Thursday, January 06, 2005

Van Til, Machen, and my Grandfather

My 98 year old grandfather, Robert Witty, is a unique man. I remember visiting him about 5 years ago, when I walked into his apartment he was just finishing uploading his web site. How many folks in their 90s start their own web site? Here's the link.

God has sustained him and his memory marveously. His life story is a first-hand account of nearly one-third of our country's history. I love his boyhood stories about "running the muskrat traps" in the Kentucky wilderness, his two pairs of clothes (regular and Sunday), and his first gun which he bought for 50 cents (a shotgun).

In the 1920s he went to Princeton Seminary and studied under Drs. Machen, Van Til, and Hodge! Here's a story he tells about Dr. Machen:

Dr. Machen was a bald-headed portly man. Sometimes he would hang his watch chain over his ear, place a book like a tent over his head, walk around the room as he threw chalk at the blackboard and listened to our declension of a verb. If we made a mistake he might even fall to the floor. Yet he was recognized as the world’s leader in conservative theology and the world’s greatest Greek scholar.

Upon hearing one of young Robert's practice sermons, Dr. Hodge responded tenderly, "That was the greatest diarrhea of words and constipation of thought that I have ever heard."

While my grandfather has yet to accept Calvinism, one can not help but to be impressed with his continued zeal for the Lord. He still preaches Jesus around the country. He's still authoring books in his nineties. He still loves his Lord.


Anonymous said...

Small world. When I was on staff at First Southern Baptist Church in Del City, OK, the Pastor (and President of the SBC at that time) had Dr. Witty in to speak to the staff frequently. He struck me as a man full of kindness and wit. (I'm sure he's heard not few puns with his 'wittiness'.) When I was a pastor in Georgia, I knew his grandson, also a man full of kindness and wit.

Suzanne said...

What a heritage!!! An I allowed to be jealous?

I don't have time this morning to read the links but they are bookmarked.

Can I borrow the little errrummm, "upset stomach" analogy for future use for my little scholars should the need arise???

Tim said...

Suzanne, just don't say you caught it from me!

Prophetically, Hodge's statement would make a perfect subliner for my blog.

Carmon Friedrich said...

What a blessing to have such a grandfather, and how wonderful to know that his faith was part of your journey. In the small world category: he lived in my hometown when he was at Willamette University, but I few years before I was there.