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Oct 16

I am Swiss by birth, German by education, and American by choice.

I am Swiss by birth, German by education, and American by choice.

The church historian Philip Schaff (1819-1893) often gave this description of himself.

His father died when he was a year-old.  His education began in Switzerland and culminated at the University of Berlin.

After teaching at the Berlin for two years he was called to the German Reformed Seminary in the United States. Although he traveled the world he spent most of the rest of his life teaching in America.

He produced a seven volume church history that is widely read over 100 years after its publication.  He produced translations of the church fathers and collections of Christian creeds that are still used today. He was the head of the committee that produced the American Standard Version of the Bible.

On the 50th anniversary of his graduation from the University of Berlin the theological faculty at the university wrote him a letter of congratulations. They likened him to the church father Jerome and the reformer Martin Bucer who had bridged different cultures and languages in their ministries.

Schaff had brought Europe to America and America to Europe. He brought German rigor to American scholarship and he founded the first Sunday School in Stuttgart, Germany

When asked to categorize himself he said I am Swiss by birth, German by education, and American by choice.

All of us are marked by where we were born and raised.  All of us have been affected by the formal and informal education and other training that we have received.  Our lives are also marked by important choices that’s we have made. We have come to forks in the roads of our lives and have made choices.

As we have lived our lives, what has marked us the most?

The Apostle Peter was a Galilean Jew and a fisherman. However, in his final letter he referred to himself as a slave of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:1)

The Apostle Paul was a Jew, a Roman citizen, and a Pharisee who was educated in Jerusalem under Gamaliel, the leading teacher of his era. However, he wrote that a Christian’s citizenship was in heaven and that he was a slave of Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:1, Philippians 1:1; 3:20)

As people see us each day what marks us the most?

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