Like so many eastern colleges, elite Wellesley (Mass.) was founded under partially orthodox Christian auspices. Its motto is “Non ministrari sed ministrare” or “Not to be ministered unto, but to minister” (Matt. 20:28). At the opening chapel service in 1875, the minister preached a fire and brimstone sermon that depressed and frightened the freshmen. His text was: “Thou hast hedged me about so that I cannot get out: thou has surrounded me with hewn stone” (Lamentations 3:7). Wellesley’s founder, Henry Fowle Durant, was so dismayed, however, that he decreed that henceforward the text for the first sermon of every academic year should be “God is love.” And so it is to this day.
Today no semblance of orthodoxy remains in the instruction of this girls’ college, even in the Bible course which is compulsory for all sophomores. God cannot be divided: His grace and mercy cannot be separated from his fire and brimstone. God is a God of both love and wrath. He who denies his wrath will deny his love. And today, church voices that emphasize his love to the neglect of his wrath are in danger of losing their God. Half a God cannot be had.
EDWIN H. PALMER