The Registrar’s Office assured my worst nightmare: all the other classes for the Study of Salvation were full and I was stuck with Dr Willard Aldrich.
Dr Willard co-founded the school in 1936. He was old and old-school, so soft-spoken that from the center of the room I couldn’t hear him speak. His lecture notes hadn’t been updated since Tyrannosaurs walked the earth.
I’d arrive for class as early before 8 as possible for a seat in the much sought after back of the room. All went well until I was late and the only seats left in the room were in the front row. I was the only student in the front row.
He opened the notebook he’d been reading his lectures from for the previous 50 years and began reading so quietly I strained to hear him over the racket of a pin dropped on the carpet. B – O – R – I – N – G!!! To add to the insult, we could hear the laughter from Professor Hipster’s class next door.
I counted the “dots” in the ceiling panels overhead as Dr Aldrich droned on about the theology of Substitutionary Atonement. Then I saw that the old man had tears rolling down his cheeks. His quiet voice was because he was crying. The things he was teaching were so precious to him that he could barely speak of them! Jesus died in his place. A sinner, redeemed eternally at the cost of the life of the eternal Son of God. The Precious for the wicked. The Perfect for the flawed and ruined. The Saviour for the sinful.
Dr Aldrich became my favorite professor and I took every class he taught. A man whose heart was still touched after so many years by the mind-numbing truth of salvation was a man I needed to know.
When the death of Jesus no longer moves our heart, we need to repent and return to the place where I first saw the light and the burden of my heart rolled away.
While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8).