November 17, 2012

Remembering and Honoring Professor Stuart C. Hackett

Stuart was born on November 2, 1925 and passed away on October 17, 2012. Paul Copan, a former student of his and President of the Evangelical Philosophical Society, wrote a very deserving tribute to him which can be read here. Stu was my professor as well, a sometimes flamboyant individual with the taste for speaking very long sentences filled with tough words to chew on.

Just like Paul Copan, my first class at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School was taken with Stu, and it was the same one, Religious Epistemology. I had taken that class in the Fall of 1982 three years before Copan, only I argued against Hackett's dualistic rational-empiricism epistemology and decided afterward to take as many classes with William Lane Craig as I could (which ended up being half of the hours required for my Th.M. degree in the Philosophy of Religion). My own recollections of Stu, written almost five years ago, can be read here.

In Copan's tribute he lists several Christian scholars/educators who also studied under Hackett besides himself: William Lane Craig, Stephen Evans, Jay Wood, Mark McLeod-Harrison, Chad Meister, Mark Linville, Mark Mittelberg, and Nicholas Merriwether. So I'm in good company. While at Trinity I also studied under the late Kenneth Kantzer, the former editor of Christianity Today known as the Dean of Evangelicalism, and the late Paul Feinberg, a somewhat towering figure among evangelicals at the time, although he didn't write that much. Stu will be missed, just like Kantzer and Feinberg before him. It's too bad they will never know they were wrong. They will never know they were on the wrong side of history.

In any case, there is one thing you should know about me. You may think I'm wrong, but I am clearly not ignorant. That option is not available to you. I have studied with the best and the brightest, including the amazing James D. Strauss, whom I credit with my anti-apologetics. I just take his apologetics and reverse it. Former students of his include James F. Sennett, Terry Miethe, John D. Castelein, Richard Knopp, Dan Cameron, and Robert Kurka, so I'm in good company there as well.