The biggest part of my Summit experience was Nolan. However, since our courtship isn’t exactly in keeping with the purpose of this blog, I figured I’d put Nolan stories in their own category. So, if you want “The Love Story,” you have to go check that one out. I’ll add to it as I get the time.
For those of you unfamiliar with Summit, it may help to know that it was a small school dedicated to training men and women for service. Whether you planned to be a pastor, teacher, counselor, missionary, etc., Summit was a good place to be educated. With a small student body of about 400-500 students, it was also a great place to make friends. The average age of students at the time was twenty-six, which indicates the number of older adults who attended. It was a great mix between young and not-so-young that gave a balance to the campus atmosphere.
The professors were committed, faithful Christians who loved teaching. I don’t remember a grumpy, dissatisfied one among them at all. They were there because they wanted to be and they treated us students with respect. At the time, Nolan and I found it interesting that there was represented among them both Armenian and Calvinist beliefs–rather opposing theological views–but it gave us students a wider view of the differences Christians can have and still work together.
Interestingly, at the time, it didn’t make me wonder who was right and who was wrong because I still subscribed to the view that we agreed in essentials and the rest was just to be accepted as differences. Each view was valid and each Christian should pray, study the Scriptures and discern which one they were in agreement with. It wasn’t until a few years later that I began to question that idea.
My first year at Summit I was an elementary ed. major, but switched to Biblical Studies when Nolan and I planned to get married. Since we both agreed that I would stay home once we had children, there didn’t seem any point in running up a huge debt for a college degree I had no plan to use. In addition, after one year on the el. ed. program, I knew that wasn’t how I wanted to spend my life anyway. However, I wanted a degree and since that was the one I’d wanted in the first place, that’s the one I pursued. I graduated in 1992 with an Associate’s Degree in Biblical Studies.
I loved that line of study! I loved delving into the Scriptures and learning about the deeper meanings and historical connections, then bringing that knowledge into the present-day and seeing how it applied to my own life. Dr. Wes Gerig and Rev. Ronald Scharfe were the principle teachers, each with different viewpoints and styles in teaching. It was great!
Although Dr. Wes was a crusty old professor who was picky about how assignments were done, I learned a lot from him. As any FWBC/Summit grad. knows, you had to list out at least ten answers and if you found more they had to be in increments of five (in other words, you couldn’t list 13, it had to be 15 or leave off the other three you’d found) and always, always in NOUN FORM! The other area of distinction Dr. Wes was known for was his role in helping with the translation of the New International Version of the Bible.
Rev Scharfe was a quiet, gentle man who was careful with his words. One phrase he used so much that I have always remembered was, “We do not stand in judgment of the Scripture. Scripture stands in judgment of us.” He taught us a respect and awe of Holy Scripture–God’s own words given to us for all people and all time.
Other professors were instrumental in my formation and many of the things they said stay with me to this day. I remember during a discussion in music class with Dr. Jay Paladi in which he used the symbol of the rainbow to illustrate a point. He noted that the New Age movement had hijacked the rainbow as their symbol and there were many Christians who would no longer use it because the New Agers were. He said, “It’s OUR symbol! I say we take it back! Don’t quit using something of God just because someone else uses it!”
Class discussions, chapel speakers, special conferences and oodles of studying challenged me to grow in my faith, understanding and ability to apply the Scriptures to my life. Those were great years!