors of theology...and what is going on out there where the honor and the name of Jesus are at stake does not concern us at all. And I am supposed to devote my life to making ever fresh 'critical discoveries,' that I might become famous as a theologian, and go on training pastors who will also sit at home."