Archive for April, 2011

Early Christian Apologists: The Apostle Paul

As a Christian apologist, Dr. Grady S. McMurtry supports a rational view of Christianity. In doing so, Dr. McMurtry follows in the footsteps of Christian apologists throughout history, including C. S. Lewis and Saint Augustine. Paul the Apostle is often considered the first Christian apologist.

Born at around the same time as Christ and originally given the name Saul, Paul was raised in Orthodox Jewish tradition, including study of The Old Testament Law. With his staunch Jewish beliefs and strong legal background, Paul spent his early adulthood persecuting and arresting Christians. The Book of the Acts of the Apostles, however, describes Paul’s conversion to Christianity.

While traveling along the road to Damascus, Paul witnessed a vision of the resurrected Christ. The vision left Paul blind, and changed the direction of his life. After completing his journey to Damascus, Paul met with Ananias of Damascus, who baptized him and prayed that Paul would be cured of his blindness.

Paul began preaching the Word of God, telling his followers that the way to salvation was through Jesus, and not man’s laws. He alienated the Jewish community with some of his beliefs, including the abandonment of Jewish dietary restrictions and the traditional practice of circumcision. He was persecuted, arrested as a heretic, and imprisoned. While he was in prison, Paul wrote 13 epistles that are now a significant portion of the New Testament: Romans, Galatians, Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians, Philemon, Titus, I and II Corinthians, I and II Thessalonians, and I and II Timothy.


The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi

By Dr. Grady S. McMurtry

The Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi, known also by its shortened title Phi Kappa Phi, recognizes academic excellence in any scholastic discipline and is the oldest honor society that spans all areas of study. Less than 10 percent of university students qualify for admission. A group of students, two faculty members, and the school president of the University of Maine founded Phi Kappa Phi in 1897 to offer an open society that united the campus and combated the social exclusivity of typical fraternities. Phi Kappa Phi also provided scholastic honor to students who excelled in any academic area, including those not often recognized by other academic societies, such as Phi Beta Kappa and Sigma Xi.

Although it initially began as the Lambda Sigma Eta Society, the group was later renamed Phi Kappa Phi under the direction of founder and university student Marcus L. Urann. The letters came from the society’s motto, Philosophia Krateito Photon, which translated from Greek into the English means “let the love of learning rule humanity.” Members are also eligible for a number of awards and scholarships. Every year, Phi Kappa Phi grants more than $700,000 to outstanding students through its Fellowship, the Phi Kappa Phi Scholar and Phi Kappa Phi Artist Awards, Study Abroad Grants, Literacy Grants, and the Love of Learning Award.

Today, Phi Kappa Phi chapters exist on more than 300 campuses throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and the Philippines. Dr. Grady S. McMurtry is a lifetime member of Phi Kappa Phi.

By Dr. Grady S. McMurtry