My friend James Sauer writes, “I’ve got a problem with Chesterton. The problem is that I think he is a wonderful, wise, witty, and pious man; after reading his works, I never leave the page without feeling edified.”
So, “Why is that a problem?” you just might ask.
“Perhaps, the problem, if it is a problem,” Sauer responds, “isn’t in Chesterton, but in me.” You see, he explains, “I am a Protestant; but not just any Protestant. I am an American Evangelical Protestant. But there’s more. I am a Conservative, Capitalistic, Bible-thumping American Evangelical Protestant. And hold on to your seats folks, just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse; I must confess, I am also a Calvinist. We all have our crosses to bear.”
OK. So far, so good. But then, Sauer gets to the sticky part, “Anyone who is familiar with the writings of Chesterton will see the great irony in my situation. I can only ask you not to blame me for this state of affairs, I didn’t choose to be elected; it was irresistible grace. I was predestined for Presbyterianism. But since I have received this unmerited favor of God, I might as well enjoy it. I can only thank my Sovereign Maker for His predestination. Not only did He choose me to be among his chosen people, but He also destined me to be among that other elect who have had the privilege of meeting through literature the great mind and good heart of Gilbert Keith Chesterton.”
I could not agree more. That is why I have been reading--and collecting--the works of G.K. Chesterton for more than 20 years now. I have a whole section of my home library exclusively devoted to Chesterton and his close friend, Hilaire Belloc--and this despite the fact that like Jim Sauer, I am an American Evangelical Calvinist!
I liberally salt virtually every lecture, every sermon, and every book I have produced with Chesterton quotes. So, it probably should come as no surprise that my students have caught the Chesterton bug as well. That fact is evidenced by the latest King's Meadow Newsletter. There are a host of great articles, appreciations, and reviews by my several of my students and former students including Ray Ware, Dave Raymond, Courtney Cahoon, and Wes Jackson. I couldn't be more proud!